One of the interesting stops on the way to Shigaste is at Yamdrok Lake, the third largest lake in Tibet. This is definitely a tourist stop but the views and scenery are still worthwhile. For a few bucks you can have your picture taken on a yak or next to a Tibetan Mastiff.
We all refused to shell out the yuans for the photo opportunity as I think we were all worn out from the constant pay for a picture routine.
Soon we leave the paved road and we are on an E-ticket ride for what I think is a shortcut. However, it turns out to lead to another sort of checkpoint out in the middle of nowhere.
An admission fee of sorts for the area we are about to enter.
Again, the scenery although barren is awesome with multiple layers of mountains, some brown and void of vegetation, others covered with bright white glistening snow. One of the mountains is so beautiful that at a scenic spot we are told it is RMB50 to take a picture.
Fortunately after we all refused to pay our driver takes us to a spot where we could capture pictures for free.
In Gyanste, from the highway we get a glimpse of the largest stupa in Tibet, Kumpa Stupa. Although a close up visit to this and Pelchor Monastery which is nearby is on our itinerary, we are all so exhausted from being on the road so long that we just want to get to our hotel in Shigaste.
Numerous times we pull to the side of the road and wait for 10 to 40 minutes because we are ahead of schedule to be at the next checkpoint. These stops turn out to be bathroom breaks for us along open and almost desolate highways with everyone claiming a different portion of the landscape.
Farming done the old fashioned way.
Approaching a small community we pass an interesting caravan of sorts. A group of men seem to be returning home, all riding horse drawn carts with lots of bells ringing.