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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Road Trip to Tibet's Village of Happiness





Adventure travel specialist, World Expeditions, is bracing for renewed interest in travel to Tibet, with the opening of a new border crossing and new road access allowing more convenient - and cheaper - travel between Kathmandu in Nepal and Kyirong in Tibet, dubbed the region's 'village of happiness'.

World Expeditions was the first Australian adventure travel company to run commercial treks in Tibet in 1981, and remains one of only a handful of operators offering the iconic overland journey between Kathmandu and Lhasa in September, when the new road linking the two cities is completed. The journey has been more expensive and taken longer since the April 2015 earthquake damaged the Friendship Highway, the main arterial road linking the two cities, forcing travellers to fly in and out of Lhasa and 'backtrack' to the Tibetan capital after an overland exploration.

World Expeditions CEO, Sue Badyari, said the recent opening of a new border post between Nepal and Tibet was welcome news.

"We have been watching with great anticipation since late 2016 when road works recommenced to deliver the trade and tourism route linking Kathmandu to Lhasa," Ms Badyari said. "This is the most enjoyable way to travel into Tibet using what is touted as one of the most scenic high routes in the world and it's great news that it's back to business for Tibet."

The new border post is located west of the Langtang Himal mountain range (the Friendship Highway previously used a border crossing to the east of Langtang) and new access by road opens one of the lesser known parts of Tibet: Kyirong, the 'village of happiness'.

At 2,800m high, Kyirong is known for its subtropical climate and abundant vegetation, both of which are unusual for the Tibetan plateau. It is fondly remembered by Heinrich Harrer in the autobiographical travel classic, 'Seven Years in Tibet' who lamented "I shall never cease thinking of this place with yearning", describing idyllic scenes, such as bamboo-grove, bubbling hot spring, near the banks of an ice-cold glacial river.

The new road means World Expeditions' trips to the region are now at least $500 cheaper without the need for return flights, as well as taking the traditional scenic route:

The 15 day High Road to Lhasa (https://worldexpeditions.com/China/Adventure-Touring/High-Road-to-Lhasa) is the classic Tibetan journey – an immersive crossing of the Tibetan Plateau from fabled Lhasa to bustling Kathmandu, with a rare opportunity to see Mt Everest from a vantage point close to Everest Base Camp. Now $4,190 per person.

The 18 day Beijing to Kathmandu (https://worldexpeditions.com/China/Adventure-Touring/Beijing-to-Kathmandu) is an epic, journey across China to the high Tibetan Plateau. Now $5,390 per person.

The 20 day Journey to Mount Kailash (https://worldexpeditions.com/China/Trekking-Hiking/Journey-to-Mount-Kailash) is a 'pilgrimage' trek to Mount Meru, revered in both Hindu and Buddhist legends as the centre of the universe. Now $5,640 per person.

Everest Kangshung Face (https://worldexpeditions.com/China/Trekking-Hiking/Everest-Kangshung-Face) : Cross the Tibetan Plateau and trek to Kangshung, the eastern-facing (and most remote) side of Mount Everest. Now $6,590 per person.

Additional World Expeditions' trips to Tibet, including The Ancient City of Lhasa (https://worldexpeditions.com/China/Adventure-Touring/The-Ancient-City-of-Lhasa) and Beijing to Lhasa Journey (https://worldexpeditions.com/China/Adventure-Touring/Beijing-to-Lhasa-Journey), are unaffected by the changes.

More information at www.worldexpeditions.com or phone 1300 720 000.

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The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places