Preparing for Tibet II: Lángmùsì

From Xiàhé, we set out to higher altitudes. Another four hours bus ride and we are in Lángmùsì, a mostly Tibetan village at the border between Gansù and Sìchuan, ready for some beautiful hiking at 3300m altitude.

Or maybe not. The altitude does not go unnoticed. Mr. Colors cannot sleep at night, we have headaches and we are short of breath. Acclimatization takes a while but that’s what we are here for after all. We are glad we did not go to Lhasa directly – this is bad enough. Luckily, we are still able to do something, even if at a slower pace than planned.

We decide to do the small hike through Namo Gorge. To get there, we walk to the end of the village. At the time, it is only half a Tibetan village. The rest is a construction site through which the Chinese attempt to bring progress to this remote part of the country. After passing through a small monastery (for which we have to pay an entrance fee), we are at Namo Gorge. Tibetan prayer flags are spanned across the river here, prayer wheels are spun by the water and there are also a few holy caves. This beginning of the trek is busy with about half a bus load of Chinese tourists and a handful of young monks bathing in the river. Compared to China’s big attractions like the Forbidden City, it is empty.

After not much more than 15 minutes walking, we have left everyone else behind. When we exit the gorge at the far end, we see spiky ragged mountains in the distance and lush green meadows right in front of us. We are amazed that no one else seems to walk this far. This is the first bit of China that we have to ourselves since we arrived three weeks ago and it is the most beautiful piece of the country we have seen so far. We return only when it starts to get dark, full of anticipation (on my side) and apprehension (on Mr. Colors’ side) for the horse riding trip on the next day.

Time of visit: August 2013

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