2/18/2010 to 2/19/2010 | India , Karnataka

Tibet in Exile II: Bylakuppe


I somewhat reluctantly accompanied Sunny to the other major Tibetan exile settlement in Karnataka, Bylakuppe, near Mysore.  When we were able to secure overnight train seats that made it more palatable to me at least compared with taking the state run bus overnight.  We met up with Sunny’s classmate from Taiwan John […]

2/16/2010 to 2/17/2010 | India , Karnataka

Tibet in Exile I: Mundgod


While the most well known Tibetan exile settlement is near the northern Indian city of Dharmsala home to the Tibetan government in exile actually the largest concentration of Tibetan exiles in India is in the south Indian State of Karnataka.  It is in Karnataka where the great monastic universities of Ganden, Sera, […]

8/24/2009 to 8/25/2009 | India , Ladakh

The Dalai Lama in Leh


I returned to Leh in time to catch one of Dalai Lama’s public teachings, the last in a series of five.   The teachings in Leh are held in a large outdoor ground in nearby Choklamsar home to large community of Tibetan refugees.  The atmosphere the massive gathering reminded me something of an […]

5/4/2009 to 5/12/2009 | Arunachal Pradesh , India



The Mechuka valley sits nestled against the border with Tibet north of Along.  Unreachable by road until very recently this region is still very untouched by mass tourism.  The only place to stay is at the government power and water department rest-house.  Although that is about to change, a new tourist bungalow […]

9/22/2007 to 9/24/2007 | Tibet

Crossing the Himalayas: Tibet to Nepal

Small lake on the road to Saga from Kailash.


After living on instant noodle soup and going without a shower for 10 days, arriving in the town of Saga with a choice of restaurants and most importantly public pay hot showers, was a welcome sight despite its grubby Chinese buildings.  We had no trouble with the authorities this time and arrived […]

9/19/2007 to 9/21/2007 | Tibet

Sacred Springs, Lakes, and Mountains

Pilgrims prostrating around Lake Manasarovar.


After the Kailash kora, we went to Tirthapuri hot springs and monastery associated with Padmasambava, the Indian guru who brought Buddhism to Tibet.  Traditionally it is were pilgrims bath after the kora, my travel companions had visions of soaking in a warm pool fed by the springs, I was under no such […]

9/17/2007 to 9/19/2007 | Tibet

The Kailash Kora: sin free for the moment

Approaching Mt. Kailash before starting the Kora.


According to Tibetan Buddhists completing the kora (walking) around the sacred Mt. Kailash rids one’s self of the sins (negative karma) accumulated over a lifetime.  It’s a bit tougher than walking in to a confessional at your local Catholic Church, but then again Tibetan Buddhism is not a religion for those wishing […]

9/13/2007 to 9/16/2007 | Tibet

The journey west: to Kailash

Himalayas on the road to Kailash


I decided to play by the rules for my journey out to western Tibet and the sacred Mout Kailash, home to the Hindu gods, a pilgrimage destination for Hindus, Tibetan Buddhists, and tourists alike.  The Chinese government tries its best to make the pilgrimage to this most sacred of mountains as difficult […]

9/1/2007 to 9/12/2007 | Tibet


Pilgrim with a prayer wheel near the Jokhang temple, Lhasa.


I’m always a little worried when I return to places I really enjoyed, not wanting to spoil those memories.  So it was with a bit of trepidation that I road train on the newly completed rail line from Golmud to Lhasa, and the trepidation was not solely because I was traveling without […]

9/9/2007 to 9/10/2007 | Tibet

Pictures from Ganden and Samye Monasteries

Ganden Monastery.


Eager to begin the trek and not knowing how long the first day would take us we left Ganden with out really exploring the monastery.  However, it was one of the only major monasteries in the area that I did not visit on my first trip and having seen the amazing setting […]

9/5/2007 to 9/9/2007 | Tibet

Ganden to Samye Trek

Late afternoon sun on the green mountains above our campsite on the first night.


As of September 1st “the powers that be” here in Tibet (i.e. the Chinese Government) decided that it would now take 10 days to get a permit for Mount Kailash instead of the previous 3 days.  Having been to most of the attractions around Lhasa on my pervious trip I jumped at […]

8/18/2007 to 8/20/2007 | China , Gansu

Xiahe: Monks, Pilgrims, Plays, and Basketball, oh my!

Monk watching the performance during the festival at Labrang monastery, Xiahe.


The city of Xiahe, in China’s Gansu province, is home to the massive Tibetan monastery of Labrang.  I had timed my arrival to coincide with a festival on the 20th of August.  There were a lot of pilgrims performing the kora, circumambulation, around the monastery.  The monastery was one of the most […]

8/16/2007 to 8/17/2007 | China , Gansu , Tibet

Langmusi: Monks and Mountains

Pilgrims performing kora, circumambulation of a monastery in Langmusi.


The small Tibetan town of Langmusi straddles the border between the Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Gansu.  It has become a popular stop for tourists traveling between these two provinces via the Tibetan plateau due two the two monasteries in town and the surrounding jagged mountain landscape.  Of course with the tourist […]

8/15/2007 | China , Gansu , Tibet

Maqu: Interview with a Tibetan & Horse Racing

Horse race, Maqu.

From the small Tibetan town of Langmusi seven of us from the hostel I was staying at headed over to the nearby town of Maqu for another horse racing festival.  Unlike the races at Litang and Yushu, they had a circular 1 km long track at Maqu.  There was only one race in […]

8/13/2007 | China , Sichuan , Tibet

Hongyuan: Grasslands and Nomads

I arrived in Hongyuan just before 9:00 am, a starkly ugly city, especially in contrast to the beautiful scenery that passed by my window on the bus ride into town.  But I had known that the attraction here was not the city but rather the grasslands and nomads that surround it.  I wasted […]

5:15 to 5:45 am, 8/13/2007 | China , Sichuan , Tibet

One for the memoirs

I had a bad feeling as I walked down the dark deserted streets of Aba at just after 5:00 am in the morning, and I remember thinking if I was going to get mugged this could be the time; not unheard of in the impoverished knife wielding areas of Tibet.  The new bus station […]

6/31/2007 to 8/12/2007 | China , Gansu , Sichuan , Yunnan

China Archive (pdf)

Chenyang, China

Entries in pdf format from my travels in China when I was still emailing my Travel  Journal.

The Bridges of Dong County  pdf

Gaoding: Baiju Srikes Back  pdf

Zhaoxing: The VIP dinner  pdf

Miao villages: Basha and Xijiang  pdf

Tagong: A night with the nomads  pdf