Day 2: Tato Pani to Nyalam

Distance Covered: About 50 Kms

Travel Time: 2 hours

Waiting for Chinese Immigration: 5 – 6 hours … Immigration formalities: 30 mts.

Crazy day of travel. Distance traveled was way too short, but we spent almost the entire day in transit.

Here is the road-map, from Tato Pani to Nyalam, via Kodari

Day2

Tato Pani is just 2 Kms short of the border post Kodari, from where we need to head over the Friendship Bridge over the Bhote Kosi river and head to the Chinese Immigration office.

We were all packed and we in fact left out hotel rooms from Tato Pani around 8:30 AM, got to Kodari and then walked up the road leading to the friendship bridge. By 9:30 we were all standing in an orderly line outside the Chinese immigration office and were waiting to get through. But after about 45 mts of wait, we heard that our permit had some errors in them, thanks to our Nepal based travel agent called Fishtail. These errors have to be rectified and would have to be signed off by Chinese officials once again. Given that all the officials were in meeting at that time, it could take a while to get the errors rectified. So all of us came back to Kodari and went into a small hotel close by for coffee / tea. The wait continued and our travel agent kept saying that errors are being corrected and we need to get back in line soon. Slowly this became a 4-5 hour wait and it was close to 2 PM, so we were provided lunch at the same hotel and the news update was the same … correction will happen and we will cross over to Tibet today. So we all waited further and finally at 3:30 pm we were told that errors have been corrected and we need to be cross the bridge once again and head to the immigration office.

We got back to the same lines as before and waited a further hour. We were now worried if we will be able to enter Tibet on the same day, given that the immigration office closes by 5 PM local time and it was already 4:30 at that time. Luckily our group was called and we finally managed to cross over to Tibet around 4:45 and all of us were very happy to get through the immigration process and continue on our journey.

Here is a look at the friendship bridge … on the left is Kodari / Neapl… and on the right, from where this photo was taken is Tibet.

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Once we cross over to the Tibet side, we had to get onto new set of buses, which would be the vehicles that we would be our vehicles that would take us to Mt. Kailash and drop us back near the Chinese immigration office on the way back.

Thought the distance is very short from this place to Nyalam / Nyalam Mu, it is one of the most scenic roads to drive on. The roads themselves are fantastic. They serpent their way though high mountain passes and valleys and will give you the ability to see innumerable waterfalls along the way. On the way to Nyalam we encountered 40 – 50 falls, within a short span of 35 kms, but on the way back that number had almost doubled, given the rains prior to our travel back.

Following are the snaps of these beautiful mountain , valleys, our bus and lots of water falls.

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It is really joy to see such beautiful waterfalls, but not getting a chance to stop and photograph them was painful for me.

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This is the same Bhote Kosi river mentioned in the earlier post.

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The roads that hug the mountains on one side and the other side is this deep gorges made by the river. It is a spectacular drive. Next time I go there, i will be very happy to travel this 30 kms stretch the whole day, with lots and lots of pit stops for photography.

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The bus on the Chinese side were much better and comfortable when compared to the Nepal side. They had AC in them and hence all the windows were fixed. Luckily the last row had slide windows and one of them became my permanent seat for the entire trip. All these photos were shot from the last window of the bus. The bus that you see below was from our group and was the one always in front of ours.

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After traveling high up the mountains for a while, at one point the road descends right to the floor of the river before it climbs back again to reach Nyalum.

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Right next to the Bhote Kosi river, the lowest point in the gorge.

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Some of the waterfalls are right next to the roads. But very difficult to photograph from a moving vehicle.

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All the anxiety from the beginning of the day had melted and we were very joyful by the end of this spectacular 35 kms drive in the mountains. This was the hotel where we would spend one night and then head out the next day to Saga.

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Nyalam is about 11,000 feet above MSL and at night was pretty chilly. Carrying huge bags and walking was a bit of a problem but none of us had any visibly signs of altitude sickness. So we had a decent meal and then had a good nights rest.

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