Location: Chiu Gompa, Ngari, Tibet, China (30°45'55"N 81°22'5"E)
Date: 8 August 2007, 6.20am
Camera: Canon 400D with Canon 70-200/f4L USM
Ngari of Tibet is one of those destinations often described as “once-in-a lifetime” by most travel guides. Its major claim to fame is Mount Kailash, Lake Manasarovar and the Guge Valley. It is a part of China/Tibet that has been difficult for independent foreigner travellers to visit due to the proximity to the proximity to the disputed borders with India/Pakistan. A clutch of permits are needed to do so and still the chance of getting them is never assured; however a foreigner can get there relatively easier by joining a package group tour. The situation has now changed for the worst after the incidents in Lhasa and Olympics in 2008. Today it is virtually impossible to get to Ngari for an independent foreign traveller. Checkpoints had increased and the security officials are more vigilant in enforcing the rules. Hopefully China will slowly relax the restrictions again soon especially since the airport serving the region, at Gunsa, had already started operation. Otherwise this destination may indeed be a “once-in-a lifetime” destination for most non-Chinese nationals.