December 2013




"journey of a lifetime"





This is a travelogue detailing my highly illegal land-crossing into the Chamdo region of Tibet. As of
year 2014, a large part of Tibet is off limits to all foreigners for obvious reasons. Formerly an empire with
loose borders, Tibet has always been subjugated by her powerful neighbours. Its deeply religious way
of life does not confer it a powerful defence to protect its sovereignty. Influenced and controlled by the Great
Qing dynasty since 1724, Tibet's aspiration of independence finally took shape when the 13th Dalai Lama
declared independence in 1913. This was short lived however, when the People's Republic of China formally
annexed Tibet in 1950. The 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala in 1959 and established a government-in-exile.

Such are the facts surrounding this troubled region. Fortunately, the political sensitivities concerning
Tibetan independence will not be part of this article.

Chamdo is the eastern most province of Tibet, a part of the traditional Kham region of the old Empire. As of year 2014,
all foreigners entering Tibet via airplanes (connecting a major Chinese city) requires the basic PRC
travel visa, Tibetan Tourism Burea (TTB) permit and Alien Travel permit (ATP). All these documents
must be arranged at least 1 full month beforehand. All land-crossings except for the pass from
Kathmandu are highly illegal. Chamdo itself is a sensitive area requiring an additional military permit and diplomatic permit.

In essence, NO foreigners can enter Tibet via its remote borders and all attempts in are highly illegal. People who attempted
the crossing have lauded Chamdo's mysterious beauty. And the worst time to make the crossing? Winter. A single wrong move
on the frozen mountain passes would send you falling off its highways - all of which are at least 3500metres above sea level.




This is our story.



2. Kunming - Lijiang

3. Lijiang - Shangri La

4. Shangri La - Yan Jing

5. Yan Jing - Ba'thang

6. Ba'thang - Zuo Gong

7. Zuo Gong - Shangri-La - Kunming



editor's note:

the photographs in this series are either digital (pentax k30, sigma 35/1.4, DFA 50/2.8, Tamron 10-24)
or analogue (Pentax ME Super, K50/1.4, assorted films including portras, provia, profotoxl)


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