Author Topic: Tibet on a Royal Enfield Motorcycle  (Read 2615 times)

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on: September 13, 2017, 07:07:33 am
Riding a motorcycle through the elemental beauty of the highest plateau on Earth is an invitation one can hardly refuse. And so I found myself on the premiere edition of Royal Enfield’s Tour of Tibet in 2013 riding through snowstorms, past glittering turquoise lakes, over prayer-flag-festooned 5000-metre-high passes and gaping open-mouthed at the north face of Everest. The huge geography humbles you and every view is lit spectacularly with Himalayan light. Here, the scope of adventure is only limited by your ability to get permits. And above all, despite decades of political turmoil and hardship, it was the large-hearted, generous and gentle Tibetan people that made riding in Tibet such a profound experience. HMR

From Zhangmu, the Tibetan border shantytown, the road fights its tortuous way high above the Bhote Khosi zig-zagging through waterfalls, cascades and landslides during the often-treacherous 30km road to Nyalam, a one-street town, 4200 metres high, on the edge of the Tibetan plateau. It is the beginning of a dramatic transformation from the lush sub-tropical Himalayan valleys of Nepal to the arid and cold high altitude flatlands of Tibet. Zhangmu bookends China National Highway 318 that takes you all the way to Shanghai, 5476 km away.

A freak snowstorm carpeted the landscape, the black tarmac a ribbon of black in the vast whiteness, on the approach to Tong La pass 5200 metres high. This is where the dreaded Acute Mountain Sicknes (AMS) is most likely to rear its dreaded head.

The highest mountain in the world, Everest, known as Qomolangma in Tibet thrusts its head skyward.

The road to Lhasa has impeccable tarmac and spectacular scenery to ride through. With an elevation of nearly 5 kilometres above sea level this desolate landscape, where a cold, blustery wind is always blowing, is the world’s highest plateau.

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