Renting a bicycle from Gyangze hotels
Renting a bicycle is easy in Gyangze and facilitates exploration of areas off the beaten path beyond the city limits. It's also good exercise after the long bus ride from Lhasa.
There are two different rates for bicycle rental; hourly and a daily flat rate. For example, the Gyangtse Hotel rents bicycles for 5 yuan per hour and at the Jian Zang Hotel it's 20 yuan for the entire day. I chose the hourly rental as I did not believe my excursion would exceed 3 hours. Since most of Gyangtse's attractions can be easily seen on foot, I don't think it's necessary to rent a bike for more than 3 hours.
The bicycles at the Gyangtse Hotel are awful. The seat was constantly slipping down and the handlebar grips kept sliding off. The bicycles offered for rental at the Gyangtse Hotel are only suitable for cruising paved streets of the city, not going off on dirt roads. I wonder if the Jianzang Hotel has mountain bikes instead.
Highway 204 is on the west side of town and can be used to access small villages north of Gyangze city limits. It is also convenient for visiting the Pala Manor, which is best reached by bicycle. You might want the day rental instead of the hourly rate if you include Pala Manor on your excursion.
I went north and visited the first small village on the right side of Highway 204. It's at the bottom of a hill where a small monastery once existed. This is a scenic part of Gyangtse and so I created a separate travelogue for my photos. The beautiful photo of the old man with his horse (seen on my Gyangtse intro) was taken near this small village.
I highly recommend a bicycle rental while in Gyangze. Do it in the morning and you'll get some great photos while observing activities in the countryside. The terrain is mostly flat in this area so you won't be climbing any hills unless you go east toward the mountains.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
NEED A GUIDE AND RIDE TO GYANGZE?
if you want a nice young tibetan guide who speaks english to take you to and around gyangze from lhasa, you can get in touch with nga wang. he was my guide during my solo tour around lhasa/gyangze/xigaze/nam-tso last august, 2006. he's very helpful and will take good photographs of you! (in case you're also traveling alone).
he can also arrange your transportation and driver. we took an isuzu rodeo 4x4.
just tell him you were referred by miko, his friend from the philippines.
The road south from Gyangze: Highway 204
Highway 204 goes from Xigaze all the way south to the India border in Yadong county, passing through Gyangze. You will easily find plenty of vehicles for hire that do the route back to Xigaze, but it's challenging to find drivers going south on 204 or east on 307.
Through bargaining and negotiations, you should be able to find a car and driver to take you east to Langkazi for 500 RMB and south to Yadong for around 800 RMB. With help from my hotel's general manager, I got a ride to nearby Kangma for 80 RMB. The place where you will find vehicles ready to take you on these alternative trips is at the intersection of Hero Road and Shanghai Road.
Try to bargain with two drivers at the same time. Once word spreads around town that you are going somewhere other than Xigaze, the bidding begins! Make sure the vehicle can manage dirt road conditions; a jeep is better suited for the journey south or east instead of a regular sedan.
Use the price guidelines that I am providing in this tip. You should not pay more than 500 to go to Langkazi and not more than 800 to reach Yadong county.
As of September 2006, a special permit was still required for trips to Yadong county. This permit is only available in Xigaze, so if you try to go south on 204 without a permit then you will not be allowed beyond the military checkpoint in Kangma county. Permits are not required for travel east from Gyangze on highway 307 or west to the remote Tibetan town of Jin'ga.
- Road Trip
Most of the transport is by cart and donkey.
Most of the transport is by cart and donkey or horse. It feels like you are travelling back in time. But it is working for the people living here and it gives a certain peacefull feeling.