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Journey to Lhasa takes different lengths and forms

Updated: Nov 27,2014 3:41 PM

While making the tough, long journey from Sichuan to Tibet, travelers can sometimes overlook the natural beauty found in both the scenery and the people.

Before there was a road here, it took more than a year to travel back and forth between Chengdu and Lhasa. Beautiful views like this were almost isolated. But who are these faces that deeply connected with this route and what are their stories.

At 4,000 meters elevation, it’s hard to just breathe, not to mention work.

But that hasn’t stopped Wang Shan from fulfilling his duties as a highway maintenance worker, even if he does need an occasional break.

Wang has few co-workers. He spends most of his days with these yaks.

As winter comes, his views will soon be covered by a thick white blanket.

But he’s seen bigger changes during his time on the job.

I run into this Zeren Duoji while he’s busy with his work. But he insists on inviting us to his house to try butter tea. It’s a favorite among local Tibetans. And so is the highway.

Four flying men.

These adventure-seeking cyclists began their journey in Shanghai, the starting point of National Highway 318.

Since then, they’ve pedaled for 42 days straight, racking up nearly 3,500 kilometers along the way.

They will continue ahead to their final destination in Lhasa.

Four years ago, this school had no electricity and no running water.

Things have changed dramatically since then, with a brand new look and plenty of students eager to learn.

She’s only been to Chengdu. But as her mind expands, she hopes to visit more places outside her remote county one day.

Coming out from complete darkness. 40-year-old Yang Mubin makes this trip many times everyday.

Conditions like these have caused more than 3,500 other construction workers to quit. But not Yang. Not for now.

The Tibetan kowtow is a sacred ritual among Buddhist pilgrims.

Every three steps, they lie prostrate on the ground, moving slowly from their home all the way to Lhasa, measuring the land with their bodies.

On their way to their holy land, some are born, some become ill, and some even die. But it is all part of the religious experience.

Gerong together with his partner started their pilgrimage seven days ago. Their tractor carries everything they need.

I reached Lhasa ten days after setting off on the highway. And while my journey is over, I will never forget the memories of all the faces I encountered along this epic route. Till next time!