Text and photographs by Fan Jing
Over the past 16 years, I have been to Tibet many times. However, since most of my tours of Tibet were in summer, I always dreamed of a winter experience, different in every way. Motivated by my friends, my winter trip to Zayul, known for its beautiful scenery rivaling southern regions of China, finally came to fruition.
Resting on the gorge between the Himalayas and the Hengduan Mountains, the northern side of Zayul County is higher than its southern side. The average altitude of the county is below 3,000 meters, with an average temperature above 10 degrees Celsius year round. Zayul has a very pleasant natural environment where a large variety of plants co-exist with thick forests. Along with crops such as wheat, rice, sugar cane, tea, and tobacco, Zayul, known as a rare subtropical zone in Tibet, grows many subtropical and tropical fruits like bananas, oranges, and grapefruit.
Setting off from Lhasa, we headed towards the Demo La Pass, about 4,800 meters above sea level. The pass connects Ra-ok Town and Goyul Village of Zayul County. After passing magnificent Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon and beautiful Midui Glacier in Pome County, we stopped in the pass, as chilly wind from the plateau stung our bare faces. Along the rutted surface of the road, everything came to abrupt stillness except the colorful prayer flags dancing against the snow.......