Shiquanhe and Ritu in Tibet

From Zhada, the documentary crew headed north along the Xinjiang-Tibet highway to the biggest town in Ali region, called Shiquanhezhen (狮泉河镇) town. This is a modern looking and booming town within Gaer ( 噶尔) or Gar county, that was first established in 1964, in conjunction with construction of the Xinjiang-Tibet highway. It has an elevation of 4300m.

Shiquanhe is also the adminstrative centre of Ali region. The Ali Kunsha airport that  is 44km away from the town was opened in July 2010. Currently there are 6 weekly flights from Chengdu via Lhasa.  As a result, the region has become much more accessible. However, travellers need to be aware that the planes could only carry up to 20 passengers on return trip from the Ali to Lhasa airport. This is due to safety requirements as a result of the very high attitude conditions.

Further north along the highway is Ritu (日土)  or Rutog county. Lake Banggonghu (班公湖) is quite close to the Ritu town. It is a border lake as part of it is in Kasmir, India. The lake is about 150km long and 4 km wide. There is a bird island in the centre of the lake, where thousands if migratory birds land to breed. The main bird season is May and June.

Further north along the higway is the Qiangtang (羌塘) nature reserve. This is a national grade grassland reserve which is setup to protect the wild animals, particularly the Tibetan antelope, wild yak and wild donkey from poachers.

The highest point along the 1400 km highway is the Jiedaban pass. The pass is at 5248m attitude, and is very close to the Xinjiang-Tibet border. From there, the Karakorum mountain range in the west is within view.


About kchew

an occasional culturalist
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