Istepped onto the tarmac at Lhasa Gonggar Airport and breathed deeply. I was now in one of the highest-placed cities on earth, at 11,975 feet above sea level, and I knew that the altitude would be an adjustment. However I wasn’t staying long – I hopped in a car and headed straight for Tsetang. The drive was approximately three hours (115 miles) southwest, and as I looked out the car window, I noticed the terrain take on a dramatic transformation, with the appearance of large sand dunes that looked to me to be straight out of Mongolia, rather than Tibet. Tsetang is positioned at a slightly lower altitude than Lhasa, at 11,811 feet, so it makes a good stop for a first night in Tibet.

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