A fascinating trip to Tibet and Forbidden City

Indeed, difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations. The road from Nyingchi to Lulang town in Tibet, China is a breathtaking one; it takes you up mountains and down valleys.

Twisting between big mountains, the road may not be ideal for the fainthearted but it offers serene views of the huge mountains enveloped by clouds and fog, valleys and the thick forest covering the area. 

The road takes you to the Lulang International Tourist Town which is a sight to behold in its own right. Local journalists and academics who visited China recently were introduced to this tourist attraction town rightly named, “a place that will make you forget your home” by the locals. 

Lulang means “Loong King Valley” in Tibetan language, or “a place that will make you forget your home”. The town offers nothing but natural scenery. Forest-clad mountains, flowers and lakes; the place looks like it has been ripped right from a fairy tale book. 

Visitors to the area are also treated to traditional Tibetan dance and song. Unfortunately the place for now is out of bounds for international tourists. According to officials of the Nyingchi town, which Lulang falls under needs proper road networks and the fact that not many planes land at the Nyingchi Milin Airport, makes it difficult for international tourists to travel to Lulang. The airport, which sits in a winding valley, is one of the difficult airports to land an aircraft and according to officials, currently only former army officers are able to fly to Nyingchi Airport. The municipal government is currently planning to build a tricky railway line that will link Nyingchi with Lulang. 

Lulang currently attracts close to half a million local tourists a month. However, Lulang town is not the only place which caught the eye. In Beijing, the capital of China everything you have seen in most of the Jackie Chan movies rolls before your eyes. From the Jackie Chan and other Chinese movies I have always been fascinated by the Forbidden City. 

The place sounded so mysterious. And it sounded and even looked more mysterious on my visit there. Forbidden City, now a museum, lies at the city centre of Beijing. It once served as the imperial palace for 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 - 1911) and during those times people were not allowed to visit the palace unless given such permission hence the name Forbidden City. 

The museum attracts huge crowds of visitors a day and has an amazing history. Our tour guide was telling us that close to 10 000 people were living at the palace at the time with the Emperor. The latter, a married man, was allowed to live with any number of concubines he wished to live with at the palace. The wife though staying at the palace did not stay in the same room or house with the Emperor but only visited the Emperor’s bedroom when requested. 

All the male workers at the Palace were castrated before being offered any job. The Emperor could not risk one of his many concubines sleeping with a worker. And just like I saw in the movies, the Emperor’s Palace has a big empty space where the Emperor’s guards would assemble and train..