Day 8 – Yangpachen Hot Springs to Lhasa

by Touring Mama on July 5, 2010

If only the bathroom worked as well as it looked

We awoke on day 8 of our trip to Tibet in the Yangpachen Hot Springs Hotel.  This was by far the most expensive hotel we stayed at in Tibet.  Our triple room was 580 RMB (about $85) and our guide apologized repeatedly for the expense.  She didn’t know the rooms at this place were quite so expensive since most people only stop for a couple hours on their way back to Lhasa and do not spend the night.  If the room was as nice as it looked it might have been worth it, but the detached shower head that flooded our bathroom was a less than pleasant reminder that plumbers in China are better at making things look good than making things work right.

The kids spent hours playing in the pool

The previous night a birthday party was held at the hotel and the parking lot full of cars sporting Red Bull logos may explain how they were able to keep the party going into the wee hours of the morning.  The kids spotted the birthday cakes and were rewarded with huge slices after they sang Happy Birthday (in Chinese!) to the guest of honor.

Using the hot springs for electricity makes sense, but doesn't help the view

The hot springs was the kid’s favorite destination in Tibet and they were disappointed to leave.  For around $15 (kids half price) you got 24 hours of pool use.  There are two huge swimming pools kept warm by the hot springs, the pool is even a bit too warm at the inlet.  The indoor pool is filled with inner tubes and floating balls which the kids had fun playing with.  The bottom of the pool is a bit slimy, but the kids didn’t care since their feet don’t touch anyway.  The outdoor pool is just as large and is surrounded by lounge chairs (many of them broken) and a view marred by a power plant making use of the same hot water as the pools.  We opted to stay inside and avoid the high altitude sun burn.  Along with the big pools there were several small pools with various concoctions added to them designed to cure all your ailments.  You could opt to sit in the slimming pool, or the pool to cure altitude sickness, or the pool infused with Tibetan tea.  We decided to skip these.  Massages are available upstairs, but are tremendously overpriced at 80 RMB for 15 minutes (over 5 times what I paid in Shanghai).

This was the most expensive stop of the trip, but it was good for the kids to take a break from the onslaught of walking and temples.  I would highly recommend it to people traveling with kids, but otherwise would skip it unless you have been trekking hard and are in need of a good soak.

It was time to return to Lhasa with a day to spare.  We decided to use our extra day to head to Drak Yerpa on day 9.

Read about all our adventures in Tibet here.

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