Articles by Agustinus Wibowo

About Agustinus Wibowo

Agustinus is an Indonesian travel writer and travel photographer. Agustinus started a “Grand Overland Journey” in 2005 from Beijing and dreamed to reach South Africa totally by land with an optimistic budget of US$2000. His journey has taken him across Himalaya, South Asia, Afghanistan, Iran, and ex-Soviet Central Asian republics. He was stranded and stayed three years in Afghanistan until 2009. He is now a full-time writer and based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Contact: Website | More Posts

Lhasa – Arrival

August 19, 2005 Pheww!!! At last, I arrived in Lhasa after 90 hour bus journey from Ngari. The people there said that the journey should last for around 48 hours, but dozens of hours of flattened tires, broken engines, etc etc, God lets us, at last, to arrive in Lhasa. Indonesian national holiday, August 17, 2005. It;s the 60th anniversary of our republic. While most other indonesians celebrate the day with lots of extravaganza, festivals, competitions, carnivals, etc etc, I was trapped in this shitty bus. How I celebrated the day was just singing to myself the national anthem Indonesia Raya, the marchs, the traditional songs from Sabang until Merauke. And I sang the whole day….. how lonely Somehow I regretted my decision to take this bus. But two days without any car to hitch in Baka made me think twice also. Usually I prefer to hitchhike or take public transport, but the 90 hour journey from Ngari to Lhasa has made me very very weak at this moment, and I have no spirit at all these days. I am thinking to rent a jeep to take me directly to Nepal border, but am I really that weak? [...]

August 19, 2005 // 1 Comment

Kailash Pilgrimage

August, 9-13, 2005, What a bad luck, a PSB officer was sitting in front of me in the bus heading to Kailash, the holy mountain of the Buddhists and Hindus. This PSB officer, unexpectedly, speaks very good english, made me unable communicate with other two Koreans travelling with me. She is friendly, but very determined to fine us of entering Tibet ilegally. I managed to escape as I pretended to be a Chinese Cantonese (I look Chinese, I speak Chinese, and everyone believes I am Chinese). Everything here is divided into Chinese price and foreign price. For example, the bus ticket for chinese is 230 yuan, and for foreigners 300 yuan. And of course I got the Chinese price, hehe.. The unlucky two Koreans at last also managed to escape from her in the Kailash. So the next day we did the Kailash pilgrimage, or “Kora” in Tibetan language. Kora is to walk around the holy mountain on a track of 54 km. I did it in two days, separated by other people in our group. One of my legs is twisted, swept by the holy river (and alas, one of my cameras was in my pocket and it is [...]

August 13, 2005 // 1 Comment

Ngari (Western Tibet)

August 8, 2005, At last, I arrived in Tibet. The journey from Khargilik is actually illegal for foreigners. I first attempted to hitchhike a truck to take me from Khargilik to Ngari (250 Y) but the truck driver was not so sure whether he can take foreigners. At last I took the sleeper bus by paying chinese price (350 Y), while other foreigners paid 600 Y. The bus owner knows exactly that this is illegal to take foreigners in his bus, so he secured us (5 foreigners in total) in two private cars crossing the first checkpoint. Apparently in the first checkpoint, the Chinese police only checks the buses and trucks as they didnt stop the small private cars. So we passed the first checkpoint without any problem. The second checkpoint is checking the border permits of chinese citizens, so foreign passports just can pass without problems. The journey to Ngari is not an easy journey, in fact, it is the most difficult among the other entrances to Tibet. But here the checks against foreigners are quite minimum. The bus went thru high passes of the highland, the highest elevation of this trip is 6700m. I got quite severe high [...]

August 8, 2005 // 1 Comment

Khargilik – Getting closer to Tibet

August 3, 2005, Khargilik, another Uyghur town directly heading the taklamakan desert, is the gateway to go to Tibet. There are several buses from Khotan to Khargilik, accross the plain desert area for about 5 hours (31 Yuan for cheapest ticket). I woke up quite late today, and without having any breakfast, I got the 10 o’clock bus. Alas, the bus had problem in the middle of the way, and the trip was delayed for about 2 hours. But for me it was a nice opportunity to make friends with other uyghur passengers. (despite the grawling stomach asking for noodle….) What I think about uyghurs does always change, and I bet I am changing. Two years ago, the first time I came to Uyghuristan, I felt that the Uyghurs were rude and macho, and I was horrified on how they play “dum-dum” on the train, where the hit, slap, and kick each other. The next year I came to Uyghuristan again, I felt that the Uyghurs are lovable, as I was involved in playing dum-dum by myself, and I found that the slap and kicking were indeed sign of love and friendship (don’t mention how painful it was). This year, [...]

August 3, 2005 // 0 Comments

Khotan, Xinjiang Uyghur

August 2, 2005, ..At last, at last, after 44 hour journey by hard seat train from Beijing to Urumqi, continued by the 22 hour cross desert journey from Urumqi to Khotan, I arrived to this “the pure town of the Uyghurs“. For an unknown reason, the train ticket from Beijing to Urumqi this year is very difficult to buy. I was lucky I didnt have to wait for days to obtain it, I just bought 5 days in advance, but even though, there were only 2 hard seat tickets left. The train was extremely crowded, and many people even didnt get any seat along the way from Beijing to Urumqi! The cross desert journey was not as spectacular as what I thought, as we crossed the desert in the middle of night but the Uyghur passengers are always nice and friendly. And of course, the long awaited Uyghur noodle (laghman) is always the highlight of long journey in the Uyghur land. Khotan at a glance looks like Kashgar but with more Uyghur people in proportion. As this is my second hour here (the first hour was sleeping in my hotel room and repairing my broken backpack) I cant say more [...]

August 2, 2005 // 0 Comments



November 11, 2002 // 0 Comments

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