Day 3: Lhatse to Shagatse (12,795ft): A six-hour drive brings us to Tibet's second city, Shagatse. Here we visit Tashi Lhun Po Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Llama. One of the monasteries of the Yellow Hat 'Virtuous Order' (Geluhpa) Sect, a pure form of Buddhism, it was founded by the first Dalai Lami in 1447 and is the home of the highest gold and copper Buddha in the world.
Little aerosol canisters of oxygen line shop windows and hotel reception shelves. Unlike some of the group I'm well acclimatised and, in the Yak Hotel, I discover the delights of Great Wall dry red wine - it's been a while. After eight months of using water and my left hand it's back to dry toilet tissues, strangely this seems less hygienic - I make a mental note to install a bidet when I return to London.
Photos of Shagatse.