Across China: Motorcyclists witness Xizang's development during travel

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LHASA, May 5 (Xinhua) -- A cavalcade of Harley-Davidson motorcycles roar along the avenue in front of the majestic Potala Palace in southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region, catching the attention of passers-by.

The riders are part of a 12-member motorcycle tour group from Malaysia, India and Thailand. They have traveled from Malaysia through Thailand and Laos, with their destination being Lhasa, the regional capital of Xizang.

Xizang attracts tourists from across the globe, and in recent years, the region's rapid development has made visiting the region even better.

The bikers' journey covered over 5,000 km and took 15 days, culminating in their arrival in the sunlit city on the plateau. Leading the pack is 39-year-old Chen Jianfeng from Malaysia, who has ridden motorbikes for over 20 years.

This trip was Chen's third visit to Lhasa and his second on two wheels. Inspired by videos of motorcycle tours to Xizang on social media, he was drawn by the region's unique landscape and rich culture.

Chen's first journey to Lhasa was in 2012 with his cousin behind the wheel of a car. He returned in 2019, only this time on the back of motorcycle, one of the most popular ways to travel to Lhasa. This year, he and 11 other motorcycle club members made the trip, each choosing to ride an iconic Harley-Davidson.

Chen noted that despite the significant developmental changes in the region over the past 12 years, the rich cultural atmosphere remains unchanged.

"I remember when I first came here 12 years ago, it took us 18 hours to cover 180 km. Now, we can ride about 400 km in a day," Chen said, highlighting that Harley-Davidsons, weighing nearly 450 kilograms each, require well-maintained roads due to their weight and handling, which is quite different from other motorcycles.

Chen has explored a lot of China, clocking up visits to cities including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing, yet, Xizang remains his favorite. He never misses an opportunity to visit the Potala Palace and the grand temples each time he's in the region.

Dato Sri Raja, 53, another member of the group, was not intimidated by the over 10,000-km journey. "This is my first visit to Lhasa, and my first impressions of Xizang are of its rich culture, well-preserved heritage, and the gentle and humble nature of the local people," he shared.

Despite heavy snowfall in Bomi County along the way, which led to several of the group skidding and coming off their bikes, spirits remained high. "The snow made it difficult to ride, but we were so excited to see such big snow," Raja said, adding that the local emergency response was efficient and professional, helping them quickly resolve problems and continue the journey to Lhasa as planned.

The group left Xizang on April 16. "It was an unforgettable experience and I plan to return to Xizang by plane with my family later this year," Raja added.

Like Raja, Chen already has another motorcycle journey to Lhasa in the pipeline for July this year, with a larger group of over 20 motorcycle enthusiasts. Enditem

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