Sakya, Tibet | 28 October, 2006 | $1.88 (my half of bill – shared with roommate)
Sakya was officially the cheapest hotel room I had in Tibet, tied with the hotel I stayed in on my last day in Tibet at Tingri. After exploring Gyantse and Shigaste, we drove into town after dark. There were few hotel options and our driver insisted on a location with a secure parking for his car. The building was bleak and there was nowhere to eat so we went to bed early. In the morning I was pleasently surpised to find the courtyard filled with futuristic-looking metal contraptions designed to heat water by reflecting sunlight. Not only was this an ingenious use of solar power, but it looked to be a descent job of recycling old metal as well.
Sakya and the surrounding countryside was notable for minor decorating changes I started to see on the buildings. Symbols and rock gardens decorated the front of houses and many of the buildings we painted dark gray with white and red stripes—much different than the white structures that seem to be the standard in the rest of the country.
You can see more images from Sakya in the gallery.