van life snow galitai mountain pass china

Escaping the Snow: Van Life at 3800 Meters – China

Galitai Pass - Qinghai

It’d been a meandering drive across lonely grasslands of Qinghai on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau when we arrived at the Galitai Pass.

Video: Van Life on the Tibetan Plateau


And then the bulb of slight-morning sun faded and swirling gray swamped the horizon. Snow flapped in. So we hit the road – before we got buried in cold white.

Being afternoon, we stopped to stay the night in this high-valley pass.

Next morning: From above (aerial shot) looking back to the valley we arrived through.

A hot meal of noodles, meat and vegetables amid swigs of baijiu (strong Chinese liquor) complemented the chill and stark surrounds.

van life in china on the frozen tibetan plateau
MRP flying drone (DJI Mavic Mini), before the snowstorm approached.

Van Life at the Galiti Pass – Altitude: 3800 meters


… By morning, we opened the curtain – it had snowed last night.

Van camped at the van life Galitai Mountain Pass sitting at 3800 meters on Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai, China. (Can you spot our van?)

It was icy, yet enchanting.

Wei made milk tea and garlic toast as I flew my drone over the frozen monochromatic surrounds.

Soon, three oil tankers traveling as a convoy, pulled over on the road 100 meters away, drivers gathering to share breakfast around a steaming pot upon a gas-cannister stove.

Deserted road on snowy Galitai Mountain Pass - China.
Deserted road on snowy Galitai Mountain Pass – China.

Travels in China – 2021