Vast, thinly populated and with an average altitude of over 4500m, Western Tibet (Ngari, མངའ་རིས་) is a rough and ready frontier occupying one of the remotest corners of Asia. For most travellers the main attractions of what is likely to be a two- or three-week overland trip are the almost legendary destinations of Mt Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. Indeed, many of the Tibetan and Indian pilgrims you meet on this road have been planning a visit all their lives.
For those less fussed by the spiritual significance of Mt Kailash, the overland trip across the Changtang plateau, with its endless steppes, huge salt lakes and impossibly high snow-capped peaks, is a sublime attraction in itself. Freshly paved roads, decent hotels and an airport are opening up the region in a way unimaginable a mere decade ago, but this is still one of Asia's great travel frontiers.