Ngawang Lobsang la was born in Markham into a semi-nomadic family. In his early 20s while living in Lhasa, he started working as a goods carrier for the Peopel's Liberation Army for four years. He speaks in detail about his life working with the PLA. After leaving his job with the PLA, Ngawang became a trader between Tibet and Bhutan nomads. However, in 1958, he joined the Chushi-Gangdruk when there was a national call to join and fight against the PLA.