Tibet Destination Guide

Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas at an altitude of 4,000 m, Tibet’s splendid isolation, its distinct culture and religion all add to the mystery of this enchanting land. Out the front door of your Tibet hotel awaits the vast country and still wild areas that are part of the magnificent natural splendour of Tibet that is incomparable. No other place offers such amazing views of some of the world’s highest mountains with soaring snow covered peaks that you will visit on your Tibet tour. Scenes of tranquil turquoise lakes and rivers with crystalline waters flowing down from the heights take your breath away.

Visiting Tibet is an honour. Those who are able to experience this magestic country hold memories that few will ever know.

There are so many things to see and do in Tibet. Aside from visiting fabulous monasteries, richly decorated ancient temples and palaces that stand tall and proud and inspire awe and amazement among millions of pilgrims and visitors touring Tibet, the experience of a Mount Everest Adventure is not to be missed. Other things that make your tour of Tibet unique are the images of prayer flags flapping in the wind, brightly robed Buddhist monks, big furry yaks and all other exotic sights, sounds and smells of Tibet stay etched in the memory of most visitors to the ‘Roof of the World’. 

‘Land of the Snows’, another epithet for Tibet, is, however, not an appropriate one as snow fall occurs only a few times a year. One of the highlights of Tibet is that much of the year it is bright and sunny; days in particular are warm and the skies clear and blue. Conditions are great for high-altitude tours in Tibet such as trekking, hiking, mountain biking and a few other adventure sports. Acclimatisation is important (drink lots of water) as altitude sickness is a real possibility here and can mess up your trip.

A number of colourful, traditional Tibet festivals such as Losar (New Year festival), Saga Dawa (held in May/June near Mt. Kailash), and Shoton (held in August accompanied by song and dances) among others, entertain visitors throughout the year. A stroll through the traditional markets and streets shopping for souvenirs and gifts and engaging with the friendly locals can be a lot of fun and highly entertaining. A few bars and restaurants in Lhasa offer a bit of nightlife too.

Tibet Travel Guide

Lhasa Top

Lhasa, TibetThe capital city of Lhasa, located in the central part of Tibet, is a beautiful booming city. Dating back 1300 years, this ancient holy city was the seat of the Dalai Lama and has always attracted pilgrims in the thousands. The three main attractions are the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street.

The Potala Palace is the former dwelling of the Dalai Lamas. A most striking building, it dominates Lhasa city and its pictures adorn the covers of most tourist brochures on Tibet. Its numerous staterooms are filled with many religious artefacts and valuable treasures. Book your tour in advance to visit as there is always a big crowd.

The Jokhang Temple, built in 647 AD, is one of the holiest places in Tibet and is considered its spiritual heart. Inside, the smell of incense permeates this must visit temple where you find pilgrims shuffling quietly around and spinning prayer wheels. The Barkhor Street which surrounds the temple is a key shopping area always bustling with shoppers and pilgrims.

An ideal way to see the best highlights of Lhasa is through a Lhasa city tour like Exploration of Lhasa.

Shigatse Top

Old Town of Shigatse, TibetTibet’s second largest city is home to the great Tashilhunpo Monastery, residence of Panchen Lama, the second most important religious figure in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama. Built in 1447, the monastery houses a great collection of statues, thangkas and frescoes. Shigatse is also famous for its handicrafts market where you can find exquisitely crafted knives, Tibetan carpets, pottery and jewellery. If time permits, we can pay a visit to the local carpet factory where you'll see the Tibetan women waving and dying the carpet while singing in the traditional way. In the town, there are many old houses with coloful decoration of the special Tibetan style. And it is also an important transportation hub, espcially for travelling to Southern and Western Tibet. You can find it is listed in most of our popular tours in Tibet.

Sera Monastery and Dreprung Monastery Top

Lama in Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery, Lhasa, TibetThese are two of the largest Gelugpa monasteries in Tibet and both house several hundred monks. Sera Monastery is very well preserved and is famous for its debating sessions which are usually held every afternoon in normal working days.

Established in the 15th century, Dreprung Monastery at one time housed around 10,000 monks. It is the venue of the Shoton Festival (every August) which begins with unfurling of a giant thangka followed by festivities.

When exploring Tibetan culture, Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery are highly recommended. You can have them in most of our tours in Lhasa and Tibet.

 

Everest Base Camp Top

Mount Everest Summit in TibetThe north Everest Base Camp offers amazing views of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world, more dramatic than from the south camp in Nepal. Tibet’s highest monastery, Rongbuk Monastery is nearby; all expedition groups to the summit follow local tradition and take the blessings of the lama here. We can hike for about two hours from the monastery to Mount Everest Base Camp or take the reserve's environment-friendly buses there.

We have many Mt. Everest tours range from 7 to 10 days, starting from Lhasa or Kathmandu.

 

Namtso Lake Top

Namtso Lake, Lhasa, TibetThis expansive salt lake in northern Tibet is a truly amazing site. The clear blue water of the lake is in stark contrast to the barren countryside all around dotted with nomadic tents and their yaks. There is a love legend about it and the mountain beside it. Every year, there are pilgrims and tourists from home and abroad to the lake to pray for their family and beloved ones.

On the way to Namtso Lake, you can enjoy the beautiful grassland view as well. For more information on the tours to the lake, please refer to our Lhasa and Namso Lake Tour and Mt. Everest Tour with Namtso Lake.

Mt. Kailash Top

Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash, TibetAsia’s most sacred mountain, worshiped for many centuries, draws thousands of pilgrims from across the world. It is the abode of Lord Shiva for the Hindus and is the centre of the universe for Tibetan Buddhists. Traditionally, pilgrims trek (a three to four day trek) around this breathtakingly beautiful diamond shaped mountain located to the far west of Tibet, to pay homage. A short tour from Lhasa or Nepal takes about 14 days; access is not possible during winter.

For more information on exploring Mt. Kailash in Tibet, please check our sample Mt. Kailash tour which can be customized further.

 

Lake Manasarovar Top

Lake Manasarovar in Western Tibet by Mr. Lao YangOne of the most spectacular lakes you will ever see is Lake Manasarovar, which is about 30 km from Mt. Kailash and considered equally holy. Pilgrims believe that a dip in its cold waters will cleanse all their past sins. Situated literally on the roof of the world, the beauty of this fresh water lake, particularly on a full moon day, is said to be beyond parallel.

Nearlly all tours to Mt. Kailash include the visit to this holy lake. At the Chiu Gompa beside the lake, you can have the stunning view of Lake Manasarovar and Mt. Kailash in distance as well. 

 

Things To Do Top

Adventure enthusiasts and extreme-sport lovers will relish the conditions in Tibet. The place can really give you a workout; trekking up hills, mountain biking, hiking or river rafting. At this altitude hard physical activity is more strenuous and takes more out of you than at lower altitudes.

The possibilities for trekking in Tibet are endless. Two of the popular trekking routes are Tingri to Everest Base Camp and Ganden Monastery to Samye Monastery. The latter is an 80 km track that passes through alpine meadows and stunning gorges and can take four to five days; both are challenging routes.

Bicycles are available for hire, but the terrain is tough for biking. However, this doesn’t stop hardy bikers from taking up the challenge. The same can be said for white river rafting on the Tsangpo River.