Often regarded as the Earth’s soul, the holy land of Tibet is arguably one of the most mysterious places on earth. It’s difficult to get into due to its highly restrictive visa process but when you do make it through the hoops, you’ll get to learn first-hand why its culture is so well-respected around the world.
Situated in the southwest frontier of China, Tibet Autonomous Region covers a total area of 1,220,000 square kilometers. Standing in the southern part of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, the whole autonomous region overwhelmingly comprises of mountain ranges with an average elevation of over 4000 meters above sea level.
To most travelers, Tibet is remotely magnificent. Every visitor who’s lucky enough to visit Tibet will take home an unforgettable experience. Its inaccessibility makes it the most uniquely spiritual place in the world and to many — the center of the universe.
Tibet is called as the Roof of the World. It’s the highest and the most beautiful plateau on earth, surrounded by the largest mountains on the planet.
In ancient times, Tibet was known as Qiang or Rong and called, Turpan in the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1280) Dynasties. In the Yuan (1271-1368) and Ming (1368-1644) Dynasties, Tibet was under the jurisdiction of the China central government.
Its present name, Tibet, appeared in 1663 in Qing Dynasty. Tibet Autonomous Region was set up on September 9, 1956 after the Communist Party established People’s Republic of China in 1949.
As an autonomous region, Tibet mainly stands for its Tibetan culture and is dominantly Tibetan. In history, Tibet has combined its unique culture with other nationalities in China. During the 7th century, Buddhism was spread into Tibet from nearby India, Nepal and mainland China. It has formed the so called Tibetan Buddhism.
At the same time, the culture of south Asia and Arabic culture have deep influences on Tibetan culture, reflecting on agriculture, sculpture, painting, decoration and industrial arts. The music, dances, dramas, languages, literature and medicines have vastly improved since then.
Agriculture is well-developed in south-eastern Tibet thanks to its large rainfall, warm weather and forests. Millet, wheat, peas are the main produce. In animal husbandry areas, flocks of yaks, sheep and goats look for their food everywhere.
Traditional Tibetan food consist mainly barley, yak and sheep meat and some highland dairy products. As vegetables are rare in Qinghai Tibet Plateau, Tsampa is the staple food of local Tibetan.
There are many tourist attractions to see in Tibet, tourist attractions are mainly concentrated in Lhasa, Shigaze, Nyingchi and Ngari, which covers most of the land of Tibet. However, when you travel to Tibet, you cannot miss the five attractions: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Drepung Monastery, Mount Qomolangma and Ngari Region.
To take Qinghai Tibet Railway will be a unique experience to explore Tibet. The landscape along the way is quite fabulous. For more information on our Tibet tours, feel free to contact us at 1-888-373-6882 or leave a note on our contact page.
TIBET THINGS TO DO
Often hailed as the symbol of Lhasa, the regional capital of Tibet, the Potala Palace was originally built as the house for the marriage of Emperor Songtsen Gampoand Princess Wenchang in the Tang Dynasty. It is seen as the highest ancient palace in the world.
Nestled in the bosom of Lhasa’s old quarter, Barkhor Street is famous among the locals and the ideal street for shopping and sightseeing. Here is where you will find the best preserved old scenes of the city’s distant past, it attracts many tourists. You’ll also get to experience the world renowned “one-step-one-bow” path to religion.
Standing at an altitude of 3800 meters (12,467 feet) above sea level, the Ganden Monastery is one of the earliest and largest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. It’s the greatest and the oldest of the six Gelug Sect’s monasteries, which is called one of the “Three Principal Monasteries” and was established as the first Gelug monastery in 15th century.
It’s one of three famous monasteries in the city along with the Drepung Monastery and the Ganden Monastery. The monastery was named Sera which means wild rose in the Tibetan language, because the hill behind it was covered with wild roses in bloom when it was built.
Feel the holy gravity of the Drepung Monastery, the most important monastery of Gelugpa in Tibetan Buddhism. It’s one of the key cultural relics of protection in China, located at the foot of a mountain in western outskirts of Lhasa city. Drepung means “vault of crops” in Tibetan, from a distance its royal white structure looks like like a heap of rice.
In Tibetan language, it means “Jewel Park.” In the early time, Dalai Lamas would move from the Potala to this resort palace for dealing with religious and political affairs during Tibetan summer. But now, it has become the People’s Park of Lhasa city. It was built in 1755 and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s the biggest inland lake on the north ridge of Himalayas and the most beautiful lake in south Tibet, the Yamdrok lake is over 72 kilometers (45 mi) long. Hailed as one of the three most sacred lakes in Tibet, the picturesque silhouettes of the snow-capped mountains surrounding the lake give it that extra touch of magic.
Construction began in 1418, the flourishing age of Tibetan Buddhism after Master Tsongkhaba had held the grand Buddhist prayer ceremony in Lhasa in 1408. Baiju Monastery is also known as “Ban’kuode’qing”, which means “Auspicious Wheels Temple” in Tibetan.
Tashilhunpo leaves a lasting impression on visitors, its old but well-preserved, beautifully and brilliantly decorated architecture is an instant hit. It ranks in parallel with the Yellow Sect, or Geru of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries; such as Drepung, Sera, Ganden, Tar and Labrang.
Built in 1073 by Khon Khonchog Gyalpo, the Sakya Monastery continues to shine to this day as the lord of all monasteries. It’s dedicated to the Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and the power axis of the Sakya Kingdom, a local theocratic kingdom with fleeting reign and lasting influence.
Mt. Everest (Mt. Qomolangma) Base Camp
Mt. Everest has two base camps, one in Nepal called the South Base Camp, the other in Tibet, known as the North Base Camp. You can take the road access to the North Base Camp, coming from a road branching to the South from the Friendship Highway, it’s ideal for mountain climbers and tourists.
Nyingchi Peach Flower Festival
Visiting Nyingchi during spring is like being transported into a fairyland. A sea of peach blossoms set against snow-capped peaks in the distance that greets you most welcomingly. It’s an inviting moment and one that must be experienced while you tour Tibet.
TIBET PHOTO GALLERY
TOP TIBET TOURS
LET US BUILD YOUR CHINA TRIP