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Tibet’s top six travel highlights are included in this tailor made vacation

Chinmay Vasavada By Chinmay Vasavada
20 Feb 2018
1 Tibet - Potala Palace from the roof of the Jokhang Temple - Lhasa.jpg

“Imagine a culture in which everything is geared toward helping all individuals become the best human beings they can be; in which individuals are driven to devoting their lives to becoming enlightened by the natural flood of compassion for others that arises from their wisdom.” – Robert Thurman.

Tibet, aptly called the “Roof of the World”, is a mystical country and home to the world’s highest mountain ranges and some of the most dramatic landscapes unlike anywhere else. At an average altitude of 4,500 meters, the plateau is surrounded by the majestic Himalayan and Kunlun mountains, featuring pristine glacial lakes and arid alpine tundra.

 

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The region’s top 6 travel highlights include:

  • Lhasa - the administrative capital of Tibet and home to the world-famous Potala Palace. It is one of the highest cities in the world and the main gateway into Tibet with direct flights to Kathmandu and Beijing. It’s a thriving market town with quaint local shops selling Tibetan artworks and teahouses selling yak butter tea. Sera Monastery is a great place to witness monks engaged in animated debates on Buddhist philosophy.
  • Yamdrok Lake - over 72 kilometres long and one of the largest freshwater lakes in Tibet.
  • Shigatse – the second largest city in Tibet and home to the historic Thashi Lhunpo Monastery. Founded in 1447 by the 1st Dalai Lama, it is the oldest and largest Gelugpa monastery in the world.
  • Sakya Monastery – built in the 13th century and home to an incredible collection of traditional Tibetan artefacts.
  • Everest Base Camp – for many, the main reason for visiting Tibet is to see the majestic mountain’s North Face. The views of Mount Everest are much clearer from the north side compared to the south side in Nepal and it is also much easier to get to the base camp on the Tibet side, as it is accessible by road. For the more adventurous, it is possible to trek over several days taking in sweeping mountain vistas. An interesting stop along the way is at Rongbuk Monastery, the highest gompa in the world, with breath-taking views of Mount Everest.
  • Journey along the Friendship Highway – one of the highest motorable roads in the world connecting Lhasa with Kathmandu. The journey will take you along some of the most awe-inspiring scenery and across some of the highest mountain passes.

 

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When is the best time to visit Tibet?

May and September are the best months to visit Tibet when the temperatures are bearable, skies are clear and cloud cover is minimal. For an immersive cultural experience, the period just after harvest when rural Tibetans undertake their annual pilgrimage and also the annual horse festivals in August can be hugely rewarding.

 

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Tibet is defined by breath-taking landscapes, quaint monasteries, untouched villages and a completely original culture. Whether you wish to camp with nomadic tribes, hike ancient pilgrimage trails, visit the stunning monasteries and meditate with the monks or trek through the rugged mountains, Tibet will leave you completely mesmerised. For those drawn by the mountains, Mount Everest remains one of the prime attractions.

 

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The former home of the Dalai Lama, it is also deeply spiritual and has been the centre of Buddhism since around the 7th Century, attracting pilgrims and explorers from across the globe.

For years, the region remained secluded and even the most intrepid travellers will find this unique land surreal and deeply enchanting. Like most places in China, Tibet is currently undergoing rapid and sweeping changes, and for those interested in its indigenous heritage, it is now more important than ever to visit it sooner than later before its characteristics are altered forever.

 

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