It’s impossible to visit Tibet without seeing its magnificent monasteries, breathtaking high-altitude hikes, and spectacular vistas of the world’s highest mountains in person.
Beautiful monasteries, prayer rooms full of singing monks, and isolated meditation retreats on cliff faces will be top attractions for many Tibet visitors. In Tibet, the pilgrims are a vital part of the experience, from local grandmothers chanting mantras in juniper incense- and yak butter-filled temples to hard-core professionals trekking or prostrating themselves around Mt. Kailash. There is a dedication and a faith among Tibetans that is reminiscent of the Middle Ages. It’s enthralling, enlightening, and a photographic dream.
The natural splendor of Tibet’s highest plateau, known as «The Roof of the World,» is one major attraction. Because of the terrain’s sheer size, it’s easy to lose one’s bearings while exploring here. While on your journey, you will pass sparkling blue lakes, vast grasslands scattered with herds of yaks and nomads’ tents, and dramatic mountain passes adorned with prayer flags. Make an adventurous overland trek through isolated hermitages, gaze in awe at the sheer might of the North Face of Everest, or take a hike through the ruins. The only thing preventing you from going on an adventure is your ability to get the necessary permissions.
Whichever activities you choose to partake in a while in Tibet, you will remember the local beer you drank, the Tibetan-style butter tea you were served by a monk, or the picnic you had with local herders on the banks of a secluded lake. Despite decades of political upheaval and suffering, the people of Tibet are always ready with a beguiling grin and tremendous tolerance and openness of heart, making travel in Tibet a deep pleasure. Plan to spend some time away from your pre-planned trip schedule to take advantage of these unexpected opportunities to meet new people.
It is impossible in Tibet to avoid politics. It doesn’t matter whether you see Tibet as an oppressed country under Chinese occupation or a backward province of China; the usual norms of Chinese travel do not apply in Tibet. Due to restrictions, foreign visitors must pre-arrange a trip with a guide and transportation to stay in Tibet, making solo travel difficult. With all of the improvements in transportation and lodging in recent years comes an increased degree of comfort, so if the difficulties of Tibetan travel have kept you from visiting in the past, you may want to think again about it today.
Most vacations to Tibet begin in the Lhasa Valley, where the Potala Palace sits. This palace is the historic home of the Dalai Lamas, and many monks still come here for pilgrimage every day and lend life to this most beautiful location. Travel further to the foothills of the Himalayas, where you will find countless monasteries adorned in brilliantly colored prayer flags which swing in the mountain breeze. Immerse yourself in the magic of a land that has yet to reveal all of its secrets, and allow yourself to be captivated by the smiles of locals and be moved by the holy nature of Mount Kailash. Boasting vistas of unique beauty, Tibet will touch you, appealing to your inner kid who never tires of thrill!
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- Explore the Potala Palace
- See the pilgrims at Jokhang Temple
- Barkhor Street
- Sera Monastery monks argue
- Samye Monastery, the birthplace of Tibetan Buddhism
- Admire Lake Yamdrok’s Beauty
- Everest — the world’s highest mountain
- Tashilunpo Monastery’s Tibetan Architecture
- Go on a Mount Kailash Yatra (Pilgrimage)
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Time and Weather
Tibet has distinct seasons from other locations with a more extended winter due to its high ranking.
During the spring, the ice melts, and the temperature warms, allowing blocked routes to reopen and making travel outside Lhasa more comfortable. Tibet will reopen to tourists (as it is usually closed to visitors in February and March for Tibetan New Year). Spring is an excellent time to visit Tibet if you want to escape the crowds. Temperatures range from 5-19 °C (41-66 °F). Altitude sickness is a rare occurrence.
Summer weather is hot during the day and maybe chilly at night. The oxygen concentration of the air is more significant than in previous seasons. Even in the rainy season, which lasts from mid-July to the end of August, it may rain at night or for about an hour in the afternoon, so rain is not a significant problem. Summer in Tibet is the busiest travel season of the year. Summer makes it harder to arrange transportation, lodging, and tickets. It’s a good idea to schedule a tour with us at least one month before your trip and let us confirm all of your reservations. Temperatures range from 12-24 °C (54-75 °F). Altitude sickness risk is minimal.
Autumn is also a popular travel season in Tibet, with bright skies and mild temperatures. Because there is less cloud, it is an excellent season to climb and trek in Tibet. It is also a fantastic time to photograph mountain peaks. Temperature ranges from 7–20°C (45–68°F), and altitude sickness is rare.
Tibet is typically restricted to international visitors for 5 or 6 weeks in February and March. In February and March, Tibet Entry Permits are usually not granted. Due to the severe snowfall, several routes have been blocked. Tibet was closed to international visitors in March 2021. Temperature ranges from -5-11°C (23-52°F), and altitude sickness is a real possibility.
The best time to visit
Between May through October, the ideal time to visit Tibet is when the sky is primarily bright and blue, temperatures approach double digits, and the ice has melted.
Tibet is located on a high altitude plateau, with a large portion of the nation having year-round permafrost. However, most places are accessible between April and November. These months are unexpectedly warm despite the height, with temperatures reaching as high as 23°C in June.
Between December and March, it’s freezing and snowy. Although beautiful, this may obstruct aircraft and render much of Tibet’s hilly terrain inaccessible.
Many of Tibet’s unique animal species can be found exclusively in Tibet’s mountains and forests. Tibet is home to a wide range of wildlife, including 142 mammal species, 473 bird species, 49 reptile species, 44 amphibian species, 64 fish species, and more than 2,300 insect species.
There are several famous wild creatures in Tibet, such as the Cercopithecus, Assamese macaque, rhesus monkey, muntjak, head-haired deer, red-spotted antelopes, serows, leopards, clouded leopards, and black bears. Other famous wild animals in Tibet include tiny pandas, red deer, river deer, and white-lipped deer. Other favorite wild animals in Tibet include Tibetan antelopes.
In the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau region, the government protects uncommon animals such as the Tibetan antelope, wild yak, wild donkey, and argali. The white-lipped deer, which can only be found in China, is very rare. Protection for the black-necked crane is on par with that for the Tibetan pheasant. Yaks in the wild are a threatened species in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, where they are only found in a few places.
Among the endangered and critically threatened species are the snow leopard, Tibetan takin, Himalayan black bear, wild yak (drong in Tibetan), and the blue sheep, musk deer, golden monkey, and wild ass (kyang in Tibetan).
Tibet is home to approximately 70% of China’s total bird species, totaling 532 species in 57 groups. Some of these species in the area are storks, large-billed bush warbler, Blyth kingfisher, wagtails, ducks, shorebirds, and raptors. Other species include redstarts, finches, grey-sided thrushyes, Przewalski’s parrotbills, and nuthatches. The most well-known of them is the Tibetan term for a black-necked crane, trung trung kaynak. Several of these birds might become extinct if Tibet did not practice environmentalism.
Tibet has many trees in its 25.2 million hectares of forest. The majority of Tibet’s forests are found in the river valleys of the country’s low-lying southeast area, where they grow on steep, solitary hillsides. As far as kinds of forest go, there are two major types: tropical montane and subtropical montane coniferous forest. The main species include evergreens such as pine-larch-cypress-birch-and-oak. There are over 200-year-old trees in most of Tibet’s woods, classified as «old growth.» U-old Tsang’s growth regions have the world’s greatest conifer stock density of 2,300 cubic meters per hectare, compared to the average stock density of 272 cubic meters per hectare.
Tibet is rich in natural resources, including minerals.
Tibet also had a wealth of untapped natural resources. About a quarter of the world’s gold, chromite, copper, borax, and iron reserves are found in Tibet’s 126 different mineral resources. According to Yin Fatang, a former Chinese Communist Party Chair, Tibet’s Himalayan area has the world’s most significant source of uranium.
Tibet’s Rivers and Lakes
Tibetan rivers include the Brahmaputra (Yarlung Tsangpo), Indus, Sutlej, Karnali, Phongchu, Salween, the Mekong, Yangtse, Huangho or Yellow River, and the Irrawaddy. Tibet sources many of Asia’s major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, Indus, Sutlej, Langchen Khabab, Karnali, and Macha Khabab. Eleven nations are served by these rivers, including China and India and Pakistan, and Bhutan. They also run into Burma and Thailand, as well as Vietnam and Cambodia. Millions of Asians rely on these rivers and their tributaries for their daily needs. Tibet has more than 15,000 natural lakes, including Mansarovar (Mapham Yumtso), Namtso, Yamdrok Yumtso, and the biggest, Kokonor Lake, located in the north (Tso Ngonpo).
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