Tibet Travel is one of the most amazing experiences in the world. A mystical and mythical land of mountains, lakes, and monasteries, this unique region is now becoming one of the go-to destinations in Southeast Asia for international tourists. In 2017, around 25 million tourists entered the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), both international and domestic, and in 2018, that figure jumped to over 30 million. With so many people heading for this seemingly bleak and desolate plateau environment, what is it they are heading there in their millions to see?
Top Destinations in Tibet
Tibet is renowned for having some of the most outstanding destinations in Asia, and while this vast region can be traveled more easily these days, there are certain places on the plateau which are more popular with tourists.
Lhasa, the City of Sunshine
Once the seat of the Dalai Lama’s rule in Tibet, this unique palace lies on the top of the Mangburi Mountain, in the center of the city. Sitting some 300 meters above the Tibetan capital, the stunning red and white structure is one of the most iconic symbols of Tibetan Buddhism in the entire region, and the most popular tourist attraction in the city for any Tibet Tours.
Built in the 7th century to house a statue of Buddha brought to Tibet by the wife of the king, Songtsen Gampo, this sacred temple is considered to be the heart of Tibetan Buddhism. One of the main sacred pilgrimage destinations in Tibet, the temple now houses the Jowo Rinpoche, the ancient gilded statue of Buddha that is said to have been blessed by Buddha himself.
As well as being one of the best places for authentic Tibetan souvenirs and crafts, Barkhor Street is also the ritual kora route for the Jokhang Temple, and is made up of five roads that run around the outer limits of the temple grounds. A sacred pilgrimage in Lhasa, it is not uncommon to see dozens of Tibetan pilgrims making their way around the streets of the kora in a clockwise direction.
Sera, Drepung, and Ganden Monasteries
Known as the “Great Three” monasteries of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism, all three of these monasteries are among the most important monasteries in Tibet. Renowned as universities in Lhasa, the monasteries date back to the 15th century and the founding of the Gelug traditions by the Tibetan Buddhist master, Je Tsongkhapa. Each has its own merits when it comes to tourism, but Sera is often rated as the most popular, mainly for the astounding and energetic monastic debates that are held in the courtyard from Monday to Saturday.
Shigatse, Tibet’s second city
One of the largest monasteries in Tibet, Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse is renowned as the seat of the Panchen Lama, the second highest incarnation in Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery was built in the 15th century under the first Dalai Lama, who was the youngest disciple of Tsongkhapa in Lhasa. The monastery also houses one of the largest statues of the Maitreya Buddha,
Known as Qomolangma in Tibetan, which means “goddess”, Mount Everest is the world’s highest mountain, and lies in the western edge of Shigatse City, on the border between China and Nepal, standing 8,848 meters above sea Level. The famous Everest Base Camp (EBC) in Tibet lies at an altitude of 5,150 meters, and is the most popular tourist destination on the plateau.
Located close to the base camp is the Rongbuk Monastery, which was built in 1902. Officially the highest Buddhist monastery in the world at 4,980 meters above sea level, this amazing monastery is one of the best places from which to get a great view of the sunrise and sunset on the slopes of MountQomolangma. The monastery was also a popular place for mountaineers to stop at in the early attempts to scale to the summit of the massive mountain.
Located around 160km to the west of Shigatse city, the Sakya Monastery is the primary monastery of the Sakyapa School of Tibetan Buddhism. The origins of the monastery date back to a small shrine in the late 11th century, which was gradually expanded to its present for through the 12th century. The unique Mongolian architecture of the monastery makes this one of the most striking and unique monasteries in Tibet, complete with a 14th century palace built just on the western side of the Great Hall.
Known in Tibet as Gang Rinpoche, Mount Kailash, also known to Hindus as Kailasa, is the most sacred mountain in the world, and revered in four different religions. Located far out in the west of Tibet, close to the tri-border area of India, China, and Nepal, Mount Kailash is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in the world, with thousands and thousands of travelers, both tourists and pilgrims alike, crossing the vast Tibetan plateau to reach the sacred mountain. A place of myths and legends, Mount Kailash is also the location of the toughest trek in Tibet, the grueling three-day Kailash Kora Trek, which follows the pilgrimage kora route around the mountain. While it only stands 6,636 meters above sea level, the mountain is the tallest in the Gangdise Range of the Transhimalaya, and can be seen across the plains for hundreds of miles in all directions.
Located just to the south of Mount Kailash, Lake Manasarovar is one of the Great Three Sacred Lakes of Tibet. At an altitude of 4,556 meters above sea level, it is the highest freshwater lake in the world. Manasarovar is also one of the sacred pilgrimage destinations for Buddhists and Hindus, who believe that to drink from the lake or bathe in its waters can absolve one of the sins of an entire lifetime.
Partially in Lhasa and partially in Nagqu, Lake Namtso, which is known as the heavenly Lake, is the highest saltwater lake in the world, and the largest lake in Tibet. At an altitude of 4,718 meters, this high-altitude lake is one of the most popular of the Great Three Sacred Lakes, and a major tourist attraction as a day out from Lhasa. The kora route around the lake is deemed to be one of the most sacred pilgrimage destinations in Tibet, and when done in the year of the sheep, the merits accumulated are worth ten thousand times those of other years.
Lake Yamdrok is the third of the Great Three Sacred Lakes of Tibet, and lies just 100 kilometers to the southwest of Lhasa, on the fringes of Shannan City, known in Tibet as Lhoka. This widespread lake looks somewhat like a Chinese fan, and is said to be the heart of Tibet. Legend says the nine smaller lakes were joined together by the Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal, who worried that the creatures of the lake might die if a drought came. Local legends also say that, if the lake should ever dry up, then Tibet would become a barren, uninhabitable wasteland. The lake actually lies on the main route for tours to Shigatse and Mount Qomolangma, and is a popular tourist attraction along the road, with the first sights of the lake being the stunning view from the Gampala Pass, above the northeastern edge of the lake.
Thus, the Tibet becomes the hottest tourist destination in Asia and there is huge increment of visitors in every year, so for detail information about Tibet Tours, please contact at firstname.lastname@example.org as Explore Tibet is one of the best Tibet Tours Operators in Tibet.
There have been three construction surges in Tibet in the last century.