Four seasons in Tibet
Perhaps it’s to find the long-lost freedom,
Perhaps it’s to forget the past,
or to find yourself back again.
Whatever, Tibet is a beautiful mystery.
In January-To bask in the sun on streets of Lhasa
Winter in Lhasa is believed to be terribly cold. In fact, it’s full of sunshine in January with a temperature of 16 degree.
In the afternoon, people are seen everywhere enjoying the sunshine, some people walking on the Barkhor Street, some at the foot of the wall, and some others on stone benches of the square.
One may also spend a whole afternoon in a sweet tea house with a cup of tea at the cost of 0.5 Yuan. The Guangming teahouse and Tsanggu Monastery’s sweet tea are both fine!
In February- To celebrate Tibetan New Year in Lhasa
The Tibetan New Year of 2017 starts on February 27, the first day of the first month in Tibetan calendar.
The New Year is called “Losar” in Tibetan and is the biggest festival of the year. From the middle of the twelfth month in Tibetan calendar, people start to prepare special food, clothing and supplies for the holiday. At this time of the year, thousands of farmers and herdmen travel to Lhasa to buy a variety of New Year’s goods, making Lhasa full of festival atmosphere.
While foreign tourists (non-local) are few, local Tibetans in traditional Tibetan clothing are seen everywhere on streets and greetings like “tashi delek” are heard everywhere.
In March- To enjoy peach blossoms in Nyingchi
Nyingchi seems like a big color palette at this time of the year. White and pink peach trees, jade-green willows, turquoise rivers, dark-green mountains and snow-capped peaks… Walking in Nyingchi, you can see snow mountains towering aloft and peach blossoms in full bloom at the same time.
In April- To visit the holy Namtso Lake
In April, the Namtso Lake is beginning to thaw, appearing a kind of scenery rarely seen in any other time of the year.
"Namtso" in Tibetan means "heavenly lake", "spiritual lake”, or “holy lake”. It has five islands, which are believed to be embodiments of the Five Dhyani Buddhas. Devotees go to the lake will devoutly make prostrations around it.
Mani stones and colorful prayer flags around the lake signify Tibetan people’s piety towards gods.
In May- To find soul of Tibet in Lhoka
Lhoka is the birthplace of Tibetan people and Tibetan culture, and is the soul of Tibet.It has the first palace in Tibet’s history called Yumbulhakang, the first king named Nyatri Tsenpo, and the first Buddhist monastery called Samye Monastery. Besides, it has the most beautiful lake named Yamdro Yutso Lake.
Yamdro Yutso Lake
In June-To celebrate Lingka Festival in Shigatse
In June, Shigatse is the ideal place for the annual “Lingka Festival” or “Picnic Festival” with lush trees everywhere. In Tibetan, the “Lingka Festival” is called “Zamling Chisang”, which means a festival for people to enjoy themselves together.
During the festival, all people, no matter men or women, old or young, bring butter tea and barley wine to a piece of grassland to have a good time, sitting on Tibetan rugs in small groups under white tents with various of entertainments.
In July- To cycle on the Sichuan-Tibet Highway
Tibet is the holy land for cyclists. There are eight routes to cycle to Tibet: the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway, the Qinghai-Tibet Highway, the Tang-Tubo Ancient Road, the north section of Sichuan-Tibet Highway, the south section of Sichuan-Tibet Highway, the Yunnan-Tibet Highway, the Bingzhongluo-Chayu Highway, a road starts from a village called Bingzhonglu in Yunnan Province to the Chayu county in Tibet, and the China-Nepal Friendship Highway.
Among the eight routes, the south section of Sichuan-Tibet Highway, the Yunnan-Tibet Highway, the Tang-Tubo Ancient Road, the Qinghai-Tibet Highway and the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway are cyclists’ favorite routes, along which you can not only see China’s most beautiful scenery but also experience the most thrilling bike ride.
In August- To watch the Horse Racing Festival in Nagqu
The Horse Racing Festival in August is a grand traditional festival in north Tibet’s Nagqu. During the festival, herdmens dress themselves in brightly colored clothing, bring grand food, put up beautiful tents, and flock to the horse racing course on horses.
In September- To head west to Ngari
Setting foot on this land is as if time has gone back 1 million years, when all was still in the prehistoric time.
Not only can one visit the ancient Guge Kingdom, which has been forgotten in wilderness though with many old secrets, but also witness the beauty of the Mapangyu-tso Lake, the holy Gang Rinpoche Mountain (Mt. Kailash), the Pangong-tso Lake, and the Tholing Monastery.
The ancient Guge Kingdom
In October- To immerse in the autumn scenery of Lulang
In autumn, the Lulang forest in Nyingchi is gorgeous and charming, like a colorful canvas. You can visit the Tashigang Village and live in a clean inn run by local Tibetans to experience a leisure village life, such as learning to make butter tea and boil a pot of chicken soup. You can also visit the Lulang flower pasture and live in a forest cabin villa, immersing yourself in the beauty of nature.
In November- To Climb Mt. Namjagbrawa
Mt. Namjagbrawa was listed as China’s most beautiful mountain by China National Geographic, a magazine specializing in reporting the geography of China.
When the rainy season ends between October and November, photographers have more chances to photo its magnificent scenery of Mt. Namjagbrawa.
In December- To take a hot spring bath in Yangbachen
Can you imagine what an experience it is to have a hot spring bath on the Roof of the World with an altitude of 4,000 meters above the sea level?
In winter, although you are naked with your body soaking in the hot spring while snow falls gently from the sky onto your head, you do not feel cold at all. The hot spring pool is made entirely of stones with semi-high walls, partially covered by a simple roof. It’s simple but natural.
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I traveled Tibet firstly last August via the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. Five months later, again I got on the train for the snow-capped plateau, experiencing a distinct view of highland.
As soon as the Qinghai-Tibet Railway puts into operation, Tibet absorbs a great number of travellers, including foreigers.
An elder couple with 95 and 94 years old from Qingdao, Shandong Province visit Tibet with their young generations who came back from America.