Tibet is a most unusual and beautiful place on earth. The majority of its land rests above 4000 meters (13,000 feet) and is surrounded by mountain ranges on three sides. The awe-inspiring Himalayas are the highest in the world, as is the never-ending Tibetan plateau. It is a place for the rugged adventurer as well as the spiritual wanderer.
Tibet is a land held back in time, housing many secrets. Nomads remain much the same as they did one hundred years ago. Roaming the plateau from winter and summer camps the nomads still mainly subsist from their yak herds. Then, there are the monasteries, which are striving to find a place in a country that's suddenly facing the 21st century.
The Tibetan people and their religion have been inseparable. Even in their earliest myths one finds references to Tibetan religious beliefs. Originally, the Bon religion dominated Tibet. After the introduction of Buddhist statues and later, Sanskrit documents from India, Buddhism crept increasingly into Tibetan culture. Tibetan Buddhism is the culmination of some early Bon beliefs, Indian Buddhist texts and several great lamas. Buddhism and politics had been interwoven since King Songsten Gampo married a Chinese and a Nepali princess, who were both intergral in the emergence of Buddhism. It was the Fifth Dalai Lama who actually built the Potala Palace as the government seat and religious center. A theocracy had prevailed until 1951.
After centuries of virtual isolation Tibet is cautiously opening up to the western world. Officially, China has only opened the doors for travelers these past few years. A visit to Tibet is an incredible experience, although it is not for the faint-hearted. The traveling is difficult and unpredictable. The infrastructure is poor to non-existent, therefore turning a regular tour into a complete adventure. Traveling in Tibet is not your average trip but an experience of a lifetime, which we invite you to take with us.
The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, in the southwest of China, has long enjoyed reputation of being "the Roof of the World", where Tibet Autonomous Region with an average altitude of over 4,000 meters and an area of 1.2 million square kilometers occupies a major portion. The majestic Tibetan highland stands on of the world and its unique cultural tradition has an international fame. This is a land of vast contrast with snow-capped mountains offering beauty unsurpassed and deep tropical rainforests in another, and with open pastureland against imposing mountains and cornier forests. The great Himalayas lies in its south with the towering Mt. Qomolangma standing above all world's peaks.
In addition to these spectacular offerings of nature, the timeworn Tibetan cultural tradition is most enchanting. A glorious tradition mingled with wisdom of the Han and other ethnic peoples is represented by such achievements as the ancient Shengshong Culture ruins, Yumbu Lhakang Palace, the ruins of ancient Guge Kingdom, the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple. The population of the region consists mostly of the Tibetans, Monbans and Lhobans, all industrious and honest people full of wisdom and valor. Over the centuries, they have cultivated very unique ethnic traditions, folklores and ways of life, contributing to the Chinese civilization and human progress. This is a land of enduring enchantment and tantalizing mystery.
Tibet enjoys such unparalleled travel resources as Mt. Qomolangma, the highest peak in the world on Sino-Nepalese border, the winding Yarlung Tsangbo River, ancient ruins, palaces and monasteries, folkloric activities and religious ceremonies. Tourism resources in the region have been continuously developed. Lhasa is now the tourist center with routes extending to Shigatse, Shannan, Nyingchi, Ngari and Nakchu, covering a total of over 60 scenic spots and places of interest.
What statue of person is called “foreign tourist”?
"Foreign tourist" here refers to the person who doesn't hold Chinese ID card. For Taiwan people who have "TaiboZheng" still need to get permit for traveling in Tibet. Hongkong and Macao people now are in freely need of permit.
Is independent tour allowed in Tibet?
Independent tour is prohibited in Tibet. You should take part in an organized group or have the local travel operator to arrange for you.
What is the best season for tour in Tibet?
Generally speaking, from April to October is the best season for Tibet tour. However, having a winter tour can be pleasant if you don't mind the cold weather. You can avoid the tourist crowds, and economical accommodations and transportation are more available.
What are some popular places in Tibet?
Lhasa, Tsedang, Gyantse, Shigatse, Tingri, Zhangmu etc. are the most popular places in Tibet, for both normal and trekking itineraries. For expedition, Mt. Everest and Mt. Kailish are the most exciting and accessible areas.
How to enter Tibet?
By air, there are several routes are available now: Beijing-Lhasa, Shanghai-Lhasa, Chengdu -Lhasa,Xi'an-Lhasa, Xining-Lhasa, Guangzhou-Lhasa, Chongqing-Lhasa, Kathmandu-Lhasa. By land, the possible routes are: Qinghai-Lhasa, Sichuan-Lhasa, Yunnan-Lhasa and Kathmandu-Lhasa. However, land transportation takes much longer time, and can be very tough, especially the Sichuan-Lhasa route.
Can I travel in Tibet by bus? I really can’t afford the car.
Yes, but very limited, only Golmud (of Qinghai Province)-Lhasa. And this route is subject to change, not always available.
Other than Chinese currency, what else currency is acceptable in Tibet?
USD is acceptable only in a very limited range, e.g. tips. However, for convenience, Chinese currency is the best choice. If you want to change USD to Chinese currency in Tibet, you can change in Lhasa Hotel or the Bank of China in Lhasa.
Can I draw cash from the local banks in Tibet?
Yes, but only the Bank of China in Lhasa has this function. However, the ATM there doesn't always work properly. So we suggest you to bring some cash with you.
What should I keep in mind when I contact with the Tibetans?
Tibetan people are very kind and hospitable, you can feel free to talk with them. But there are some rulers you should go by:
Do not photo them without permission, please show the respect to them!
Do not talk about the sensitive topics like political or t religious matters!
Do not eat dog, donkey or horse in Tibet!
What can I do with Tibetan beggars?
Religious beggars are an accepted part of society in Tibet. Giving money or food to a pilgrim is considered an act of merit. Donations of five fen to two jiao (Chinese currency) are appropriate. Please note: if the beggars are the old men and women who dress in shredded, bulky clothes, while the younger ones may have a monkey on a chain, it's a spectacle of great interest to the Tibetans.These beggars are professionals, having less meritorious intentions than religious pilgrims. Just wave them off as the locals do if you don't want give anything.
What medicines should I bring for the high elevation?
Try to bring the following medicines that will be very useful during your travel: cold and flu tablets, throat lozenges, nasal decongestant, Aspirin, Multivitamins. Or you can ask your local doctor for suggestions.
What should I bring for the plateau weather?
Tibet's high altitude and the atmosphere allow the sun's solar radiation to strike the earth with unusual intensity. It's very easy to get sun-burnt there. Sunscreen of high sun protection factor,quality sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat are good means of protection. Calamine lotion is good for mild sun-burnt. Those with fair complexions should bring reflective sunscreen with them. Apply the sunscreen to your nose and lips as well.