Tibet is autonomous region of China. Tibet covers most of the Tibetan plateau as its topography. In fact, Tibet resides at the highest elevation of the world. Mt. Everest is the highest point of Tibet and the world too. The Everest is divided by two regions: Nepal and Tibet. The southern belt of Everest is located in Tibet and the northern belt is in Nepal. Monpa, Tamang, Qiang, Sherpa, and Lhoba peoples are the major ethnic people living in Tibet. They basically follow Tibetan Buddhism. Staple foods in Tibet are roasted barley, yak meat, and butter tea. Subsistence farming and tourism are the major occupations of Tibet. The language spoken in Tibet is Tibetan language which is termed as a Tibeto-Burman. However, people speak hundreds of dialects in Tibet.
Travelling in Tibet will be magnificent. The fabulous mountain peaks, turquoise lakes, sacred and historical monasteries, the essence of Buddhism, stone inscriptions and glittering prayer flags will add more splendor on your visit. Basically, people have a wish to step on Everest Base Camp in Tibet.
There are beautiful classical cities in Tibet. Lhasa is the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. It is popular for two world heritage sites – the Potala Palace and Norbulingka, which are famous as the residences of the Dalai Lama.In Lhasa. we can explore a number of significant temples and monasteries. Jokhang and Ramoche Temple are the most popular ones.
The second largest city in the Tibet is Shigatse, west of Lhasa. There are two other largest cities named Gyantse and Qamdo.
Why you should travel Tibet ?
People sometimes find controversial to travel Tibet. Some people conceive travelling Tibet is supporting mainstream Chinese politics. This article presents the neutral views of the writer just focusing on the major attractions of Tibet. By exploring them, you will fully be enlightened.
The first reason that you should visit Tibet is to know the reality from the ground level that the propaganda dramatized by the world.
Secondly, travel widens the sphere of knowledge. Exploring ancient civilization and culture, the core Buddhist religious principles, sacred monasteries and historical palaces, crossing high passes witnessing incredible mountain peaks and visiting serene cities are major reasons of visiting Tibet.
Tibet Travel Permits and Visa
Travelling in Tibet is not an easy task. No individual traveler is permitted to travel in Tibet independently. Foreign travelers need to do some preparations to obtain visa and Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB). But Chinese and Hongkong citizens are allowed to enter Tibet without permit and visa. You can take help from the travel companies which operate Tibet tours packages to obtain visa and permit for you.
Nobody is permitted to enter Tibet without TTB and a valid Chinese Visa except the citizens of Brunei, Singapore and Japan. For this, you can ask help with your travel partner who run Tibet Tours packages. You need to obtain valid Chinese visa a month before the trip. You will be travelling in Tibet in group and the guide and the driver will try their best to make your Tibet travel memorable for the lifetime.
When to Travel Tibet?
April- October is the best time of the year to travel Tibet. Spring and summer both fall in between April-October. However, Tibet can be travelled all round the year. Since Tibet is the highest region of the world, most of the mountain region is covered with snow all round the year like Mt. Kailash. But, it depends on the itinerary you choose up to what elevation you are going for and which part of the Tibet your are visiting.
Mainly, the festivals of Tibet fall in either in Summer or in Spring. Tibet in spring or in summer will totally be in festive mood. We take this opportunity to explore Tibetan civilization and culture. Similarly, the interested can directly experience the celebrations in the cities and the villages.
Winter is the low season for visiting Tibet. The higher belt of Tibet will be covered with massive snow. So, it is not recommended to travel Tibet in winter. Trekking to Everest Base Camp during Winter is impossible. Do not try it.
How to Get Tibet?
People cannot fly directly to Lhasa or Tibet without landing at other cities in China. They either have to fly from the cities in China or from Kathmandu. You need to be in the group, and then only you are allowed to fly to Lhasa from the cities in China or Kathmandu regardless of where you are traveling. Relatively, flying to Lhasa from other cities in China is less costly than flying from Kathmandu. But, the majority of the tourists who visit Nepal arrange Lhasa flight from Kathmandu.
The other way of getting Tibet is via Qinghai -Tibet Railway. This railway is popular as the railway located at the highest elevation of the world. The journey begins in Beijing, the capital city and we travel for 40 hours to get Lhasa. On the way, we pass via magnificent Tibetan Plateaus, mountain summits, and the traditional settlements.
Where to stay in Tibet?
When we purchase a Tibet Tour package, the accommodation is included. We get star hotels and resorts to the normal homestay for the overnight stay in Tibet. In major cities like Lhasa, we get the luxury accommodations of 3,4 or 5-star hotels. If you are traveling to Everest Base Camp, you need to spend some nights on the tented camps. For this, your guide or the local travel partner will arrange sleeping bags, quilts, and tents for you.
It is easy to book the hotel of your choice on online. The price is reasonable. If you are ready to pay USD 50, you can get luxury 3-star hotels in Lhasa.
What to Eat in Tibet?
You can find Chinese dishes on the menu mostly. The popular Chinese dishes are dumplings, Tsampa ( roasted barley flour) butter tea, Yak dumpling, Tibetan noodles, stir-fried vegetables with rice, Chilli Chicken, Cashew Chicken, Pork and yak meat. These items of food are beautiful to enjoy in China. Or if you don’t love Chinese cuisines, you can find several restaurants that offer western and continental food items. You also can find Pizzas, Nepali and Indian dishes in restaurants in Lhasa.
Best Places to Visit in Tibet
Tibet is considerably popular for Everest Base Camp, the highest mountain base camp of the world. The journey to Everest Base Camp passing via arid landscapes sleeping in the tented camp under the open sky will be the adventure for the lifetime. You will absolutely feel blessed to step on Everest Base Camp.
Potala Palace where Dalai Lama resided previously, but now, it has been converted into a museum. The museum is the collection of all historical and religious objects, idols, inscriptions from the time immemorial. In fact, Potala Palace is the pride of Tibet and iconic art and architecture
Sera Monastery is the home for hundreds of Buddhist monks now. Observing these holy monks with their meditations and hymns will be an astounding experience for us.
The travel from Shigatse to Lhasa is magnificent. The spectacular valleys and the landscapes, alluring mountain peaks, traditional Tibetan settlements, turquoise lakes and the friendly people will be the major highlights on the way to Lhasa. Gyatse Fort, Yamdrok Lake and Karo La Glacier are the best places to visit during this drive from Shigatse to Lhasa.