Tibet Travel Guide
High up in the clouds and mountains to the West of China lies Tibet, a mystical land of mountains and monasteries. It shares many of its traditions with Mongolia and is a wonderful complement to Trans Siberian tours. Its capital, Lhasa, is home to the awe inspiring Potala Palace as well as many other sights. For those looking for adventure, the road trip to Kathmandu via Everest Base Camp from Lhasa ranks up their with the Trans Siberian as one of the great overland excursions in the world.
Best Months to Visit Tibet
Best Reason to Visit Tibet
Tibet should be on the list for anyone who loves wild mountain scenery, deep culture and some breathtaking architecture. Not the easiest place to visit but absolutely worth it.
Top Sights in Tibet
★ In Lhasa The Potala Palace once home to the Dalai Lama and one of the architectural wonders of the world.
★ Barkhor Square area is a pilgrimage circuit (called a Kora) and is a mass of people from all over Tibet.
★ The Jokhang Temple, a 1,300 year old place of worship and the spiritual centre of Tibet. It’s rooftop offers magnificent views over old Lhasa.
★ The Potala Kora which encircles the Potala Palace is a fascinating mixture of exotic people, market and religious worship – all to the scent of incense.
★ The Gyantse Dzong, or fortress, is the highest point in the city and well worth the climb for the view although there isn’t so much to see of the fortress once up there. The 500 soldiers of the fort held the British force of Younghusband out for 4 days in 1904 and since then Gyantse has often been referred to as “Hero City.”The 35 meter high Gyantse Kumbum is the largest in Tibet and was built in 1427. Inside are countless small chapels with stunning murals.
★ The Pelkor Chode Monastery is a sprawling complex containing many paintings and statues as well as being a fascinating place to wander around.
★ Tashilhunpo Monastery, the traditional home of the Panchen Lamma is the big draw and one of the few monasteries to escape the attention of the Cultural Revolution. It is practically a town in it’s own right so enjoy exploring the old cobbled streets and the ancient buildings.
★ Shigatse Dzong (fort) is probably the first structure you will see as you approach Shigatse as it is strategically situated on a hill overlooking the town. Although there isn’t much to see once you reach the top of the Dzong itself the surrounding and expansive views are excellent.
★ Everest Base Camp – This is a place to sit and contemplate the majesty of the scenery but you may also see Yak herders and their animals and climbing groups. The moving memorials to climbers who didn’t make it off the mountain are poignant reminders of what awaits the few who venture beyond base camp. The best times of year for visibility are April and May and September and October although you are likely to see the mountain at dawn and dusk throughout the year.
Weather Averages for Tibet
Top Tibet Travel Tip from TSTC
A visit to Tibet needs a good amount of forward planning as the permits required need to be applied for in advance (we do all that for you if booking a trip with us). To make the most of your time in Tibet the Lhasa to Kathmandu trip offers the best value and experience.
TSTC's Hand Picked Hotels in Tibet
The only place where there is real choice in accommodation in Tibet is the capital of Lhasa. Here we love the Dhood Gu and Kyichu Hotels for their traditional atmosphere and decoration as well as prime location near Barkhor Square in the centre of the old city. If you require luxury then the St Regis or newer Shangri La are both extraordinary properties. Outside of Lhasa we book the best options on offer although standards are average to poor getting more basic the further from Lhasa you travel.
Other Destinations in China
Click the boxes below to explore other destinations in China that can be visited before or after your Trans-Siberian tour.
By Phil Stanley & Headseast – TCTC Destination Expert.