Tibet: The Top of the World

July 18, 2014

The land of the snows, the roof of the world – Tibet never fails to charm visitors from all over the world. Heavenly lakes, mysterious rivers and breathtaking landscape, Tibet is nature’s paradise and is sure to leave you amazed with an unforgettable experience of land, people and mysticism.

Lhasa:

lhasacity

The cultural, political and economic hub of Tibet, Lhasa is the heart and soul of Tibet, and an object of devout pilgrimage. Visit Potala Palace, Norbulingka Palace, Jokhang Temple Sera and Drepung monasteries to explore the spiritual side in you. The Jokhang Temple and Barkhor circumbulation circuit is filled with pilgrims from all over and innumerable shops and wayside peddlers selling everything from prayer flags to yak skulls!

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Kailash Mansarovar Yatra: Year of the Horse!

July 15, 2014

Mount Kailash

Mount Kailash

 

Winding through India, Nepal and China (Tibet), the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra is a gritty test of will and endurance, but its rewards are manifold and ethereal.Over the centuries pilgrims have constantly been braving their way to Mt. Kailash in order to attain spiritual enlightenment despite the harsh weather and often forbidding terrain. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is undertaken by thousands of Yatris every year and is best known for its religious value, cultural significance, and entrancing natural beauty.Here are 5 interesting facts on the holy Mt. Kailash – Mansarovar: Read more

Top 10 Travel Tips for Tibet

July 13, 2014

1. Don’t Forget Your Tibet Entry Permit:

All non-Chinese passport holders need a Tibet Entry Permit to visit Tibet, and the only way to enter Tibet is to travel in groups. No individual travelers are allowed to travel to Tibet at the moment. All tours must be booked in advance by a Chinese travel agency. Your whole tour in Tibet must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide.

2. Best Times to Visit:

In general, the best time to visit Tibet is from May to October when the weather is pleasant. It is also regarded as Tibet’s golden travel seasons.

3. Consider flying into Tibet and Taking a Train out:

The quickest and most convenient way is to fly in and fly out. But if you want to experience the train trip, and see amazing mountain plateau views then you should fly in and take a train out.

4. Plan Your Tour Far Enough in Advance:

All Tibet Tours must be booked at least 20 days in advance. Usually it takes 2-3 days to confirm hotel bookings and almost 10 days more for the Tibet Tourism Bureau to issue the Tibet Entry Permit. You should make sure you secure an Entry Permit, especially if new restrictions are brought in, before you apply for a visa and make the final preparations for your trip, unless you are willing to consider alternatives to Tibet once you arrive in China. If your travel is limited to areas around Lhasa, 4 days is enough whereas if you want to go to Mt. Everest, you are recommended at least one week duration for your Tibet visit.

5. What to Pack/Carry/Wear:

  • Clothes: Warm clothes, such as sweaters and fleeces are needed even in summer as the day-night temperature drop is big. A thick down coat is essential if you go to the Everest. If you go in the low season bring mountain winter clothes.
  • Lip cream: It is very dry so bring a lip cream to protect your lips.
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen cream
  • Comfortable walking shoes: Almost all monasteries have steep steps to climb.
  • Snacks if your tour includes long road trips
  • Altitude sickness medicine: Taking the medicine one day before arriving at high altitude increases effectiveness.
  • Motion sickness medicine if you have motion sickness on long mountain road journeys.
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine: Tibetan food is very different from what you are probably used to, and it may not agree with your digestive system.
  • A good camera

6. Currency:

The unit of currency is Chinese Yuan. The Bank of China can exchange all foreign currencies. The banks in Tibet/China are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Travelers Cheques and credit cards are very difficult to be cashed outside the banks especially outside Lhasa. ATM facilities are easily available in Lhasa and Shigatse; however, it may be difficult to find one in other smaller towns or in remote places.

7. Must-See Attractions:

  • The Potala Palace
  • Jokhang Temple
  • Sera Monastery
  • Drepung Monastery
  • Yamdrok-Tso Lake
  • Tashilunpo Monastery
  • Mt. Everest

8. Keep Healthy:

Try to keep healthy and not catch a cold before entering and while in Tibet, as illness makes any altitude sickness feel worse. Take it easy and rest well, keep warm, drink a lot of water, and eat simply the first two days in Tibet to reduce any altitude sickness symptoms.

9. Respect the Tibetan People and Avoid Trouble:

Do not talk about sensitive topics like politics when in Tibet. Taking photos of Buddha statues is not allowed in the majority of Tibetan monasteries. In some monasteries, such as Tashilhunpo Monastery, you can take pictures of the Buddha statues after paying some money. Ask permission first before taking pictures of other people in Tibet. Sometimes they will even ask you for money. Do not enter monasteries without permission. Smoking is not allowed when visiting monasteries. Dress properly, not in shorts or sunglasses.

10. Know the Local Conditions and Lower Your Expectations:

Keep in mind that you travel to Tibet for its old culture and scenery, but not comfort. Visiting a Tibetan house will probably be a big culture shock. The facilities and service standard of hotels in Tibet is not what you would expect from a hotel with the same rating elsewhere. Hotels in Lhasa are relatively comfortable with heating systems and hot water in winter. Some star-rated hotels have in-house doctors to take care of minor discomforts. Whereas hotels in small cities and towns outside Lhasa only have very basic facilities, some even without a heating system and hot water in the freezing winter.

Cho Oyu climb with Himalayan Glacier

June 18, 2014

Cho Oyu Mount

Cho Oyu Mount



The sixth highest mountain (8,201 meters) in the world and the most frequently climbed 8,000m peak, Cho Oyu needs no introduction. Often regarded as a stepping-stone to an attempt on Everest, Cho Oyu presents one with an excellent opportunity to extend one’s experience to extreme altitudes. The literal meaning of Cho Oyu is “Goddess of Turquoise’, as its stark shadows appear turquoise against the light of the setting sun when viewed from Tibet. Located on the Tibet and Nepal border and a part of the Great Himalaya Trail, this expedition not only tests your limits in high altitudes but also provides a unique chance to experience the Himalayan Tibetan culture. Read more

Mt. Kailash: Abode of Lord Shiva

April 2, 2014

Situated in the south-western part of Tibet bordering the Kumaon hills and Nepal, is Mt. Kailash, Asia’s most sacred mountain. Mt. Kailash is a mountain divine and holy to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Bon-Pos, those adherents of ancient animistic beliefs. It dominates the region with the sheer awesomeness of its four-sided summit, and its centrality in the mythology of a billion of people. The supreme mountain is believed to be the physical embodiment of the mythical Mt. Meru from Sanskrit, said to be the center of the universe or ‘navel of the world’ that forms the axis of this world system.

kailash

To Hindus, Kailash is the abode of Shiva and nearby Manasarovar Lake is the soul of Brahma. Tibetans call Kailash Kang Rimpoche. Jains worship it as Mt Ashtapada, the peak from which the religion’s founder, Rishabanatha, achieved spiritual liberation. Followers of Bon-Po, the ancient pre- Buddhist shamanistic religion of Tibet, revere Kailas as the soul of Tibet. Read more

Top 5 Adventure Treks to Go for 2014

November 20, 2013

Go for mountain adventure treks in the spectacularly grandest Himalayan region of the world for 2014. The top 5 adventure treks to go for 2014 are in Nepal and Tibet. Nepal, a perfect destination for adventure holiday, prides itself in keeping majestic range of Himalayas including the major tallest peaks in the world. Besides, in exploring Tibet’s age-old intact culture you travel through the Roof of the World. The top 5 adventure treks to go for 2014 in the Himalayas are included here.

Everest Base Camp Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek

 

  1. Everest Base Camp Trek, one of the top adventure treks in the world, is the grandest walk in the Himalayas. The trek helps you to unleash you passion for adventuring in the Himalayas. The world’s most awe inspiring mountain trail trek takes you to the yards of world famous Sherpas, the quaint Namche Bazzar, the Sagarmatha National Park, the mightiest view point-Kala Patthar, Everest Base Camp itself and close to four of the world’s six tallest peaks Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Makalu, and Cho-Oyu – those rise above everything else. Starting the trek through Lukla all the way through the colorful landscapes, you take steep ascent to Namche Bazaar, the capital of Sherpas, where you will be greeted by spectacular mountain vistas. You enjoy the Sherpa village, their culture and monasteries, the mountaineers and wild life museums. While passing through the verdant alpine forest and wildlife, raging glacial rivers and waterfalls, stony trails, mountains, and Buddhist monasteries, you get closer day by day to Everest along with other mighty mountains.
  2. Annapurna Base Camp Trek, the top adventure trek for 2014, is one of the most stunning treks in the world. Throughout the trek, you just imagine being in the company of some of the highest mountains on earth and the magnificence of the sunrise over the snow-capped Himalayas. This stimulating trek to Annapurna Base Camp passes through waterfalls, villages, farmlands, rhododendron forests, and mountain vistas. You also pass through a diverse geographical and cultural variation with amazing ranges of flora and fauna in between. Throughout this trek you enjoy the sheer magnificence of the Himalayas, including two mountains that are above eight thousand meters – Mt. Annapurna (8091 m) and Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m); hospitality and rich culture of the local community and the brilliance of nature.
  3. Everest Advanced Base Camp Trek in Tibet, the heroic and stunning walk in Tibet for 2014, helps you to experience the beautiful mountainous landscape of Tibet, the ‘Roof of the World’, while exposing you to its rich culture and history. Beyond acquainted with Tibetan culture and history, the walk will also be full of adventure and fun. Besides, you visit popular landmarks in Tibet like Dalai Lama’s Potala and Norbulingka Palaces, ancient monasteries like Tashilhunpo, Sera, Drepung, Rongbuk, and Sakya, explore Namtso Lake, and finally reach the Everest Advanced Base Camp, your top adventure destination. Basically, the adventure begins from Lhasa and ends in Kathmandu. In nutshell, the adventure trek takes you to the advanced base camp of the north face of Mt. Everest (in Tibet)-the highest mountain in the world, and offers you cultural experience of Tibet.
  4. Mount Kailash Yatra, one of the top adventure treks to go for 2014, is basically known for its religious value, cultural significance, spiritual importance and thrilling nature. The celestial beauty of Mount Kailash is not only fascinating, it is also one of the greatest pilgrimage destinations for Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Bon religions from around the world. The Kailash region also includes the two turquoise-blue, pristine high-altitude lakes and that are Mansarovar and Rakshesa. Another uniquely contributing fact to the spiritual aspect of Kailash is that four most sacred rivers of the Indian sub-continent begin from here and those are Sutlej, Karnili, Brahmaputra and Indus.
  5. Upper Mustang Trek, the top adventure treks for 2014, encompasses a spectacular remote Trans-Himalayan mountain region with Tibetan cultural influence. The Upper Mustang region also known as the “Last Forbidden Kingdom” is a treasure trove of thousand years’ old monastery, caves, local tribes and scenic beauties of the different landscapes. The top adventure journey starting from world’s deepest gorge to the world’s highest regions of  Lo-Mangthang Valley passes through an almost tree-less barren landscape, a steep rocky trails and astounding views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and several other peaks. The surprising fact of this region is that the thousands years of isolation has kept the culture, lifestyle and heritage of this region intact.

See our top 15 picks in the Himalayas

November 13, 2013

Still waiting to get wanderlust adventure? We have got your adventure dream of the year in the Himalayas. Himalayan Glacier’s top 15 picks present this year’s must-trek adventures. Our top 15 picks cover cross-border trek of India, Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet. What could be your interest for travelling in the Himalayan region – cultural, recreational or adventure – our top picks garnish your dream of adventuring in this region. The adventure treks in the Himalayan region will be a once in a lifetime adventure in the company of inspiring and breathtaking scenery. See our top 15 picks to find yourself encircled by majestic vistas of eight-thousanders.

EBC Trek via Gokyo Lakes

EBC Trek via Gokyo Lakes

 

  1. Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek from Nepal (EBC), one of our top epic walks in the Himalayas, offers a huge sense of accomplishment and unbeatable views of beautiful forests, Sherpa villages, glacial moraines and foothills that surround the Everest region. Likewise, the trek takes you closer to the rich Sherpa culture while following the trail of Sir Edmund Hillary to EBC. It will also take you to some of the most popular places in the region like Kala Pathar which provides a stunning view of Everest along with other high mountains and the very famous Tengboche monastery, which is the largest monastery of the region of Nepal. Of course we will be at our final destination, EBC. Overall, the trek materializes the dream of reaching to the base camp of highest peak in the world.
  2. The Annapurna Base Camp Trek, the most stunning treks in the world, leaves you just being in the company of some of the highest mountains on earth and the splendor of the sunrise over the snow-capped Himalayas. This invigorating trek passes through waterfalls, villages, farmlands, rhododendron forests, and mountain vistas. You also pass through a diverse geographical and cultural variation with amazing ranges of flora and fauna in between. Throughout the trek you enjoy the sheer magnificence of the Himalayas, including two mountains that are above eight thousand meters – Annapurna and Dhaulagiri; hospitality and rich culture of the local community and the brilliance of nature.
  3. EBC Trek via Gokyo Lakes, one of the top adventurous treks in the Everest region, takes you to fabulous Gokyo Valley, the large Ngojumba Glacier, the famous Cho La pass, and the celebrated view points of Gokyo Ri and Kala Patthar along with Everest Base Camp (EBC). The trek further traverses through the landmarks of Everest region in the company of majestically soaring mountains, friendly Sherpas, colorful monasteries and prayer flags, the Namche Bazzar, the Sagarmatha National Park, and many more. Beyond the tranquil glacial lakes, you can enjoy 360 degree panoramic views of four above 8000 m massifs and other mighty mountain ranges from the best view point of Everest Region, the Gokyo Ri.
  4. Makalu Base Camp Trek, one of our top 15 picks in the Himalayas, makes a trek to the base camp of world’s fifth highest mountain. Mount Makalu is a close neighbor of Mt Everest, lying in the northeast region of Nepal. Following the beautiful Barun river valley in the Makalu Barun National Park, you cross various high passes and lakes. While trekking, you rise from lowland of Tumlingtar on the Arun River to one of the highest Base Camps on earth, the Makalu Base Camp at 5000m. While on the way, you will enjoy the views of the highest mountains such as Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Chamlang, Mt. Baruntse and other mighty Himalayan mountains along with Makalu (8481m) itself.
  5. EBC Trek in Tibet, one of the top adventure walks in Tibet, enhances you to experience the beautiful mountainous landscape of Tibet, while exposing you to its rich culture and history. Beyond acquainted with Tibetan culture and history, the trek will also be full of adventure and fun. Besides, you will visit popular landmarks in Tibet like Dalai Lama’s Potala and Norbulingka Palaces, ancient monasteries like Tashilhunpo, Sera, Drepung, Rongbuk, and Sakya, explore Namtso Lake, and finally reach the Everest Advanced Base Camp. Basically, the trek begins from Lhasa and ends in Kathmandu. In nutshell, the trek takes you to the advanced base camp of the north face of Mt. Everest (in Tibet) – the highest mountain in the world.
  6. Everest View Trek, one of our best picks, offers a wide range of spectacular scenery combined with unique cultural encounters with the Sherpa people who inhabit in the high altitude regions of the world. The trek continues through the lush vegetation of Sagarmatha National Park, with pine forests, rhododendron flowers and an abundance of wildlife, to Namche Bazaar (3440m). Furthermore, the trek brings you to the village of Tengboche (3930m), home to the highest Buddhist monastery in the world (4100m) and also reputed by photographers as one of the best places to capture the awesome beauty of Mt. Everest (8848m) and its neighboring peaks.
  7. Bhutan Tour is a special cultural tour to the living masterpiece of ecological conservation of the world today in which you will be introduced to the mystical and unspoiled cultural and natural grandeur of Bhutan. Filled with rugged terrain and steep mountain valleys, Bhutan is sandwiched between Tibet and India. Predominantly a Buddhist country with Vajrayana Buddhism being state religion, Bhutan deliberately preserves its unique way of life, culture and flora and fauna. Along with exploring the rich coniferous forests, glacial lakes, beautiful passes, and amazing views of snow-capped mountains, this tour traverses through various Dzongs, monastic sites and religious legends of Bhutan.
  8. Bhutan Cultural Tour introduces you to the imposing Dzongs, or temple fortresses, that are intrinsic to Bhutanese cultural way of life. You begin this tour from undoubtedly the most beautiful valley in Bhutan, Paro. The masterpieces of Paro like Tiger’s Nest Monastery, 8th century Kichu Monastery, and the national museum will be the prime attractions of this tour. Furthermore, following north along the Thimphu River, you will arrive Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan which is a potpourri of traditional and modern culture. After making excursion of Thimphu, you drive to Punakha valley across picturesque Dochula Pass (3150m) for great views of Himalayan ranges. Beyond exploring Punakha valley, you walk for the Dzong- the famous fertility temple in the region.
  9. Annapurna Circuit Trek, one of our best picks for magical trek, takes you around the entire Annapurna massif reaching the Zenith at Thorong La Pass (5,416m). During the trek, you pass through a diverse geographical and cultural variation with an amazing range of flora and fauna of the region. Just imagine the thrills of walking through world’s deepest Kali Gandaki Gorge, with Annapurna I rising to 8091m to the east and Dhaulagiri hovering at 8167m to the west! Cross the highest pass, Thorong La on the way from Manang to Muktinath, savor the fabulous mountain views from Poon Hill (3,210m) and discover more than ten different culturally rich ethnic groups that reside in different climate zones of Annapurna Circuit.
  10. View of Mt. Kanchendzonga also known as Dzongri Trek is the best choice for an extraordinary mountain adventure into the hinterlands of Mt. Kanchendzonga. The trek lies in Sikkim in the Eastern-Himalayan foothills bordering with Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. The attractions of the trek includes the great preview of a variety of Sikkim’s biodiversity encompassing beautiful rhododendron flowers, bird population and some amazing views landscapes and of course the majestic Himalayan peaks. The trail runs through the meadows of Dzongri at 4,000m with exceptional mountain views. The snow covered mountains, lush dense green valleys, and the extravaganza of nature’s beauty bewilder one’s soul.
  11. Jomsom Muktinath Trek helps you to explore the years old monastery, caves, local tribes and scenic beauties of Annapurna region. The trek will be the most rewarding once the visitors make an adventurous start from world’s deepest gorge to the world’s highest regions passing through an almost tree-less barren landscape, and panoramic views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and several other peaks. The trek gets interesting once the trekkers pass through Jomsom and Kagbeni, the entry point of upper Mustang. The grandeur of the region intensifies as the first glimpse of the windy Tibetan Plateau on the way to the holy Hindu pilgrimage site of Muktinath (3800m) emerges. From Muktinatht downhill to Jomsom, travelers land into the land of “Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang”, and get a glimpse of the ancient traditions still in practice.
  12. Upper Mustang Trek encompasses a spectacular remote Trans-Himalayan mountain area with Tibetan cultural influence. The Upper Mustang region also known as the “Last Forbidden Kingdom” is a treasure trove of thousand years’ old monastery, caves, local tribes and scenic beauties of the different landscapes. The great adventure journey starting from world’s deepest gorge to the world’s highest regions of  Lo-Mangthang Valley passes through an almost tree-less barren landscape, a steep rocky trails and astounding views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and several other peaks. The surprising fact of this region is that the thousands years of isolation has kept the culture, lifestyle and heritage of this region intact.
  13. Explore Tibet, one of our best picks, is for those who are interested to experience the people, culture, monks, monasteries, land and palaces of Tibet. In Tibet, you will travel around Tsedang, Yumbulakhang, Thandruk, Samye, Tsurpu, and Ganden monasteries. Potala and Norbulingka Palaces, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Bazaaar, Sera and Drepung Monasteries, and Tibetan Nunnery and Tibetan Medicine Center will be the prime attractions of this tour while you are strolling around Lhasa. Of course, you will also cover Tibet’s famous turquoise lake, Yamadroke Lake.
  14. Kailash Manasarovar Yatra, one of our top picks for spiritual walks in the Himalayas, is basically known for its religious value, cultural significance, spiritual importance and thrilling nature. The celestial beauty of Mount Kailash is not only fascinating, it is also one of the greatest pilgrimage destinations for Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Bon religions from around the world. The Kailash region also includes the two turquoise-blue, pristine high-altitude lakes and that are Mansarovar and Rakshesa. Another uniquely contributing fact to the spiritual aspect of Kailash is that four most sacred rivers of the Indian sub-continent begin from here and those are Sutlej, Karnili, Brahmaputra and Indus.
  15. Nepal Sunrise Tour encompasses some of the most spectaculars natural and cultural destinations of Nepal and you will enjoy the company of dozens of waterfalls and mountains, flora and fauna, and rural villages sprawled over the mountains. The tour starts from Kathmandu valley. The valley holds high number of places recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, and contains three medieval cities famous for their arts and architectures – Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. There are also some interesting cultural centers on the outskirt of the valley: Dhulikhel and Panauti. You make a visit to all these places and end your Kathmandu valley tour with the mesmerizing sunrise views over the Himalayas from Nagarkot. Then, you drive deep into the mountains to the resort town of Daman for a typical mountain experience. Driving further deep into the mountains, you spend a day at Bandipur and continue your journey to the fantastic Lake City, Pokhara.

15 Things You Must See in Lhasa

October 29, 2013

Go ahead and indulge! See the ideal ways to explore the City of Spiritual Awareness, including an Explore Lhasa tour, where you enjoy spiritual delights. Spend some quality time with someone you love in the Himalayas. Lhasa is a unique and spiritual city. After a thousand years of turmoil, it has managed to retain its ancient palace, religious history, ancient temples, relics and streets. Visitors have every reason to pay a visit to Lhasa when they come to make Explore Tibet tour. A visit to Lhasa will be a trip of a lifetime! No other destination provides so many unforgettable memories. The 15 things you must see in Lhasa are included here.

Potala Palace

Potala Palace

 

  1. Potala Palace, a must-see attraction in Lhasa, is a landmark of Tibet. The history of this awe-inspiring construction can be dated back to the 7th century, some 1,300 years ago that built by King Songtsen Gampo. With an area of over 360, 000 square meters, Potala Palace is a spectacular castle-like building complex of Lhasa, which is used to be the unification centre of political and religious of Tibet. With grand stele commemorating the architectural achievements of ancient Tibetans, the Potala Palace is truly a cultural treasure on the Tibetan Plateau. In December 1994, it was inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO. It is a must-visit site for tourists enjoying Tibet tours. The Potala Palace worked as the winter palace of the Dalai Lamas since the 7th century. It symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism. The complex, comprising the White and Red Palaces with their ancillary buildings, is built on Red Mountain in the centre of Lhasa Valley. The palace is famous for its grand buildings, complicated constructions, special atmosphere, splendid artworks, precious scriptures, murals, jewels and antiques.
  2. Jokhang Temple, the famous landmark in Lhasa, is the irreplaceable representative of Tibetan religion. Located in the center of old Lhasa city, this majestic temple, which with the Barkhor Street surrounded, formed the “heart” of ancient Lhasa. It is said that Jokhang Temple occupies an unchallengeable position of Tibetan Buddhism. Built in 647 by Songtsen Gampo, Jokhang Temple is the oldest civil-structure building in Tibet that has a history of more than 1,300 years. It well mixed Tibetan, Tang-Dynasty, Nepalese and Indian style of architecture together, initiated a new space layout model for Tibetan monastery. As one of the most popular tourist attractions in Lhasa, it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace’.
  3. Barkhor Street, a must visit site at the center of Lhasa, is the oldest street in a very traditional city of Tibet. Barkhor is the road that pilgrims tramped out around Jokhang Temple through centuries. Buddhist pilgrims walk or progress by body-lengths along the street clockwise every day into deep night. Now, the street is a famous commercial and commodity-distributing center in Lhasa, consisting of more than 120 handicrafts shops and more than 200 stalls. It is a good choice that should never be missed by tourists coming to Lhasa, for you can buy anything Tibet-related, from sacks of incense, chunks of yak butter to monk outfits. It is a place where Tibetan culture, economy, religion and arts assemble.
  4. Sera Monastery, one of the three grand monasteries in Lhasa, is famous for its copper Buddhist Statue, Religious Painting and Buddhism Debating, etc. The whole construction mainly consists of the Coqen Hall, the Dratsang (place for studying) and the Kangcun (residence), etc. The Hayagriva Statue in Coqen Hall is the most popular attraction for tourists, but it has a special religious meaning for local followers. Besides, the intense Buddhist Debating is another spotlight of this monastery. Every day in the afternoon, monks with an intention of learning Buddhism come to the courtyard of this monastery and participate in Buddhist debate.
  5. Norbulinka Palace, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, lies in a quiet and beautiful garden in the west part of Lhasa. The well preserved murals, superb mandalas and frescoes are fascinating sights not to miss. One particular mural inside depicts the history of Tibet and all the Dalai Lamas. The Dalai Lama was living here during his last days in Tibet. The rooms have remained as they were when the Dalai Lama left in 1959.
  6. Drepung Monastery, another top attraction in Lhasa, is the largest monastery in Tibet. It was founded in 1416 by a disciple of Je Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelukpa School. Drepung Monastery was one of the best schools of the Middle-Ages and during the 1930s it housed over 10,000 monks from all regions of Asia. After the Chinese invasion and the persecution that followed, many of them retreated to India where they started a new monastery. Now only a few hundred monks remain at Drepung, but its history makes it a popular attraction.
  7. Ganden Monastery, one of the sacred monasteries of Gelugpa branch of Tibetan Buddhism, was founded in 1409 by Tsongkhapa, the originator of the Gelugpa sect. Ganden consists of many temples and other buildings. It covers an enormous area, as building continued for generations. One building called Cuoqin Vihara has 108 pillars and is large enough to house 3500 monks. It contains the beautiful and skillfully carved bronze statues of Maitreya (the future Buddha) and Tsongkhapa. The monastery is listed as one of Tibet’s cultural relics. The Lhasa’s must see site is perched just short of the top of Mount Wanrigu or Wangbur, 30 km east of Lhasa, at an altitude of 4500m.
  8. Drak Yerpa Monastery, located about 40km northeast to the city center of Lhasa, is a hermitage built on a hillside of the mountain at the altitude of 4885 meters. There are two popular Tibetan verses in relation to Drak Yerpa. One verse says that “While Tibet’s holy place is in Lhasa, Lhasa’s holy place in Drak Yerpa”. Another verse goes like that “Visiting Lhasa without going to Drak Yerpa is just like making a new clothe without adding the collar”. These two verses pinpoint the importance of Drak Yerpa in the hearts of the common Tibetan pilgrims. The hermitage is composed of many meditation caves. Some say there are now still 80 meditations left on the hillside. Some houses were built to accommodate the caves, hence cave temples. So actually Drak Yerpa is a cave monastery.
  9. Tibet Museum, a must see site in Lhasa, is located in the southeast corner of Norbulingka. The museum houses a rich collection of prehistoric cultural relics including Buddha statues in different postures, imperial jade seals, gold albums, gifts granted by emperors, colorful Thangkas, and various printed Sanskrit and local scriptures. Visitors can also see variety of folk art such as unique local handicrafts, costumes, jewellery, and adornments made of gold, silver, and jade, as well as fine Chinese pottery. In addition to showing the civilization of Tibet, the museum is also an ideal location to hold cultural exchanges and seminars, to preserve cultural relics, and to encourage the archaeological study. The museum is not only a source of information for the locals, but also attracts an increasing number of people from overseas and educates them about Tibetan culture.
  10. Ramoche Temple, a must see Tibetan Buddhist monastery, is regarded as the most important temple after the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. It is one of the great three Geluka university monasteries after the Jokhang Monastery. It is situated in the northwest of Lhasa City and about 500 meters away from the north of Barkhor Street. The temple shrines a small bronze statue of the Buddha. The temple was once badly destroyed by Mongolia invasion and Red Guards during Cultural Revolution. The original building was destroyed by fire and the now temple was reconstructed in 1474. At present, the temple is the key national cultural relic protection sites in Tibet.
  11. Tombs of the Early Tibetan Kings, a must see site for learning about ancient Tibetan civilization, is around 100 km southeast of Lhasa at south of the Yarlung Zangbo river and southwest of Mt Zongsam. Visitors who would like to explore the rich histories of the tombs of the early Tibetan kings, as well be want to intermingle with the local culture, should visit the site. The area is comprised of nine mausoleums of Tibetan kings, and one of the most famous grave sites, that of Songtsen Gambo’s, is said to cover an area of one hundred square meters alone for its inner tomb. Furthermore, there are three tombs worthy of note, and these are the tombs of Songtsen Gambo, Chide Songzan, and Dusong Mangbujie. The tomb of Songtsen Gambo has nine chambers inside, with the main chamber being a Buddhist hall. There is a coral lamp in the middle of the hall that never runs out of light. It was said that the four corners of the great king’s tomb used to hold treasure.
  12. Taklung Monastery, a most sacred site located just 120 km north of Lhasa, is a stunning building of bright red brick that contrasts beautifully with the rich green grass surrounding it. Thousands of prayer flags attached to the building catch the wind and provide a deeply moving display of faith. The over eight hundred years old monastery has been an important seat of the Kagyu Buddhist sect. The land on which the monastery now rests was once inhabited by a famous lama named Potawa. The site has been an area of sacred and religious activity for many centuries even before the current structure was built. The townspeople who reside nearby today hold the monastery in high esteem and are deeply proud to have it as the focal point of their village. Nowadays visitors enjoy it as a place of immense spiritual and cultural significance.
  13. Canggu Nunnery, the only Buddhist nunnery in the old city of Lhasa around Barkhor Street, is very popular among local residents. The nunnery is especially famous for its underground cave, in which Srongtsen Gampo, a renowned Buddhist, once cultivated himself. Inside the cave now enshrines a statue of Srongtsen Gampo. For centuries, this ancient sacred cave has welcomed tens of thousands of pilgrims from around Tibet to pray and chant. Canggu Nunnery has unique tradition and style. It is an ideal place for female Buddhists as well as women in society to learn about Buddhism and knowledge. As a public nunnery, Canggu Nunnery focuses on passing on and promoting ceremonies and rituals of believing Goddess of Mercy and Buddha Tara.
  14. Pabonka Hermitage, one of the most ancient Buddhist sites in Lhasa, was founded by Songtsän Gampo in the 7th century. Part of Sera Monastery, it is about 8km from Lhasa in the Nyang bran Valley on the side of Mount Parasol. Pobanka means “on the top of a giant rock” in Tibetan language. It got its name due to its construction on a giant rock. It is said that it was built even earlier than the Potala Palace and Jokhang Monastery. Several of famous Tibetan kings and monks used to meditate there in different times, and Pabonka is said to be the place where Tibetan Alphabets were created.
  15. Lhasa Carpet Factory, situated at Hebalin to the east of the old city of Lhasa, is a significant tourist attraction in the holy city. The carpet factory is renowned for its beautiful and delicate Tibetan and Persian carpets, as well as the Oriental Artistic carpets. Carpet weaving is an ancient craft in Tibet. Tibetan carpet is a symbol of the traditional Tibetan arts and crafts. With over 900 years’ history, a distinctive production procedure has been formed, including spinning, dyeing, weaving and trimming and so on. Stepping into the factory, travelers can not only enjoy the elegance of this fine craft, but also appreciate the delicate weaving processes used to create each masterpiece.