Everyone knows Tibet—at least, they think they do. The word alone conjures images of monks, meditation, and mountaintops; of blue skies, white ice, and red robes; of a spiritually pure Shangri-La. Yet, in truth, few people know the reality of 21st-century Tibet, and that’s because it is one of the least trammelled areas in the world. Getting to Tibet is difficult—the borders spend more time closed than open—but it’s not impossible. Here are some lesser-known facts about Tibet to study up on before you journey there.