Visit the land of the gods at 3.600 meter altitude
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It's officially part of China, though the Tibetans would beg to differ. Whoever it belongs to, it's a special place with a very unique culture.
It's situated in one of the most rugged areas of the Himalayas. Tibet is more than an intriguing place, it’s cultural, with lots of temples and typical architecture, an abundance of traditional clothing, and a lot of music and dance on display.
But Tibet also has a very interesting cuisine, with yak meat and dzo (a hybrid between a yak and a cow), cheese and yoghurt. These are often served with salt and tea. No sugar, because at this altitude the body needs salt.
This is also the country of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism. All these aspects come together in a landscape that will make your jaw drop. The extreme terrain of the Himalayas makes Tibet a unique destination.
In countless places you have a view of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. Because of this extremely high mountain, Tibet is called the roof of the world. And when you're here you want to see the highest mountain in the world, right?
Various excursions are organised from Lhasa to see the mountain. This can be in combination with a walk, for example. So that you really experience the environment.
You can walk across the plateau to Rongbuk, where the famous highest monastery in the world is located, and you can see the Rongbuk glacier and the historic British Everest expeditions base camp.
Just like in Nepal you'll find a Mount Everest’s base camp. This one is more quiet, but experts say the area is just as beautiful.
Lhasa is a famous city. It is the political and spiritual center of Tibet. The city has developed into a place for tourists in recent years. With many good accommodations in all price ranges and many restaurants. It is also the only place where you can walk around without a guide in Tibet.
When you arrive in Tibet, it is usually in Lhasa. And so you can acclimatise well here and get used to the environment. Don't forget to visit the cozy Barkhor Square and the Jokhang Temple.
Potala is a world famous palace on the outskirts of Lhasa. It was the winter palace of the Dalai Lama's until the fourteenth Dalai Lama had to move into exile to India. The palace is 13 stories high and 117 meters high. It has as many as 1,100 rooms.
The White Palace is the most famous part of Potala. It was built in 1648. This is where the Dalai Lama lived. If you visit the palace you can see how they lived, although the rooms are not really furnished. The Red Palace was completed in 1694. This is also very impressive.
As a tourist you can visit Potala Palace. You will be amazed by the many prayer rooms, the chapels and the stupas. For this you have to arrange an entrance ticket in advance. The Potala Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you see Potala you will understand why.
The Kailash is the most sacred mountain in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. For Buddhists, Kailash is the domain of the Buddha Demchok. Hindus, on the other hand, believe that the mountain is the home of Shiva.
The mountain is no less than 6,718 meters high. And looks like an immense pyramid. The mountain can be easily seen from the G219, one of the national roads in China. But you can also take one of the most popular hikes here.
The tour around the mountain is very popular with pilgrims. They mostly do this trek in a day. And as a tourist you can also hike it. Most people take three days for it. It's not a tough trek. You can spend the night in traditional nomad tents, but also in a monastery or guesthouse.
Lake Manla is the first dam in Tibet. It lies at an altitude of no less than 4,200 meters. It is a popular stop because of the azure blue colour of the water. You also see many Tibetan flags. You can find this lake in the village of Longma about 113 kilometers from Shigatse.
Shigatse is Tibet's second city. It is best known for the impressive Tashilhunpo Monastery that towers over the city. It was built in 1447 and is the home of the Pänchen lama. This is the highest spiritual leader in Tibet after the Dalai Lama.
Samye Monastery was the first monastery in Tibet. It was built in the year 775 and is still in good condition. You can visit the Samye monastery. It is best to do this with a Tibetan guide.
The Chinese guides do have (some) knowledge, but it is different. Keep in mind that you are not allowed to take photos during a visit. Make sure you always walk clockwise. Samye Monastery is located 170 kilometers from Lhasa.
The easiest way is to book a complete tour through Tibet. This is mostly done for a group trip. But it is also possible to visit Tibet with a private guide with driver. It will give you much more freedom.
You can easily stop for a photo for instance. The price differences are not too big, if you look at what you get in return.