Known as the ‘Roof of the World,’ Tibet is a unique holiday destination. With an average elevation of above 4000 meters, Tibet is one of the world's highest places inhabited by humans. Traveling to Tibet feels like a dreamlike experience.
The barren treeless landscape surrounded by stunning snow-covered Himalayan mountains, crystal clear lakes, colorful Buddhist monasteries, barley fields surrounding villages with flat-roofed houses, and lonely nomadic settlements looks straight out of a painting.
Tibet is the cradle of Tibetan Buddhism and the Bon religion. Mount Kailash, a sacred mountain to four religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Bon), lies at Tibet's heart. Lhasa, the capital of Tibet is home to some of the grandest Tibetan structures – the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Norbulingka, Drepung Monastery, etc.
Some of Tibet's well-known highlights include the north face of Mount Everest and the Qinghai-Tibet Railway (the world’s highest railway line). The Tibetan cities that one should surely visit include Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, and Tsetang. Natural wonders like the Everest Base Camp, Yamdrok Tsho Lake, Mount Kailash, and Mansarover Lake are also part of the magnificent Tibetan landscape.
The best time to visit Tibet are spring (March-May), summer (June-August), and autumn (September-November). As Tibet is a high-altitude desert, winters can be very harsh and freezing making travel impossible.
Spring and autumn months have the ideal weather conditions to make travel pleasant. The summer season is also great for traveling to Tibet as there is no rainfall during this time, unlike in most parts of Asia. Tibet lies under the Trans Himalayan rain shadow which protects it from torrential monsoon rains.
If you make your trip during early spring you can take part in the Peach Blossom Festival. During summer some of the biggest Tibetan festivals are celebrated. Summer festivals include Saga Dawa Festival, Tashilhunpo Thangka Festival, Shoton Festival, Ongkor or Harvest Festival, Gyantse Horse Racing Festival and Nagqu Horse Racing Festival.
An autumn trip will have you participating in the Gongbu New Year Festival, Palden Lhamo or Fairy festival, Buddha’s Descent Day and Tsongkhapa Butter Lamp Festival.
If you are brave enough to battle the winter chill in Tibet, you can participate in Losar or Tibetan New Year, Monlam Prayer Festival, and Butter Lantern Festival.
Filled with ancient Buddhist monasteries, palaces, and castles, Tibet is like a country that has remained suspended in time. The people have not given their culture or traditions and still hold fast to beliefs and their forefathers' values. This makes Tibet the best destination to learn about Himalayan Buddhist culture and traditions.
You can take a cultural tour to Lhasa, the cultural capital of Tibet. If you have more time you can travel to other destinations like Shigatse, Gyantse, Tsetang and Yarlung Valley. A pilgrimage tour to Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarover in the Ngari Prefecture is the ultimate spiritual journey for a Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, or Bon.
Overland 4WD Landcruiser and motorbike tours across Tibet are once in a lifetime experiences. These tours let you explore the Tibetan highlands and experience authentic Tibetan culture.
You can also enjoy a ride on the world’s world’s highest railway, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. You can enter or exit Tibet via this train. Trekking in Rongbuk to the Everest Base Camp is highly popular. For climbing enthusiasts, mountaineering expeditions to Mount Everest and Shishapangma are the ultimate climbing adventures.
You can experience the major highlights of Tibet within 4 days or a week. This will allow you to explore Lhasa and nearby areas where most of the tourist sites are located.
If you want to explore more of Tibet you need to spare at least 14 or 20 days. While cultural tours can be completed in less time, trekking, overland, and motorbike tours can stretch for 20 days or longer. Depending on where you are starting your journey Kailash Mansarover pilgrimage tour can take anywhere between 12 days to 24 days.
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I am Werner Berger and my "claim to fame" is probably best defined as being in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest person in the world to have climbed the highest mountain on each of the seven continents, including Mt. Everest.
Little did I know my life was to change forever on my first trek into the Himalaya in 1992 at age 55. It was the beginning and just a matter time before I realized I could combine my leadership and climbing skills to create a program in which people could explore their own possibilities.
So, in 2010, I began leading Transformational Life Experiences, treks to Mt. Everest Base Camp and other high places.
One of the earliest keys to success is to find a company with the right mix of professionalism, support, and, of course, experience. I have used Naba Amgai and his teams on all my Nepal trekking adventures.
Naba's caring and climber support, is second to none. In my estimation, Third Rock Adventures is one of the very best in the business, in or outside of Nepal. They know the mountains. So you can relax, enjoy and transform.
- Werner Berger