Tibet is a wish-list destination for many travelers from all over the world. But do you really know what to do in your Tibet tour or where to go for the most authentic travel experience? In this post, I’ll introduce top eight things and places for you to explore Tibetan local life and culture.
1. Find a good angle to snap the Potala Palace
Take out 50 yuan to see the back, what would you find? Yeah, it is the Potala Palace, the landmark of Tibet. No doubt that the picture spot of Jag Pori is one of the best points for most tourists to capture the beauty of this majestic architecture.
But for the professional photographers to Tibet, I’d like bring them to Potala Palace Square and Dragon King Lake for the spectacular reflections of Potala Palace. Set off by green mountain and wetland, the photos of Potala Palace taken in Lalu Wetland is more breathtaking than those in any other places. While passing through Sichuan-Tibet Highway Bridge over Lhasa River, you will be able to catch a panoramic view of Potala Palace surrounded by lofty mountains. Particularly, under the bright sunshine, the red, blue and white contrast with each other, offering you a visual feast!
Most Recommended Tour Itinerary: 11 Days Tibet Photography Tour
2. Take a sip of Tibetan Sweet Tea
Located in the Danjielin Road , Guangming Gangqiongtian Tea House is one of the favorite sweet tea houses for Lhasa people. Here you can not only taste the most authentic sweet tea but also explore the real folk life in Lhasa.
But here I wanna take you to another special Tibet tea house – Cang Gu Si Tian ChaGuan. Cang Gu Si, also called as Ani Tsangkung Nunnery, has great influence among the locals. In addition to the nunnery itself, Cang Gu Si also operates other business, like the clinic, teahouse, shops and stores. However, those subsidiaries are not run for profits. In this lovely Tibetan nunnery, you can try some tasty local foods at a very reasonable price. Meanwhile, the servants here are the nuns inside, which makes your Tibet tour more special!
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3. Experience Tibetan pilgrims’ religious life
Of course, most visitors would pay a visit to Jokhang Monastery, the religious center of Tibet. Basking in front of the temple, you must be touched by the devout pilgrims who prostrate themselves day and night.
But for those who are interested in Tibetan Buddhism, I’m gonna introduce another monastery to them – Drak Yerpa. Drak Yerpa Monastery, one of the four holiest retreats in Tibet, has already had more than 1500 years of history. Up to now, some practitioners are still doing the medication in the caves. The whole temple is built along the mountain with one half exposing outside and the other half embedded in the caves. With colorful prayer flags floating in the wind, the stairway leading to the temple is steep and narrow. After visiting Drak Yerpa Monastery, I believe that to some extend, you have already understood pilgrims’ devotion and hardship.
Most Recommeded Tour Itineray: 5 Days Lhasa Tour and Pilgrimage Trekking Path
4. Taste authentic Tibetan foods
Snowland Restaurant is quite popular among the locals. The dried yak meat and highland barley wine are really good. If you want to taste some authentic Tibetan flavor, coming here couldn’t be wrong.
In this post, I’d like to show you another way to enjoy Tibetan foods, that is, having picnic in Linka. Linka means garden or park in Tibetan language. The so-called enjoying Linka is similar to picnic in the park, which is one of the most popular ways for Tibetans to kill their leisure time. And the best time to experience Linka Festival is July and August. During this period, many Tibetans would dress in their beautiful costumes and bring highland barley wine, tsampa and other delicious foods to Linkas nearby. Chances are that you’ll be invited by the hospitable host to their tents and share Linka foods altogether.
Most Recommended Tour Itinerary: 6 Days Lhasa and Countryside Life Discovery Tour
5. Experience the slow life on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Most travelers would choose to go to Dunsusekang to explore the love story between the six Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso and the young girl Makye Ame. This two-storey yellow building which is said to be the residence of Makye Ame has already converted into a restaurant, attracting flocks of tourists at home and broad.
If time allows, I still suggest you to try to have a ride along Lhasa River. Lying in the south of Lhasa city, Lhasa River is not so spectacular as other tourist attractions in Tibet but it does give you a very comfortable feeling. A fresh breeze puffing across the river, you can ride the bike at your own space to explore the ancient Lhasa city.
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6. Try to communicate with the local monks
Witnessing monks debating at Sera Monastery is one of the highlights in Tibet tour you shouldn’t miss out. This philosophical debates of Tibetan Buddhism is a very famous religious activity on the roof of the world. Without knowing Tibetan language you won’t understand what’s being said, but you still can feel their loyalty to the faith via the gestures and facial expressions.
Besides, you’re strongly advised to pay a visit to Grashi Monastery, the only monastery for the god of wealth in Tibet. Relatively speaking, Zaki Temple is a small temple in Lhasa but still holds a very important position in Tibetans’ minds. Whenever you come, especially on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the small yard is packed with the crowds. You can go with the locals to the second floor. There is a bamboo tube filled with fortune-telling sticks. Just do as the Tibetans do. According to Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, the monk would tell you what is being said on the stick. Some monks you encountered may not speak English but no worries. Our seasoned tour guide can help you out! Please feel free to contact us to customize your own trip to Tibet!
7.Roam around Lhasa City
Many tourists would take the Barkhor Kora. Centered on Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street is a commercial street as well as a pilgrim circuit. Here you’ll see swarms of religious believers circumambulating this street in a clockwise direction. Just follow their footsteps and make your own spiritual journey to Tibet!
And another place I wanna recommend you to go is the flea market in the sun island. Most people would think that it’s a commercial district designed for tourists. But in fact, if you are keen on some unique gadgets, this flea market is really worth your coming. Some items sold here is more attractive than those souvenirs in the Barkhor Street.
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8. Spend the days like local Tibetans do
Tibet has a wide range of accommodation, varying from cheap guesthouses to luxury five star hotels. Aiming to experience local customs, most people would choose to live in the Tibetan folk houses. Lhasa Pangdasang Compoud, the most well-preserved Tibetan mansion, is a good option for you to stay for nights.
And participating in the Tibetan festivals is another awesome way to explore Tibetan culture and traditions. Many interesting festivals would fall in August, among which the most distinctive one is Lhasa Shoton Festival. Shoton in Tibetan means yogurt banquet. Since traditional Tibetan opera would be performed in this period, it’s also called as Tibetan Opera Festival. Besides, tourists can also take part in various folk activities like appreciating Buddha paintings, watching wonderful yak racing and horsemanship, etc.
Most Recommended Tour Itinerary: 6 Days Shoton Festival Experience Tour
Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is a fantastic area open for exploration and adventure. The best way to find out what I have talked above is getting to Tibet by yourself! If you’ve been to Tibet before, is there interesting experience you want to share with us? Let me know in the comments below!