20 Photos That Will Inspire You to Tour Tibet
As if you needed convincing, here is picture proof why you should plan your next big adventure to Asia’s best kept secret, the wondrous Tibet. All these images showcase opportunities of a lifetime, so have a browse and let us know which ones inspire you to visit!
#1 Wait for the Sunrise at Potala Palace
The best angles of this palace are in the morning, as the brilliance of the sunrise makes this palace a truly magical place to be. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it offers an uplifting start to the day for all, and anyone with a camera will find the perfect angles at this time.
#2 Enjoy the dramatic Monk Debates in the Sera Monastery
With such a huge influence on the Holy community within Tibet, the Sera Monastery allows outsiders to come and experience the energy and drama that the debating monks bring. The younger monks sit and calmly answer to the senior monks as they animatedly throw religious questions at them; it is such an unusual sight to see, but there is plenty of uplifting enthusiasm from all.
#3 View the Yarlung Tsangpo Valley from Yumbulagang, Tibet’s first Royal Palace
This palace is of huge importance. In a nation with such an impressive array of historical sites and viewpoints, Yumbulagang is one of the oldest and most revered. It was built in the 2nd century BC by the first Tibetan King, and still holds many ancient relics. You can climb the mountain by foot or horseback, and gaze at the beauty that surrounds the palace, with rumbling mountains in the background, and fields and plains of green dotting the foreground.
#4 Watch the gigantic Buddha Thangka “unfolding ceremony” at the Drepung Monastery
The process of this traditional ceremony is one that cannot be missed when visiting Tibet. Starting early in the morning, the monks believe touching the Thangka of Buddha brings good luck. It unfolds around sunrise, and depicts a large painting of a Buddha himself. This is a very popular part of the trip for many people.
#5 Gaze at the five highest Himalayan Mountains at Gawu La Pass (5198m)
Here, you will have the first true glimpse of Mt Everest and its high-peak brothers. For those who make it this far, it is an unforgettable life achievement, not just for the trek itself, but the impending breath-taking views. In fact, this is the last passage you take before reaching Everest base camp. Tibet has an extremely high altitude, so embrace it, grab your camera and a decent pair of walking boots, and go!
#6 Feast upon noodles and Tibetan sweet tea at a teahouse in Lhasa
After a day of exploring and hiking up steep hills, there is nothing better than taking the weight off at one of Lhasa’s family-run teahouses. Tibetan family culture revolves around sharing pots of sweet tea, and it’s a pleasure to share one of their traditions with their visitors. Accompany your tea with some amazing, uniquely prepared noodle dishes and soak in your homey and warm surroundings.
#7 Join in the grand celebration of Tibet New Year
There is nothing more important in the Tibetan calendar year than the “Losar”. The streets are filled with dancing and singing, colourful and tasty foods are shared between families and friends, offerings are made at religious ceremonies, and animated acts are put on show for all to see. It is an amazing time to visit, and is unique to Tibet. Each year the dates change, so be sure to plan your trip accordingly!
#8 Trek to Ganden Monastery to view the enchanting Lhasa Valley
This monastery is hugely important in Tibetan culture. This is home to the religious school headed by the Dalai Lama and it has significance within the Buddhist religion. There are some stunning views of the Lhasa Valley from this monastery, but make sure you get there before the 3pm closing time.
#9 Worship the Buddha Shakyamuni inside the Jokhang Temple
Located in Barkhor Square in the centre of Lhasa, this is a must-see on your trip. It is the spiritual centre of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims, so there will be plenty of opportunities to learn how they worship. The life-sized sitting statue of Shakyamuni is the most sacred statue in Tibetan culture and it is a beautiful sight to see.
#10 Explore the bustling Barkhor Bazaar
Barkhor Street is part of the pilgrim circuit around the Jokhang Temple, and is full of life and culture. Bustling marketplaces and teahouses offer all kinds of treats and handmade goods for you to mull through and enjoy. Try your hand at haggling for a piece of artwork, or take some photos of the extraordinary merchandise on sale. Make sure you walk in a clockwise direction, like the pilgrims do!
#11 Tour the Turquoise Yamdrok Lake
The first of three Holy lakes in Tibet, the crystal turquoise lake water looks simply amazing. It is perched over four thousand metres above sea level and offers some incredible photo opportunities around sunset time. If you are there when the migration birds come, you will see the area light up with life.
#12 Photograph Mt. Everest at Rongbuk Monastery
Being the largest mountain in the world, you are bound to find a number of exquisite angles to snap Mt. Everest on your travels. Stop off at the Rongbuk Monastery on one of the routes to the mountain and be wowed by the views that meet you. This monastery is actually the highest altitude monastery in the world, so you can tick that off your list while you’re at it!
#13 Stargaze at Everest Base Camp
Having the chance to witness the cosmic beauty above you from Everest’s base camp is what many can only dream of doing. Fill millions of people’s dreams worldwide, pick your spot, set up your tripod and watch the universe spin above you in spectacular fashion. Definitely worth staying up late for!
#14 Climb on top of Kumbum Stupa to enjoy Gyantse City
Interestingly named Kumbum Stupa is found within the Palcho Monastery and reveals the Buddhist ideology of the universe. Climb the Stupa and take in the gorgeous panoramic views surrounding you, which includes the neighbouring Gyantse City.
#15 Adore the amazing views of Namtso Lake from Tashi Dor Island
This is the second Holy Lake in Tibet. If you make the trip to Tashi Dor, you will have the opportunity to stay the night near the local Monastery and feel completely at peace under the bright starlight illuminating the blue lake. It is another fantastic example of Tibet’s natural beauty.
#16 Experience the Ultimate Kora around Mt. Kailash
Getting here from Lhasa is serious commitment to understanding Tibet. The trip is long but worth it. Be part of the movement of Tibetans and others as they navigate around the tough trekking route (called a Kora). You will be overwhelmed by the beauty on show, but you will need these distractions if attempting this strenuous challenge as it reaches five-thousand metres above sea level.
#17 View holy Mt. Kailash from sacred Manasarovar Lake
This round-shaped Holy Lake, the third of three, is right next to Mt. Kailash. There are a few settlements around this area, so you will surely meet people along the way, but make sure you stop off and take a photo of the Mountain before you attempt its Kora.
#18 Bask in the beauty of the Peach Blossom Festival in Nyingchi
If you are in Tibet around March and April, you will likely have this in your itinerary. When Tibet reopens after its yearly closure, festival vibes are there to welcome you as the sun beats down and melts the snow, and peach flowers replace the winter greys. If this isn’t the epitome of spring, then I don’t know what is!
#19 Watch the horse-racing at the Nagqu Festival
Tibet loves a horse-racing festival. Traditionally dressed and decorated riders gallop their way to victory around the vast grasslands of this area, and thousands of people flock to see, setting up tents and pop-up trade shops everywhere you look. There is a party vibe in the air, and you are more than welcome to join!
#20 Trek to Advanced Base Camp to enjoy the Rongbuk Glacier
You will find yourself in awe trekking through this incredible mountainous landscape around Everest. The oxygen levels will be depleted but then again, that is why they call the Rongbuk Glacier break-taking! This is the highest point you can go without a climbing permit yet it’s the highest trek in the world. The photos you will take will be proof that this was the journey of a lifetime.