Tibet’s top 20 travel experience in this blog post is as per the recommendation in the latest edition of Lonely planet Tibet edition 2015. I truly suggest every travelers at-least the most out of limitation your tour itinerary gives. Before proceeding I would like to remind travelers to read my previous post about what travelers expect and what is the reality of Tibet tourism. Beside all the draw backs, Tibet is still a very unique and its worth traveling to Tibet once in some years.
Traveling to this remote region is truly a blessing. Billions of Buddhist and Hindus believes the regions most popular Mount Kailash and Manasarovar Lake as the holiest pilgrims destination. During your visit you will observe the religious rituals of two most influential religion in Asia.
Hindu believes Mount Kailash as the realm of Lord Shiva and the four sided pillar of the world. Manasarovar lake is also believe to have create my the lord of the lords and creator of universe the lord Bharman. Visiting once in the life time, circumambulating the Mount Kailash and dripping in the Manasarovar lake erases all the sins of life time.
Buddhist believes the mount Kailash is the resident of lord Dhamchok who represent the supreme bliss.
The region is also the source of four major rivers in Asia and source of drinking water for one fourth of world populations.
The fascinating microcosm of Tibet. Barkhor is also the most popular destination in Lhasa. its always recommend for travelers to wander around the Barkhor Circuit, you will never know what you will come across. follow the tide of Tibetan pilgrims circumambulating the circuit, your smiling face will really do the wonders. its good to prepare some gifts from home these strangers.
Many travelers end up being a family visitor and then become friends. Just follow your heart with the echo of a rhythm of mantra recited by Tibetans, it will do wanders.
It lies in the heart to Barkhor Circuit. The seventh century build Temple, the heart and soul of Tibetan Buddhism. Walk into the dark chamber and small chapel fill with the scent of incenses and butter lamp illuminating the century old statue of Buddha. walk with some local devotees and observe the trance of devotions.
Observe the every detail in the main chapel, the pillar are the Nepalese style. Look at the lions crafted on the side roof, you will see some human faces snow lions. find a extra ordinary calmness beside the noise of prayers and mummer of Mantras and prayers.
Go to the roof top for spectacular view of Potala from distances. and take some times for self exploration, get lost in the Temple and you will surely come out different person after some minutes of 14 century experience.
4) View of Mount Everest,
The view of Mount Everest from Tibet is one of most popular reason behind many travelers visiting Tibet. From Tibet side, the Mount Everest is more accessible as there is a motor able road till the base camp. Where as Nepal side takes about a week of trekking.
The view is Majestic Everest with the combination of either prayers flags of Rongbuk Monastery or the tent Hostels is just breath taking, and it will sure make you stop for a second look.
and don’t forget the glimpse of Sun shine over the Everest.
The holiest month for all the Buddhist around the globe. Tibetan from the near by towns and cities would gather in Lhasa city. This is the month, We dedicated to the religious practice. the most popular practices is going to pilgrimage to the holy site, Making offering to Higher realm and people who are little miss-fortunate then one self and going for circumambulation.
Where every you go in Tibet, you will seeing the religious practice and rituals. If you are in Lhasa, do not forget to go for Barkhor kora in the evening, you will see thousands of people prostrating around the street, If you are Buddhist or if you want to act generous you can make offering to water, and candy for these tried prostrators. In the morning you can go for 8 Km Lingkor circumambulation, the lingkor circumambulation is the circumambulation around the traditional city of Lhasa or Tibetan quarter of Lhasa city. Or Traveling west to Kailash is also a very good.
This eight century build monastery is the first monastery in Tibet. The three storey building has got inspiration from Tibetan, Chinese and Indian Architect. The main temple is surrounded by the four different color of stupa with different shape.
The monastery is located in a semi deserted area. which is a bonus to the marvelous eight-century building. If you are visiting the monastery please consider staying in town for a night for exploration of Chimpuk Hermit.
The architecture wander of the 20th Century in the surface of Tibet. Most delightful means to reach the Holy city of Lhasa. If your are traveling to Tibet in Train, do not forget to pull up your window for the beautiful view of Lake kokonor on the left side. spot a doted yak and nomad tent on the highest plan in the world. As the altitude gradually increase you may had to take oxygen supply at the 5072 Meter train station (The highest train Station in the world) in Tibet.
Two of the three biggest spiritual center in Tibet. The visit to these two monastery will given you a very deep understand in the monastic life of Tibetan monks. Visit to Sera monastery in the afternoon to see the monks debating. Go for Kora of both monastery for beautiful view of the Lhasa city and the Lhasa Valley. Sit in Silent in the main chapel to observe the divination of pilgrims. Observe the architecture of the buildings and large statues of Buddha.
Soaring above the old Lhasa city, the grand Potala Palace is the truly an architecture marvels of Tibetan Civilization. Visit to the Palace is must. The Traditional home for Tibetan rulers and Dalai Lamas. The palace contains the tomb stupa’s of Dalai Lamas and chambers of Dalai Lamas. It is truly a concentrated spiritual and materiel wealth of Tibet.
10) Yak Butter Tea.
The Yak butter tea is one of must try while in Tibet. Some prefer to call it the soup for thickness of flavor. It is a favorite drink of Tibetan, we drink it every morning. When we dont drink this tea, we would feel we are not home. But please remember the Tibetan Yak butter tea is salty.
11) Gyantse Kumbum
This unique Tibetan Buddhist Stupa is one of kind in entire Himalaya. As you spiral around and up the snail shell shape structure, you will pass by the very unique mural in the walls and gradually you will get the medieval view of Gyantse town. Do not forget to explore the Ancient part of the Gyantse town.
12) The Ganden Monastery
Two hours drive east of the Lhasa city brings you to the Ganden Monastery. The Monastery lying on top of the amphitheatical valley gives you a very good view of Kichu River Valley, Doing Kora of a monastery gives you a very good experience of trekking in this high altitude.
The monastery is the principle monastery yellow head sect of Tibetan Buddhism. it also houses the Tomb stupa of Je Tsongkhapa, the founder of yellow hat sect.
Where every you go in Tibet, you will find a local Tibet circumambulating the Monastery, temples, city, Mountain and even entire lake (Holy lake like Namtso Lake). There will have prayer wheel, or Malas in their hand. Some of the few thing we might find strange are; rubbing Back on well polish stone at the path of Kora. Monks giving predictions of the future for some alms. Beautiful rock craving and paintings. You will find a different Eco system of devotion and loving kindness. Some times you may get invitation to join locals for tea or some eatables. Some lucky even gets a beautiful gifts from locals. if you really want to explore the local life and be with local Tibet go for Kora of Monasteries. Plus going for Kora in the morning gives you superb chance to take a great picture smile of devotions.
14) Adding your prayer flags on the high mountain pass
The tradition of prayer flags comes from the ancient shamanic religion of Tibet called Bon. It is believed, as the wind blows on the flag, it would bring prayers print every corner of the mother nature and in return it would bring us good luck.
Some times when you are crossing the pass, Your driver or guide might shout SO SO SO. This is final act in making full procedure of wind horse ritual. Normally, we put the flag and burn for incense and throw some Tsampa (roasted braley flour ) in the Air, we would shout SO SO SO. Join your guide and driver and do SO SO SO. you can bring your own prayer flags and put it on the passes. this would really bring a lots of positive energy and good karma.
15) Sakya Monastery
25 Km detour from the Friendship high way brings you to the Sakya Monastery. The drive from the High way to the Sakya town it self is very impressive. Once at the Sakya town, it will make you feel like you are in the different Tibet. All grey walls with the stripes. The Monastery it self looks like a medieval fort kingdom. It has a high wall surrounding the monastery with the watch towers on four corner. Once inside Main Chapel, the trunk size pillar, ancient relics and three storey high collection of rare Tibet scripture will sure bless you.
Do not forget to take a walk on the surrounding walls. it will surely bring you and your camera back to the medieval days.
16) Namtso Lake
250 km north of Lhasa brings you to Namtso Lake. the heavenly lake. The lake is surrounded by the snow capped mountians with the deep blue color of water. It is said the Half of the lake is salty and other half in a fresh. The area where the tourist vehicle may become little crowded with tourist. There is a hill where Tibetans go for Kora, little exploration could bring you to the side of hill containing the per historical wall painting on stones.
staying for a night at the lake is highly recommend, you can choose to champ for a night or stay in a local guest house (with low facilities). In the early morning in dusk, The sun shine over the lake is truly a heavenly. Try to go for a Kora with the pilgrims.
The forgotten and abandoned kingdom in the west Tibet. The Kingdom was once a very prosperous kingdom and it enjoy the great benefit of silk route trade. The visit to the Kingdom is much different then Lhasa and central Tibet. The kingdom also has a unique blend of Buddhist Art, and it is clear a very visible in your exploration. You will have an ancient cave town entirely for your exploration.
18) Ngan Tso & Riwok Tso
These are the twin lake just by the Sichuan-Tibet High way. Situated 3850 Meters above sea level, surrounded by the chain of mountains and forest. The lakes has become a very popular destination for overlanders from China.
19) Ganden Samye Trek
This is the most popular trekking route in Tibet. You will be trekking between two famous monastery. you will cross camps of nomads. some beautiful Lakes, above 5000 meter pass and the Guru Rinpoche hermit.
Many popular travel website and guide book consider this trekking as four days trekking but i would recommend you to do it for five days. plus one day stay and experiences the nomad life for a day.
20) Friend ship high way: Lhasa to Kathmandu.
This is the most popular tour route in Tibet tourism. This overland journey take you to the most beautiful villages in Tibet. stunning view of Mount Everest and other mount in Himalayan ranges, as you will drive west to drive into Nepal. You can visit the Everest base camp for a impressive of majestic mount Everest.haIf you.
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