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6 Places That Will Make You Fall In Love With Tibet

A must-visit for those who want to see a more authentic China, free of skyscrapers, crazy traffic and polluted air, is heading to Tibet - a region of the Tibetan Plateau in Asia. Visiting this region is like taking a step back in time and exploring a whole other world. As the traditional homeland of Tibetan people, visiting Tibet is truly an experience like no other. Not only are the people humble, the food simple and the air clean and crisp, but as the highest region on Earth, averaging an elevation of 4,900 metres (16,000 ft). With views of Mount Everest and the region’s history dating back to the 7th Century, visitors to this region will have plenty of historic attractions to see and do. Here are six places that will make you fall head over heels in love with Tibet:

1. Lake Manasarovar

Located 2000km from the world’s largest freshwater lake of Lhasa and at the south foot of Mount Kailash, is Lake Manasarovar. This enormous lake is absolutely beautiful as on calm, windless days, it mirrors the snow capped mountains that surround it. Stretching up to 55miles (88kms) in perimeter, and being 330 feet deep it is definitely an eyeful for those who are lucky enough to see it. The lake is also an important pilgrimage for Hindus and Buddhists who bathe in the holy water during spring. It is believed that by doing so and drinking the water you be cleansed of all sins. 

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

2. Jokhang Temple

Added to the UNESCO's World Heritage list in 2000, Jokhang Temple is located in central Lhasa. Covering an area of 25,100 square meters (about six acres), it is the ultimate pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Pilgrims. Built on the former site of a lake, legend has it that the lake site was chosen after many failed attempts to build a temple in the region. Before its current location, every time a monastery was built, it would collapse (probably due to earthquakes in the area). The princess at the time turned to Wen Cheng - an educated woman - who told her to build the temple in the lake. Using 1000 goats to carry soil from the mountains, the lake was filled and leveled. Today the temple is simply a place of pilgrimage and worship.

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Source: Beautiful China

3. Mount Everest

Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world with many climbers training for years to reach its summit. Visible both from Nepal and China, seeing the mountain is breathtaking and will truly make anyone that sees it feel really small. For foreign travelers wanting to climb the mountain or visit the foot, a Tibet Entry Permit and Aliens' Travel Permit is required by the Chinese government and are permitted to travel to Mount Everest on a Chinese travel agency itinerary with a Tibetan tour guide.

4. Potala Palace

Known as the winter palace of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century is the Potala Palace. Besides being absolutely beautiful, the palace symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of Tibet. The complex itself consists of the White and Red Palaces with their ancillary buildings. The beauty and originality of the architecture the palace is like no other, and with mountains as its backdrop, it makes for an incredible site.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

5. Mount Kailash

Meaning 'Treasure or Saint of Snow Mountain' in Tibetan, Mount Kailash definitely lives up to its name. As the highest peak in the Gangdise mountain range with an altitude of over 6,600 meters (21654 ft.), the mountain is unique as its peak is very pointed and resembles a pyramid in the sky. Unfortunately, the top of this mountain is rarely seen as it is covered by clouds. Locals believe that if you are able to see the top of the mountain it is a blessing. This mountain also has a huge significants in Buddhism as the mountains rock formations create the symbol Swastika (卐) which represents the eternal power of Buddha.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

6. Barkhor Circuit

In the heart of Tibet is Barkhor circuit. For first time visitors, it can be extremely overwhelming but it is best to just follow the centrifugal tide of pilgrims. The Barkhor Circuit has various vendors selling religious photos, felt cowboy hats and electric blenders which locals use for yak-butter tea. On the west side of the courtyard, you’ll find the small Sakyapa-school Gongkar Chöde chapel with Zhambhala Lhakhang below it. The eastern side of the circuit has more shops while in the southeast corner is a wall shrine and a darchen (prayer pole). On the south side of the circuit you’ll find Gendun Choephel Memorial Hall. Multiple visits to the circuit might be needed to get a full overview of the area.


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About the author

Ji Guo is a former professional travel writer. He's started several businesses in China and was born in Tianjin. Graduated from Yale University.

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