Things to Do in Tibet

Tibet enchants tourists from China and abroad with its pure and untouched landscape, mysterious religious traditions and culture. Once it is mentioned, the images of snowy mountains, mirror-like lakes, splendid Potala Palace and Buddhist disciples immediately come to mind. It is vast with a sparse population accounting for one eighth of the China’s territory. Due to its high altitude, it is usually called the ‘Roof of the World’ and the ‘Third Pole of the Earth’. It boasts the world’s highest peak, the grand Mt. Everest. 

Here below are some things to do in Tibet.

Tibetan Palaces

The most famous palace in Tibet is definitely the Potala Palace, which is located in Lhasa. Another well-known palace in Tibet is Yumbulagang Palace, which is the first palace in Tibet. Besides, Norbulingka Palace, with a short distance to the southwest of Potala Palace, is also worth seeing.

1. Potala Palace

Regarded as landmark and the symbol of Tibet, Potala Palace is a great giant palace consisting of many houses, towers, chapels, etc. It is also the largest and most complete ancient palace complex in Lhasa, Tibet.

As the landmark of Tibet, Potala Palace was officially written in World Cultural Heritage List in 1994. It used to be the residence and meeting place of supreme Dalai Lamas. Perched on the Red Hill, Potala Palace juxtaposes the architectural features of palace, castle and Buddhist monastery. It is the best-preserved and largest religious complex in Tibet. A variety of dazzling treasure, Buddhist fresco, Thangka, tombs of generations of Dalai Lamas, etc can be seen inside. Unequivocally, Potala Palace serves as the treasure house of Tibetan Buddhism and culture.

2. Norbulingka palace

Like the Potala Palace, Norbulingka palace is also a UNESCO world cultural heritage located on the western outskirts of Lhasa, Tibet. Founded in the 1840s(Dalai VII), it served as the traditional summer residence of the successive Dalai Lamas, and it is a typical Tibetan style garden. After more than 200 years of expansion, the garden covers an area of 360,000 square meters and has more than 100 kinds of plants. There are not only common flowers and trees in Lhasa, but also exotic plants from the southern and northern foothills of the Himalayas. There are also rare flowers transplanted from the mainland or introduced from foreign countries. It can be called plateau botanical garden.

3. Yumbulagang palace

Perched on the summit of the Jormo Zhaxi Ceri Mountain on the east bank of the Yarlung River, Yumbulagang palace is the first palace in Tibet. It was built for the first Tibetan King by Bon believers in the 2nd century, and became the summer palace of King Songtsan Gampo and Princess Wencheng. 

Tibetan Monasteries

Buddhism is the essence of Tibet culture, and monasteries are the best place to experience Tibetan Buddhism culture. There are many monasteries in Lhasa and its surrounding areas, including Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery, Ganden Monastery, Tashilumpo Monastery, Palkor Monastery, Sakya Monastery, Rongbuk Monastery.

1. Jokhang Temple 

Jokhang Temple, located in the center of Lhasa’s old urban area, is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, built by the Tibetan King Songtsan Gampo. Lhasa has a reputation as a “holy place”, which is related to this temple.

2. Tashilumpo Monastery

Tashilhunpo Monastery is one of the Six Big Monasteries of Gelugpa(or Yellow Hat Sect) in Tibet. It is located at the foot of Drolmari(Tara’s Mountain), Shigatse. Founded by the First Dailai Lama in 1447, the monastery’s structure was expanded by the Fourth and successive Panchen Lamas. It is also the largest temple in Shigatse

Tibetan Lakes

Tibet has the largest number of lakes in China, with a total area of about 23,800 square kilometers, accounting for more than 30% of the total lake area in China. 1500 lakes in different sizes and different views scatter  between mountains and wilderness. The most famous lakes in Tibet are Namtso Lake, Yamdrok LakeManasarovar LakePangong LakeBasum Lake, Sengli Tso Lake, and so on. In Tibet, many lakes are given religious significance. Namtso, Manasarovar Lake, Yamdrok Yamtso are known as three “holy lakes” in Tibet. In addition, including Lhamo Latso Lake, which has a special status in the reincarnation system of living Buddhas of Tibetan Buddhism, Tangra Yumco Lake, a famous god lake of Bon Religion located in northern Tibet, and Cona Lake, which is a living Buddha’s “soul lake” in Amdo County.

What makes Tibetan lakes so special is their unbelievable hues of water, dazzling with turquoise and sapphire colors. Besides, each lake is surrounded snow-capped towering mountains. In Tibet, all mountains and lakes are believed to be holy and worshiped by Tibetans.

1. Namtso Lake

Namtso Lake, located in located between Damxung County of Lhasa and Bango County of Nagqu, is the largest lake in Tibet, the second largest salt water lake in China, and the world’s highest lake. The altitude of Namtso Lake is 4718 meters above sea level, and the shape is similar to rectangle. It is more than 70 kilometers from east to west, 30 kilometers from south to north, covering an area of 1920 square kilometers. 

2. Yamdrok Lake

Yamdrok, meaning “Green Jade Lake”, “Swan Lake” in Tibetan, is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, located in the southern bank of the Brahmaputra River, Ngarzhag County of Shannan City. The lake is 4441 meters above sea level, 130 kilometers long from east to west, 70 kilometers wide from north to south. The total length of shore line is 250 kilometers. The total area of 638 square kilometers is about 70 times that of West Lake in Hangzhou

3. Manasarovar Lake

Manasarovar Lake is 35 kilometers east of Burang County, Ngari region, Tibet, south of Mount Kailash. The natural scenery around the lake is very beautiful. Since ancient times, Buddhist believers have regarded it as the “world center” of the holy land, it is the second largest natural freshwater lake in China, the most transparent freshwater lake in China, and one of the three “holy lakes” in Tibet. It is also the birthplace of the four major rivers in Asia.

Tibetan Mountains

Tibet plateau is a land of mountains. There are four world class mountain ranges locates in or through Tibet – Himalaya, Gangdis, Kunlun Mountains and Karakoram, which has created 79 dominating peaks in Tibet all of which are higher than 6,000 meters. Among the mountains in the Tibet, Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world, and the most famous and most popular mountain in the world. Mount Kailash in Ngari is regarded the holy mountain, and Mount Namjagbarwa in Nyingchi is believed to be the most beautiful snow mountain in China. 

1. Mount Everest

Mount Everest(Qomolangma) is the main peak of Himalayas, which is located in the boundary between China and Nepal with its north slope in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and its south slope in Nepal. In Tibetan language, ‘Qomo’ means nymph and ‘Langma’ means the third because there are four peaks around Mount Everest and it ranked the third. As the highest peak in the world, the height of Mount Everest is 8844.43 meters according to the measurement of China’s state bureau of surveying and mapping.

The Great Himalayas would grant you the ultimate visual ecstasy. Great Himalayas, the spine of the world, consists of over 110 lofty mountains, each with an average altitude of above 7300 meters. You can even trek to the foot of Mount Everest, the world’s highest summit, and closely observe its full grandeur. It’s the highest place a tourist can reach, one of the bucket lists for all travelers.

2. Mount Kailash

The top of the mountain is 6656 meters above sea level. It is the main peak of the Gangdis Mountains in China and the second peak of the Gangdise Mountains. As one of the famous mountains in China, it is located in the northern part of Burang County, southwest of Tibet Autonomous region. It means “holy mountain” in Tibetan. At the altitude of more than 6000 meters above sea level, there are 28 modern glaciers, mainly corrie glaciers and hanging glaciers. There are more glaciers on the south slope than on the north slope.

For centuries, Mt. Kailash has been the ultimate destination for pilgrims and adventurers. Prostration is a unique way for Tibetan pilgrims to worship this holy mountain. In the pilgrimage season, pilgrims of different religions from Tibet, India, and Nepal form endless streams along the ancient kora routes. It is said that going one circle round the holy mountain can wash away all sins in an entire year.

3. Mount Namjagbarwa

Namcha Barwa or Namjagbarwa is a mountain in the Tibetan Himalaya. The traditional definition of the Himalaya extending from the Indus River to the Brahmaputra would make it the eastern anchor of the entire mountain chain, and it is the highest peak of its own section as well as Earth’s easternmost peak over 7,600 meters.

Enjoy the Train to Tibet, the World’s Highest Railway

Qinghai-Tibet Railway, stretching a total length of 2000 kilometers, bridges Inland China with Tibet. Taking train to Tibet is a popular way for people travel to Tibet. Travelers can enjoy the unparalleled plateau scenery on the way, such as snowy craggy peaks, vast prairies and steppes, alpine lakes, grazing Tibetan yaks, etc.

Tibet train is the top choice for Tibet tour. Tourists can board the train departing from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xining, etc to Lhasa. The average duration ranges from 24-45 hours. At least 7 or more days are needed for train journey to Tibet.

Venture into the Haven of Wildlife

Places too harsh for human’s survival are actual the safe haven for the wildlife. Qinghai-Tibet Plateau boasts the largest prairies in the world, esp. in its northern and western region. The boundless regions with little human presence are home to diverse wild animals. The wildlife and Tibetan nomads coexist harmoniously in these regions.

When visiting places like Qiangtang Prairie in Nagqu or wild Ngari, you will be likely to see intriguing creatures like Tibetan antelope, Tibetan wild ass, wolf, black-necked crane, vulture, musk deer and marmot, etc. If you are lucky enough, you can even spot a snow leopard running in the wilderness.

Photograph the Breathtaking Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon

Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon is undoubtedly the most magnificent one of its kind, no inferior to Colorado Grand Canyon in the US.  In Tibet, you can fully enjoy the spectacular Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, the deepest ravine on the continent. The sheer drop of the canyon measures 2258 meters on average, with the deepest area reaching 6009 meters. Diverse flora and fauna scattered around the vertical face of the canyon with snow-capped peaks above and raging torrent below will leave you in great awe.

Buy Favored Souvenirs in Barkhor Street

Barkhor Street is a traditional Tibetan shopping center, where shopkeepers with small shops and stalls on the street supply more traditional and fascinating Tibetan artifacts and handicrafts. These items include prayer flags, Buddha figures, conch-shell trumpets, rosaries, amulets, fur hats, horse bells, bridles, copper teapots, wooden bowls, inlaid knives, and jewelry inlaid with turquoise and other gems. All the handicrafts are unique designed and cheap and they are great souvenirs anyway that you can take back home. Among them, Tibetan knife is a special item that is not allowed on airplane, but you can certainly mail it to your home by express.

Classic Routes in Tibet

4 Days Lhasa City Highlights Tour
4 Days Lhasa City Highlights Small Group Tour
5 Days Lhasa and Yamdrok Lake Small Group Tour(More Lhasa Tour)

7 Days Tibet Adventure Tour to Everest Base Camp
8 Days Lhasa to Everest Base Camp Small Group Tour
9 Days Tibet Culture Tour with Mount Everest Base Camp(More Mount Everest Tour)

11 Days Tibet Kailash Pilgrimage Tour by Helicopter from Nepal
14 Days Tibet-Nepal Overland Tour with Saga Dawa Festival and Mount Kailash
15 Days Kailash and Manasarova Small Group Tour
15 Days Tibet Kailash Pilgrimage Tour from Lhasa (fly in and out via Lhasa)(More Mount Kailash Tour and Lake Manasarovar Tour)

6 Days Lhasa and Lake Namtso Small Group Tour
8 Days Tibet Cycling Tour from Lhasa to Namtso Lake(More Namtso Lake Tour)

More Tours, please click MysteriousTibet. If you want to arrange a tour, please contact our attentive consultants by Email:, or Phone: 0086-871-63511469, Wechat: 908400838, Emergency Call:+86-13668720322.