Top 10 Attractions in Tibet

Tibet owns the highest mountain in the world- Mount Qomolangma, the highest river- the Yarlung Zangbo River, the highest lake- Namtso Lake, and the city of sunshine- Lhasa. The beautiful plateau scenery, Tibetan folk and Buddhist culture attract tourists from all over the world. Here, we have compiled a list of 10 must-see places in Tibet for your reference and budget on your trip to Tibet.

10 Must-see Places in Tibet

The Potala Palace in Lhasa

The Potala Palace is a symbol and landmark of Tibet. Originally built by King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century, Potala Palace is located on the Red Hill of Lhasa. The magnificent white and red building complex, lined with green mountains and blue sky, is an iconic image of the Roof of the World. It is a huge treasure trove of Tibetan history, religion, culture and art. Potala Palace is well-known for its precious sculptures, Buddhist statues, murals, antiques and religious jewelry. Potala palace is the holy place of Tibetan Buddhism as well. Every year there are countless pilgrims and tourists. Potala Palace is suitable to visit all the year round, so during the peak season of Tibet from April to October, especially from June to September, tourists should queue to visit because of the limit of travelers, to protect the building complex. 

Mount Everest in Shigatse

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. Every year, a lot of people head to Everest Base Camp to enjoy the beatiful view of Mount Everest. Tourist can go to Everest Base Camp all the year round, but you are suggested to avoid the rainy season from June to September, because you may not see the full picture of mount Everest. In winter, due to fewer visitors and low temperature, tent hotels at Everest Base Camp are evacuated. In this case, you can stay at Rongbuk Monastery for overnight. In addition, as the pilgrimage site for mountaineering enthusiasts from all around the world, many professional or non-professional mountaineers succeeded in climbing to the top of Mount Everest up to now. Although climbing such a high peak will face many difficulties and challenges, even so, thousands of climbers go to Mount Everest every year to conquer the world’s highest peak.

Jokhang Temple in Lhasa

Jokhang Temple, together with the Potala Palace is the must see in Lhasa. Jokhang Temple, located in the center of the city, is the true spiritual heart of Lhasa. Jokhang temple is the most sacred temple in Tibet, with an otherworldly mix of butter lamps, wafting incense and prostrating pilgrims. It is is listed in the World Cultural Heritages with Potala Palace and Norbulingka. Visiting Jokhang Temple for a real discovery tour in the mysterious and sacred land, you can get close to the religious part of Tibet and experience the devotion of Tibetans. The Jokhang Temple complex includes several decorated shrines and rooms. The main hall of the temple houses the Jowo Shakyamuni Buddha statue, perhaps the most revered figure of Buddha in Tibetan Buddhism. There are also famous statues including Chenresig, Padmasambhava, as well as King Songtsan Gambo and his two famous foreign brides, Princess Wencheng (niece of Emperor Taizong of Tang Dynasty) and Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal.

Namtso Lake 

Namtso Lake, located in located between Damxung County of Lhasa and Bango County of Nagqu, is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet and the highest lake in the world. The altitude of Namtso Lake is 4718 meters above sea level, and the shape is similar to rectangle. With the stunning scenery of Namtso Lake, tourists can not only enjoy the attractive view of lake with turquoise water, but also experience the beauty and mystery of surrounding hills. Namtso lake nourishes lush water grass, is a natural pasture which can graze. In early summer, flocks of wild ducks come to roost and breed. Wild yaks and many other wild animals are also often seen here. For travelers, Namtso is the ideal place for photography, while for Tibetans, it is a scared and magical lake for pilgrimage. Every year, a large number of pilgrims make a Kora around Namtso Lake. Note that Namtso lake is frozen in winter and not available to visit until May every year, because the road is closed by snow. 

Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon in Nyingchi

The Yarlung Zangbo River, the highest river in the world, suddenly turns south in Mainling county, splitting the Himalayas in two. The river then passes through a narrow channel between the 7,000-meter peaks of Namcha Barwa and Gyala Peri, forming the world’s deepest, narrowest and longest canyon- the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, with a total length of 496 kilometers and an average depth of more than 5,000 meters. The diversity of the vertical climatic zone distributed in the canyon determines its vertical distribution of diversified vegetation and numerous wild animals. Nearly 5,000 species of plants have been found here. The grand canyon contains all representative animals from the north and the south. It is known as the natural botanical garden, natural zoo, plant gene bank, etc. In the deepest part of  the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, the Menba and Luoba people live a primitive life in this pure land.

Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse

Tashilhunpo Monastery is one of the must-see attractions on the way to Everest Base Camp from Lhasa via Shigatse. Tashilhunpo Monastery, a monastery of Panchen, is one of the six major monasteries of Shamanism. It has both religious and political functions, and is the administrative core of Shigatse and even Tsang area. It is the largest monastery of Gelu sect of Tibetan Buddhism in Tsang area and the major activity place for Panchen Lama. Besides, Tashilhunpo Festival, also known as Buddha Exhibition Festival in Tashilhunpo Monastery enjoys high popularity among local Tibetans and tourists. The festival lasts for 3 days in the middle of the 5th lunar Tibetan month, probably in July of Gregorian calendar. 

Barkhor Street in Lhasa

Barkhor Street is the famous circumanbulation and commercial center in Lhasa, which has preserved the ancient city full of traditional outlook and lifestyle. The street was once a single pilgrimage road around Jokhang Temple. The Tibetans called it “Holy Road”. Today, there are many featured shops, bars and restaurants on the street, attracting a lot of tourists. 

Barkhor Street is a traditional Tibetan shopping center, where shopkeepers with small shops and stores 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 specially designed and they are great souvenirs anyway that you can take back home, but don’t take the expensive items. Exotic Tibetan opera masks and costumes are really attractive. Brightly colored, beautifully homespun Tibetan rugs and khaddar are also popular souvenirs. 

Yamdrok Lake in Shannan

Yamdrok lake is the largest inland river lake in the northern Himalayas and is known as one of the sacred lakes in Tibet. Yamdrok lake is the nearest lake to Lhasa, only 2-3 hours’ drive from Lhasa. Unlike Namtso Lake, Yamdrok can be visited all year round. The lake is partly frozen in winter. It gets its water from the surrounding snow mountains, and there is no outlet for the lake. Visitors can see a panoramic view of the lake from the Gambala Mountain pass. With the arrival of winter every year, a large number of migratory birds, such as swans and spotted eagles, will fly to this largest bird habitat in Tibet. In addition, Yamdrok is Tibet’s largest freshwater lake and home to the world’s highest hydroelectric power plant at sea level. Although the plant’s construction is controversial, it has played a huge role as the region’s main source of electricity. Usually, when travelling from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp via Shigatse, you will pass through Yamdrok Lake and stay there for a while. 

Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarova in Ngari

As one of the famous mountains in China, Mount Kailash 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. You can enjoy the magnificent scenery of Mount Kailash in the clear days. In addition, Mount Kailash is considered to be sacred in four religions: Bon, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. Every year thousands of religious people make pilgrimages devoutly around it. You may also join our Mount Kailash Pilgrimage Tours to trek around Mount Kailash. 

Manasarova Lake is a must-see scenic spot in western Tibet. It is also the holy lake of Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism. Among the three sacred lakes in Tibet, Lake Manasarova has its special position because it is the closest lake to Mount Kailash, the cosmic center revered by Tibetan Buddhist and Hindu. Pilgrims believe that Lake Manasarova is the holy water given by Buddha, which can not only remove the filth of human beings, but also purify the soul and prolong life. For the ordinary visitors, Lake Manasarova is a lake not to be missed. The lake is said to be the most transparent, and the clear water, stunning clouds and sacred prayer flags are sure to blow you away.

The Friendship Highway/China-Nepal Highway

The Friendship Highway/China-Nepal Highway from Lhasa and Kathmandu is one of the most popular tourist routes in Tibet. It involves 3 major urban centers of Lhasa, Shigatse and Gyantse, as well as other important attractions such as Sakya Monastery, Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier and Mount Qomolangma. Going along the 318 national highway(a part of the Friendship Highway) from Lhasa, the scenery on both sides is charming. No matter the snow mountain in the distance, or the lush forest and vast grassland by the road, let a person linger on to forget to return.