Tibet has held a surreal appeal for many Westerners for centuries. It attracts millions of travelers each year to admire its world-topping natural beauty and old religious culture. Below are Tibet's 10 most beautiful places to visit in Tibet.
1. The Potala Palace - Palace of Art
Located on the side of Marpo Ri (Red Mountain), northwest of Lhasa City, the Potala Palace is a large and impressive building complex.
Built in 637, the Potala Palace was a royal palace of King Songtsan Gampo. In 1645, Lozang Gyatso, the Great Fifth Dalai Lama reconstructed the Potala Palace, from which time the Potala Palace became the residence of the Dalai Lama and the theocratic center of Tibet.
Collected within are innumerable treasures and artworks - the Potala Palace is "the palace of art". The Potala Palace is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site that you cannot miss in Tibet.
2. Jokhang Temple - The Spiritual Center of Tibet
Built in the 7th century, Jokhang Temple is located on Barkhor Square, Lhasa. It is the supreme temple of Tibetan Buddhism and is considered the most sacred and important temple by Tibetans. Jokhang Temple is a must for the Lhasa tour.
It was built by King Songtsan Gampo for his two brides: the Tang Princess Wencheng and Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti. The temple's architectural style combines Chinese Tang Dynasty design with Indian vihara design and Nepalese design.
Both princesses brought statues of Sakyamuni from China and Nepal respectively, and the two statues were housed in Jokhang Temple.
At present the statue Princess Wencheng brought is still housed in the temple, but the statue Princess Bhrikuti brought is housed in Ramoche Temple.
3. Namtso - Heavenly Lake
Namtso is considered one of the most beautiful places in Tibet. Located in Damxung County and Baingo County, Tibet Autonomous Region, Lake Namtso is the second-largest saltwater lake in China.
Namtso means 'Heaven Lake' in Tibetan. Namtso is at an altitude of about 4,718 meters (15,479 feet) - truly a lake in the sky.
Namtso is regarded as a holy lake by Tibetan Buddhists. During the Year of the Sheep in the Tibetan calendar, believers make a pilgrimage to Lake Namtso.
There are four temples around the lake. Quiet and large Lake Namtso, next to the blue sky, with white clouds surrounding the giant snow mountains, will purge your soul whether you are a Buddhist believer or not.
Read more on 10 Most Sacred Lakes in Tibet
Contact us to tailor-make a unique Namtso tour experience.
4. Yamdrok Lake - Sacred Lake
Yamdrok Lake (Yamdrok Yumtso) is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet. Located in Nagarzê County, Shannan Prefecture, Yamdrok Lake is about 70 kilometers from Lhasa.
Yamdrok Lake means 'jade lake' in Tibetan. It is a barrier lake since glacial mud-rock flows blocked the riverway millions of years ago.
Yamdrok Lake, with a surface area of 638 km2 is about 70 times the size of West Lake in Hangzhou. It is a coral-colored lake and it is also called a coral lake.
The famous Samding Monastery, the only Tibetan monastery which is headed by a female tulku is on the southwest coast of the lake.
The unique natural scenery of Yamdrok Lake, combining lakes, islands, pasture, wild animals and plants, the monastery, snowy mountains, and blue sky, is incredibly attractive.
5. Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon - The Most Beautiful Canyon in China
The Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon is the deepest canyon in the world and is regarded as the most beautiful canyon in China.
Stretching 505 km (314 miles), the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon starts from Daduka Village, Mailing County at an altitude of 2,880 meters (9,450 feet) in the north to Pasighat Village, Mêdog County at an altitude of 115 meters (377 feet) in the south.
Its average depth is 2,268 meters (7,440 feet) and the deepest point is 6,009 meters (19,714 feet).
The Tsangpo Canyon is the biggest channel for aqueous vapor from the Indian Ocean to access the Tibet Plateau. Therefore the Tsangpo Canyon is very moist, with dense forests and various wildlife.
Combining high mountains, turning canyons, and great waterfalls, it is no doubt that the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon is an amazing natural phenomenon and a great treasure for mankind.
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6. Mt. Everest Base Camp - Get Close to the Top of the World
Mount Everest is our planet's tallest peak, and many dreams of climbing it, or just beholding it in person. However, the harsh conditions and expenses make it no more than a dream for most. The easiest way for you to get close to Everest is at Everest Base Camp on the Tibet side.
>>Read more on Mt. Everest China side vs. Nepal side
Spending a night at the base camp will bring you a once-in-a-lifetime memory. If the weather is clear, you can view the starry sky 5 km (3 miles) closer than usual.
And in the morning you can appreciate the sunrise over the top of Everest, which then looks like a golden triangle - truly beautiful!
>>Also read on Trekking to Everest Base Camp
7. Mt Kailash - Breathtaking Remote Pilgrimage Site
Mount Kailash is in remote western Tibet and is a most sacred mountain. It's the center of the world for many Tibetan people, as well as for many South Asian religious believers (Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Bons).
The mountain is snow-capped all year round, and that makes it stand majestically singled out in its high Himalayan valley.
Though the mountain is beautiful and seems suitably challenging, no one has been allowed to climb it. Instead, it has been walked around by countless pilgrims.
Every year, pilgrims from India, Nepal, Bhutan, and all over Tibet, come to Mt. Kailash to pray and show their devotion.
>>Read more on Mount Kailash Pilgrimage Trek.
8. Norbulingka - Summer Palace of Dalai Lamas
Norbulingka is located in the west of Lhasa, a short distance to the southwest of the Potala Palace. Norbulingka means 'Jeweled Park' in Tibetan.
Built in 1755, Norbulingka was the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas. Dalai Lamas would move there from the Potala Palace in summer.
Norbulingka covers an area of 36 hectares (89 acres) with 374 rooms. It is the largest garden, with the best scenery and the most historical sites, in Tibet. It has been turned into a park.
Norbulingka is an important place to celebrate the Shoton Festival, a traditional Tibetan festival. Norbulingka is free of charge at Shoton Festival, and there are various activities are held there including Tibetan drama performances.
9. Tashilhunpo Monastery - The Largest Monastery in Tibet
Tashilhunpo Monastery is located on Nyima Mountain, west of Shigatse City. It was built in 1447 by Gendun Drup, and major expansions were made by the 4th Panchen Lama.
It is one of the four Gelugpa Monasteries in Tibet. The others are Gandan Monastery, Drepung Monastery, and Sera Monastery.
Tashilhunpo Monastery is the largest monastery in Shigatse, and it can accommodate 2,000 people chanting sutras. It covers an area of 150,000 square meters (1,600,000 square feet) with white walls.
The highest statue of the Maitreya Buddha is in the Maitreya Temple of Tashilhunpo Monastery. The statue is 26.2 meters (86 feet) high.
10. Lulang Forest - Chinese 'Swiss-Alps'
Lulang means 'dragon king valley' in Tibetan. Lulang Forest is about 88 km from Bayi town in Nyingchi Prefecture, and National Road 318 runs through the forest. It is quite convenient to get there.
Lulang Forest is a typical plateau forest on mountain slopes. The mountains are covered from low to high with bushes, dragon spruce, and pine trees, composing the forest.
There is a cultivated meadow area in the middle of the forest. Rivulets wind through the meadow and some villages are scattered there. The cloud and mist gather and scatter among the mountains, forest, and villages composing beautiful scenery.
There are many other attractive places in Tibet that are worthy of visiting, such as Drepung Monastery, Samye Monastery, Sakya Monastery, Basum Lake, Manasarovar Lake, Tibet Museum, and Segrila Mountain.
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If you are interested in visiting Tibet, take a look at our most popular Tibet tour ideas for inspiration:
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