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Tibet General Information

Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. Tibet (Xizang), known as the 'Roof of the World', has become a dream destination for climbers, adventurers and regular tourists from all over the world. Visitors are guaranteed to enjoy the enthralling year-round snow, aerial mountains, mysterious religions, exotic customs and spectacular inhabitants of Tibet.


The Tibet short for 'Zang', is located in the southwest of China. The region extends along the borders of the Xinjiang, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces to the north and east and the five foreign countries of Burma, India, Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal to the south and west. Tibet covers an area of over 120 square kilometers (29,652 acres), making it the second largest region in China after the Xinjiang Province. However, due to adverse conditions, this broad land is only inhabited by 2.6 million people, giving it the smallest density of population of all the provincial administrative regions in China. Tibetans constitute over 90% of the population and spread across Tibet. Other nationalities like Han, Hui, Mongol, Menpa also inhabit the entire Tibet, but are mainly found in Lhasa, Shigatse and other cities or towns.


The physiognomy of Tibet is very complicated and varied. In the north lies a high plateau surrounded by the serial mountain ranges of Mt. Nyainqentanglha, Karakoram Mountains and Gangdise, while the huge Himalayas range extends through the south. In the east lies another smaller continuous mountain range, Mt. Hengduan, which separates Tibet from inner China. Various landscapes composed of basins, plains, canyons, valleys, lakes, rivers and glaciers form in the low areas of Tibet. Tibet is the headstream of many large rivers such as China's Yangtze, Yellow River, Yarlung Tsangpo River (Brahmaputra), Jinsha River, Nu River (Salween) and Lancang River (Mekong) and India's Indus and Ganges. Over 1500 lakes are sprinkled over Tibet, of which most are located on the northern plateau, making it the area in China with the highest lake density and earning it the reputation of being the 'Hometown of Lakes'. The Karuola Glacier is also a natural wonder that has conquered the hearts of many tourists.


History and Attractions:
Tibet has a recorded history of about 1,300 years, but its original inhabitants appeared as early as in the Paleolithic Age. Tibet is divided into 7 administrative regions, namely Lhasa, Shigatse, Shannan, Nyingchi, Chamdo, Nakchu and Ngrai. Traditionally the regions centered at Lhasa is called Usang (Front Tibet) and those at Shigatse is called Tsang (Rear Tibet), which are respectively managed by Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama.

Lhasa, as the capital of Tibet, is showcased in its dense cultural and spiritual atmosphere. It is usually the first window through which travelers discover Tibet. The grand Potala Palace on the Red Hill, the Jokhang Temple, the three greatest monasteries of Gelugpa - Drepung, Ganden and Sera, and the Tibetan Museum are always popular tourist destinations. Shigatse, the second largest city of Tibet, features the most complete natural sceneries. In this region lift Mt. Everest, the highest peak in the world, and other 4 peaks above 8,000 m. (26,247 ft.) as well as 38 peaks above 7,000 m. (22,966 ft.), earning it the laudatory title of 'The Third Pole of the World' and with a magnetic effect on mountaineers. The natural reserve here is also to the habitat of many rare plants and wild animals. Other popular tourist sites include Zhangmu Town, which is a noisy port bordering Nepal, and the Tashilhunpo Monastery, which is the throne of Panchen Lama.

Shannan, the cradle of the ancient civilization of Tibet, is the place of origin of the Tibetan legendary ancestors – a Raksasi and a monkey. The first temple of Tibet, Samye Monastery , Graveyard of Tibetan Kings, sacred Yamdrok Yumtso Lake and Lhamo Lhatso Lake, attract a continuous stream of visitors who come to appreciate or pay tribute. Nyingchi, located in the low southeast of Tibet, is a beautiful region with a mild climate. The natural sceneries include the Great Canyon of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, Bayi Town, Huge Cypress Nature Reserve, Mt. Bon-ri and its fascinating cliff sculptures. Ngari, known as 'Roof of the Roof of the World', features Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar, also known as the sacred mountain and the holy lake, which are prime destinations for pilgrims of Bon, Buddhism and Hindus. Nakchu, situated in the amazing northern plateau, is the seedbed of the early cultures of ancient Shengshong Kingdom and Bon. The traditional Kham Region Chamdo is located in the east rich land and boasts Karub Ruins of Neolithic Age, some monasteries, mountains, lakes, hot springs and other natural wonders.


Tibetans and Their Cultures:
The Tibetans are very unique and versatile people. Most of them believe in Tibetan Buddhism and worship and circumambulate around temples, shrines and other holy places. Based on their beliefs and knowledge, they have created brilliant arts and crafts like Thangka, murals, sculptures, Tibetan knives, Tibetan carpets, costumes, their own opera, calendar, medicine, language and other unique local cultures and customs. The Barkhor Street in Lhasa is a bazaar to sell all kinds of these handicrafts. The fancily dressed Tibetans are also extremely hospitable. They are eager to present Khatag, propose a toast by their festive chang and Yak Butter Tea and perform their adept singing and dancing to greet the guests, making it a really enjoyable experience to approach them.


Traveling to 'Roof of the World' is no longer just a dream. Going by road is the most common and convenient way of traveling there. With their center in Lhasa, the road line networks of Sichuan-Tibet Highway, Qinghai-Tibet Highway, Yunnan-Tibet Highway, Xinjiang-Tibet Highway and Sino-Nepal Highway connect all these neighbors with each other. It has also become possible to reach Tibet by railway or airplane. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway has built the highest railway in the world, and the Lhasa Gonggar Airport has opened airlines to Beijing, Chongqing, Chengdu, Xian, Xining, Guangzhou, Kunming, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Chamdo and Nepal and other domestic and international routes.


Nepal Time is + 5:45 of Greenwich mean time and China time is 2 hours and 15 minutes ahead of Nepal time in winter and 3 hours and 15 minutes in the summer.


Road between Kathmandu and Nyalam is bad and it can be disrupted during monsoon. Some parts above friendship bridge and above Zhangmu is not in condition to ply vehicles as such we have to walk about 3 hours above friendship bridge and above Zhangmu road about 2 hours. Porters are provided in these areas. During monsoon, if it rains heavily, road will be flooded with water between Xigatse and Gyantse, so we have to detour via Northern highway. We use Southern highway via Gyantse and Yamdrok Lake. It involves the crossing of a pass Karo - La which is 5010m high.


The food is still bad at Zhangmu and Xegar. Since there are no restaurants along the way, we advise you to take few cans of sardine, dried fruits, biscuits etc. For return journey, you can buy at Lhasa. Also you can take a cup, spoon, tea and instant soup. Every guesthouse or hotel provides a big thermos full of hot water.


The international dialling code for China (Tibet) is +85. You can try to make international calls with mixed results. Your hotel will also mail letters for you.


Tibet's electricity is 220 volts. Throughout Tibet electricity is subject to failure on occasions, so a torch is an essential piece of equipment for your tour.


Economy: - The Tibetan economy is dominated by subsistence agriculture. Due to limited arable land, the primary occupation of the Tibetan Plateau is raising livestock, such as sheep, cattle, goats, camels, yaks, dzo, and horses. The main crops grown are barley, wheat, buckwheat, rye, potatoes, and assorted fruits and vegetables. As a result of being subsistence agricultural society Tibet is ranked the lowest among China's 31 provinces, on the Human Development Index according to UN Development Programme data.


For Tibet tours please visit our tibet packages link on the website:

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