Tibet, isolated on the remote Himalayan Plateau, is every traveler’s dream. It attracts millions of travelers each year to explore its unique Tibetan culture, and the pure and magnificent scenery. There are so many Buddhist buildings in Tibet due to Tibetans’ strong culture of faith. The oldest and most popular ones include Jokhang Temple, the Potala Palace, Sera Monastery, and Samye Monastery. You can also catch the sight of the crystal-like lakes, glaciers, snow-capped mountains, and grasslands.
● Chinese Name: 西藏
● Population: 3.3054 million (2016)
● Area: 1,202,189 square kilometers
● Zip code: 850000-860000
● Dialing code: (+86) 0891
● Average Altitude: above 4000 meters
● Location: in the southwest of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, between north latitude 36 ° 50 ' – 26 ° 53', and east longitude 78 ° 25 ' – 99 ° 6'
The vast Tibetan Plateau spans a large area which goes beyond the political boundaries of the Chinese autonomous region of Tibet. Tibet climate belongs to the typical high-altitude plateau climate. The weather and climate of Tibet are largely shaped by its complex terrain and atmospheric circulation. The climate of different places of Tibet varies greatly, with the temperature changing greatly in one day. It mainly consists of tropical montane humid monsoon climate, plateau temperate monsoon climate, frigid plateau monsoon climate and subfrigid monsoon climate. For more information, please see Tibet Climate.
Humans inhabited the Tibetan Plateau at least 21,000 years ago. The history of a unified Tibet begins with the rule of Songtsen Gampo (604–650 CE), who united parts of the Yarlung River Valley and founded the Tibetan Empire. He also brought in many reforms, and Tibetan power spread rapidly, creating a large and powerful empire. The Mongol Yuan dynasty, through the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs, or Xuanzheng Yuan, ruled Tibet through a top-level administrative department. Between 1346 and 1354, Tai Situ Changchub Gyaltsen toppled the Sakya and founded the Phagmodrupa Dynasty. The following 80 years saw the founding of the Gelug school (also known as Yellow Hats) by the disciples of Je Tsongkhapa, and the founding of the important Ganden, Drepung and Sera monasteries near Lhasa.
Tibetan language, belonging to the Tibeto-Burman group of the Sino-Tibetan language family, is spoken in Tibet, Qinghai, Garze and Aba Prefectures of Sichuan, Gannan Prefecture of Gansu, and Diqing Prefecture of Yunnan, as well as Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and in parts of northern India (including Sikkim). Tibetan language is mainly divided into three dialects: Weizang dialect (Lhasa dialect), Kangba dialect (Dege dialect, Qamdo dialect), and Amdo dialect (Qinghai Tibetan region). Tibetic languages are spoken by some 6 million people. For more information, please see Tibet Language.
Tibet developed a distinct culture due to its geographic and climatic conditions. While influenced by neighboring cultures from China, India, and Nepal, the Himalayan region’s remoteness and inaccessibility have preserved distinct local influences, and stimulated the development of its distinct culture. Tibetan people are the main ethnic group living on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Under the profound influence of ancient Bon Religion and Tibetan Buddhism, unique folk customs and aesthetic taste took shape. Tourists can see the panorama of Tibetan culture through Tibetan history, arts, medicine, festivals, handicrafts, architecture, foods and drinks, etc. More information about Tibet Culture.
The main religion in Tibet has been Buddhism since its outspread in the 8th century AD. The historical region of Tibet (the areas inhabited by ethnic Tibetans) is nowadays mostly comprised by the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, and partly by the provinces of Qinghai and Sichuan. Before the arrival of Buddhism, the main religion among Tibetans was an indigenous shamanic and animistic religion, Bon, which now comprises a sizeable minority and which would later influence the formation of Tibetan Buddhism. More about Tibet Religion.
Things to Do
Known as the Roof of the World, Tibet is the highest place to heaven(4900 meters). It is one of the most beautiful and magical places to visit on the planet, with natural wonder, a treasury of cultural relics and a destination of attractive adventure. Snow mountains and grasslands, scattered herds of yak and nomads on the plateau, spectacular monasteries and unsophisticated smiles, tranquil lake and transparent blue sky, all can be seen on this magic land. More information about Tibet Attractions.
With the rapid economic development of Tibet and the strong support of central government, transportation condition in Tibet has changed greatly in recent 30 years. Centered around Lhasa, a transport network has taken shape in Tibet, including highways, airlines, railroad, etc. Now, Tibet’s major cities have their own transportation systems too. While for foreign tourists, there are some restrictions on traveling to Tibet. So your vehicle has to be arranged by local travel agency. More about Tibet Transportation.
The high elevation, thin air, less precipitation, rich sunshine and high speed wind on the plateau gradually makes for the unique dietary habits of Tibetan people. Zanba, oil tea, sweet tea, beef and mutton and highland barley wine are the traditional food of them. The traditional cuisine of Tibet is Tibetan cuisine. Visitors travel to Tibet should have a taste. Tibetan cuisine is usually lite in flavor. For most cuisine, the seasonings are only salt, green onion and garlic. Most of the restaurant in Tibet now also sell Sichuan cuisines with Tibetan features. Some restaurant also sell western food and perform Tibetan singing and dancing. More about Tibet Dining.
Festivals and Activities
There are over twenty festivals throughout the year in Tibet. The festivals are the time for people to get together, dancing and singing. Tibetan folk songs and dances are an indispensable part of every Tibetans’ life, especially during festivals or important events. Nowadays, the festivals also celebrated for folk-custom and entertainment. Among them, Tibetan New Year, Butter Lamp Festival, Monlam Prayer Festival, Saga Dawa, Shoton Festival, Horse Racing Festival, Bathing Festival, Onkor/Harvest Festival are the famous festivals in Tibet. More about Tibet Festivals and Activities.