Tibet is located in East Asia, southwest of the central Qinghai plateau. It is one of the five autonomous regions of the People's Republic of China and borders India, Nepal, Sikkim and Myanmar. In October 1950 Mao Zedong's communist troops occupied Tibet under the pretext of liberating the Tibetan people from imperialist oppression. In March 1959, the continuous protests against the occupation resulted in an armed rebellion against the Chinese communists which was reinforced by the American secret service. The rebellion was broken and as a result of it many buildings were destroyed and thousands of Tibetans killed in the fighting and forced into exile in neighbouring countries, as happened with the figure most representative of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama, who has resided in Dharamshala since then. A tour of Tibet will remind you of the nations struggle throughout the 20th century and open your eyes to its fascinating culture and traditions.
The Autonomous Region of Tibet is known as the "Roof of the World" as it’s territory has an average height of over 4000 metres and it is home to the mountain ranges of Kunlun, Gangdise, Hengduan and the Himalayas on the border with Nepal, where the famous Qomolangma, the highest peak on the planet is located, known as Everest in the West. In the Tibetan Plateau, there are more than 1500 lakes, where important rivers are born such as the Ganges, the Indus, the Yellow and the Mekong. Here you will find one of the deepest and longest canyons in the world and the most important river in the country, the Yarlung Zangbo.3.2 million inhabitants live in the region, which is divided in the prefecture city of Lhasa composed of 6 zones; 1 city district and 76 districts. Its climate is cold, dry and sunny. Low temperatures are frequent in the western regions where there is desert tundra with little vegetation. In the eastern part of Tibet, there are high temperatures in the summer and freezing weather in winter.
Tibet is home to 47 nature reserves that house meadows and spruce forests along with 855 species of plants and 142 mammals, among which are the long-tailed langur, the macaque, the wild buffalo, chamois, leopard, cheetah, black bear, cat wild, the lesser panda, the red panda, the yak, the lynx, the blue goat and the snow leopard. A holiday to Tibet is the perfect choice for nature lovers. The economy is based on subsistence agriculture because there is very little land suitable for ploughing. The main occupation of inhabitants of the plateau is breeding of sheep, cows, goats, camels, yaks and horses.
Tourism is growing in the region, although, like Bhutan, you can not travel to Tibet freely, only through government-authorised travel agencies that sell complete packages which include accommodation, food, excursions, guide and driver service.
The architecture of the dzongs or palace-fortresses is spectacular. Chinese and Indian influences are evident and these imposing buildings respect the symmetry of nature and are located on rocky cliffs and mountains appearing to have emerged from the landscape. They have flat wooden or bamboo roofs with parapets and decorated eaves. The walls of stone and brick are slightly inclined inwards, and they have few or no windows in the lower floors and white walls with a coloured band in the upper area. Columns and wooden beams form galleries and are arranged around one or more patios crowned by defence towers. The quintessential example of the dzong is the Potala Palace in Lhasa, an unmissable sight on a package holiday to Tibet.
When you travel to Tibet you will see the purest landscapes in the world, characterised by its snows, valleys deep, green leafy forests, radiant blue skies, sacred lakes, gigantic mountains and extensive ochre plains, all adorned by the vibrant tones of the prayer flags that flutter in the wind to spread good wishes. Travelling to Tibet means delving into the Buddhist religion that is the foundation of the daily life of the Tibetan people, which despite suffering, claim their identity and struggle to preserve their customs, their culture and their values.
Tibet is a desired destination for any traveller. It has always been a place that has aroused great enthusiasm and interest, perhaps because it is one of the most inaccessible and mystical nations on the planet. It is inhabited by affable people, who show their hospitality by always receiving visitors with smiles and good words.
A visit to Tibet will take you on a spiritual journey to the heart of the Himalayas to learn to see life from a different point of view and gain experiences that will remain in your memory for a lifetime. Tibet has a magical atmosphere that is attractive to all intrepid travellers.