The Tibetan Plateau high in the Himalayas is a place of contrasts. The Tibetan people are well known for their friendliness and hospitality, despite brutal treatment by the ruling Chinese who have annexed the area. While Tibet might be an area of superb natural beauty you won’t get to see it alone, as the Chinese insist on all visitors to Tibet being accompanied by a guide.

Most ways in to Tibet will bring you to the capital, Lhasa. Tourists are allowed a little freedom here and can explore the main area without a guide. The highlight of the capital is the Potala Palace, a towering complex of buildings made even more impressive by being built on a mountaintop. The palace was built as the home of the Dalai Lamas and is one of the most important places in Tibetan Buddhism, with several chapels, ceremonial halls and the tombs of earlier Lamas.

The main route for many Tibetan visitors is the Friendship Highway, which leads overland to the Nepali capital Kathmandu. On the way you’ll pass beautiful mountain lakes, ancient monasteries and have the option to visit Everest Base Camp. It is possible to drive most of the way to the base camp, but those wishing to experience the wilderness of the Himalayas should attempt to trek on foot.

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Read more on Tibet below with flight options, current weather, maps, and activities to try while you are there.

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