- 3.2 million
We’ve seen so many photos of prayer flags wafting in breeze, the smiling, sun-worn faces and those mountain-perched monasteries that it is possible to think you might not be surprised by a visit to Tibet. Not so. Any trip to the spiritual home of Buddhism will be a soul-stirring experience. Located on the so-called Roof of the World, Tibet boasts breathtaking scenery, high-altitude treks (much of the country is above 4000 metres) and its own part of Mount Everest.
In the city of Lhasa, explore the famous Potala Palace and see pilgrims prostrate themselves in front of Jokhang Temple. Two hours away is the turquoise beauty of Lake Yamdrok. Then there’s Samye Monastery in the Shannen Prefecture. More than a thousand years ago it was the first monastery to be built in the country and is the birthplace of Tibetan Buddhism. It’s surrounded by a strikingly austere environment of bare mountains and dunes.
Mixing with the distinct cultures, being awed by monastery tours and embracing some of the warmest hospitality you’ll ever know combines to make Tibet a visually and experientially fascinating adventure.
Of course, some people argue that travelling here puts money straight into the hands of the oppressive Chinese government, but as the Dalai Lama says, “Go to Tibet and see many places. Then tell the world.”