Tibet is a land of mystery and mysticism, lying on the roof of the world on the high-altitude Tibetan plateau. Filled with mysterious legends, stunning alpine views, and more monasteries than you could believe possible, the desire to travel to Tibet can be found in many international travelers. One of the most popular places to visit in China, It takes little to convince a seasoned traveler to make the journey to the roof of the world. However, if you are not a seasoned traveler, or just need more convincing travel to Tibet, then these photos of the stunning sights of Tibet will leave you yearning to go with a desire you never knew you had.
Sunrise at the Potala Palace
One of the iconic symbols of Tibet, the Potala Palace lies on the Red Hill, overlooking the city of Lhasa, the Tibetan capital. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the best shots of the palace are often taken from the nearby Wangbori hill, and the best time is as the sun comes up and glints of the golden roofs.
Worship Buddha at the Jokhang Temple
Lying in the center of Lhasa Old Town, the Jokhang Temple is one of the oldest temples in Tibet, built by the ancient Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo, to house the statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha that was brought to Tibet by his second wife, Princess Wencheng of the Chinese Tang Dynasty. Believed to have been blessed by Buddha himself, the exact age of the statue is unknown, but it is said to be more than 2,500 years old and is possibly the oldest remaining statue of Buddha at the age of twelve in existence. The temple is now considered to be the most sacred temple in Tibetan Buddhism and attracts pilgrims from across the plateau, who often walk for thousands of kilometers to pray at the temple gates. The temple still houses the statue of Buddha, enshrined for all eternity in the main hall.
The turquoise waters of holy Lake Yamdrok
One of the Great Three holy lakes in Tibet, Lake Yamdrok, or Yamdrok Yumco, is one of the most incredible sights of the Tibetan plateau. First seen from the pass on the road to Gyantse, the view of the lake, with its stunning turquoise waters, is an amazing sight that will stay sharp in your memory forever.
Mount Everest from Everest Base Camp
While there are many places to see the summit of the world’s highest mountain, there is no better place to view it, and no closer place to the mountain, than at the Everest Base Camp in Tibet. Lying around eight kilometers to the south of the famous Rongbuk Monastery, the base camp is just 12 kilometers from the summit in a straight line, and the closest pointy one can get to the mountain without being a mountaineer.
Mount Everest from the world’s highest monastery
To the north of Mount Everest’s tourist base camp lies the stunning yet simple Rongbuk Monastery. At 4,980 meters above sea level, lying near the base of the world’s highest mountain, this simply-built monastery may not be the most spectacular-looking of the many Buddhist monasteries in Tibet but is definitely one of the most interesting places to visit. The view of the sunrise from the hill behind the monastery as it hits the eastern slopes of Mount Everest is stunning, glowing orange on the snowy sides of the mountain. It was also famous for many decades from the 1920s, as it was used as a stopover for the original mountaineering teams that were making attempts to scale the North Face of the mountain. It was also the former abbot of this monastery that gave the world’s most famous Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, his name.
Take in the view from the top of the Kumbum Stupa
The only stupa of its kind in Tibet, the Kumbum at Gyantse is 32 meters tall and has nine levels which house 108 different chapels, laid out in the mandala ideology of the Buddhist Universe. You can climb up through the inside of the Kumbum to reach the topmost level, from where you can get one of the best views of the Tibetan countryside around Gyantse, in the Nyang Qu River Valley.
The ultimate trek around the sacred Mount Kailash
Lying in the west of Tibet, in Ngari Prefecture, Mount Kailash is the most sacred mountain in the world, held in reverence in four different religions. Getting to the mountain takes commitment, as it is a very long drive from Lhasa, but the views from around the kora circuit are more than enough to make you want to take the trip. The intense beauty of the mountain can be a little overwhelming, as can the legends that surround this monumental peak, which has never been climbed.
View the delightful peach blossoms of Nyingchi Prefecture in spring
While the rest of the Tibetan plateau is still thawing out from the cold plateau winter, Nyingchi Prefecture in the far east of Tibet is experiencing one of the most beautiful sights of Tibet, the blooming of the peach blossoms. Nyingchi has hundreds of thousands of peach trees scattered across the prefecture, and from around mid-April, they bloom in a wild frenzy of violet blossoms that transform this already beautiful landscape into something surreal and fairytale. In this area of Tibet, the peach blossom is so widespread it has even prompted a celebration, known as the Peach Blossom Festival, which happens every year for around a month.
Gaze out at the Milky Way from the shores of Lake Namtso
Around 120 kilometers to the north of Lhasa lies one of the Great Three holy lakes of Tibet, Lake Namtso. Meaning “Heavenly Lake” in Tibetan, the lake itself is stunning, with fresh clear waters glinting in the sunlight. However, even at night, the views at Lake Namtso are amazing beyond belief. As the darkness descends, with no light pollution since the nearest towns are hundreds of miles away, the stars come out to shine in a blaze of glory, filling the sky with the tiny pinpoints of light of a billion-billion small stars shining across the Universe. On clear nights, you can clearly see the center and opposing arm of the Milky Way galaxy, the galaxy in which our planet resides. Small wonder that Tibet is considered to be the roof of the world.