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Tibet Travel guide

Tibet hotels, Tibet vacation packages 2022 - 2023

Locked away in its Himalayan fortress, Tibet has long exercised a unique hold on the imagination of the West: 'Shangri-La', 'the Land of Snows', 'the Rooftop of the World', Tibet is mysterious in a way that few other places are.

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Tibet's strategic importance, straddling the Himalaya between China and the Indian subcontinent, made it irresistible to China who invaded in 1950. But Tibetans have never had it easy. Theirs is a harsh environment and human habitation has always been a precarious proposition. Even so, the deliberate cultural strangling inflicted by the Chinese occupiers since 1950 rates as the worst misfortune the inhabitants of the 'Land of Snows' have been forced to endure.

Following virtual closure after the Chinese annexation of the Buddhist kingdom, Tibet was opened to foreign tourism in 1984. Closed to all but tour groups in 1987 after an uprising by Tibetans in Lhasa, and reopened in 1992, travel in Tibet comes with some ludicrous permit requirements. The present Chinese policy on individual tourism in Tibet basically seems to be one of extorting as much cash as possible from foreigners, but not so much as to scare them off completely.

Tibet Sights, sightseeing, culture:

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In addition to Chinese national celebrations - which mean little to most Tibetans - there are a number of local events that are well worth staying around for. Losar, or New Year, is celebrated with a colourful week of activities ranging from Tibetan drama to pilgrimages. Lhasa is the place to be, but note that Tibet's lunar calendar lags about a month behind the Gregorian one. Fifteen days after New Year is the Lantern Festival. The highlights are the huge yak butter sculptures around Lhasa's Barhor circuit.

Various villages and towns in Tibet have annual horse racing festivals. These events also feature dancing, picnics and traditional nomad sports such as archery. Gyantse hosts theirs in mid-June, while the start of the 8th lunar month sees similar events in Naqu, Damxung and Nam-tso.

Potala Palace

The Potala Palace, a pearl on the plateau The construction of the world famous Potala Palace was started in the 7th century during the time of the Tubo King Srongtsan gampo. on the top of Mt. Putup, it is looming over the whole Lhasa city. As high as 110m, the Potala Palace consists of two palaces - the Red Palace and the White Place. With over 1000 rooms, the 1 storey palace covers an area of 10,000 square metres. it witnessed the life of the Dalai Lamas and the important political and religious activities in the past centuries. There are grand palaces within palaces. The Palace stands up so high that it resembles a magnificent castle in the heaven. It makes itself a good example of the ancient Tibetan culture and architecture. The statues of the Tubo King Srongtsan gamoi and his wife Princess Wen Cheng are being worshipped in the Palace. Among the 8 tomb pagodas of the Dalai Lamas, the 5th tomb is the most extravagant. It stands as high as 14m and used 11,000 ounces of gold in its gold plating. the designs and decorations on them all are inlaid with diamonds, peals, turquoises, agates, corals etc. There also stored the world treasure - the gold hand-written Buddhist scriptures, valuable gifts from the Chinese emperors and a lot of priceless antiques. You will be amazed by the colorful sculptures and paintings. The Potala Palace deserves the title of art gallery and museum. It is a symbol of the wisdom and power of the Tibetan people.

The Xialu Monastery

The Xialu Monastery is situated in Rikuozuo. The construction was started in 1000.Its architecture is of typical combination of the Tibetan and Chinese styles with the archways, carved pillars, tiled roofs and the Song and Yuan style murals. Besides the various sorts of statues of Buddha, it also has 4 treasures to be enshrined. The first is a scripture printing board carved out of sandalwood. The 2nd is a copper jar to contain holy water. It is said that the water is changed every other 12 years, but the quantity and quality of the water do not change even if it has been in the jar for 12 years. The 3rd is a stone basin which is said to be used by Shaja Banzhida. The 4th is a stone Board with the 6-character principle engraved on ti. On the 4 corners of the board are also engraved four claret pagodas. It is said that when the construction first started, the board was Unearthed.

The Norbulingka Park

There is a beautiful park in the western suburbs of Lhasa. It used to be the Summer Palace for the Dalai Lamas where they handled political affairs, and practiced religious activities The construction started in the 40s of the 18th century, covering a floor space of 46 ha. The whole park has more than 370 rooms of different sizes, and lawns, shaded by green trees and embrided by various flowers. With the clear water, and the flowers and trees around, it is known as the "park within the park".

The Changzhu Monastery - The Pearl Monastery

The Changzhu Monastery on the east bank of the Yalong River in the district of Shannan. There is a legend behind the Monastery. It is said that once upon a time, the site of the Monastery was an extremely deep lake. In the lake there is a five-head dragon. After Srontsan Gampo got the control of Tibet, he wanted to drain the lake and build a castle there. So he invited two Masters to lure a big bird to attack the dragon. The two Masters first of all imitated the sound of the bird and lured the dragon out, then they imitated the sound of the dragon to lure the bird out. So the dragon and the bird started a fight. The bird at last chopped off two of the dragon's heads with its wings. Seven days later , the lake disappeared. Some pearls were buried as the cornerstone for the monastery. That is how the Monastery got its name.

The Tashihunpo Monastery

The Tashilhunpo Monastery sprawls on the slope of Mt. Niser, southwest of Shigatse. It covers an area of about 300,000 square meters with a floor space of about 30,000 square meters. Painted in red and white, the buildings in the monastery stand closely together in terraced rows, offering a grand and majestic view. The monastery was founded in 1447 by Gendun Zhuba, one of the principal disciples of the Founder of the Yellow Sect Zongkaba, and was then enlarged consistently by different generations of panchen Lama until it acquired its present dimensions. Gendun Zhuba was first abbot of the monastery, and in 1600 at the invitation of the monastery, the 4th Panchen lama became the 16th abbot of it, thus made the monastery abode of the succeeding Panchen lamas ever since. There are many valuable and rare historical articles in the monastery, among them are found a lot of gold and jade signets, and imperial certificates bestowed by Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties as well as a seal of "Daitu" of the Yuan Dynasty scribed in the new Mongolian language reformed by Basba. They are of great value for the study of history.

The Kubum Monastery and the 10,000 Baddha Pagoda

The Kubum Monastery was built in the 15th century. It is situated in the west of Gyantse Town With mountains enclosing from the east, west and north 3 sides, its uniqueness is that its three Sects of Buddhism-shaja, Ningma and Guolu are living harmoniously under one roof. Each sect Has 6-7 courtyards in the monastery. There are various kinds of thangas, a huge bronze statue of jiangba, the jainrese of a Thousand Hands and a Thousand Eyes in the monastery. There is a hall of arhat mad during the Ming Dynasty. The arhats are so vivid that they look very much alive.

Besides the monastery is the world famous 9-storey 10,000-Buddha Pagoda. It stands 32 m, has 108 Doors,7 7 Buddhist chambers and countless shrines. Enshrine in the Pagoda are 10,000 statues of Buddha. The Pagoda opens 8 doors which are decorated with relief sculptures of lively flying dragons, running lions and walking elephants. It is a masterpiece of the joint efforts of the Nepalese, Tibetan and Chinese.

The first Castle-Yungbulakang

Yungbulakang is the palace for the 1st Tubo King Niechi in the Yalong River Valley. It is also called "the Mosher and Song Holy Hall". Yungbulakang is standing on the top of a hill on the east bank of the Yalung River in the southeast of Naidong county. The castle can be divided into front and back 2 parts. The front part is a 3-storey building, while the back part is a castle like tall building. Enshrined in the shrine are the statues of Thiesung Sangjie Buddha, King Niechi, King Srontsan Gampo and the Tobu Kings after them. The legend goes that the "mysterious object" was on the roof of the castle, so Buddhists regard here as the holy land.

The Samye Monastery

The Samye Monastery is at the foot of Mt. Haibusi on the north bank of the Yaluzangbu river in Jialang county. Being the 1st monastery, it was built in 761.The 5th Tobu King Chisong Duosan sent envoys to Kashmir and India to invite famous lamas to teach Buddhism in Tibet. The monastery had been combined the Chinese ,Tibetan and Indian styles, in the centre of the Monastery is a big square 3-store hall with a floor space of over 8,900 square meters. The first floor Is of Tibetan style, the 2nd Chinese and 3rd Indian. To the direction of the 4 corners of the hall, 4 towers were built respectively in red, white, green and black colors. The Sangsu Monastery is a typical Buddhist building, it deserves its place in the history of architecture.

The Sakya Monastery - an Art Gallery

The Sakya Monastery is divided into the south and the North two parts. The construction of the monastery was started in 1073 by Kung Gung Quijiepuo with the order from basba. It is of typical Yuan Dynasty style resembling castles. There are a lot of historical articles in the monastery, among them are found a lot of the imperial certificates, gold signets, crowns, costumes bestowed by the Yuan Dynasty emperors. There are also a lot of statues of Buddha, ritual articles, and articles of lections of handwritten scriptures in gold powder or cinnabar. It has over 10,000 volumes of Tibetan books on astronomy, medicine, calligraphy, and history. So the Shaja Monastery enjoys the title "the Second Dunhuang Cave".

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