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English Name: Tibet
Chinese Name: 西藏 (xī zàng)
Admin. Type: Autonomous Region
Location: 26°50' to 36°53' N, 78°25' to 99°06' E
Area: 1,228,400 km² (474,288 mi²)
Population (2010): 3,002,166
Recommended Tibet Itineraries
Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR for short) attracts people of all persuasions every year from both home and abroad. It rewards every visitor with an unforgettable experience of the land, the people and the mysticism!
It is the gateway of southwest China. Its land mass is about 1/8 of the territories of the country. The history of it all began about 4,000 years ago, when living was simpler. Lhasa is the political, economic, cultural and religious center with abundant cultural relics, like the world's highest palace complex, the Potala Palace built over 1,300 years ago.
Geography and Natural Scenery
This place is called 'Roof of the World' and the 'Third Pole of the Earth'. Five mountains exceed the altitudes of 8,000 meters (26,240 feet) and most rise to 7,000 meters (22,960 feet), making them a natural challenge for mountaineers. The world's highest peak, Mt. Everest is situated in this region. The vast land is also the river source for the Yangtze River, the Yellow River, the Yarlong Tsangpo (Brahmaputra), the Indus, and the Ganges. Its lakes: the Heavenly Lake Namtso, the Yamdrok Yumtso Lake and the Lake Manasarova set the region apart as an exceptional scenic place.
The area is synonymous with devout religious practices, especially in Tibetan Buddhism and Bon. In the 16th century, every family produced a member in the holy orders: a quarter of its population. It has been built into the culture with 1,700 Buddhism monasteries in the country. The Bon comes second with 88 Bon religious places of worship. Religious festivals are celebrated like national holidays. You come across religious artifacts year round there.
People & Life
The people living in this vast land are mainly Tibetan, an ethnic group with bold and uninhibited characteristics. They take beef, mutton and dairy products as staple food, which protect them from severe cold. The locals grow crops under harsh climatic conditions. The main grain crop grown here is the barley. The popular zanba and barley wine are made from it. Traditional local clothing are usually thick, warm and loose with wide waist and long sleeves and skirts. Hada, a ceremonial scarf, is highly regarded. People here usually present Hada as a mark of esteem when holding celebration parties, welcoming visitors, visiting the elders or seeing someone off. This land is reputed as the 'Sea of Dances and Songs', where people enjoy these pursuits. People here also engages in wrestling, horse racing and archery on festivals. You have an opportunity to do home visits and learn more.
You can reach the land by air, by road or by train through the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. At high altitudes the air is thin and one is exposed to strong ultraviolet radiation as well as huge temperature variation between day and night. Thus, visitors should make good preparations before and during the travel. Visitors are also advised that summer is the preferable season for a visit. As a guest coming from abroad you need to visit in groups with a Tibet Travel Permit. For more tips including weather, mountain sickness, etiquette, taboo and more, please go to to Tibet Travel Tips.