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10 Things to Do in Tibet | What to Do in Tibet 2024

Written by Senior Expert Catherine Liu|Updated: 2023-12-08

Tibet, a realm nestled amidst the majestic Himalayas, is a place that stirs the soul with its awe-inspiring landscapes, captivating culture, and profound spirituality. It is a destination that weaves its magic, enchanting the imagination of every traveler. But amidst the grandeur of Tibet, one question lingers: What are the best things to do on this extraordinary land?

In this travel article, we embark on a journey of exploration, unveiling the top 10 things to do in Tibet. Prepare to immerse yourself in cultural encounters that will leave an indelible mark on your heart and embrace natural wonders that will take your breath away. From the ancient monasteries that resonate with spirituality to the pristine lakes that mirror the heavens,Tibet offers a tapestry of experiences waiting to be discovered. As you traverse this extraordinary land, you will witness the ancient customs and traditions that have withstood the test of time. You will be captivated by the landscapes that seem to belong to another world. And you will find solace in the serenity that permeates the air, inviting you to pause and reflect.

Craft your itinerary carefully, for Tibet has much to offer. Let the TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN TIBET guide your journey and unlock the treasures that await. Prepare to be moved, inspired, and forever changed by the magic of Tibet, for it is a place that will leave an indelible mark on your soul.

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  • triangleTraveling to Tibet to Witness the Highest Palace
  • triangleTraveling to Tibet to Explore the Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries
  • triangleTraveling to Tibet to Observe Kora Paths & Pilgrims
  • triangleTraveling to Tibet to Attend Tibet Festivals
  • triangleTraveling to Tibet to Experience Local Activities
  • triangleTraveling to Tibet to See the Sacred Mountains
  • triangleTraveling to Tibet to View the Holy Lakes
  • triangleTraveling to Tibet to Discover the Inspiring Glaciers
  • triangleTraveling to Tibet to Enjoy the Plateau Flower
  • triangleTraveling to Tibet to Challenge Trekking & Hiking
  • triangleHow to Plan Your Tibet Tours with Top Things to Do in Tibet?
  • triangleExplore Tibet with Asia Odyssey Travel

Tibetan Cultural Encounter

Many people are drawn to Tibet for its spiritual nature, which includes magnificent monasteries, prayer halls with chanting monks, and isolated cliffside retreats. The religious devotion of Tibetans is humbling, whether you're spinning prayer wheels with a Tibetan granny or marveling at a pilgrim's prostrations around Mt. Kailash. These encounters allow you to see Tibet through the eyes of the Tibetan people and appreciate their deep spiritual connection to their land.

Traveling to Tibet to Witness the Highest Palace

Visiting the Potala Palace to learn about its rich history and spiritual significance. The palace is an important part of Tibetan culture and is a must-see attraction for visitors to Tibet. The palace is sure to leave a lasting impression and offer a unique cultural encounter.

The Potala Palace, situated in the heart of Lhasa, is the highest palace in the world, built by Tibetan hands and wisdom, which is a towering fortress that rises over 13 stories high, with over 1,000 rooms and 10,000 shrines and statues. The palace is divided into two main sections, the Red Palace and the White Palace, each with its own unique features and attractions

The palace was once the home of the Dalai Lama and is a symbol of Tibetan Buddhism. Around this pearl on the roof of the world, you’ll see wizened old pilgrims twirling prayer wheels, rubbing sacred rocks, and walking around temples, and monasteries.

Potala Palace
Potala Palace
Potala Palace
People come to Potala Palace for Pilgrimage

Traveling to Tibet to Explore the Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries

It is no exaggeration to say that Lhasa has "one temple for every hundred steps". There are approximately 1700 Tibetan monasteries and temples across Tibet and most of them are built on the lofty mountaintop or in surrounding mountains. Touring Tibetan monasteries and temples is one of the most effective ways to learn Tibetan Buddhism and its spiritual nature.

The most prestigious Tibetan monasteries and temples in Tibet are known as Jokhang Temple, Sera and Drepung Monastery, Ganden Monastery, Tashilhunpo Monastery, etc.

Joining the lines of awed pilgrims around the glowing shrines of the Jokhang Temple, the beating spiritual heart of Tibet.

Taking in a prayer meeting or watching monk-debating in Sera or Drepung Monastery, Tibet’s great monastic cities.

Taking a trip to the stunning view of Ganden Monastery, set in a natural bowl high above the braided Kyi-chu Valley.

Witnessing the stunning gold-topped stupa, which stands over 26 meters tall Tashilhunpo Monastery .

Or paying a visit to off-the-beaten-track temples. Beyond Lhasa’s famous monastic cities, there are hundreds of smaller, lesser-visited places, each holding its treasures and with more local pilgrims.

Tashilhunpo Monastery
Tashilhunpo Monastery
Sera Monastery
Monk-debating in Sera Monastery

Traveling to Tibet to Observe Kora Paths & Pilgrims

Tibet is a uniquely spiritual place, surprising everything for me is the Tibetans, their devotion and dedication and belief remain deep. All over Tibet, you’ll see Tibetan twirling prayer wheels, rubbing sacred rocks and walking around temples, monasteries and sometimes even entire mountains.

Tibet’s Koras (pilgrim routes) are the keys to its souls. From a few hour's paths walk around a holy inner sanctum to month-long treks around a holy peak, koras are the ultimate fusion of mind and body. There are few better ways of joining a merry band of pilgrims on kora to understand Tibetans or just simply observe from a respectful distance.

Kailash Kora: one of the most sacred and challenging pilgrimage routes in Tibet. Mount Kailash is a holy mountain that is considered to be the center of the universe in Tibetan Buddhism. The entire kora is about 52 kilometers long.

Jokhang Temple Kora: one of the popular pilgrimage routes. The kora around the Jokhang temple involves walking through the bustling Barkhor market and circling the temple in a clockwise direction.

Ganden Monastery Kora: Choose between the high kora with awesome views or the lower route lined with sacred rocks and shrines.

Tashilhunpo kora: A fine hike that connects Shigatse main monastery, old town and the restored fort, revealing the town' s best views.

Jokhang Temple
Pilgrims around the glowing shrines of the Jokhang Temple
Kailash kora
Kailash kora

Traveling to Tibet to Attend Tibet Festivals

Attending a festival in Tibet is a unique and unforgettable experience that offers a glimpse into the Tibet’s rich culture and traditions. It is a chance to witness traditional dances, enjoy delicious food, and connect with the Tibetan local.

Losar (New Year Festival)

In the first week of the first lunar month, Losar is a time of great joy and celebration, with Tibetans coming together to welcome the new year and bid farewell to the old. During the festival, Tibetans decorate their homes with colorful prayer flags and perform traditional dances and Tibetan opera.

Saga Dawa (Sakyamuni’s Enlightenment)

In the full moon (15th day) of the fourth lunar month, Saga Dawa commemorates the Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and death. Huge numbers of pilgrims walk Lhasa’s Lingkhor circuit and visit Mt Kailash, where the Tarboche prayer pole is raised each year.

Shoton Festival (Yoghurt Festival)

In the first week of the seventh lunar month, Shoton Festival starts with the dramatic unveiling of a giant thangka at Drepung Monastery before moving to Sera and then down to the Norbulingka for performances of lhamo.

Barkhor Street
Barkhor Street
Drepung Monastery
The giant Buddha Thangka paintings displaying in Drepung Monastery

Traveling to Tibet to Experience Local Activities

Simple daily pleasures abound in Tibet. The joy and devotion remain deeply in Tibetans’ inner hearts, whether it’s a Tibetan granny or a monk in the monastery. It's hard to find a minority nationality anywhere in the world where people are so focused on peace of mind. The following activities help you see Tibet through Tibetan eyes. This is the best experience in Tibet.

Kick back with a thermos of yak-butter tea at Tibetan tea houses while observing local life and immersing yourself in the local culture and traditions.

Visit a local Tibetan house to understand the authentic rural life of Tibetan people and listen to Tibetans tell their stories.

Paint your own Thangka. Learn how to paint a thangka and take the good luck and energy from Tibet back home with you.

Handmade Tibetan incense
Handmade Tibetan incense
Yak-butter tea
Yak-butter tea

Natural Wonders of Tibet

"Tibet has never been a place called paradise, but it seems like a special existence close to an alien planet; otherwise, there is no other way to explain why the scenery here is so different from other places."

Tibet is located on the Tibetan Plateau, which is known as the "Roof of the World." The average elevation of Tibet is over 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) above sea level, which creates a unique and dramatic landscape of snow-capped mountains, crystal-clear glaciers, and gigantic lakes. All of Tibet is blessed with amazing high-altitude colors.

Traveling to Tibet to See the Sacred Mountains

Tibet is home to some of the world's most sacred mountains, including Mount Kailash and Mount Everest, etc. Tibetan regards the mountains as sacred places. The mountains of Tibet are not just a visual spectacle, they are also steeped in spiritual and cultural significance.

Experience the wonder of the "Highest Point on Earth" - Mount Everest, standing tall at 8,848.86 meters. To truly appreciate its charm, you must witness it in person. Get up close and personal with the majestic mountain peak at Everest Base Camp (EBC), or embark on the ultimate adventure by hiking the eastern slope of Mount Everest.

Travel here to one of the world’s most beautiful and remote corners - Mount Kailash. Mount Kailash is revered by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Bon followers as the most sacred mountain on earth. According to legend, circumambulating Mount Kailash on foot is a holy ritual that will cleanse away sins and bring good fortune.

Mount Everest
Mount Everest
Mount Kailash
Mount Kailash

Traveling to Tibet to View the Holy Lakes

There’s nothing quite so blue as the deep turquoise of a high-altitude Tibetan lake. There are three sacred lakes of Tibet, including Namtso Lake, Yamdrok Lake, and Manasarovar Lake,etc.

Namsto Lake was the highest saltwater lake in the world, with its mesmerizing turquoise-blue waters. As you walk along the lake, surrounded by hills draped in colorful prayer flags, framed by a horizon of snowcapped 7000m peaks, you'll feel a sense of serenity and awe like never before.

Yamdork Lake is another natural wonder that will take your breath away. Known as the “Turquoise Lake”, it is surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains that reflect in the crystal-clear waters. It is one of the biggest freshwater lakes in China with a surface area bigger than 70 West Lakes. What's interesting is that the shape of Yamdrok-Tso is not a circle, it is shaped like a coiling scorpion.

Manasarovar Lake is located at the foot of Mount Kailash and is considered one of the most sacred lakes in Tibetan Buddhism. Lake Manasarovar reflects the most lucid shades of blue imaginable. It represents the female or wisdom aspect of enlightenment and is a symbol of good fortune and fertility, explaining why Tibetans are always very eager to circumambulate it. Joining a band of pilgrims on this spiritual journey is an unforgettable experience.

Yamdrok Lake
Yamdrok Lake
Namtso Lake<
Namtso Lake

Traveling to Tibet to Discover the Inspiring Glaciers

Tibet is a land of many wonders, but none more majestic than the region’s awe-inspiring glaciers. The Tibetan plateau, which holds the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) ice sheet, is known as the world’s “Third Pole.” It holds the largest number of glaciers and snow after the Arctic and Antarctic. The Tibetan plateau has more than 46,000 glaciers, 14.5 percent of the world’s total. The most popular glaciers to visit are the Midui Glacier, the Karola Glacier, etc.

Karola Glacier - The Most Easily AccessibleLocated in the close premises of a highway allows travelers to easily visit the Karola glacier. Its snow-covered peaks and shimmering ice formations. The snow-laden glaciers are a majestic sight on the way to Everest Base Camp, inspiring mountain lovers to stop on their way and rest their eyes on these marvelous creations.

Midui Glacier - One of the Six Most Beautiful GlaciersMidui Glacier has been considered one of the six most beautiful glaciers in China by China National Geographic. It is formed by the meeting of two world-class ice waterfalls with a lush primeval forest between them, extending to Midui village at the foot of the mountain, which coexists with snow mountains, forests, lakes, villages and temples in harmony. It ends at just 2,400 meters above sea level, making it the lowest mountain glacier in the world.

Karola Glacier
Karola Glacier
Karola Glacier
Karola Glacier

Traveling to Tibet to Enjoy the Plateau Flower

Under the Antarctic glacier is water, while under the Tibetan glacier is blossoming peach blossoms. Tibet is a land of natural wonders, and among them are the stunning plateau flowers that bloom across its vast valleys. When you are amazed by peach blossoms, you may come to share the belief held by Tibetans that such a breathtaking sight can only be a gift from a divine being.

The most popular place to see peach blossoms is Nyingchi. The peach blossoms typically bloom from late March to early April, creating a stunning sight as the pink and white petals cover the hills and valleys of the region. This is a time of year when many tourists visit Nyingchi to take in the beauty of the blossoms and enjoy the mild spring weather. In addition to its natural beauty, Nyingchi also offers visitors a glimpse into traditional Tibetan culture, with many local festivals and celebrations featuring peach blossoms as a central theme.

Plateau Flowers in Nyingchi
Plateau Flowers in Nyingchi
Plateau Flowers in Nyingchi
Peach Blossom in Nyingchi.

Traveling to Tibet to Challenge Trekking & Hiking

Tibet is a hub for adventure enthusiasts who love trekking and hiking , offering an unparalleled opportunity to admire the beauty of the highest plateau on earth closely. The most popular trekking routes are the Everest Base Camp Trek, the Mount Kailash Trek, and the Ganden to Samye Trek. During your journey, you will pass sparking turquoise lakes, across huge plains dotted with yaks and nomads' tents, and over high passes adorned with colorful prayer flags. You can also hike past the ruins of remote hermitages, gaze in awe at the north face of the famous Mount Everest or make an epic overland trip along some of the world’s wildest roads. 

Tibet Trekking
Tibet Surphu to Yangpachen Trek
Tibet Trekking
 Mount Kailash Trek

How to Plan Your Tibet Tours with Top Things to Do in Tibet?

Tibet is a region of immense size and diversity, boasting a rich cultural heritage, breathtaking natural beauty, and a unique fusion of Buddhism and traditional Tibetan culture. With so much to explore and experience, first-time visitors are advised to spend 8 to 15 days in Tibet to fully appreciate the region's history, culture, and awe-inspiring landscapes.

Lhasa Restaurant
Tibet, Best Travel Time All Year Round
Lhasa Food
Life-time Journey to Mt Everest & More in Tibet

Here are some Curated Themed Itineraries

Tour Lhasa City - 4 DaysFor 4 days, it is highly recommended to take: 4 Days Lhasa & Surrounding Tour

Add 2 or 3 More Days to Visit Gyantse & ShigatseFor 5 days, it is highly recommended to take: 5 Days Lhasa & Yamdrok Lake TourFor 6 days, it is highly recommended to take: 6 Days Lhasa Yamdrok Lake Shigatse Tour

Add 2 More Days to Mount EverestFor 7 days, you can take 7 Days Classic Tibet Nepal Overland Tour from Lhasa to Gyirong via EBCFor 8 days, you can take Lhasa - Yamdrok Lake - Shigatse - Mount Everest - Lhasa for classic exploration

To extend further, you can cover Mount Kailash (3 Days), Guge Kingdom & Zanda Earth Forest (1 Day), Namtso Lake (1 Day), etc.9 Days Panorama Tibet Tour from Lhasa to EBC with Namtso Lake15 Days: Lhasa - Yamdrok Lake - Mount Everest - Mount Kailash - Zanda - Shigatse - Lhasa 

Alternatively, you can just simply pick the Month You are Planning to Visit, choose your tour accordingly


Explore Tibet with Asia Odyssey Travel

With over 10 years of local expertise in Lhasa and Tibet (Xizang), our dedicated team at Asia Odyssey Travel brings you carefully curated Tibet tours for an authentic and unforgettable experience.

Drawing upon our extensive experience, we have meticulously crafted a range of Tibet tour packages, including Lhasa tours, Mount Everest Tours, Mount Kailash Tours, Tibet Trekking Tours, Tibet Train Tours, and Tibet Overland Tours. Whether you prefer the comfort and flexibility of a private tour or the budget-friendly option of a group tour, we have you covered without compromising on quality.

Additionally, we cater to various travel preferences, whether you wish to commence your Tibet tour from one of the popular gateway cities in China, embark on Nepal Tibet tours, or even explore the mesmerizing Himalayan region. Whatever you desire, Asia Odyssey Travel has the perfect tour to meet your needs, ensuring that your expedition to Tibet (Xizang) becomes an unforgettable adventure.

If you have any questions about this article, please contact us by submitting the following form and we'll immediately get back to you.

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