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The Tibetan plateau is a literal highpoint of many people's travels. The high-altitude grasslands, turquoise lakes and desert valleys are (quite literally) breathtaking, but it's Tibetan culture that remains the real draw, from the spectacular monasteries and beautiful multistory stupas of Central Tibet to the joyful and deeply likeable Tibetan people, whose devotion to Tibetan Buddhism remains as impressive and moving as ever. Modern Tibet has had a turbulent last fifty years and relentless economic development and massive growth in domestic tourism (over 90% of tourists to Tibet are Chinese) are changing the face of a region only just ...

The Tibetan plateau is a literal highpoint of many people's travels. The high-altitude grasslands, turquoise lakes and desert valleys are (quite literally) breathtaking, but it's Tibetan culture that remains the real draw, from the spectacular monasteries and beautiful multistory stupas of Central Tibet to the joyful and deeply likeable Tibetan people, whose devotion to Tibetan Buddhism remains as impressive and moving as ever. Modern Tibet has had a turbulent last fifty years and relentless economic development and massive growth in domestic tourism (over 90% of tourists to Tibet are Chinese) are changing the face of a region only just recovered from 30 years of political chaos and destruction. Political tensions continue to boil over on occasion. Yet beyond the rapidly-changing towns, the land remains quintessentially Tibetan, dotted with yak-hair nomad tents, high valleys and remote monasteries. Come armed with an understanding of Tibetan Buddhism and history and Tibet will likely prove a life-changing destination. Whatever your political views, a trip here will let you see the real Tibet: a beautiful, moving, welcoming, uplifting and troubling place.

Bradley Mayhew
About the Expert

Bradley Mayhew is the author of more than 25 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, including Central Asia, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and Jordan, and is coauthor of the Odyssey guide to Uzbekistan.

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Bradley Mayhew for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Tibet is a plateau region in Central Asia and the home to the indigenous Tibetan people. Tibet was once an independent kingdom but today is part of the People's Republic of China.
  • Language: Tibeto Burman. dialects Kham Lhasa Amdo. Chinese
  • Currency: Chinese Yuan
  • Research: Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall