Tibet Holidays

Those who venture up into Tibet’s almost-mythical landscape are often moved to poetic descriptions. The Roof of the World. The Third Pole. Land of the Gods. Whatever you want to call it, here you can expect to be challenged and amazed at every step.

It’s almost impossible to have a clear-eyed view of Tibet without taking a position on the political situation, though despite the ever-present tension in the background, this is a country that has lost none of its fascination for the visitor.

Tibetans are fiercely protective of their ancient culture and Buddhist religion, which is reflected most obviously in the temples and monasteries dotting the plateau, joyful festivals, and a profound reverence towards the monastic tradition. Beijing may claim sovereignty, but it hasn’t yet managed to sever the bond that many still feel with the exiled Dalai Lama.

Since the worst years following the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region and the devastating Cultural Revolution, some freedoms have been restored, the iron grip has been loosened somewhat, and the country is a lot more accessible, except around sensitive anniversaries. Chinese investment and modernisation from the 1980s onwards has turbo-charged cities such as Lhasa and Shigatse, with many significant religious sites including ancient monasteries being renovated and rebuilt in largely sympathetic styles. A huge influx of Han Chinese has dramatically changed the country’s ethnic makeup, and Tibetans have little or no say in governance, but the political situation is at least stable.

So why, then, are we convinced that Tibet should be the next destination you explore? Well, let’s start with those incredible views. This is the world’s highest country after all, with an average elevation of 4,500 metres, and surrounded by some of the tallest mountains on the planet, many of them in Mount Everest National Park. During the spring and autumn months, that epic scenery can be admired with wonderful clarity, and even in winter you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how hospitable the weather can be.

Most tours will begin in the capital, Lhasa, with a few days to acclimatise and discover landmarks such as the beautiful Potala Palace, the Drepung Monastery and the hallowed Jokhang temple. Joining the pilgrims and worshippers on the morning kora around the Jokhang is a rite of passage for many visitors, and an unforgettable experience. Southeast of Lhasa in the fertile Yarlung Valley, the area around Tsetang holds several of Tibet’s most sacred religious sites, including Samye, the first monastery ever built in the country.

In the other direction, Gyantse, one of Tibet’s best-preserved towns, is a five-hour drive west over steep mountain passes, taking in the holy lake of Yamdrok on the way. The magnificent Palcho Monastery here, with its tiered Kumbum, is a work of art. A little further along the Friendship Highway (you’ll be glued to the window throughout the journey), Shigatse is the second-largest city in Tibet, a modern metropolis that’s home to the 15th century Tashilhunpo Monastery, and the Summer Palace of the Panchen Lamas, as well as being the birthplace of Tibetan opera. From Shigatse to Mount Everest National Park, it’s just another day’s drive, while continuing further west brings you to the iconic Mount Kailash, another superb area for trekking.

In Tibet, religious devotion mingles with respect for ancient traditions and proud defiance to create an enthralling culture, and the Himalayan landscape is absolutely spellbinding, even in the freezing depths of winter. Is it any wonder the imagination takes flight?

What to love in Tibet

What to do in Tibet: Discover more with our hand-picked experiences & highlights
Stand at the foot of Everest in Tibet

Stand at the foot of Everest in Tibet

As you drive away from Tingri town, you’ll leave the trappings of urban life behind and settle in to a different pace, where time is measured by something more ancient than clocks. The power of the landscape is immediate and intoxicating, reaching a new high every time you catch a glimpse of Mount Everest - Mt. Qomolangma itself - growing closer.

Walk the Kora at Ganden Monastery

Walk the Kora at Ganden Monastery

Ganden Monastery, meaning ‘joyful’, lives up to its name. Rising, phoenix-like, from crumbling ruins, it has been transformed into a smart collection of buildings sitting proudly against the hillside, with commanding views of the valley below . Following one of the kora trails takes you in the footsteps of generations of pilgrims who have performed this same sacred walking meditation.

 
 

Discover your Tibet

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Inspirational journeys

Perfect straight ‘off the peg’ or as a source of inspiration allowing us to start with blank canvas. You decide.

The Selective difference

With us, you are taken care of from enquiry until your reluctant homecoming. Your holiday is designed by a specialist who knows your destination first-hand. Throughout your travels, you'll have expert personal guides where requested & our full logistical support. And, it goes without saying, we'll be waiting to hear all about it once you're home.

LOCAL EXPERTISE

Our Brighton-based Destination Specialists spend each day working closely with colleagues and partners across Asia. This ensures we stay several steps ahead when designing inspiring holidays, staying up to date and overcoming obstacles, which means your holiday will be crafted using both local and international expertise.

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The welfare of our destinations and their communities is incredibly important to us. We are focused on ensuring that your money makes a positive impact, as often as possible, by supporting communities and wildlife conservation through dedicated initiatives and by very carefully choosing our partners in Asia.

   EXCEPTIONAL STANDARDS

We may be partial to the occasional bad pun, but we don’t joke around when it comes to designing first class travel experiences. Over 90% of our clients rate us 5/5 after their holiday, and we're not ashamed to crack a proud grin on behalf of our award-winning teams in the UK and Asia.

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We know your time is precious, before and during your trip. We want you to have a smooth and relaxing experience so that your main concern on holiday will be whether to order noodles or rice. There will be no hidden extras, and your holiday will be orchestrated seamlessly by your Destination Specialist plus our local guides and behind-the-scenes crews in your destination.

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Explore Tibet's highlights

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What makes Tibet tick?

 Thukpa

This delicious noodle soup is perfect fuel for a hike in the Himalayas!

 Ancient monasteries

The region holds over 1,000 monasteries aligned to different sects of Tibetan Buddhism

 Altitude

It's the world’s highest country, with an average elevation of 4,500m, and the air has 40% less O2 than average

 Epic scenery

From the eerie screes of Qomolangma National Park to the gleaming spire of Everest, Tibet is a feast for the eyes

 Spirituality

Tibet runs on Buddhism, and even the most hardened athiests grow humble at the sight of those mountains

 The Dalai Lama

Even though the world's most famous exile doesn't live in Tibet, he still holds huge influence

 Road trips

All those winding mountain passes mean only one thing... this is an incredible place for a drive!

 Kora

These circular pilgrimage routes are taken around natural and man-made sacred sites, as a form of devotion

 
 

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