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Located at an altitude of 3,490 meters (11,450 ft), Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world. It was the historical capital of Tibet since 7th century after King Songtsen Gampo unified Tibet. World monuments of Potala Palace, Norbulingka Palace, Jokhang temple and Barkhor square. are the major attractions of Lhasa. It is the historical capital as well as the center of Tibet, every year thousands of local pilgrims visit Lhasa for its holy monasteries and temples.
100 kilometers South West of Lhasa, you’ll encounter one of Tibet’s three sacred lakes. Yamdrok Lake stretches across 638 square kilometers. The water reflects the blue of the sky, made more vivid by the thin, mountain air. Snow Capped mountains frame your view, and you can wander amongst the many cool, fresh streams that flow into the lake from miles above.
Historically, Tibet’s third city after Lhasa and Shigatse, Gyantse is a common stop on tours to Everest Base Camp. There you’ll find the Palcho Monastery, notable for the ancient Dzong fort, 108 (count them) chapels, and a gallery of ancient Buddhist art and artifacts.
This is Tibet’s second city, much of which resembles a classic Chinese city. However, there is still a lot of Tibet left among the traffic and overpasses. While here, I enjoyed sipping on the rich, salty Yak Butter Tea in small local tea houses. As with everywhere in Tibet, you need only lift your eyes to enjoy spectacular mountain views.
Just North of Mount Everest Base Camp, the Rongbuk Monastery sits at an astonishing 4,980 meters in altitude. It is often described by tour guides as the highest monastery in the world. The winds are brutal, and at this height, even the short staircase can sap your breath, adding to the heady, mysterious atmosphere of the place.
For many travelers, this is what you came for. The world’s tallest mountain, the highest peak on planet Earth. It’s a lot to get your head around. The basecamp sits at 5150 meters, meaning walking itself is an effort. If you stay overnight in one of the Yaks hair tents, you may wake yourself up panting for breath, as if you’ve just run a marathon. Tours here range in duration and intensity, depending on whether you want to trek or view the mountain peaks from afar. If you’re planning a trip to Everest via Nepal, check our Nepal guide
Like a jagged, snow-capped stone reaching 6,638 m high, Mt Kailash is not Tibet’s largest mountain, but it is the most spiritually significant. Known to Buddhist believers as Mount Meru, the surrounding area is rich in sites of worship and pilgrimage. Every year, thousands of the devout attempt to circumnavigate the mountain, the hardiest of whom make the 52 kilometers, high altitude trek in barely 15 hours!