5 essential things you should know before you go to Tibet

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Even though there are many things you should know before you going to Tibet, here are 5 essential things you should know before you go to Tibet since Tibet is absolutely unique and different in its culture, religion, customs and the landscape so on, . Tibet is one of the five national autonomous regions of the People’s Republic of China. It is located in the southwest of China and the southwest of Qinghai Tibet Plateau. The land area of the whole region is more than 1.22 million square kilometers, accounting for 12.8% of the total area of the country. The oldest Bon religion in Tibet and the Tibetan Buddhism, which dominate the politics, economy and culture of Tibetan society, permeate all aspects of social life, thus forming the folk customs and aesthetic tastes different from other nationalities. Tibet’s folk culture is rich in content and rich in cultural relics.

Tibet not only has a unique high plateau with countless snow-capped mountains’ scenery, but also has a charming green natural landscape, beautiful lakes and vast grassland, inhabited by thousands of Tibetan nomads. Up to now, there are many Tibetan people whose living customs are far away from the modern people outside the plateau. Just because of the distance, everything in Tibet has an ornamental value.

  1. How to get to Tibet?

One of the 5 essential things you should know before you go to Tibet is how to get to Tibet. There are three ways to travel to Tibet, you can choose by plane, train or by land. You can fly to Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet from almost all the cities in mainland China and internationally, from Kathmandu to Lhasa. You can also take train to Tibet from most parts of the cities in mainland China but the best way to get to Tibet by train is from Xining which is located in the northwest of China and the capital city of Qinghai Tibetan plateau. The train from Xining to Lhasa takes 21 hours and it is the best part of the high plateau train trip landscape. You can come to Tibet by land by taking Sichuan Tibet highway overland tour, Qinghai Tibet highland overland tour and Yunnan Tibet highway overland tour. Internationally, there are two ways to go to Tibet by land, one is from Kathmandu to Kyirong border and another is from Kashgar to Kailash.

  • When is the best time to trip to Tibet?

The best time to go to Tibet is from April till end of October because during this period of time, the weather warms up, all the scenery turns into green and little bit of rain to fresh up and gives more oxygen for the sunny and dried weather in Tibet. The best time for trekking in Tibet is from May to June and September to end of October but for a short trekking around Mount Kailash is available from May till end of October.

  • When is the cheapest and less touristic time when you go to Tibet?

One of the 5 essential things to know before you go to Tibet is to know when the cheapest and less touristic time when you go to Tibet. The cheapest and less touristic time when you go to Tibet is in the winter time and nowadays, we highly recommend Tibet winter tour because the tourism supply and nationwide facility has been improved a lot and in many major cities including Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet, Tsetang, cradle of Tibet located to the south of Lhasa city, Shigatse, fertile land and western cultural center of Tibet located to the west of Lhasa, Nyingtri, the eastern forest region of Tibet located to the east of Lhasa city, we can provide very good hotels with 24 hours hot water, rooms are heated for 24 hours as well.

There are also plenty of restaurants and most of the scenic spots are opened like summer. The price of the flights are 50% cheaper, it is very easy to get train tickets, most of the scenic spots and vehicle transportation is 30% cheaper and human resource including Tibet travel guide is around 20% cheaper. During winter in Tibet, the sun shines so brightly and during the day time, as long as there is sunshine, you never feel very cold. In every scenic spots, you will see thousands of Tibetan pilgrims coming from different regions of Tibet including Amdo, the far north eastern part of Tibet and Kham, the far south eastern part of Tibet. There are thousands of Tibetans, doing prostration in front of Jokang temple to do their daily Buddhist practices. There are also quite many religious and other Tibetan traditional festivals are going on during winter time in Tibet so traveling to Tibet in winter makes your Tibet trip more cheaper and gives more authentic experience of Tibet travel.  

  • What are the things to see during your Tibet travel?

One of the 5 essential things to know before you go to Tibet is there are many beautiful natural scenic sights and famous monasteries and temples in Tibet. During your travel in Tibet, you can’t miss visiting the Potala Palace and Jokhang temple in Lhasa. The Potala Palace is located in the center of Lhasa city. The Potala Palace was built in 7th century by the 33rd King of Tibet called Songtsan Gampo during Tubo Dynasty. The king married two princes Princess, princess Bhrikuti Devi from Nepal and Princess Wencheng of the Tang court. Both princess brought the most sacred statues of Buddha Shakyamuni as their dowry. The Potala Palace was destroyed badly by fire in around 9th century and in around 17th century, the 5th Dalai Lama rebuilt the Potala Palace into the present size and since then the Potala Palace has become the winter palace of the Dalai Lama and now it has been listed as the UNESCO world heritage site.  

Jokhang Temple also known as “zulakang” (In Tibetan, means Buddha Hall), located in the center of the old urban area of Lhasa, is a Tibetan Buddhist temple built by Tibetang King Songtsan Gampo, with a history of more than 1300 years, and has the supreme status in Tibetan Buddhism. Jokang temple is the most brilliant building in Tibet, and also the earliest Tibetan traditional building in Tibet.

There are many important and interesting monasteries and temples to visit in Tibet including Drepung and Sera monasteries, Ramoche temple, Ganden monastery inside Lhasa, Samye monastery, Palchoe monastery, Tashi Lhunpo monastery, Traduk temple and Yumbu Lhakang so on. During your Tibet trip, you should not miss visiting the most important scenic sights including the Mt Everest, Mt Kailash, several most famous sacred lakes of Tibet including Namtso lake, Yamdrok lake, Mansarovar lake, Dhangra Yumtso lake, Tso Ngonpo lake ( Kokonor ) etc.

  • What are the etiquette and Taboos in Tibet that you should know before going to Tibet?

One of the 5 essential things to know before you go to Tibet is etiquette and Taboos. Tibet is divided into different regions but the most important place that you should not miss visiting when you are going to Tibet is Lhasa so today we are going to give some information about etiquette and Taboos of the Tibetans in Lhasa.

Lhasa has a pleasant climate and has long been the political, religious, economic and cultural center of Tibet. There are so many interesting scenic spots and cultural sights to visit in Lhasa. The area is known for its strict dress code. Lhasa women use wool to make short sleeved summer clothes.

Lhasa women wear the most beautiful Tibetan gowns made of the best used wool and the women who are married wear a waistlines or known as apron made of various colors of wool or silk. Whenever there is a traditional festival or during Tibetan new year, all the Lhasa women, including young generations will have to wear this beautiful Tibetan traditional gown and Tibetan traditional hat made of the best woolen cloth and a little bit murmured hair. In Tibet, to dress in a beautiful traditional way is to give a respect to the older ones, leaders or your friends. Especially when they have special celebration. Tibetans believe that people who come to your home with beautiful clothes can bring you good luck.

The people in Lhasa are very polite and when you are talking to older people, teachers, leaders, monks or nuns, you always speak softly and use the respectful words in Tibetan. The younger generations always touch their right hand on their head and as if they are scratching on their head when they are talking to older people, teachers, leaders so on, It is also another way of paying respect. People in Lhasa raise their hands and bow their head when they meet some friends or people they know in the market or street, that is to greet the people. Tibetans take off the hat during their visit to the monasteries or temples which is also respect to Buddha. Tibetans don’t have any entertainment or parties if someone dies in their family for 49 days. They also don’t sing or dance during those 49 days. Tibetans offer white scarf to Buddha or statues of Bodhisattva during their visit inside the monastery which is a respect to Buddha and symbol of displaying  their white and pure heart to Buddha in order to clear their sin.

When people have parties, Tibetans always touch the glass with each other before you drink. They never drink alone by themselves without making cheer to their party friends. Tibetans don’t go empty hands when they visit a relative, friend or work maters, they take fruit, milk, some Kg of meat or butter to the visiting family. Tibetans always go to visit the hospital if some of their friends or relatives are sick with some present or envelope. Tibetans always take good care of their old parents and most of the families live together with the parents even they are married.

The biggest taboo of Tibetans is to kill animals by themselves because in the Buddhist text, it is taught very strictly that people are not allowed to slaughter and kill animals so they don’t kill animals by themselves in this respect. Although they eat Yak meat, beef and mutton, they do not kill them by themselves. Tibetans are absolutely forbidden to eat donkey, horse and dog meat, and in some regions, they also do not eat fish. When you eat, Tibetans should not eat with full of mouth, bite or drink slightly. When drinking butter tea, the host pours the tea, and the guest can only take it. When the host’s hands are in front of you, avoid spitting on other people’s backs and clapping hands.

If you encounter religious facilities such as temples, stupas, etc., you must make a detour from left to right, while those who believe in Bon religion make a detour from right. Tibetans do not cross the magic weapon or incense fire pot. Do not cross the cushion inside the monastery. Do not jump on the books or scriptures. Do not walk over the prayer flags or wind horse. Don’t touch your hand on somebody’s head, especially the older people.

 When receiving guests, Tibetans offer white scarf which is the wish for good luck and happiness for the guess. When receiving guests, whether walking or talking, always give priority to the guests or the elderly, and use honorifics, such as adding the word “La” after the name, to show respect and amiability, and avoid calling their names directly without the word La. Welcome the guests, bow and bend knees, smile. Sit indoors, cross legged, not straight legs, feet facing people, not looking around. Accept gifts with both hands. For gifts, bow and raise your hands above your head. When offering tea, wine and cigarettes, you should put your hands on them, and your fingers should not be put into the mouth of the bowl. Tibetan people feed on grains such as wheat, rice and highland barley, which can grow on the plateau. Tibetans eat Tsampa made up from barley and Tsampa is the main food of Tibetan people.

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