After dishing out tips on planning a successful Tibetan tour, Lauren shares things to do in Tibet with us her itinerary upon reaching the Roof of the World.
Tibet is a truly remarkable region.
Nowhere on earth can you find such fascinating monasteries, majestic sceneries and breathtaking altitudes for trekking. After dishing out the A to Z on planning a successful Tibetan trip, let me share with you some ideas on what you can actually do upon reaching the “Roof of the World”.
Explore Potala Palace
Potala Palace is the crown jewel of Tibet. This marvelous building houses over 1,000 rooms and was built at an altitude of 3,700m. It was also Dalai Lama’s main residence before he fled to India in 1959. Today, it serves as a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site where you will find over 10,000 painted scrolls and close to 200,000 statues. If you want a great shot of the structure, Chakpori Hill is the viewpoint for admiring the Potala Palace when dawn breaks over the mountains.
Visit the monks and pilgrims
No matter where you look, you’ll see monks in red drapes walking the streets. Tibetan monks belong to one of four different Buddhist schools, and the red color is a symbol of simplicity and that they no longer partake in the “material world”. They live in monasteries where you can see them carry out their daily routines. The most popular ones are Sera and Drepung Monastery, but you will also see monks around the Jokhang temple in Barkhor Square, the most sacred temple in Tibet. There, many pilgrims can be seen performing prostrations as a sign of devotion and the purification of mind and body.
Stay with locals
Spending time with a local family is an excellent way to learn about the Tibetan way of life. Our guide invited us to stay with his family in the mountains, and we ended up staying there for three days! During our visit, we participated in all the local traditions and were even introduced to other villagers who had never seen white people before. The rules of interaction between Tibetans and foreigners are limited but if you do get the chance I would definitely recommend this!
Hike in the Himalayas
If you have the time, a hike in the Himalayas is definitely worth a day or two. No one is saying that you have to climb Mount Everest or go to base camp – a few hours of hiking to see some hot springs or simply enjoy the wilderness and breathtaking scenery will be just as terrific!
Indulge in Tibetan food
Tibetans certainly know how to make a great steak, so if you go to Tibet, don’t leave without tasting the fried yak fillet. It tastes like the veil; very tender and almost melting on your tongue. Aside from yak meat, Tibetan food consists of fried dough and dairy products such as cheese and butter. You will most likely get acquainted with butter tea too! It’s a salty hot drink often served as a welcome drink.