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Tourism



Tibet, mysterious in the eyes of the world for a prolonged period of time, finally opened its doors to the outside world in the early 1980s when the People's Republic of China introduced the reform and opening program. This was followed by huge influx of foreign mountaineers and those who came for sightseeing visits or scientific exploration.

After some 20 years, tourism in Tibet has become comparatively full fledged, with good hotels and other tourist facilities, satisfactory road conditions, and high quality of tour guides and managers.

 

Tourist Resources

At present, there are some 60 sites open to tourists. They center on the city of Lhasa, and cover Xigaze, Shannan, Nagqu, Ngari and Nyingchi.

 

 

Lhasa

The downtown and suburban areas teem with cultural relics and places of historical interest. The Potala Place, the Jokhang Monastery, the Zhaibung Monastery, the Sera Monastery, and the Gandain Monastery, all located in the city, are known to the world.

Xigaze

Tucked away at an elevation of 3,800 meters, Xigaze has a history of some 500 years. It is home to the Tashilhungpo Monastery, the resident monastery of the Panchen Erdeni. It is also the political and religious center in inner Tibet. Inside the monastery is the giant bronze statue of Qamba Buddha. To its south is the Qomolangmo. Around it are the Sagya Monastery, the Palkor Monastery and the Xahla Monastery. 

Shannan

Here is the cradle of the Tibetan race. Sitting on the southern bank of the middle reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River, Shannan has an elevation of 3,600 meters and enjoys a temperate climate. The Yarlung River Scenic Spot, at the national level, houses some famous ancient monasteries such as the Samye and the   Qamzhub Monasteries, as well as sites of historical interest such as the Yungbolhakang Palace and the Tombs of Tibetan Kings.

Nyingchi

Located on the lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River in southeast Tibet, Nyingchi, with an average elevation of 3,000 meters, enjoys humid air and is known for its charming scenery. It is home to a number of ethnic minorities including Moinba and Lhoba. Scenic spots include the Namjagbarwa Peak, the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, and the Basum Co Lake. The landscape in Zayu and Bome are attractive, too.

Ngari

Located in the western part of Tibet, Ngari, with an elevation averaging 4,500 meters, is known as the "roof of the roof of the world.'' The prefecture teems with lakes and is scarcely populated. It is a paradise for wild yaks, Tibetan antelopes, Mongolian gazelle, wild Tibetan donkeys and other species of wildlife. Places of historical interest include the ruins of the Guge Kingdom, the Toding Monastery and the site of the ancient Dorshang Castle in the western part of Ngari; as well as holy mountains and holy lakes in Burang.

Ngari

Located in the western part of Tibet, Ngari, with an elevation averaging 4,500 meters, is known as the "roof of the roof of the world.'' The prefecture teems with lakes and is scarcely populated. It is a paradise for wild yaks, Tibetan antelopes, Mongolian gazelle, wild Tibetan donkeys and other species of wildlife. Places of historical interest include the ruins of the Guge Kingdom, the Toding Monastery and the site of the ancient Dorshang Castle in the western part of Ngari; as well as holy mountains and holy lakes in Burang.

Nagqu

Located in northern Tibet with an elevation of over 4,500 meters, Nagqu is referred to as the Northern Tibet Plateau. Bisected by the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, it features convenient transport facilities and unique scenery and historical sites, including the ruins of the Zhangzhung Culture, monasteries of the Bon religion, and the holy lake of Nam Co.

Qamdo Prefecture

Located in the Hengduan Mountain Ranges, the Qamdo Prefecture sits in the area drained by the Jinshajiang, Nujiang and Lancangjiang Rivers. It boasts a sweep of picturesque, richly endowed land dotted with majestic peaks and covered by vast expanse of forests. The prefecture is known for its historical ruins and unsophisticated folklore.

 

 

Special Tours

Tourist programs in the Tibet Autonomous Region feature cultural visits and sightseeing. But, special tours related to mountaineering, hiking, scientific survey, and enjoyment of folklore and religious activities are gaining momentum.

     Major special tour routes include: Lhasa-Camping Ground at the Qomolangmo; Lhasa-Xigaze-Ngari (holy mountains and holy lakes); Gandain Monastery-Samye Monastery; Gyama Gully-Qingpo-Samye Monastery.

 

     Cultural and sightseeing tours: Major terminals of this tour program include Lhasa, Xigaze and Shannan.

     Hiking: This refers to walking along rural paths, traditional trade routes, or pilgrimage roads. At present, such travel takes place mainly in the areas with the Qomolangmo, Xixabangma, and holy lakes and holy mountains in Ngari.

     Scientific survey: Tibet is known as the "third pole of the earth.'' Young ranges of the Himalayas, unique topography, climate, rivers, lakes, glaciers, permafrost, plants and animals are targets of scientific surveys by Chinese and foreign scientists.

     Mountaineering: Beginning in 1980, China opened 21 high peaks including the Qomolangmo and Xixabangma. In 1993, China opened another batch of 22 peaks located totally or partly in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Thus far, some 70 groups from a dozen countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan, have come to climb these high peaks.

     Enjoyment of religion: In the Tibet Autonomous Region, Mani stone mounds and colorful sutra streamers are found at mountain mouths, lakesides, and villages, and even in the wilderness. Walking in the urban and rural areas, one will easily come across lamas draped in dark red kasaya who prostrate themselves in inching forward toward the sought-after holy terminal. Tours of this part of the world highlight such religious activities.

     Folklore tour: The Tibetan race has developed its own folklore. The festivals, wedding, funeral, celebration, production and lifestyle are all different from other parts of China. Tibetans have their own costumes, music, songs and dances.

 

Hotels

There are 50 hotels in the Tibet Autonomous Region to serve tourists. They include 14 starred ones.

 

Travel Services

There are 36 travel services in the Tibet Autonomous Region. They include five which are first-class ones specialized in organizing overseas tourists to visit Tibet, and six which are second-class ones responsible for receiving overseas tour groups. Third-class travel services engaged in receiving tour groups and individual visitors are on the rise.

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