Pictures of Tibet: the Roof of the World

Posted on June 12, 2017 by

A look at some of my best pictures of Tibet: from its landscapes to people.

Tibet is called the ‘Roof of the World’ for good reasons: With an average elevation exceeding 4,500 metres (14,800 ft), the Tibetan Plateau is sometimes the world’s highest and largest plateau, with an area of 2,500,000 square kilometres (about five times the size of France). Unsurprisingly, a visual journey of the best pictures of Tibet is certain to inspire awe.

As you can imagine, geography in Tibet is on a humbling scale —dramatic snow-peaked mountains loom over vast plains, zigzagging highways weave their way through high passes draped with colourful prayer flags, while glittering turquoise lakes stand in the shadow of centuries-old glaciers. Home to several of the world’s highest peaks, Tibet has the power to impress even the most hardened traveler.

But amidst the stunning natural landscapes that surround, it’s the people of Tibet that truly moved me. Despite being deeply oppressed by China’s iron fist, Tibet remains a resilient land underpinned by a rich culture and deep faith. 50 years of political indoctrination and religious control have failed to dull the Tibetans’ devotion to their faith. The Tibetans are always ready with a smile and an opened heart, and an admirable tolerance for hardship and oppression. 

Today, amidst the kitsch Chinese neon signs, retail stores and fast food chains, it’s still common to see hardcore pilgrims prostrating in koras circumambulating sacred spots around the country. Magnificent monasteries rich with the aroma of butter tea, prayer halls of chanting monks, and streets lined with prayer wheels all remind us that nobody can take away what is truly Tibetan.


READ MORE: HOW TO TRAVEL TIBET 


THE LANDSCAPES

pictures of tibet - everest base camp

Even the road to Everest Base Camp is dominated by herds of yaks.

pictures of tibet

Finally reaching Everest Base Camp, the highest point you can go without a mountaineering license!

pictures of tibet - friendship highway

Traversing the Friendship Highway, a series of cockscrew bends that climb up to altitudes of over 5000m.

pictures of tibet

The impressive Karo-La Glacier has sadly been receding substantially over the past few years.

The glacier stays all year round on the top of Mount Karo-La.

pictures of tibet

Typical landscapes near Shigatse, the second biggest city in Tibet.

pictures of tibet

Even in the thick of summer, snow can be seen at high altitudes as we etch closer to Mount Everest.

pictures of tibet

Admiring the spearmint blue waters of the artificial Manka Lake, that resulted from the construction of a dam.

Turquoise waters, colorful prayer flags, craggy cliffs — typical scenes of Tibet.

A yak standing by the shore of Yamdrok Lake is sadly used as a tourist gimmick.

Feasting on views of Yamdrok Lake from above.

Who would have thought you’ll find lime green paddies in Tibet?

A spectacular view of Gyatse old town and the surrounding walls from the fortress

Climbing up to the fortress wasn’t easy, but the views made it well worth the effort.

THE PEOPLE

A Tibetan nomad poses for a picture while desperately trying to sell me some prayer flags.

Devout Tibetan ladies are seen making daily koras around sacred spots such as the Drepung Monastery in the outskirts of Lhasa.

Tibetans from far and wide come and prostrate in front of the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa to attone for their sins.

Monks dressed in burgundy robe make their way to the prayer hall at Drepung Monastery.

The animated debate session at Sera Monastery was such an eye-opening experience.

Monks young and old head for their daily debate session at Sera Monastery.

Typical traditional Tibetan houses where multi-generational families live.

Pilgrims enroute to Jokhang Temple, the most sacred of all temples in Lhasa.

THE MONASTERIES

Tibet’s iconic landmark, the Potala Palace where nine Dalai Lamas lived.

The Drepung Monastery is perched on a hilltop overlooking Lhasa.

Tibet is very popular with Chinese tourists, and sadly monasteries and temples are often crowded with long lines.

Inside the Potala Palace.

Light pierce through the windows of the Jokhang Temple.

Rongbuk Monastery, near the Everest Base Camp, is said to be the highest monastery in the world.

Rock paintings seen above Drepung Monastery.

THE TIBETAN CULTURE

Prayer flags abound in Tibet, especially at mountain passes and sacred spots. Each of the colors of the flags represent a different element: fire, water, earth, air and space.

A view of Lhasa Old Town and its beautiful traditional architecture.

Bustling Barkhor Square is the main heart of Lhasa.

The snow lion is a symbol of Tibet and figures can be seen in monasteries and palaces.

Walking up to the top of a mountain pass.

Gyatso-La, the highest mountain pass on the Friendship Highway, with spectacular views of the Himalayan Range.

HUGE THANKS TO THE GROUP!

This trip to Tibet wouldn’t have been such a success without my awesome group of travel mates! It was SO fun and rewarding to travel with this bunch of seasoned travelers. Thank you for all the laughter and conversations during the trip. Here’s to more adventures ahead of us!

Also thanks to Tibet Vista for partnering up with me on this first ever WildJunket Tour. They made sure the trip went smoothly and arranged top notch logistics and accommodation for us. I also want to give special thanks to our guide Sonam Tenphel who made the trip such a great learning experience for all of us.

Tibet, I will be back!


READ MORE: THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU TRAVEL TO TIBET

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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

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