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Tibet Travel Guide

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Everest at dawn © public domain

Tibet is a land of majestic mountains, exotic culture, and gentle people. Tibet, 'the roof of the world', lay largely undiscovered by the rest of the world until the beginning of the 20th century, but has since fascinated travellers seeking the unspoilt and more remote corners of the globe.

China invaded and annexed Tibet in 1950, and the country has since officially been known as the Tibet Autonomous Region. Travelling through Tibet is no longer allowed unless visitors are part of a package tour, and must remain with the tour for the duration of their stay. In recent years there has been a massive influx of Han-Chinese immigrants to Tibet, and Chinese-Tibetan relations can be strained, though most visitors find locals friendly and hospitable.

This vast territory in the southwest of China consists of a massive plateau surrounded by towering mountain ranges. The Himalayas ring it in the south, the Karakoram Range is to the west, the Kunlun to the north, and smaller ranges fringe the east forming a barrier between Tibet and China's internal provinces. Most of Tibet is several thousand feet above sea level, meaning that the air is thin. The region is a major draw for mountaineers, containing some of the world's highest mountain peaks, capped by Mount Everest at 29,029 feet (8,848m), in the middle section of the Himalayas in Tibet's Tingri Country.

Tibet is scenically rich, with snow-covered peaks, glaciated high passes, aquamarine lakes, primeval forests, and almost continual bright-blue skies. Despite its altitude and thick snow covering the mountains, Tibet actually has snowfall only a few times each year, with plenty of sunshine the rest of the time. Tibet's major cities and towns are congregated mainly in the southern part of the region. Here, in the agricultural sector, are the capital Lhasa and the other major city of Shigatse, which offer the region's most important tourist attractions, including the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama and The Rongbuk Monastery, which is the highest in the world and has fantastic views of Mount Everest.

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