Iconic Attractions in Tibet

There are many iconic attractions in Tibet. What are they? Where are they? What are their significance to Tibet? These are the kinds of questions we address in this section of Tibetpedia. For first time visitors planning a trip to Tibet it will feel like a big place to see if you don’t know what you are looking for. Or maybe you do know what you are looking for, and want to know more about a specific place. Either way, we hope the “Attractions” section will be helpful to you as you plan your Tibetan travels. Knowing the iconic sites in this land will help you to prioritize your time and resources so that you don’t miss what is most important. Whether your interests primarily lie in culture or scenery, this section of the site highlights the most significant of both: monasterieslakes, mountains, and other key places.


Mtsho khra khrap (Flower Lake)

Flower Lake

Officially known as Ruoergai Wetland National Nature Reserve, this area is commonly known in Chinese as Hua Hu which literally translates: Mtsho khra khrap (མཚོ་ཁྲ་ཁྲབ།) In Tibetan. We call it Flower Lake in English. The name comes from the flower shape of the lake, not because it holds an abundance of blooming flowers (a common misconception). Regardless, walking the boardwalk …

Erdaohai Lake

Entrance to Erdaohai Lake

Located just outside of Songpan in the Mounigou Gulley Scenic Area is the breathtaking Erdaohai Lake. While this is not the only lake or scenic spot located in the park, it is one of the two most famous places in the Mounigou Gulley, ensuring the park is known by this name (The other park in Mounigou Gulley is Zhaga Waterfall.) …

Lianbaoyeze Holy Mountain

Nice View in Lianbaoyeze Holy Mountain

Driving about an hour and a half north of Aba town, travellers are rewarded with the spectacular views to be found at the Lianbaoyeze Holy Mountain (གཉན་པོ་གཡུ་རྩེ།) Scenic Area. With a mountain range surrounding a large lake, the air here feels clear and pure. The area surrounding the Lianbaoyeze Mountain is a scenic park, meaning there are a couple of …

Zhuokeji Tusi Official Manor

outside of Zhuokeji Tusi Official Manor

Located 8 kilometers outside of the prefectural capital of Maerkang lies the sleepy Rgyalrong Tibetan town of Zhuokeji. Follow the signs to the Zhuokeji Tusi Official Manor and take a step back in time as you explore this village to get a feel for ancient Tibetan lifestyle, art, and architecture. The History Originally built in 1286, the village was destroyed …

TurJe Chen Po (Guanyin Temple)

entrance to Guanyin Temple (TuJa Chan Po)

Located in the Jinchuan County of the Rgyalrong Tibetan Region, one will find the TurJe Chen Po(ཁྲོ་སྐྱབས་ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཆེན་པོ།). Known in Chinese as Guanyin Temple(观音庙), this is the most pilgrimaged site in Amdo Tibet. The monastery is located at the top of Guanyin Mountain, and overlooks the Checen River as it flows through Guanyin Town. History of the Guanyin Temple In the …

Yamdrok Yumtso (Yamdrok Lake)

Yamdrok Lake Tibet

Yamdrok, Yamdroktso (ཡར་འབྲོག་གཡུ་མཚོ།  ), or Yamdrok Yumtso, is a breathtaking lake lying between the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, and the town of Gyantse. Yamdrok Lake is viewable along the old Friendship Highway that links Tibet with Nepal, and is a favorite route for those heading to Everest Base Camp. Sitting at an altitude of 4,441 meters above sea level, the lake is 130 …

Tsongon Po (Qinghai Lake)

Qinghai Lake

Known as Qinghai Lake in Chinese (meaning Green Lake), Kokonor in Mongolian (meaning Blue Lake) and Tsongon Po (མཚོ་སྔོན་པོ།) in Tibetan (meaning Teal Sea), this largest inland saltwater lake in China is found in the Qinghai Province. Amidst the lofty mountains of Xiangpi, Datong, Riyue, and the South Mountain, Qinghai Lake is spread over an area of 4,500 square kilometers …

Norbulingka Summer Palace

Norbulingka 2.0

Located on the western edge of Lhasa at the bank of River Kyichu and just a kilometer from the famous Potala Palace, Norbulingka Palace (ནོར་བུ་གླིང་ག) offers the best landscapes in the region. Spread over an area of 360,000 square meters, Norbulingka features the summer palaces of the Dalai Lamas with 374 rooms, and the largest, most beautiful, and well-preserved gardens …

Jokhang Temple

Jokhang Temple 2.0

Standing four stories tall, spread over an area of about 25,000 square meters in the heart of Lhasa, the UNESCO World Heritage Jokhang Temple (ཇོ་ཁང་།) with its golden roof is an esoteric blend of local Tibetan elements with Nepalese, Chinese, and Indian influences. The spinning of prayer wheels, murmur of mantras, and humble prostrations of devout pilgrims all year long …

Yachen Monastery

Yachen Monastery valley

History of Yachen Monastery Hidden away in a remote valley between Garze (Ganzi) town and Baiyu town, Sichuan, is the isolated Yachen Monastery ( ཡ་ཆེན་དགོན་པ།). Established in 1985 by a Nyingma Rinpoche, the current population of this monastic community is approximately 17,000 monks and nuns, with nuns holding the majority. Despite living conditions becoming more difficult and strains on supplies becoming …

Sertar Larung Gar (school & monastery)

Seda Monastery 2.0

Population Explosion at Sertar Larung Gar Known around the world as the largest school for Tibetan Buddhism, Sertar Larung Gar Tibetan Buddhist Institute and Monastery (གསེར་རྟ་བླ་རུང་དགོན་པ། ) has caused the population of its surrounding town to grow exponentially in recent years. This monastic community is located in a remote and treeless valley of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Region, in Sichuan Province. The …

Rongwu Monastery

Rongwu Monastery

History of Rongwu Monastery Named for the Rongwu River, which it is located alongside, the Rongwu Monastery (རོང་པོ་དགོན་པ།)rests in Tongren County, Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and is less than 200 km from Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province. The Monastery first began as a site for three temples in 1341. Initially established by Rongwu Samten Rinpoche, his younger brother was …

Mt. Yala

Yala Mountain Kham Tibet

Geography Located near the border of Daofu County, Danba County, and Kangding County, of Ganzi Autonomous Prefecture, Yala Mountain (བཞག་བྲ།)is one of the most popular mountain treks in the Sichuan region. With snow covered peaks year round, Mt. Yala has an elevation of 5,820 meters and offers several trek options for mountain enthusiasts. The area around the border of Kangding …

Lhamo Gompa (Langmusi)

Langmusi in Winter

Different Faiths in Langmusi Two Gelugpa monasteries are located in the unique town of Lhamo(ལྷ་མོ།). The provincial border runs through the center splitting the town between both Gansu Province and Sichuan Province. Here, Islamic and Buddhist faiths live quietly together in this monastic village. There are two Tibetan Buddhist monasteries located in town as well as an Islamic Mosque, offering …

Labrang Monastery

Rooftops of Labrang Monastery

In the Tibetan area of Amdo, the Xiahe County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu, the Labrang Monastery(བླ་བྲང་དགོན་པ།) houses the largest population of monks outside of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The site is a popular tourist destination and only a four-hour drive from the provincial capital of Lanzhou. History To Tibetan Buddhists this is one of the most important monasteries today …

Kawa Gabo

Stupa in front of Meili Snow Mountain

Highest Peak On the border of Zayu, Zogang, and Deqen County in Yunnan lies Kawa Gabo(ཁ་བ་དཀར་པོ།), the highest peak along the Meili Xue Shan, or the “Mainri Snowy Range”. As a whole, this peak and range are a part of the much larger Hengduan Shan, which borders the eastern side of the Tibetan Plateau as well as western Sichuan. With …

Dzongsar Monastery

Dzongsar Monastery

History of Dzongsar Monastery Throughout its dozen or so centuries of history, the Dzongsar Monastery (རྫོང་སར་དགོན།) has seen expansion, transformation, utter destruction and ultimately, rebirth. While it may not have been restored to its former glory, what the monastery has seen and accomplished over the years is nonetheless remarkable. Located in Dege County, in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of …

Palyul (Baiyu) Monastery

Mani piles at Baiyu Monastery

Location Initially built in 1665,  Palyul Monastery (དཔལ་ཡུལ་དགོན།), also known as Baiyu Monastery( 白玉寺) in Chinese  sits above the many homes along the hillside, at the center of a small village in the Ganzi Prefecture in the western part of Sichuan province. The monastery overlooks the town and valley below with an elevation around 3,150 meters. Sticking with the traditional …

Chomolungma (Mt. Everest)

Mt. Evereset by day.

Also known as Chomolungma (ཇོ་མོ་གླང་མ། )in Tibetan, (珠穆朗玛峰 in Chinese), the mere mention of the name “Everest” already evokes enough pictures in our imaginations: ice axes, climbing ropes, avalanches, sherpas, basecamps and lots and lots of snow. The tallest point from sea level on planet earth (8,848m) is assisted to its dizzying heights by the craggy edge of the vaulted Tibetan …

Namtso Lake

Woman overlooking Namtso.

Located in Central Tibet, on the south side of Namtso Lake (གནམ་མཚོ།), travellers will find a lakeside tourist town selling souvenirs, hot sweet milk tea, selfies with yaks, and very basic accommodations. The route from the 109 highway will lead travellers straight to this town located at the base of the Tashi Dor peninsula. Peak season at Namtso Lake exhibits …