The “Roof of the World”, Tibet endures as the center of a devout and deeply spiritual Buddhist culture.
Long closed to the rest of the world, tourists have only been welcomed in Tibet since 1980. Tibet consists of a vast plateau encircled by mountains, including Mt. Everest, to the southwest. Mountaineering is popular in Tibet, with the Everest Base Camp drawing more visitors than any other hiking spot in Tibet. The central city of Tibet is Lhasa, where the Potala Palace has been the home of Dalai Lamas since the 7th century. On Lhasa’s Barkhor Street, vendors hawk authentic Tibetan handcrafts. Buddhists make the 4-day trek to Mt. Kailash during the Saka Dawa Festival. Beginning in late May the festival offers pilgrims a chance to increase their karmic payback 300 fold when they donate to the poor or give offerings to their temples. In Shigatse, the Tashilhunpo Monastery welcomes visitors through the gates of its walled complex of cobble-stoned streets and well preserved ancient buildings.