LhasaDominating the skyline with its immense walls ofwhite and ochre, the famous Potala Palace greetsyou as you reach the Tibetan capital. In its mazeof corridors, chapels and galleries, you willdiscover the former living quarters of the DalaiLama and many sacred tombs. In the old Tibetanquarter, you can walk through the narrow streets,explore nearby Barkhor Square and thespectacular golden-roofed Jokhang, the region'sholiest temple. Just outside Lhasa there are twomonasteries of particular interest. Sera is setaround a busy courtyard, where monks spendafternoons debating philosophy. Drepung wasonce the world's largest monastery, housing up to 10,000 monks in its heyday. A day trip into thecountryside also reveals the monastic ruins andrestorations of Ganden.TsetangA half-day drive from Lhasa along theBrahmaputra River valley brings you to the fabledbirthplace of the Tibetan people. The moderntown of Tsetang has a fascinating old Tibetanquarter and is a good base for exploring. To thesouth, lose yourself in the eerie YumbulagangFort. Its tower is set on a jagged ridge flutteringwith prayer flags, a great viewpoint overlookingthe verdant Yarlung Valley. Northeast of Tsetang,the road crosses the mighty Brahmaputra Riveren route to the remarkable Samye Monastery,oldest of all Tibet's monasteries. Under theprotective gaze of the spectacular Utse building,countless stupas and temples still attract manydevout Buddhists.Find out more For suggested itineraries and practicalinformation about travel in Tibet, please see our website.www.audleytravel.comInteractive maps and features, further suggested itineraries,accommodation, climate informationand articles written by our specialists.Discuss your plans with our Tibetspecialists 01993 838 215?Overland to KathmanduThe overland journey on the Friendship Highwayfrom Lhasa to Kathmandu in Nepal is one of the finest travel experiences in Asia. The roadtakes you past Tibet's key towns and monasteriesas well as over 5,000 metre passes that offer jaw-dropping views over lakes and green valleysbelow.The journey will take you to Gyantse where youwill have time to visit Pelkor Chode Monasteryand wander through the traditional Tibetanstreets before travelling on to Shigatse. Here youcan browse in the market and perhaps seek outTashlhunpo Monastery. As you travel away fromShigatse, the views of the Himalayas becomebetter and better and, leaving the tarmac of theFriendship Highway behind, the journey passesthrough desert-like terrain until the unmistakeablesight of Everest appears. A stay at Everest Base Camp's RongbukMonastery offers you the chance to see therobed monks going about their routine andprovides the most unforgettable views of Everestin the early light. Once the sun is up, it is possibleto walk up to the closest vantage point to BaseCamp on a nearby hill. The journey back to theFriendship Highway ends at the small town ofTingre, which has just a few buildings and a WildWest feel.The final day's drive is stunning, as you descendfrom the Tibetan Plateau and its lifeless landscapethrough gradually emerging woodland andgreenery at the border with Nepal, before theroad levels out and you pass through subtropicalgreenery, finally arriving at Kathmandu in theevening.Tibet121Potala Palace, LhasaAudley in TibetSince 1951, Tibet has been officiallydesignated an autonomous region of China.We use only Tibetan guides and focus youritinerary on Tibetan culture and traditions,giving you an insight into the region andeveryday life. Some of the more remoteareas involve adventurous journeys, but wewill tailor your itinerary to suit yourpreferences. Whereas most operators willonly take you to Tibet as part of a fixed-itinerary group, our tours are fully tailor-made to your own specifications.PracticalitiesApart from one hotel in Lhasa, luxury hotelshave yet to make it onto the Tibetan Plateau,but many would say this adds to Tibet'scharm. There is a mixture of characterfulguesthouses and functional Chinese hotels.Roads around Lhasa and the main towns ofTibet are generally of a reasonable standard.However, if travelling overland betweenTibet and Nepal, we recommend the use ofa 4x4 vehicle. You will, of course, have adriver and guide. Travel to Tibet is onlypractical between the months of April andNovember as inclement weather preventstravel on the Friendship Highway.China, Russia and Central Asia brochureMore information on Tibet and onwardtravel into China can be found in our China,Russia and Central Asia brochure. To request a copy or to speak to our specialists please call 01993 838 200.
Everest Base CampWhile Base Camp on the Nepal side of Everestsees more visitors, Base Camp in Tibet is a lotmore isolated, and the views of Everest arguablyfiner. There is a tangible sense of adventure onarrival, after a bumpy five hour journey southfrom the Friendship Highway. As China opens upto the world, it has become easier for climbers to attempt to climb Everest from within Tibet.The region, however, is still as remote as everand accommodation (aside from tents) is onlyfound at Rongbuk Monastery, the world's highestat 5,100 metres. This remains a functioningmonastery and the small funds that they receivefrom travellers enables the monks to maintain the buildings. For those who stay at RongbukMonastery, the basic facilities, which includeoutdoor taps and toilets, is more thancompensated for by the dramatic views of Everestitself from the bedroom windows. It is abreathtaking sight in the morning or evening asthe sunlight shifts over the snows. 122Mount Everest seen from Base CampPakistanThe British Foreign & Commonwealth Officecurrently advises against travel to some partsof Pakistan, but we will certainly recommendit again once stability returns to the region.Surrounded by three magnificent mountainranges - the Himalaya, Karakoram and HinduKush - the natural landscape of Pakistan isspectacular. In the north, rushing mountainstreams and rivers echo from deep withinsteep gorges, scattered villages amid greenfields while above the valleys pine trees giveway to high alpine meadows. Amid thisbeauty are reminders of the past, includingBadshahi Mosque, Lahoretraces left by Alexander the Great, modestBuddhist shrines, grand Mughal forts andevidence of Pakistan's position on the SilkRoute. The stunning Karakoram Highwayruns through mountains, passes and ravinesfrom Islamabad to the Chinese border. Awayfrom the mountains, the Mughal architectureof Lahore rivals that of India. The mystique ofthe east has been etched in British historyand nowhere exemplifies this better than theKhyber Pass. This harsh outpost marked theedge of the Raj and echoes a bygone era.Baltoro Glacier, KarakoramRongbuk Monastery