On a plateau north of the Himalayas lies Tibet – a beautiful and mysterious part of the world, and one that is often overlooked for holidays. Many people’s perceptions of Tibet are that it is a calm, serene place bursting with natural beauty, and while this is true, there are also plenty of adventures to be found there. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t rule out Tibet as your next thrill-seeking destination.
With an average elevation of over 4000m, it is no wonder that Tibet is most famous for its mountains. Home to the Himalayas, the most famous mountain which calls Tibet its home, and the ultimate challenge in any thrill-seekers to-do-list is of course, Everest. Chances are, this is not realistic for most people, but luckily, there are many other amazing mountains to choose from. Some other mountains popular with climbers include Mount Cho You, which is better for beginner high-altitude climbers, and Mount Qomolangma.
Trekking and hiking in Tibet can be hugely rewarding thanks to its beautiful landscape of snow-capped mountains, sacred lakes and glaciers, and you will benefit from exercising in clean, unpolluted air. However, if you are not used to such high altitudes, you may suffer from altitude sickness, so acclimatise gradually before climbing any particularly high peaks.
You will need permits to trek and climb in Tibet, so make sure you have all necessary paperwork organised before you travel
There are many incredible rivers perfect for kayaking and rafting in Tibet, and many companies offer trips for all abilities. For beginners, smaller rivers such as the Lhasa River or the Tulong River are good choices. If you are planning on taking on larger or wilder waters, ensure you are fit enough and have acclimatised to the altitude to reduce the chance of illness. The best time of year to go rafting in Tibet is during the summer months (June-September), as this is when the rivers are fuller and the weather is warmer.
As with all activities, rafting and kayaking are not risk-free, so ensure you are well prepared and follow all safety precautions, including booking through an experienced company. You should also take out travel insurance from a company such as Staysure, who offer 24-hour medical emergency support should you become injured or fall ill. They’re a trusted name in the world of travel insurance, with many positive reviews on Trustpilot.
Cycling has been growing in popularity in Tibet in recent years and although there are regulations in place that you have to consider (as with climbing and hiking), the experience will be worth it! Bear in mind that cycling tours are not day trips, and you will need to ensure you have appropriate equipment for camping and other necessities.
Some of the most popular cycling routes include Lhasa to Nepal, Kangding to Shangri La, and Chengdu to Xining.
If you prefer a slightly gentler adventure, why not choose an authentic mode of travel to explore Tibet? There are many horseback riding expeditions available, which take you across breath-taking landscapes to see crystal clear lakes, monasteries, forests, and local villages. You may even be lucky enough to see some of the native wildlife, such as yaks, macaques or bharals. As with any activity in Tibet, make sure you do your research before you go to ensure you have all the necessary equipment and paperwork.
Remember to enjoy the other aspects of Tibet between adventures. It is known for its incredibly rich culture, friendly locals, colourful Buddhist festivals, and rare plants and animals. It is unlikely that you will ever visit anywhere else quite like it!