Mystical Land of Mountains and Monasteries

Tibet

The huge Tibetan Plateau, with an average elevation of 2.5 miles, has been home to humans for at least 11,000 years.  Its people were originally nomadic herders who gradually settled in the “City of the Sun,” Lhasa.  Here the smell of incense and yak butter candles permeates the temples and monasteries and the rarified air seems to make colors more vivid.

Why Travel with MIR to Tibet
  • Over two decades of Tibet travel experience
  • Travel programs such as the California Agricultural Leadership Program and the American Museum of Natural History have chosen MIR to guide them to Tibet
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
Signature Experiences

We regularly garner raves from our travelers for the inspired opportunities we provide to help them get to know the local people, distinctive art, architecture and accomplishments of Tibet.  Below is just a sampling of the Tibet experiences MIR has designed to take our clients far from the familiar.

Ways to Travel to Tibet with MIR

We design every one of our Tibet trips to help you discover for yourself why we are mesmerized by the mystical atmosphere of Tibet, and concerned about the culture’s continued survival.

Take a look at your options, from small group escorted tours to independent, custom and private travel:

Small Group Tours
China’s Silk Road & Tibet:  Route of Monks & Merchants

China’s Silk Road & Tibet: Route of Monks & Merchants

An Expedition from Lhasa to Kashgar

Travels to: China, Tibet

18 Days / Departures in May, September 2017

Small Group land tour from $6,295, plus $1,860 internal air

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Rail Journeys by Private Train
Tibet & China Rail Discovery

Tibet & China Rail Discovery

From Lhasa to Urumqi by Private Train

Travels to: China, Tibet

12 Days / Departures in October 2017

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $9,995

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Custom and private travel is our specialty. We’ve been designing unforgettable custom itineraries across the high Tibetan Plateau for over two decades; a majority of our guests travel on custom itineraries.

For ideas, peruse one of our Regional Travel Planners, a roundup of the must-sees from our savvy staff.

Take a look at our suggested Private Journey, Essential Tibet, or read more about how to design your own trip.  Also, consider this: You can customize our Mongolia & Tibet: Steppes to the Roof of the World small group tour or other MIR small group Tibet tours to match your preferred dates of travel.

Design Your Own Custom Trip

Traveling privately on a custom program means flexibility:

  • You set the dates, the focus and the level of accommodations.
  • You are met on arrival and seen off at the end of your trip.
  • Your in-country transportation is pre-arranged hassle-free.
  • Your own expert local guides ensure that you get the most out of your visit.
  • And the best part? You travel at your own pace on an itinerary exclusive to you.

Check out just a handful of our Tibet signature experiences below and then get in touch with a MIR Private Journey Specialist to craft an itinerary that suits your travel goals, budget and style.  Or get started planning now.

Suggested Itineraries for Private Travel

Whether you’re looking for a compact trip with all the highlights or something a little roomier with some of the extras, MIR offers itineraries that are available on a private departure basis with your choice of dates. They can also serve as inspiration for your own custom itinerary.

Our itinerary, your dates – great for solo travelers, couples or small groups.

Essential Tibet

Essential Tibet

Tibet Sampler

Travels to: China, Tibet

Departures in April, May, June, July, August, September, October 2017

This itinerary available as a private journey

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Weather
Our Favorite Places in Tibet
Tibet

Lhasa

Tibetan nomads settled in the “City of the Sun,” Lhasa, making it their capital.  Here they built the massive Potala Palace, rising in red, white and gold splendor high above Lhasa, dominating the landscape and watching over every aspect of local life. Embracing Buddhism’s guiding principle of ahimsa, or nonviolence, the Tibetans tried to protect their lands from contact with the rest of the world, but were finally unable to do so.

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Tibet

Shigatse

The second largest city in Tibet and capital of Shigatse prefecture, Shigatse is also the second most important trade center in Tibet, lying as it does on the ancient caravan route from Lhasa to west Tibet. It was one of the first Tibetan towns to be visited by westerners, because of its proximity to India.

Shigatse has been the traditional home of the Panchen Lama since the 16th century. Today there are two proclaimed Panchen Lamas, one designated by the Chinese and one by the Dalai Lama. The boy designated by the Dalai Lama has since disappeared. The highlight of Shigatse is the Tashilhunpo Monastery.

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Tibet

Yarlung Valley

Drive to Tsetang and explore the Yarlung Valley, cradle of Tibetan civilization. This was the home of Tibet’s early kings, whose vast empire at its height spanned most of Central Asia. Visit their colossal tombs, located in Chongye, some of which measure more than 500 feet wide and up to 90 feet tall. The tombs at Chongye mark a turning point in Tibetan tradition, the end of the tradition of earth burial for the dead. Sky burial became the norm for ordinary people, while cremation or embalming was preferred for important lamas.

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Tibet

Samye Monastery

Built in the 8th century by King Trisong Detsen, Samye was the first monastery of Tibet. Explore the mandala created by the elliptical-walled compound, which contains beautiful temples and stupas placed in specific sites surrounding the main temple. Conceived by the renowned Indian masters, Padmasambhava and Santarakshita, the main temple is the only surviving temple in Tibet whose three floors were constructed in the differing styles of Tibet, India and China.

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Tibet

Gyantse

Almost two and a half miles high, the Tibetan town of Gyantse is set in a crescent of hills rising from the Nyang River valley. These peaks are spiked with the jagged teeth of the 14th century wall that surrounds the city’s Pelkhor Monastery. The old parts of the town near the wall have retained much of their original appearance. Gyantse’s best-known monument is the 15th century Kumbum, a fabled shrine and place of Tibetan Buddhist pilgrimage.

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When to Travel to Tibet

Losar: Tibetan New Year, throughout Tibet (varies by year)

A performance in Tibet Photo credit: Jamshid FayzullaevLosar, Tibetan New Year, is the most important Tibetan holiday and is celebrated over a period of two weeks. Losar festivities include the preparation of special foods such as barley chang, guthuk noodles and dough balls with hidden and symbolic ingredients. The celebration also entails a special circuit around monasteries and temples, where the Tibetan people burn incense before the sacred statue of Sakyamuni. During this time, Tibetan people wear their finest clothes and make elaborate decorations for their homes and temples.

Monlam, throughout Tibet (varies by year)

Monlam, the Great Prayer Festival, is the grandest of the spiritual festivals in Tibet, and is celebrated by Tibetan monks performing sacred rituals and dances and gathering to chant before the Jokhang Temple. Other ceremonies include the hosting of examinations for the Lharampa Geshe degree, the preaching of sermons and the making of religious donations.

Horse Racing Festivals, throughout Tibet (varies by year)

The nomads of the region get together to celebrate and enjoy horse and yak races and wrestling. Dressing themselves and their best horses in their finest garments, thousands of herdsmen participate in the contests. Other folk activities and trade fairs are also held during the races.