To promote winter tourism, the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China has announced preferential policies for travelers in Tibet from now through April 30, 2018.
The top attractions in all of the popular destinations, such as Lhasa, Shannan, Nyingchi, Shigatse, Chamdo, and Ngari regions, are included in this policy. The most popular sites in all of Tibet, such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Yamdrok Lake, and Mount Everest National Nature Reserve, are all completely free to visit. For example, the Polata Palace is famous, not only for its splendor, but also for the difficulty in getting a ticket. However, from now through the end of April, every traveler can have a close encounter with its breathtaking beauty free of charge. This list of free tourist attractions includes four AAAAA-grade sites, 13 AAAA-grade sites, 45 AAA-grade sites, 38 AA-grade sites and 16 A-grade sites.
Tibet is usually not open to international travelers in February and March, during the Tibetan New Year. The high season for travel to Tibet begins in April.
Here are some of the top scenic spots:
The great Potala Palace, a magnificent red and white structure, with 9 stories and a thousand rooms, was built by the King Songtsen Gampo for his bride from the Tang Dynasty. Now, you can explore its many invaluable treasures and artworks free of charge.
Jokhang Temple is recognized as the most important temple in Tibetan Buddhism. Known for its elegant architecture, it was built in 652 by the King Songtsen Gampo for his two brides, Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty and Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal. For this reason, and because of several expansions of the temple over the next 900 years, it has mixed styles of Chinese, Tibetan, and Nepalese design. Pilgrims from all over Tibet come to Jokhang Temple to do kora around it and worship in front of it. With no access fee in April, there is no better time to visit this Tibetan treasure.
Sera Monastery, whose name means “Wild Roses Monastery” in Tibetan, is six kilometers north of Jokhang Temple. Every weekday afternoon, monks in traditional red robes debate Buddhism doctines at the courtyard. Tourists will not want to miss this famous debate, during which monks will jump up and make vigorous and interesting gestures. Besides the debate, Sera Monastery is also famous for being the last Buddhist monastery ever built, and because it houses many delicate mandalas and murals of Buddha.
Famous as one of the largest and most sacred lakes in Tibet, the Yamdrok Lake attracts countless travelers to admire its beauty. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and fed by many small streams, this lake is huge, with a length of over 72 meters (45 miles). Yamdrok Lake is traditionally revered as a talisman and said to be part of the life-spirit of Tibet. At the edge of this scenic turquoise lake, you can free your body and your spirit from the noise of your busy life. And now through April, it is also free of charge!
Mount Everest has captured the interest of travelers, mountain climbers, and armchair explorers all around the world for hundreds of years. At 8,848 meters (29,029 feet), it is the world’s highest peak, offering breathtaking views that are not to be missed by any adventurer in its vicinity. During your tour in Tibet, you may choose to travel to Mount Everest National Nature Reserve, which is free through April.
For those interested in a truly spiritual tour in Tibet, the holy Mount Kailash and holy Lake Manasarovar are the best destinations. Fortunately, they are also free of charge, but only until the end of April. Mount Kailash is recognized as the residence of Shiva, the Supreme Being in Hinduism, and it is central to the cosmology of Buddhism, and a major pilgrimage site for some Buddhist traditions. Thousands of Pilgrims from several religions believe that walking around Mount Kailash on foot is a holy ritual that will bring good fortune. Fed by the Kailash Glaciers, Lake Manasarovar is the highest freshwater lake as well as the holiest lake in the world. In Hinduism, the lake was created by the Lord Brahma in his mind. As a visitor, you will be able to do kora with pilgrims, admire the marvelous scenery of the lake, and refresh your spirit.
Scenic sites in Tibet that are FREE until April 30th 2018 are as follows:
Free Attractions in Lhasa:
Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, Norbulingka, Namtso Lake, Yak Museum, Dezong Hot Spring, Canggu nunnery, Thousand-Buddha Cliff, Tsha-Tsha Rock Cultural Museum.
Free Attractions in Shannan:
Samye Monastery, Mindrolling Monastery, Lajali Royal Palace, Yamdrok Lake, Lebu Valley, Yumbu Lakang Palace, Tradruk Temple, Kajiu Temple, Dreku Lake.
Free Attractions in Shigatse:
Palcho Monastery, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Mt. Everest National Nature Reserve, Sakya Monastery, Ancient Sakya City, Milariba Meditation Cave, Jifu Valley, Pengcuolin Temple, Paba Temple, Qiangqin Temple, Kaga Hot Spring, Ngor Monastery, Ganden Quguo Monastery, Karola Glacier, Rela Yongzhonglin Temple, Pala Manor, Engong Temple, Tahi Jipei Temple, Shalu Temple, Narthang Monastery, Ya Dong Ga Monastery, Lhatse Qude Monastery, Angen Qude Monastery, Rere Zhude Temple, Canzuolin Temple, Niguo Temple, Naining Temple, Zhasang Temple, Sewu Temple, Zangzha Temple, Simila Mountain Pass, Ouqu Mountain, Rijia Temple, Gang-gyan Monastery, Samzhu Quding Temple, Yadong zensang Temple, Zhabu Temple, Sengdu Temple, XiongXiong Temple, Laza Temple, Dana Monastery, Zidong Qude Monastery, Relong Temple, Pasuo Temple.
Free Attractions in Ngari:
Mt. Kailash & Manasrovar Lake, Khorzhak Monastery, Pangong Tso, Tholing Monastery, Piyang-Donggar, Zhari Namco, Khyung Lung Dngul Mkhar.
Free Attractions in Nyingchi:
Pagsum Lake, Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, Lulang Forest, Nanyi Valley, Kading Buddha Waterfalls, Niyang Pagoda.
Free Attractions in Chamdo:
Mangkang Salt Field, Galden Jampaling Monastery, Riwoche Monastery, Zizhu Temple, Duola Fairy Mountain, Yiri Valley, North Ridge of Meili Snow Mountain, Mang Co Lake, Jirong Gorge, Butuo Lake, Latuo WetLand, Rakwa Tso, Zuomalang Tso.