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City: Lhasa / Country: China / World Region: Asia

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      03.12.2001 05:31
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      In the words of his holiness the Dalai Lama “Go to Tibet and see as much as you can. Then tell the world.” So before you go some advice What Travel Guide to bring. We found the best to be Lonely Planet Tibet (1999), it includes the usual amount of out dated information as all Lonely Planets do but we found it indispensable. The main change from when it was published is in Travel restrictions outside the Lhasa area, which you now have to do with a tour guide as it is illegal to take the local busses. There are also restrictions on the hotels you can stay at. An update will probably be along sometime next year. It is impossible for any guide to keep up to date with the changes in Tibet so for the latest information the Lonely planet forum is your best bet. Our main reason for liking the LP guide book was the excitement of the local people who were fascinated with the photographs. On several occasions we thought we had seen the last of it only to find it returned safely after everyone around us had a chance to look at the pictures. Another book worth considering is “Mapping the Tibetan World” published by Kotan (2000). It covers all Tibetan areas in China, Nepal, India and Bhutan. If you develop a fascination with Tibetan culture as I have, it will also come in very useful. Both guides will fit in your rucksack without too much bulk. What Films to see. Kundun directed by Marin Scorcese which tells the story of Tenzin Gyatso from when he was discovered as the 15th reincarnation of the Dalai Lama at age 2 to his flight from Tibet to India following the uprising of the Tibetan people against Chinese rule in 1959. It was Kundun that led me to Tibet. It doesn’t have any big stars which gave it a much more authentic feel. It features an all Tibetan and Chinese cast. Also worth a look is The Cup a Tibetan language film about a group of young Tibetan monks in a monastery in exile and there attempts at seeing the 1998 football w
      orld cup. A film which avoids politics is Himalaya made in the Dolpo region of Nepal but in an area geographically and culturally similar to Tibet. The scenery and the soundtrack are fantastic. All of the above surpass Seven Years in Tibet which starred Brad Pitt. A very political film partly made in Tibet (without Chinese permission) is Windhorse. It is set in Lhasa and tells the story of a layabout brother, his sister who has adapted to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and their cousin who has joined a nunnery. Her subsequent protest against Chinese occupation of Tibet in the Barkkor square in Lhasa leads to her arrest and torture and the flight of her two cousins into exile. What books to read. Mary Craig “Tears of Blood (A cry for Tibet)” is a disturbing read but covers the plight of Tibet following Chinese rule. For anyone contemplating a visit to Tibet this is an essential read. Palden Gyatso “Fire under the snow” will give you a personal account of a monks suffering after the Chinese invasion. The best history of modern Tibet is “A dragon in the land of snows” by Tsering Shakya. For the Chinese view point a visit to the government website www.tibetinfo.com/en/ should give you an understanding of their opinion. One of the most important things to do before you go to Tibet is educate yourself on what has happened and what the current situation is. It would not be advisable to bring the above books with you as I have no doubt they are on the banned list. A non-political book which I thoroughly enjoyed is “Namma, a Tibetan Love story” the story of an English girl who married a Tibetan nomad whom she met in Dharmasala (India) and their return to live with his family in eastern Tibet.

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      "Lhasa (Tibetan: ལྷ་ས་; Simplified Chinese: 拉萨; Traditional Chinese: 拉薩; pinyin: Lāsà), sometimes spelled Llasa, is the traditional capital of Tibet and the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. The city is the traditional seat of the Dalai Lama and in Tibetan Buddhism is regarded as the holiest centre in Tibet. The city is home to about 255,000 inhabitants and, at an altitude of approximately 3,650 m (11,975 ft), is one of the highest cities in the world. Lhasa literally means "place of the gods", although ancient Tibetan documents and inscriptions demonstrate that the place was first called Rasa, which means "courtyard place" or "goat place"."