Geography of Tibet

Tibet located at the main part of Qinghai-Tibet plateau, south-West part of China. With an average elevation of more than 15,000 feet (4,570 m), Tibet is one of the highest inhabited areas on earth. Covering an area of over 1.2 million square kilometers and its population is 1,890,000; the autonomous region takes up about one-eighth of china. Among all the provinces and regions of the whole country, Tibet is the second largest just inferior of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It also has attractive scenic views, an abundance of produce and a long history. Tibet borders with Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai and Xinjiang; to the south contiguous to India, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Burma, and bounded by Kashmir on the west.

Go to Tibet Tours

Geographically, Tibet can be divided into three major parts, the east, north and south. The eastern part is forest region, occupying approximately one-fourth of the land. Virgin forests run the entire part of Tibet. The northern part is open grassland, where nomads and yak and sheep dwell there. This part occupies approximately half of Tibet. The southern and central part is agricultural region, occupying about one-fourth of Tibet's land area. With all major Tibetan cities and towns such as Lhasa, Shigatse, Gyantse ad Tsetang located in this area, it is considered the cultural center of Tibet.

Tibet is so sunny that it produces a year-round sunshine of over 3,000 hours in a year. Its old name-"land of snow" - the name by which Tibet is almost popularly known as, is always thickly covered with snow with scarce inhabitation. The Tibetan plateau averages about 4,000m (12,000 feet) above sea level. Some of the world's highest mountains surround Tibet: the Himalayas to the south, the Karakoram in the west and the Kunlun in the north. Over 1,500 lakes are scattered throughout Tibet, such as Nam Co, Yamzhog Yumcog, Mapam Yumco, Banggong Co, Basum Co, etc., most of them are the destinations of tourists all over the world. Several major rivers have their source in the Tibetan Plateau (mostly in present-day Qinghai Province), including: Yangtze Yellow River, Indus River, Mekong, and Brahmaputra River - the main river that flows through Tibet.

In Tibet, what has to be mentioned is its special landscape-Karst feature landscape. There is a mountain called Lhari, the mountain is dotted with limestone columns shaped like towers or pointed awls. Most columns are between 20 to 40 meters tall and the tallest ones exceeding 60 meters. Large and small holes are scattered on many of the columns. Inside some of the holes are broken stalactites and stalagmites. This karst features can also be found in many areas in Tibet. The karst caves at the counties of Zanang, Lhunzi, Damxung, Qamdo, Rewoqe, Biru, etc., are very famous in Tibet. These caves are featured with such characteristics that many religious people believe were created by Heaven. So these caves have become hot scenic spots recent years in Tibet.

Tibet is one of the richest regions of china in terms of animal and plant resources. The many species of wildlife and vegetation in the frigid, temperate, sub-tropical and tropical zones are indispensable elements of the tourism resources in Tibet.

The complicated geographical and climate condition enabled Tibet to form forest, grassy marshland, grassland and desert from southeast to northwest. The changing topography provides habitats for rich biological resources, which are valuable assets for Tibet to develop tourism. Tibet is a real natural museum of plants, hosting the genes of numerous plant species, which form a showcase of the entire Asian plant life. Among the over 5000 species of wild plants in Tibet, some 1000 have economic values, especially medical values. The Tibetan people have a long history of using herbs. Most of the herbs used in Tibetan medicine are unique species in Tibet or the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The effect and specialty of Tibetan medicine have caught increasing attention at home and abroad. The international medical circles are looking for new and effective materials here.

The complicated natural conditions of Tibet provide diversified habitats for animals. Among the rich animal resources, many are rare species on the world level. In Tibet, wild life is an indispensable part of the landscape longed for by tourists. Tibet Autonomous Region of Tibet has 125 species, or one-third of the nation's rare animals protected by the government.

Tibet hosts one of the Earth's last remaining well-preserved natural ecological systems. The vast, spacious and quiet land is an enormous wonderland of wildlife. The grassland in northern Tibet is called "Changtang" (meaning "highlands in the north"). It covers 400,000 square meters and hosts a great number of wildlife species. This is a great place to observe wildlife.