Yough Pioneer Tours

YPT’s take on what to do in Tibet

There are a number of wonderful books and websites should you be looking to learn about the unique culture of Tibet, with Wikipedia and Wikitravel being great places to start.

From a tour point of view being in Tibet and part of their mysterious culture is great any time of year, but a few points are worth considering if you are considering a tour.

Tibetan Festivals

Tibetan festivals are very important both from a religious and social point of view, and they offer some of the best opportunities and times to be in country.

Main festivals include Tibetan New Year (the same time as Chinese new year), the Butter Lantern Festival, the Shoton Festival of Lhasa (Kind of like their beer festival), the Horse Racing Fair, and the Archery Festival. All non western festivals in Tibet follow the Lunar calendar, and such change year by year. Tours and special activities can be arranged throughout the year to coincide with any festival. Following is the current timing for 2012’s events.

We currently have group tours to coincide with many of these events, please check out the group page for more details.

Festival Calendars

TIBETAN NEW YEAR (LOSAR) 1-3 of the 1st Lunar month Feb 28 Feb 19
MONLAM PRAYER FESTIVAL 4-11 of the 1st lunar month Mar 3-10 Feb 22-Mar 1
BUTTER LAMP/ CHOE-NGA CHOEPA 15th of the 1st Lunar month Mar 14 Mar 4
SAGA DAWA 15th of the 4th Lunar month June 11 May 31
GYANTSE HORSE RACE 14-18th of 4th Lunar month June 10-13 May 30-June 3
THANKA UNVEILING AT TASHILHUNPO 15th of the 5th Lunar month July 11 June 22
ZAMLING CHISANG /SAMYA DOLDE 15th of the 5th Lunar month July 11 June 22
CHOEKOR DUECHEN 4th of the 6th Lunar month July 29 July 18
SHOTON FESTIVAL 30th of the 6th Lunar month Aug 23-27 Aug 12-18
NAGCHU HORSE RACE Aug 10-16 Aug 10-16
LHABAB DHECHEN 22nd of the 9th Lunar month Nov 12 Nov 3
PALDEN LHAMO FESTIVAL 15th of the 10th Lunar month Dec 4 Nov 26
GADEN NGA-CHOE 25th of the 10th Lunar month Dec15 Dec 7
GADEN THANKA UNVEILING 15th of 6th Lunar month Aug 9 July 29
LABRANG MONLAM 8th of the 7th Lunar month Aug 23 Aug 20
LITHANG HORSE RACE July10-16 July 10-16
JE KUNDO HORSE RACE YESHU) July 25- Aug 1 July 25-Aug 1
TIJI FESTIVAL MUSTANG (PALACE) 25-29th the 3rd Lunar month May 22-26 May 13-17
TIJI FESTIVAL MUSTANG (MONASTERY) 5-9th of the 5th Lunar month June 30-July 4 June 20-24

Trekking with Nomads

YP Tibet work exclusively with a local NGO that provides small sustainable trekking tours with local nomads, tours can be from anything from a night to two full weeks. This truly is an one of the most amazing things you can do in Tibet and something we highly recommend, for more info get in touch.

Visiting a local family

To know a place, you gotta know the people, and with Tibetans so famous for their hospitality it would be crazy not to do it here. Home stays or simple visits can be arranged for those inclined, with dinner, and performances your treat for visiting. This truly is a wonderful experience.


The best dining in Tibet can be found unsurprisingly in Lhasa. The old town offers a myriad of dining experiences from, Nepalese, Indian, Tibetan, Chinese, even down to good old fashioned western fare. A Yak burger, with Yak cheese being a particularly special fusion dish, and off course Yak butter milk being a must try. Outside of Lhasa, food tends to be a little more simple, getting much more influenced by India and Nepal the nearer you get to the border.


Lhasa is the nightlife capital of Tibet and two wonderful if not polar opposite experiences. The old town is where most hostels and hotels are. This is traditional Lhasa and it offers lots of cool little bars, traditional Tibetan shows, and beautiful scenery to while away the night. The old town also offers a wonderful night market where you can pick up many a Tibetan bargain, as long as you are well prepared to haggle!

The new town is where all the youngsters hang out, and the place you will find the more lively bars and nightclubs. And despite what many reviews tell you, the place where you are mostly likely to meet and make friends with everyday Tibetans (just don’t tell anyone, as it is still mostly foreigner free). It also offers many fusion bars with Tibetans crooning away either local, or Indian pop songs. Let us know if you would like us to pint you to our favourites!

Apart from Lhasa???

Whilst a tour that only takes you to Lhasa is still wonderful, if you have the time, you really should think about getting a little off the beaten track. Trekking with the nomads is a great option and can be done as a day trip from Lhasa, as can Lake Namtso (although we suggest an overnight). If you have a little extra time Shigatse, is wonderful town full of interest, but if you have the time, budget and endurance, going all the way to Everest base camp is out of this world. This also gives you the attractive option of either extending, or ending your tour in wonderful Nepal.

More questions? Then e-mail us……