Must-see attractions in China

  • Wara Monastery

    Eastern Tibet

    This 700-year-old monastery, 30km east of Jomda, contains Tibet’s largest Sakyapa monastic school with more than 200 monks studying here at any time. The…

  • Sok Tsanden Monastery

    Nagchu Prefecture

    This impressive monastery perched on an outcrop in the southern suburbs. Built in 1667 by the Mongol leader Gushri Khan, this Gelugpa monastery, home to…

  • Tengchen Monastery

    Eastern Tibet

    On a hillside about three kilometres west of town, this interesting Bön monastery is home to more than 200 monks, and is made up of two separate…

  • Dzong Kumbum Caves


    To visit the separate Dzong Kumbum cave complex you really need to spend the night in the valley. Make your way back to Ngadrak village and drive 6km to a…

  • Yushig Monastery

    Eastern Tibet

    Around 10km past an old caravan-trail turn-off, and 6km before the Chamdo airport, is a turnoff that heads 7km to the remote and welcoming Yushig…

  • Nàpà Hǎi


    Some 7km northwest of Shangri-la you’ll find the seasonal Napa Sea, surrounded by a large grassy meadow that pushes right up to the mountains. Between…

  • Shabten Monastery

    Nagchu Prefecture

    On the western outskirts of the town is the surprisingly large monastery (founded 1814), a branch of Lhasa’s Sera Monastery, with more than 90 monks. The…

  • Chodung Monastery


    A rewarding 90-minute hike, gaining 400m, leads from Chode Ön village just north of Keru Lhakhang to the impressive, sprawling ruins of 12th-century…

  • Tsogyel La-tso


    This small pond marks the birthplace and spirit lake of Guru Rinpoche’s consort Yeshe Tsogyal. The golden-roofed chapel at the north end of the lake has a…

  • Söda Gompa

    Eastern Tibet

    Overlooking Chugu Gompa is this rarely visited Nyingmapa monastery, which was built in 1872 and is home to 30 monks. The hilltop grassland setting here is…

  • Tashi Doka Monastery


    Tashi Dhoka is famed as a meditation retreat of Tsongkhapa. You can visit the meditation caves of Tsongkhapa and his student Genden Drup (who later became…

  • Kě Yuán


    An academic garden directly opposite Blue Wave, Kě Yuán is where Suzhou Library was established in 1914 before the garden spent much of the 20th century…

  • Biru’s Skull Wall

    Nagchu Prefecture

    Making up the southern part of a half-open courtyard in the monastery, this wall looks like any other Tibetan mani wall from a distance. But as you…

  • Bhairo-puk Cave


    Hidden in a cleft in the rock a couple of kilometres south of Rechung-puk is the Bhairo-puk. The tiny cave is home to a nun who spends her days and nights…

  • Ngadrak Monastery


    Ngadrak is the main Karma Kagyu monastery in the valley. Look for the stone footprint of Yeshe Tsogyal beside one of the assembly hall pillars. Pilgrims…

  • Gongtang Bumpa Chörten


    The large Gongtang Bumpa chörten was allegedly commissioned by Vairocana as a way to resolve a border dispute between rival kings. It's just off the main…

  • Qingdao Cable Car


    This cable car transports visitors up the length of Taiping Hill to Qingdao TV Tower, with excellent views along the way.

  • Chugu Gompa

    Eastern Tibet

    This Kagyupa-sect gompa is home to more than 100 monks and nuns, it has an enormous courtyard and a lovely grassland setting. It dates back to 1670,…

  • Bamrim Gompa

    Nagchu Prefecture

    This 800-year-old monastery was undergoing extensive renovation at the time of writing, including construction work for a guesthouse just outside the main…

  • Dargyeling Monastery


    This scenic monastery is worth a visit for its fine views and unusual chörtens. It's 42km from Saga (Km1759), on a hillside about 1.5km off the main road

  • Drölma Lhakang Ani Gompa

    Nagchu Prefecture

    A short walk up the valley brings you to this small nunnery. The main hall here contains 1000 silver statues of the female bodhisattva Drölma (Tara).

  • Dromochen Lhakhang


    A small chapel commemorates the birthplace of Nubchen Sangye Yeshe, a 9th-century Tantric master who was one of the 25 disciples of Guru Rinpoche.

  • Chusi Nunnery


    This 17th-century nunnery was largely left in ruins after the Cultural Revolution but has since been rebuilt and is now home to about 14 nuns.

More destinations you need to see