Ruins in Guge Kingdom

The citadel of Tsaparang, 18km west of Zanda, is one of Western Tibet's great hidden gems. Dozens of ruined residences and chapels dot a naturally defended hillside, topped by an underground palace. The Kashmir-influenced murals and ruined statues stand as some of Ngari's best examples of early Buddhist art.

Start your climb through the four best-preserved buildings and their murals, from where the trail climbs past monk cells. A tunnel deposits you onto the ruins of the palace citadel, offering fabulous views over the barren Sutlej Valley.

Bring a strong torch (flashlight), snacks and water, and expect to spend at least half a day exploring the ruins. No photography is allowed inside the chapels.