Tibet

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Lonely Planet, 2005 - Travel - 360 pages
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Travel in Tibet comes with some ludicrous permit requirements. The present Chinese policy on individual tourism in Tibet seems to be one of extorting as much cash as possible from foreigners, but not so much as to scare them off completely. Locked away in its Himalayan fortress, Tibet has long exercised a 'Shangri-la' type hold on the imagination of the West. A 'Land of Snows', the 'Rooftop of the World' is mysterious in a way that few other places are. Tibet's strategic importance, straddling the Himalaya between China and the Indian subcontinent, made it irresistible to China, which invaded in 1950. But Tibetans have never had it easy. Theirs is an unforgiving environment, and human habitation has always been a precarious proposition. Even so, the deliberate cultural strangling inflicted by the Chinese government since 1950 rates as the harshest burden Tibet's native inhabitants have been forced to endure. Following virtual closure after the Chinese annexation of the Buddhist kingdom, Tibet was opened to foreign tourism in 1984. It was closed to all but tour groups in 1987 after an uprising by Tibetans in Lhasa, and reopened in 1992. Travel in Tibet comes with some ludicrous permit requirements. The present Chinese policy on individual tourism in Tibet seems to be one of extorting as much cash as possible from foreigners, but not so much as to scare them off completely.

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About the author (2005)

Bradley Mayhew was born in Sevenoaks, Kent in 1970 and currently lives in Yellowstone County, Montana, USA. A degree in Oriental Studies (Chinese) at Oxford University kickstarted 20 years of independent travel in the remoter corners of Asia, and a career writing guidebooks. He is the author or co-author of Lonely Planet guides to Central Asia, Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and many others and is a major contributor to the Insight Guide to the Silk Road. Bradley has lectured on Central Asia to the Royal Geographical Society and recently traveled across Asia in the footsteps of Marco Polo for a five-hour French-German TV documentary.

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