Tibet Geography

Tibet is at the longitude of 78”25-99 and latitude of 26”44-3622. Tibet lies on a plateau at an average elevation of 4,000m or 13,000 feet from the sea level and covers an area of 2.5 million square kilometers. The vast majority of Tibet is made up of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, it merges to the north with central China, to the east with Yunan Province, the southeast with Sichuan Province, to the west with India and the southern side is bounded with the Himalayas and Nepal.

As part of the Qinghai- Tibetan plateau, the physical features are very varied, it is an amazing combination of foothills, mountains, vast plains, Alpine and subtropical forests, valleys, lakes, and rivers. The north of Tibet around the Kunlun Mountains is known for its lakes, rich pasture land and plateaus. The south is the mountainous region that is hugely dry and cold and dominated by the vastness of Mount Everest which straddles the border between Tibet and Nepal. The southeast is very fertile land fed by large rivers and lakes. Also, this area is densely forested and can be hot and humid. The east is dominated by the raging rivers of Lu, Lancang and Jinshi which carve through the landscape creating deep canyons and breathtaking plateaus. This area also has snow-capped peaks and a vast variety of flora and fauna.

The Mountains dominate Tibet, the ranges of Kunlun, Karakoram, Tanggula, Grangdise, Nyainqetanglha and the Himalayas march from west to east, while the Hengdoun range marches for the south to north. Of the 14 mountains in the world above 8000m, Tibet is home to five of them, Mount Everest being the highest of all standing at a massive 8844.43meters. At a lower altitude but just as impressive in mount Kailash, the holy mountain and focal point of many pilgrimages’ for Buddhist and Hindus.

Tibet is also the source point of many of the biggest rivers in the world, this high plateau is carved through with many rivers, feeding the landscape and carving out deep gorges and canyons. Three of its biggest being the NU, Langcuung, and Jinsha. The longest river beginning in Tibet is the Yarlung Tsangpo which flows down to china and at the length of 2057km is the fifth-longest in the world. Other famous rivers forging their source in Tibet are the Ganges and the Mekong delta flowing down into India and South East Asia respectively.

Tibet is also home to many beautiful and breathtaking lakes, 1500 of them to be exact. The largest is the Namsto lake cover an area of 1920 sq km, making it the second biggest saltwater lake in China. And being at an altitude of 4718 meters makes it the highest lake in the world. Namsto is one lake, making up a chain of “three holy lakes”, the other two lakes in this chain are Yuamdrok and Yumtso, two of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia.

Tibet is comprised of three provinces of Amdo, Kham, and U- Tsang.