China has unofficially closed the Tibet border to foreigners for the month of March — and possibly beyond. It’s been widely speculated that the decision was based on avoiding violent protests on March 10th, which marks the 50th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising. This is a real shame for anyone who was hoping to visit now. Yet even when the borders are open, entrance to Tibet still requires a visa that can pretty much only be procured by booking a guided tour through a travel agency.
Lizzy Edelstein, one of the most prolific travelers I know, went to this beautiful country in fall 2007, and recalls being one of few American tourists there (most were Chinese). “I loved Tibet,” she says. “The people are kind, warm, and friendly.” She was also wowed by the dramatic scenery. “Also, the flowers and trees and hills and mountains were just breathtaking. The terrain actually changed quite a bit in a small distance, so there was always some new natural beauty awaiting me in five minute intervals.” Below, she gives us a peek into Lhasa, the capital of this closed country, through her photos.