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GETTING THERE: Tibet can be reached by air from Chengdu in south- west China to the capital, Lhasa. Overland from Kathmandu in Nepal or from Golmud in Quinghai Province. Latest information is that the Golmud route is open, though this can change.

ORGANISED TOURS: Himalayan Kingdoms (0117 923 7163) offers 3-4 week trekking holidays in Tibet from pounds 2,595 (including flights) and a weekly departure from Kathmandu flying into Lhasa and returning overland from pounds 850. Bales Tours (01306 885991) has a 15 day tour, overland from Kathmandu and returning by air, from pounds 2,430 (including flights). Steppes East (01285 810267) has a 17-day tour via Hong Kong and Chengdu from pounds 3,450.

FURTHER INFORMATION: To enter Tibet officially you must have it specifically included in your Chinese visa, this will only be done if you join an organised tour.

FURTHER READING: Lonely Planet, Tibet (pounds 8.95), and Victor Chan's The Tibet Handbook (Moon, pounds 19.95) contains a guide to pilgrimages.