Tibet Travel Taboos

Tibet is an ancient place with many unique customs and traditions. Because of this there are many unique etiquettes and taboos that should be paid attention to when you are traveling in Tibet.

1. Remember not to step on threshold when entering the tent or house. Calling somebody in name please add “la” behind the name to show respects. If you are asked to sit down, please cross your legs, don’t stretch your legs forward and face your sole to the others. You should accept the gift with both hands. While presenting the gift you should bend your body forward and hold the gift higher than your head with both hands. While offering tea or wine you should offer them by both hands with no finger touching inside of the bowl.

2. When the host presents you a cup of wine, you should dip your ring finger in the wine and flick the wine into the sky, in the air and to the ground respectively to express your respects to the heaven, the earth and the ancestors before sipping the wine. The host will fill the cup, and you take a sip of the wine again. After the host fills your cup again, you have to bottom it cup.

3. Tibetan people don’t take horse, dog, and donkey meat and also don’t eat fish in some areas, so please respect their diet habits.

4. It is not polite to clap your palms and spit behind the Tibetan people.

5. Tibetan people stretch out their tongue to say hello to you. Also it is a courtesy to put their hands palm to palm in front of breast.

6. No smoke in monasteries. Also it is banned to touch the statue of Buddha and religious articles and take pictures of them. In addition, all should walk clockwise(not in the Bon Temples).

7.  Seeing any dagobas, monasteries or Mani piles, please go around them clockwise(not of the Bon), don’t cross them.

8. Eagles are the sacred birds in the eyes of the Tibetan people. You should not drive them away or injure them. On the outskirts, you could not drive or disturb the sheep or cows with red, green or yellow cloth strips on, because they may be sacrifices to deities.


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