Tibetan People and Life on Tibet

People and life of Tibetans, Tibet- Qinghai serve as a home to Tibetan, Monba, Luoba, and a few other people. Tibetan People number an estimate of 7.8 million. Significant Tibetan minorities also live outside of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in China, and in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Inside Tibet Autonomous Region, the Tibetans are the main inhabitants with a population of more than 3 million. Tibetan are extremely warm and hospitable to their guests. According to the 2010 census, the population of Tibet totalled little more than 3 million and among them which, 92.8% Tibetan, 6.1% Han, 0.3% Monpa, 0.3% Hui2.236 0.2% other ethnic groups.

The Monba people have lived on the Tibet Plateau since ancient times. Most of them are distributed in Monyul in the south and some are scattered in Medog, Nyingchi and Cona counties.

The Lhoba people are mainly found in Lhoyu of southeastern Tibet, with some scattered in Mailing, Medog, Zayu, Lhunze and Nang counties.

Minor of the Hui people living in Tibet today are descendants of the Hui who moved over from Gansu, Shaanxi, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), also few came from Central Asia. But most of them came after the ’90s. Most of them live in cities and towns of Lhasa, Shigatse and Chamdo. They work in commerce, handicrafts or animal slaughtering.

Since the Qing Dynasty, many Han people have moved to Tibet. Some have been assimilated into the Tibetan ethnicity. Today, most Han people living in Tibet are technicians, workers, teachers, medical workers and officials from other provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.

Religion & Beliefs

Most Tibetans are devout Tibetan Buddhism, while a few follow the old Bon which is the oldest spiritual tradition of Tibet. Islam and Catholicism also have a few followers in Lhasa and Yanjing respectively. Strolling on the street there, you will find many Mani Stones, colourful prayer flags and people wheeling prayer wheels, all of which are important elements of local Buddhism.

If you driving on the roads to Lhasa or visiting attractions around Lhasa, you can see many religions and persistent Buddhists who prostrate themselves every 3 steps from their home and keep on prostrating all the way to the holy Lhasa city.

for details See About Tibetan Religion Page

Eating Habits

For Tibetan people, Tsampa, yak butter tea and Tibetan barley wine are the staple food. Tibetan also like dairy products and air-dried beef and mutton. Usually, they mix the food with fingers of the right hand and knead it into small lumps before eating. Tibetan food is mostly meat, especially beef or mutton, but not dog meat or fish because they feel dog meat is unhygienic, and they regard fish as gods of the water.

for details See About Tibetan Food Page

Living Style

A house like a castle is the most representative one in Tibet. The Tibetans built their houses close to the hillside which remains vertical for stability, with a stone-wood structure of primitive simplicity. This kind of houses is usually two or three stories high and decorated with bright colours and Buddhist carvings.

Some Tibetans living in the grasslands live in a yak hair tent, which is usually square-shaped supported by eight upright pillars and enough durable against wind and snowstorm. Meanwhile, the tent is convenient to be put up and removed for their livestock.

People living in the southern rainfall forest region, have the special characteristic of housing, which may similar to a house in Bhutan and a nearby area.


Generally speaking, Tibetan people have very characteristic clothes. Clothing is usually made of silk, sheepskin, wool and cotton. Tibetan wear different styles of clothing depending on the weather. The traditional local clothes are thick, warm and loose with a wind waist and long sleeves and skirts. Usually, some space is left on the chest to hold food and children, just like a bag. When it is hot, a sleeve or two will be taken off and tied about the waist to adjust and the body temperature.


There are more than 30 major or minor festivals throughout a year in Tibet for entertainment. On the festival day, Tibetan get together and sing and dance together. It is very popular, especially amongst Tibetan living in the southern areas of Tibet. The people are considered to be the best singers and dancers. Read more about Tibetan festivals.

Read more about at Tibetan festivals Page


Tibetan people love to show purity, loyalty, faithfulness and respect to the receivers by presenting Hada, Even when people correspond with each other, they won’t forget Khada. The most interesting thing is that Tibetans go out of Tibet and take several Hadas with them for giving the friends and relatives they come across in the journey.

Read more about at Tibetan Culture and Custom Page

About the author

The Tibetan Travel website's creator, hailing from Lhasa, is a cultural enthusiast. They promote responsible tourism, connecting the world to Tibet's beauty and heritage. Awards recognize their contribution.

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