If you’re interested in doing some background reading on Tibet, it’s best to begin at home before you leave, as much that would be considered essential reading by Western audiences is simply not allowed or available in China – this includes almost all guide books (including this one), with their bourgeois imperialist references to Tibetan independence.

But beware: searches of luggage do take place – particularly at the Nepal–Tibet border at Zhangmu – where any literature deemed unpatriotic to China, anything remotely resembling a Tibetan flag and anything containing images of the Dalai Lama (though, with all pictures of him banned, it’s worth pondering how the guards looking for the pictures know what he looks like) will be confiscated.

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