Roads run southwest of Lhasa to Mount Everest and the Nepal border, past some of the region’s most historically significant monasteries: Gyantse, site of a shameful episode in Britain’s colonial past; Shigatse, spiritiual seat of the Panchen Lamas; and spectacular Sakya, home to one of the foremost orders of Tibetan Buddhism. Then comes Everest itself, though – given the surprising urbanity of the base camp “village” here – the mountain’s rugged splendor is perhaps best appreciated from afar.

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