The yak is an impressively huge, long-haired and short-legged ox that lives in the Himalayan mountains. First domesticated in Tibet, yaks are perfectly adapted to their mountainous habitat. Yaks live in harsh environments, grazing on grass, herbs, mosses and lichens and even eating snow when water is scarce. Unlike other beasts of burden, they do not experience altitude sickness and actually prefer higher terrain, braving the highest altitudes of any animal in the world. Most yaks are now domesticated and are reared for their meat, milk, hides and fur. There are only 1,000 yaks left in the wild, earning the vulnerable species the title of ‘threatened’. Females often gather into large herds of up to thirty, whilst males are more solitary and can reach an enormous 2.2m tall and 1000kg in weight!

Crib Notes:

  • The name yak is a Tibetan word which actually only refers to the male of the species – they use ‘nak’ or ‘dri’ for females.
  • Yak dung is the only available fuel on the treeless Tibetan plateau.
  • Yaks can survive in temperatures as low as -40°C.

Time of year: Tibet is ideal in midsummer, when its mountain plateaus are pleasantly warm and dry; in winter, however, temperatures in the capital, Lhasa, frequently fall below freezing.

Destination: Located in one of the highest cities in the world, The St. Regis Lhasa Resort offers visitors to Tibet not only a luxurious, multi award-winning place to stay, but convenient access to many of Tibet’s historical sights and cultural landmarks. Mount Everest, Jokhang Temple, palaces that have housed the Dalai Lama, markets and ancient monasteries are all in the local area and the hotel’s chauffeur will be happy to provide guided tours. For evenings of relaxation after all this exploring, the resort offers a unique ‘Golden Energy Pool’ bejewelled with gold and crystal, holistic treatments at the Iridium Spa, as well as yoga and pilates classes. Be spoiled for choice with three restaurants, a tearoom and wine bar, and choose from a single room to a suite or villa deluxe rooms – ideal for families, as they contain between two and ten guest rooms, including some with common areas. Of course, Lhasa is also the home of an abundance of local tours which will introduce you to all the iconic Tibetan attractions you can think of, including its wildlife.

Price Guide: From 1,650CNY