100 books like My Journey to Lhasa

By Madame Alexandra David-Neel,

Here are 100 books that My Journey to Lhasa fans have personally recommended if you like My Journey to Lhasa. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Among the Russians

Steven Faulkner Author Of Bitterroot: Echoes of Beauty & Loss

From my list on travel that enrich landscape with history.

Why am I passionate about this?

After reading travel books that voyaged beyond mere tourism into the life of the land, its people, and its histories, I found myself longing to launch my own journeys. I took a thousand-mile canoe trip with my son following the 1673 route of the French explorers Marquette and Joliet; I crossed the Rockies with two sons by foot, mountain bike, and canoe following Lewis and Clark and their Nez Perce guides; I took to sea kayak and pontoon boat with a son and daughter, 400 miles along the Gulf Coast in pursuit of the 1528 Spanish Narvaez Expedition. Writing of these journeys gave me the chance to live twice.

Steven's book list on travel that enrich landscape with history

Steven Faulkner Why did Steven love this book?

Colin Thubron showed me real travel writing: a journey in words that leads the reader through detailed landscapes, personal encounters with local people, and a depth of understanding that can only come through the human history of these landscapes.

I took this trip with Thubron when Russia was still the Soviet Union. Thubron met dissidents living in Moscow, drank vodka with them late into the night, traveled north to the remnants of Soviet concentration camps, took the rails through that vast continent across the steppes, over the mountains, around huge lakes, all the way to the Pacific coast. The book is beautifully written and introduced me to a travel writer I have read many times since.

By Colin Thubron,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Among the Russians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thubron learnt Russian and entered the then Soviet Union in an old Morris Marina in which he camped and drove for almost 10,000 miles between the Baltic and Caucasus. This book provides a revealing picture of the many races who inhabit the country and the human side behind state socialism.


Book cover of Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal

Patti Shales Lefkos Author Of Nepal One Day at a Time: One woman's quest to teach, trek and build a school in the remote Himalaya

From my list on inspiration to leap out of your comfort zone.

Why am I passionate about this?

Currently a journalist, author, and adventure traveller, I am a former inner-city educator from Vancouver, BC, Canada with a Masters of Environmental Education degree, a Wilderness Leadership certificate, and a post-graduate certificate in Journalism. Solo and with my husband I have completed several major treks in Europe, Tibet, and Nepal including Mount Kailash kora, Everest Base Camp north (Tibet), The Annapurna Circuit and Base Camp, Everest Base Camp south (Nepal), Upper Mustang, the Manaslu Circuit and Tsum Valley for a total of about 800 km. I am currently training to complete Nepal’s Great Himalayan Trail (low route), 1,500 km from one end of Nepal to the other.

Patti's book list on inspiration to leap out of your comfort zone

Patti Shales Lefkos Why did Patti love this book?

When Conor Grennan embarked on a journey around the globe, beginning with a three-month stint volunteering at an orphanage in civil war-torn Nepal, he never imagined the children were not actually orphans but had been taken from their families by child traffickers. He became attached to the rambunctious children and decided to reunite them with their parents. Little Princes illustrates how one person can make a huge difference in the lives of others. I noticed a percentage of book profits goes to Next Generation Nepal, the non-profit he founded to assist the children. I was hooked. That cemented my resolve to tell my story of solo travel and the village that asked for my help. I founded the non-profit Nepal One Day at a Time Society, wrote my first book (noted above), dedicated profits back to the children, and created a partnership with Kathmandu-based NGO Sambhav Nepal. Thanks, Connor!

By Conor Grennan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Little Princes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The riveting story of Conor Grennan's year in Nepal reads like a cross between Into Thin Air and Three Cups of Tea. While volunteering at an orphanage, Conor discovers that the children are not orphans: they are trafficked. Despite the danger, Conor treks up dirt paths with photographs of the children, miraculously reuniting dozens of families.

It's 2006 and Nepal is a country torn apart by war, greed and corruption. Caught in the middle are the Nepalese children, snatched and sold into slavery, the kidnappers promising their families that they will be taken to a safe haven from where they…


Book cover of Travels in West Africa

Christina Dodwell Author Of Madagascar Travels

From my list on chosen by a long-term traveller and explorer.

Why am I passionate about this?

If I needed an excuse to be an explorer, I’d say it was inherited wanderlust. My grandparents moved to China in the 1920s and my grandmother became an unconventional traveller by mule in the wilds. My mother spent her childhood there. And much of her married life in West Africa, where I was born and raised. The wildest places fill me with curiosity.

Christina's book list on chosen by a long-term traveller and explorer

Christina Dodwell Why did Christina love this book?

Among my favourite great women explorers of the past, her intrepid streak brings wild adventures which she handles with earthy common sense and humour – her writing makes me smile. I recommend it because it’s a superb escape into the once-real world of a woman explorer in the 1890s.

I particularly loved her voyage by dugout canoe downriver in the Ogowe rapids, and her bartering of lacy shirts with Fang tribesmen when her trade goods ran out. It all seemed so normal. It taught me not to fear the outside world, and that the wildest rainforests are safe compared to our big city jungles. As a woman alone, one is more of a novelty than a threat.

By Mary H. Kingsley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Travels in West Africa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Upon her sudden freedom from family obligations, a sheltered Victorian spinster traded her stifling middle-class existence for an incredible expedition in the Congo. Mary Kingsley traversed uncharted regions of West Africa alone, on foot, collecting specimens of local fauna and trading with natives--a remarkable feat in any era, but particularly for a woman of the 1890s. After hacking her way through jungles, being fired upon by hostile tribesmen and attacked by wild animals, Kingsley emerged with no complaint more serious than a pair of tired feet. She undertook her exploits in the traditional garb of her era but lived as…


Book cover of Tschiffely's Ride: Ten Thousand Miles in the Saddle from Southern Cross to Pole Star

Christina Dodwell Author Of Madagascar Travels

From my list on chosen by a long-term traveller and explorer.

Why am I passionate about this?

If I needed an excuse to be an explorer, I’d say it was inherited wanderlust. My grandparents moved to China in the 1920s and my grandmother became an unconventional traveller by mule in the wilds. My mother spent her childhood there. And much of her married life in West Africa, where I was born and raised. The wildest places fill me with curiosity.

Christina's book list on chosen by a long-term traveller and explorer

Christina Dodwell Why did Christina love this book?

It’s an extraordinary journey, people said it was absurd and impossible. I read it as a teenager, and even then it struck a chord with me. And it showed that what people call impossible is merely a sign of challenge. It also shows what deep reserves of stamina we all have in us, only found if we dig deep enough. It stayed with me as an inspiration, and as a dream of adventure

By Aimé Tschiffely,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tschiffely's Ride as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the southeast coast of South America through an expanse of Peruvian sands en route to the West Coast, then onward through Central American jungles and rainforest, and finally to New York, Tschiffely’s journey was considered impossible and absurd by many newspaper writers in 1925. However, after two and a half years on horseback with two of his trusty and tough steeds, this daring trekker lived to tell his best-selling tale.

Tschiffely’s 10,000-mile journey was filled with adventure and triumph, but it also forced the traveler to deal with tremendous natural and man-made obstacles, as many countries in Central America…


Book cover of Seven Years in Tibet

Christina Dodwell Author Of Madagascar Travels

From my list on chosen by a long-term traveller and explorer.

Why am I passionate about this?

If I needed an excuse to be an explorer, I’d say it was inherited wanderlust. My grandparents moved to China in the 1920s and my grandmother became an unconventional traveller by mule in the wilds. My mother spent her childhood there. And much of her married life in West Africa, where I was born and raised. The wildest places fill me with curiosity.

Christina's book list on chosen by a long-term traveller and explorer

Christina Dodwell Why did Christina love this book?

This book opened a window into another world for me. Heinrich stopped his journey and became part of that extraordinary world as tutor and friend to the Dalai Lama. His writing of his years there created a spell of exotic mystery. That world is no longer in existence, but the city continues to be a magnet for travellers. I tried to get to Lhasa in 1984 but got arrested by Chinese police. Instead of jail, they made me write outlines 200 times that I’d turn over a leaf and not go to Lhasa. So still in search of new worlds, I went off to Yunnan’s mountain top hidden monasteries. And I treasure the memory of Heinrich’s book as an insight into a world that has gone forever.

By Heinrich Harrer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seven Years in Tibet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this vivid memoir that has sold millions of copies worldwide, Heinrich Harrer recounts his adventures as one of the first Europeans ever to enter Tibet. Harrer was traveling in India when the Second World War erupted. He was subsequently seized and imprisoned by British authorities. After several attempts, he escaped and crossed the rugged, frozen Himalayas, surviving by duping government officials and depending on the generosity of villagers for food and shelter.Harrer finally reached his ultimate destination-the Forbidden City of Lhasa-without money, or permission to be in Tibet. But Tibetan hospitality and his own curious appearance worked in Harrer?s…


Book cover of Tibetan Foothold

Patti Shales Lefkos Author Of Nepal One Day at a Time: One woman's quest to teach, trek and build a school in the remote Himalaya

From my list on inspiration to leap out of your comfort zone.

Why am I passionate about this?

Currently a journalist, author, and adventure traveller, I am a former inner-city educator from Vancouver, BC, Canada with a Masters of Environmental Education degree, a Wilderness Leadership certificate, and a post-graduate certificate in Journalism. Solo and with my husband I have completed several major treks in Europe, Tibet, and Nepal including Mount Kailash kora, Everest Base Camp north (Tibet), The Annapurna Circuit and Base Camp, Everest Base Camp south (Nepal), Upper Mustang, the Manaslu Circuit and Tsum Valley for a total of about 800 km. I am currently training to complete Nepal’s Great Himalayan Trail (low route), 1,500 km from one end of Nepal to the other.

Patti's book list on inspiration to leap out of your comfort zone

Patti Shales Lefkos Why did Patti love this book?

Dervla Murphy truly showed up as a voluntourist before the term even existed. Her 1966 account of volunteering in an orphanage in a Tibetan refugee camp in India inspired me to look for an opportunity to help children in need in a developing country. Her bravery in the face of incredible discomfort and profound sadness at the plight of children suffering from not only a lack of education but more urgently from hunger and disease influenced my future travel decisions. Dervla’s perseverance and tenacity against all odds in this desolate camp and support of Tibetan refugees warmed my heart and strengthened my resolve to make a difference in the lives of others. Her courage helped me overcome my fears of solo travel to remote areas.

By Dervla Murphy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tibetan Foothold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The moving tale of Dervla Murphy's experiences working in the Tibetan refugee camps of Northern India in the sixties.


Book cover of South Away: The Pacific Coast on Two Wheels

Marilyn Kriete Author Of Paradise Road: A Memoir

From my list on memoirs to take you on wild adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a serial memoirist (two published, two more to come), and a true fan of well-written memoir. I read all kinds, but my favorites often combine coming-of-age with unusual travel or life choices. I love getting inside the authors’ heads, discovering not just what they did, but why, and how they felt about it later, and what came next. Great memoirs take us out of our own lives and into settings, situations, and perspectives we may never experience. What better way to understand how other people live and move and think and feel? Fiction is fine, but a unique true story hooks me from start to finish. 

Marilyn's book list on memoirs to take you on wild adventures

Marilyn Kriete Why did Marilyn love this book?

Following a newbie on her first big adventure always thrills me, and Meaghan’s account of riding her bike from northern BC to Baja, Mexico, accompanied by her equally inexperienced sister, brought me back to my own bicycle travels, 30 years earlier.

What changed, and what remained the same? We shared many of the same struggles: fear of bears and bicycle breakdowns, for starters, and trusting the road to whip our bodies into shape.

Traveling with a cell phone and online access to couch surfing were luxuries I couldn’t have imagined in 1978, but clocking the miles still mightily tests body, spirit, and a tight budget.

Meaghan is funny and vulnerable, engaging the senses in every aspect of her learn-as-you-go odyssey along the Pacific Coast. 

By Meaghan Marie Hackinen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked South Away as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

South Away follows Meaghan Marie Hackinen and her sister in the adventure of a lifetime: bicycling from Terrace, BC down the West Coast to (almost) the tip of the Baja Peninsula. Along the way Hackinen battles with the elements in Vancouver Island’s dense northern forests and frigid Mexican deserts; encounters strange men, suicidal highways and monster trucks; and makes some emergency repairs as tires and spokes succumb to the ravages of the journey. Luckily, the pair meet some good people along the way and glean some insight about the kindness of strangers.

A rare road-trip story with two female leads,…


Book cover of Blue Sky Kingdom: An Epic Family Journey to the Heart of the Himalaya

Patti Shales Lefkos Author Of Nepal One Day at a Time: One woman's quest to teach, trek and build a school in the remote Himalaya

From my list on inspiration to leap out of your comfort zone.

Why am I passionate about this?

Currently a journalist, author, and adventure traveller, I am a former inner-city educator from Vancouver, BC, Canada with a Masters of Environmental Education degree, a Wilderness Leadership certificate, and a post-graduate certificate in Journalism. Solo and with my husband I have completed several major treks in Europe, Tibet, and Nepal including Mount Kailash kora, Everest Base Camp north (Tibet), The Annapurna Circuit and Base Camp, Everest Base Camp south (Nepal), Upper Mustang, the Manaslu Circuit and Tsum Valley for a total of about 800 km. I am currently training to complete Nepal’s Great Himalayan Trail (low route), 1,500 km from one end of Nepal to the other.

Patti's book list on inspiration to leap out of your comfort zone

Patti Shales Lefkos Why did Patti love this book?

Bruce’s story tells of travelling with his wife and two young sons from their home in British Columbia to the Himalayas where they ultimately spend several months in a remote Buddhist monastery in the Zanskar Valley. Privileged to meet the family mid-journey in Lhasa, I devoured the book when it came out. Epic courage and resilience are an understatement when speaking about this family. Their family connection, devotion to their sons and each other, and spirit of adventure amazed me. I learned a great deal about immersion in an extremely different culture and the mutual respect developed between the family and the resident monks of all ages.

By Bruce Kirkby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blue Sky Kingdom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A warm and unforgettable portrait of a family letting go of the known world to encounter an unfamiliar one filled with rich possibilities and new understandings.

Bruce Kirkby had fallen into a pattern of looking mindlessly at his phone for hours, flipping between emails and social media, ignoring his children and wife and everything alive in his world, when a thought struck him. This wasn't living; this wasn't him. This moment of clarity started a chain reaction which ended with a grand plan: he was going to take his wife and two young sons, jump on a freighter and head…


Book cover of Trespassers on the Roof of the World: The Secret Exploration of Tibet

Stephen Haddelsey Author Of Shackleton's Dream: Fuchs, Hillary and the Crossing of Antarctica

From my list on forgotten expeditions and extraordinary journeys.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I’m fascinated by the history of exploration, I’m most attracted to the stories that have been lost, neglected, or forgotten. Why, for instance, is Sir Vivian Fuchs – arguably the most successful British Antarctic explorer of the twentieth century – not as well-known as Scott or Shackleton? Why do we know so little of Operation Tabarin – the only wartime Antarctic expedition to be launched by a combatant nation? These are the kind of questions that I want to answer, and these are the expeditions that I have wanted to examine. I’ve been fortunate to meet and interview some truly extraordinary men – and telling their stories has been a joy and a privilege.  

Stephen's book list on forgotten expeditions and extraordinary journeys

Stephen Haddelsey Why did Stephen love this book?

This book doesn’t tell the story of one expedition, it recounts many, launched by men of nine different nationalities, all intent on breaking into the closed world of Tibet. I am not alone in considering Hopkirk to be one of the great masters of what might be described as ‘historical travel’ books, and this is surely one of his best. Populated by a wonderful cast of characters, all determined to be the first westerner to reach the sacred, and forbidden, city of Lhasa. I can’t recommend it highly enough – and, enjoy one of Hopkirk’s books, and you’ll enjoy them all.  

By Peter Hopkirk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Trespassers on the Roof of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For nineteenth-century adventures, Tibet was the prize destination, and Lhasa, its capital situated nearly three miles above sea level, was the grandest trophy of all. The lure of this mysterious land, and its strategic importance, made it inevitable that despite the Tibetans' reluctance to end their isolation, determined travelers from Victorian Britain, Czarist Russia, America, and a half dozen other countries world try to breach the country's high walls.

In this riveting narrative, Peter Hopkirk turns his storytelling skills on the fortune hunters, mystics, mountaineers, and missionaries who tried storming the roof of the world. He also examines how China…


Book cover of Tibet in Agony: Lhasa 1959

Andrew G. Walder Author Of China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed

From my list on China from Mao through Tiananmen.

Why am I passionate about this?

I took my first course about Chinese politics in 1973, when the country was still in the tumultuous last years of the Mao era. In a teaching career that began in 1982, I have spent long periods of research and teaching in China and Hong Kong. China’s shifting course has been a constant source of fascination, encouragement, and at times dismay. It is hard to imagine that the impoverished and unstable country of the 1970s would rise to become such a major economic power, one that despite its impressive expansion still faces intractable barriers to its future advancement.

Andrew's book list on China from Mao through Tiananmen

Andrew G. Walder Why did Andrew love this book?

For years, the Dalai Lama was courted by Beijing in efforts to incorporate Tibet into the new Chinese Communist State. Drawing on official Chinese documents and memoirs and interviews with Tibetan emigres, Li pulls together a dramatic account of the maneuverings, miscalculations, and events during a critical period that culminated in an uprising in Lhasa that was violently crushed by the People’ Liberation Army, leading to the dramatic flight of the Dalai Lama to India. The account provides fresh new light on a dramatic failure of Chinese policy whose consequences are felt to the present day.

By Jianglin Li, Susan Wilf (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tibet in Agony as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Chinese Communist government has twice invoked large-scale military might to crush popular uprisings in capital cities. The second incident-the notorious massacre in Tiananmen Square in 1989-is well known. The first, thirty years earlier in Tibet, remains little understood today. Yet in wages of destruction, bloodshed, and trampling of human rights, the tragic toll of March 1959 surpassed Tiananmen.

Tibet in Agony provides the first clear historical account of the Chinese crackdown in Lhasa. Sifting facts from the distortions of propaganda and partisan politics, Jianglin Li reconstructs a chronology of events that lays to rest lingering questions about what happened…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Tibet, Buddhism, and China?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Tibet, Buddhism, and China.

Tibet Explore 40 books about Tibet
Buddhism Explore 271 books about Buddhism
China Explore 591 books about China