But two intrepid Frenchmen, long-term China resident Eric Meyer and photojournalist Laurent Zylberman managed to make their way to the vast and historically-contested land after the 2008 riots that left swathes of Lhasa, the provincial capital, in ruins.
Narrated in a day-by-day journal-manner, both text and images transport the reader to a land where Tibetans and incoming Han Chinese eye each other warily, and the clash of two cultures contrasts with a topography that is both tranquil and dramatic.
The arresting photographs form the main driver of this book. Its series of B/W images document the edgy relationship between two very different communities, who have never fully understood each other, a relationship complicated by official policy from Beijing, 2,600 kiometres to the east.
It was quite an achievement to to secure first-hand accounts of lives lived in Lhasa and other parts of this exotic and cinematic land, and the enthralling landscape shots reveal this remote region in all its soaring magnificence.
A highly recommended read and visual treat for anyone interested in a land that has enthralled adventurers and armchair dreamers alike for centuries.