Tibet is a country of many faces. No matter what time of year you plan to visit, there is always something special for you to see and experience. If you’re worried about weather in Tibet, or what activities or festivals are going on during different times of the year, then worry not: we’ve got you covered. Here is a detailed list of what goes on during the different months of the year. Check to see what appeals most to you, and then arrange your travels accordingly. Plan ahead for your perfect Tibet trip!
January: Bask in the Sunshine in Lhasa
January is a beautiful time to visit the city of Lhasa. Since this is a low season for the tourists, you’ll be able to enjoy all that Lhasa has to offer without the anxiety of the crowds.
The weather in January is cool, with an average high during the day of 7℃. However, the winter months in Tibet are also the dry season, meaning there is very little rain or snow. Due to the dry weather and high altitude, you’ll feel the sun’s warmth while moving around outside, thus balancing the low temperatures. In fact, you may even have to beware of sunburns!
Even through the winter, you’ll still be able to enjoy the highlights of Lhasa, such as the beautiful Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple, and nearby monasteries. See more about Top Seven Places to Enjoy Sunshine in Tibet Winter
February: Enjoy Three Festivals in Tibet
Tibetan New Year will be celebrated at the end of February in 2017, and features some fantastic cultural rituals. It is one of Tibet’s most important festivals of the year, and is celebrated by the common people and the monks all together. You’ll have to try some of the local foods of this time of year served at Gutu.
Butter Lantern Festival is also celebrated around the same time, and it is a truly unique experience. At night, wandering the Barkhor Street of Lhasa (near Jokhang Temple), you’ll see hundreds of butter lanterns lighting your pathway, and the statues of gods and animals seem to come to life with the flickering of the flames.
Valentine’s Day is an international holiday that you may be planning on celebrating with your special someone. If so, don’t miss out on the majestic beauty of Tibet to make this day truly special! Traveling with your significant other is a great way to celebrate your love.
March: Head to Nyngchi for the Peach Blossom Festival
As the snow melts and the weather grows warmer towards the end of March, the countryside of Tibet turns a lovely shade a pink with the peach blossoms. You won’t want to miss this beautiful display of nature. Head to the Niyang River for some of the most beautiful views! With the blue waters of the river contrasted by the soft, pink blossoms and snowcapped mountains above, this truly is an unforgettable sight. There are different places where you can see the peach blossoms, but we suggest visiting the Bayi District, where the Niyang River flows.
April: Better Weather Means More Fun
When spring comes, the weather allows you to reach those places that had been inaccessible through the winter. This is the month when the tourist season starts, however, it still will not be as crowded as during the summer months.
We suggest heading to Namtso Lake, where the ice and snow have mostly melted and the turquoise-blue of the water will be even more vibrant. With the cold air still keeping things fresh, the alpine terrain will be clear and beautiful. Temperatures will reach a high of about 18℃ during the day, while nights will still be quite chilly.
Visiting Everest Base Camp is another option for April. Although the weather only reaches a high of about 11℃, the good weather gives you a very clear view of Mount Everest in all its glory. This makes April one of the best months to visit Mount Everest.
May: Time for Trekking
May is the perfect month to visit Tibet if you’re looking for a trekking adventure. While the weather steadily gets warmer and the rains are still waiting for summer, get your camping gear and head to the mountains!
If you’re looking for a good route,you should do the hiking trail that travels between the two monasteries, Ganden and Samye. This trail goes over alpine terrain, scaling mountains and descending into lush valleys. It will also provide you with a unique cultural experience at both ends.
June: Enjoy the Linka Festival with Tibetan Locals
Tibet is a country rich in culture and heritage, and the month of June gives you a special opportunity to experience this firsthand. It is uncertain when the Linka Festival began to be celebrated, but it is a tradition with hundreds of years of history. Originally, it was celebrated in commemoration of the defeat of evil spirits by Guru Rinpoche.
Traditionally, Tibetans will spend the day outside having a picnic and basking in the warm summer sun with their friends and family. It is a great way to get to know the locals and see their culture firsthand. You can see the Linka Festival for yourself in Lhasa, Shigatse, Nyingchi, and other places around Tibet.
July: The Rainy Season
July is one of the rainiest months in Tibet, with an average rainfall of 122mm spread out through almost half of the month. Although the temperatures are warmer (reaching 23℃), the rain makes it inadvisable for any kind of trekking or adventure tours. It is also not recommended to visit Mount Everest during this time of year, as it will likely be covered by fog.
That being said, if you’re planning on visiting the cities in Tibet and seeing their attractions, July is still a good time to explore. Just make sure to book far in advance as the area will be filled with Chinese tourists. Also, keep in mind that since this is the busy season, hotels and entrance tickets to attractions will be more expensive.
August: The Horse Riding Festival in Nagqu
Held normally around the middle of August, this festival is full of interesting and dare-devil activities. You’ll be able to see the local Tibetans dressed in traditional clothes, and vendors from different parts of Tibet will be selling their goods in the streets.
The horse riding festival lasts about a week, and during that time there is horse racing, trick riding shows, archery contests, yak races, Tibetan operas, and more! Really, there is no end to the fun that can be had at this festival!
September: Fantastic Weather for Mount Kailash
The sacred Mount Kailash is a wish-list destination of many travelers to Tibet, and we highly recommend that you hike it too. This mountain is truly one of the most beautiful places in Tibet, along with being a place of deep spiritual meaning. If you’re looking for a trekking adventure, Mount Kailash is the perfect place to go.
September is the best month to hike Mount Kailash because it lands right between the rainy season and the chilly winter. Because of the altitude, you will still have to prepare for cold nights. However, September provides long, cool-weather days for trekking.
October: Good Weather, Good Times
While the temperatures are starting to dip, October is generally a month of good weather, especially if you’re heading south to such places as Yamdrok Lake or Mount Everest. The average temperature will be around 9℃, but sunny days will keep you warm while the temperatures plummet at night.
Keep in mind, this is the last month of perfect weather for Tibet travel and the tourist season will be winding down. However, there is a national holiday that normally lands in the beginning of October, and many Western Chinese will take the opportunity to visit this area. Check beforehand to see when the Golden Week falls and avoid those days.
November: Off-Season Prices and Fewer Tourists
The closer we get to the winter, the more the temperatures will drop. There continues to be an even steeper difference between the day and night temperatures. This makes November not recommendable for trekking holidays in Tibet unless you are very well prepared for freezing temperatures at night. However, the warmth of the sun will keep you feeling good during the day, even though the temperature will average 4℃.
Since this is the off-season, prices for travel will be much lower, and there are still plenty of things to do in Tibet. Visiting Lhasa, the holy lakes, and other Tibet attractions will be cheaper and easier with fewer tourists around.
December: Bird Watching along Lhasa River
Sunny winters along the Lhasa River may not attract lots of people, but tourism for the bird community is booming at this time of year! If you are interesting in bird watching, then wandering the banks of the Lhasa River in December gives you a unique opportunity to spot rare and beautiful birds. You will see tadorna ferrugineas and yellow ducks, along with other winged creatures.
To summarize, no matter what time of year you visit Tibet, it will always have something interesting for you to see and experience. What’s your favorite month to visit Tibet? Let us know in the comments below!