Taking a lifetime tour of Tibet is one of the most exciting and outstanding trips one can take in Southeast Asia. Lying on the high-altitude Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, this unique region is one of the most spectacular destinations in the world. For tourists to the plateau region, there is a choice of how to take your tour: you can either join a Small Group Tour and travel with other like-minded travelers or opt for the more personal private tour and travel alone or with friends and family. For 2020, we have a huge number of tours to the region, both private tours and Group Tours, and here you can find the best of the amazing tours planned for the 2020 season on the Roof of the World.
Top 2020 Tibet Tours in Small Group & Private
Top 1: Discovery Lhasa Highlights – 4 Days Lhasa Impression Group Tour
The four-day tour of Lhasa is one of the most popular short tours of Tibet, and gives you a unique insight into the lives of the Tibetan people in the world’s highest capital city. Designed to make the most of the stunning Tibetan capital, this spectacular tour gives you the chance to soak in the unique atmosphere of Lhasa, learn more about Tibetan Buddhism and culture, and explore the many amazing attractions that this City of Sunshine has to offer.
The tour of the capital takes you to the best attractions of the city, including the amazing Potala Palace, the former seat of the Dalai Lama in Tibet and winter palace; and the sacred Jokhang Temple, the first temple in Lhasa, built in the 7th century, and home to one of the oldest statues of Buddha in existence, said to have been personally blessed by him more than 2,000 years ago. You can also get to walk around the famous kora route of Barkhor Street, as well as visiting the two major monasteries of the Gelug School, Drepung and Sera.
Top 2: Explore Tibetan Buddhism Culture – 5 Days Lhasa Monastery Group Tour
If you are interested in learning more about Tibetan Buddhism, then there is n better tour than this awesome five-day trip to Lhasa to visit the beautiful monasteries that this high-altitude capital is famous for. Tibet is renowned for its multitude of Buddhist monasteries, which can be found all across the plateau, but there is nowhere better to get an overview of the unique Tibetan Buddhist culture than in Lhasa, the holy city.
As well as taking you to visit the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple, along with Barkhor Street, this tour takes you to the Great Three Monasteries of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism. Drepung Monastery is the main seat of the Gelug sect, and the original seat of the Dalai Lama in Tibet, while Sera Monastery is renowned for the enthusiastic and extravagant Buddhist monastic debates, held in the debating courtyard every afternoon.
Ganden Monastery, which completes the trio, was the first of the Gelug Monasteries, founded by Je Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug tradition, in 1409. The monastery still houses the remains of Tsongkhapa, and the tomb is an amazing attraction in the monastery itself.
Top 3: Experience Tibetan Culture and Custom – 5 Days Shoton/Yogurt Banquet Festival Tour
For those looking for a unique tour that coves one of the many popular festivals in Tibet, the 5-day yogurt tour that includes the famous Shoton Festival is the perfect trip to the region. The tour initially covers the amazing sights of the Tibetan capital, including Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and the monasteries of Sera and Drepung.
Whilst at Drepung Monastery, the prime monastery of the Gelug tradition, you can witness the beginning of the Shoton Festival, also known as the Yogurt Banquet Festival, with the grand opening ceremonies and religious rituals, and enjoy the awesome unveiling of the ancient Thangka painting on the hillside behind the monastery.
Then you will get to experience the rest of the festival for the rest of your time in Tibet, and enjoy the amazing sightseeing opportunity at the famed Norbulingka Palace, the seat of the Dalai Lama in Tibet. The festival not only includes plenty of fresh Tibetan yogurt to eat, but also features plenty of sporting activities, as well as the chance to experience the unique performances of the Tibetan operas.
Top 4: Delve into the Himalayas – 7 Days Lhasa Kathmandu Group Tour
As one of the best trips into the amazing heights of the mighty Himalayas, this 7-day epic adventure across the plateau and over the mountains to Kathmandu is an overland tour to top them all. The tour starts in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, and gives you a wonderful experience of the religion and culture of this holy city. The Lhasa part includes visits to the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple, as well as the major monasteries of Sera and Drepung.
Outside Lhasa, the trip takes you first to Gyantse, once the largest town in Tibet, where you get to see the unique 32-meter Kumbum Stupa, the only one of its kind in Tibet. Then you continue on to Shigatse, Tibet’s second city, and the home of the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama.
After departing from Shigatse, your tour takes you to the most iconic landmark in Tibet, the Everest Base Camp. Located near the Rongbuk Monastery, the official highest monastery in the world, this site is the best location of anywhere from which to get the best views of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest.
After spending the night in the tent guesthouses or monastery guesthouse, your journey nears its end as you take the drive to Gyirong Port, on the Sino-Nepal border. From there, you will cross the border into Nepal, walking across the Resuo Bridge that spans the beautiful Trishuli River Gorge. On the other side, you will be transferred by car to the exotic Nepali capital of Kathmandu.
Top 5: Adventure to World’s Summit – 8 Days Lhasa Everest Base Camp Group Tour
The most classic Mount Everest itinerary in Tibet is one that gives you the best of Tibetan culture and religion, as well as exploring the amazing landscapes all the way to the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. This iconic tour starts in Lhasa, with the first few days dedicated to acclimatizing and exploring the awesome sights of the world’s highest capital city.
Whilst in Lhasa, you will get to tour around the Potala Palace, the former seat of the Dalai Lama’s power in Tibet, as well as the sacred Jokhang Temple, a 7th-century temple that is the center of Tibetan Buddhism. You will also visit the monasteries of Sera and Drepung, two of the great University monasteries in Lhasa.
Outside Lhasa, on the way to Mount Everest, you will stop to visit the Gyantse Kumbum in the Pelkor Chode Monastery and the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama, Tibet’s second highest incarnation, in Shigatse.
This amazing tour gives travelers plenty of time to acclimatize to the higher altitude of Lhasa, before heading west towards Everest and even higher altitudes. Along the route, you will cross several high passes that climb up to more than 5,000 meters, as well as passing close along the shores of Lake Yamdrok, surrounded by the beauty of the snow-capped Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains.
Everest Base Camp is the ultimate destination for this epic adventure, and travelers will be able to spend plenty of time at the base camp, exploring the landscapes and scenery, taking photos of the world’s highest mountain, just 12km away, and enjoying the unique hospitality of the tent guesthouses and local Tibetan people.
Top 6: Capture the Stunning Landscape – 10 Days Lhasa Everest and Namtso Lake Group Tour
If you have more time for your tour of Tibet, then this amazing ten-day EBC Namtso tour is one of the most unique tours in Tibet. As well as taking in the sights and sounds of Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, you will travel overland through the second city of Tibet, Shigatse, to visit the spectacular Everest Base Camp, close to the border with Nepal.
Here, you will be able to spend some time enjoying this outstanding view, and making the most of this unique opportunity to get the best photos of the highest point on the planet. As one of the best itineraries for an Everest-based tour, you can stay overnight at the base camp in the traditional nomadic tent guesthouses, and experience the traditional Tibetan way of life on the remote outlands of the plateau.
After the amazing experience of EBC, you will return to Lhasa briefly, before heading north into the boundless northern pasture lands of Tibet, to visit the beautiful Lake Namtso, one of the Great Three Sacred Lakes of Tibet. Lying between the high Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains and the vast expanse of the Changtang Grasslands, the largest open prairie land in Tibet, this Heavenly Lake is one of the best places to see the Tibetan wildlife of the grasslands and the nomadic herders as they care for their yaks on the open grasslands.
Top 7: Attend Peach Blossom Festival – 10 Days Eastern Tibet Tour to Explore the Natural Beauty
For complete and outstanding natural beauty, there is nowhere better in Tibet than in Nyingchi, in the east of the region. Often compared to the stunning beauty of the Swiss Alps, this unique area of the plateau is the lowest part of the region, and has some of the most unique sights in Tibet. From the snow-capped mountains and multitude of icy glaciers to the grasslands and wildflowers, dotted with farms and villages, a tour of Nyingchi is a trip into the fairyland of myth and legend in Tibet.
Renowned for its outstanding beauty, this tour of Nyingchi takes you to some of the most amazing places in the prefecture. Take in the sights of the Lulang Forest, and the ancient 3,000-year-old cypress trees, and enjoy the view of the famous Mount Namche Barwa, which sits at the entrance of the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, the largest and deepest canyon in the world.
You will also get to visit the Midui Glacier, for a close-up view of glacial drift in Tibet, as well as enjoy the beauty of the sunrise over Ranwu Lake. An awesome adventure of epic proportions, a trip to Nyingchi is one of the most pleasant and unforgettable experiences in the world.
Top 8: Enjoy Wildlife Safari – 12 Days Trekking Tibet Everest Base Camp: from Tingri to EBC via Ra-chu Valley
For those that love to trek, there is an amazing tour that covers one of the best treks in Tibet, the awesome Tingri to EBC Trek. This popular trekking route is one of the best overland hikes in Tibet, and heads from the ancient village of Tingri, in Shigatse, to the heights of Everest Base Camp, at 5,150 meters above sea level.
The trek only takes around four days, and the rest of the tour includes a tour of the highlights of the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, as well as stopping to do sightseeing in Gyantse and Shigatse, and exploring Everest Base Camp at the end of the trek. Covering around 760 kilometers, this hike takes you through the beautiful Ra Chu Valley, an area which is home to several species of local Tibetan wildlife. The trek takes you through the small local villages of Lungchang and Zommug, and over the high pass at Nam-La, at 5,150 meters.
Top 9: Visit Holy Mountain and Sacred Lake – 15 Days Lhasa Kailash Manasarovar Group Tour
For the ultimate in Tibetan adventures, there is nothing to compare with the unique 15-day tour to Mount Kailash, which lies in the far west of Tibet in Ngari prefecture, close to the border with India and northwest Nepal. As well as being able to experience the highlights of Lhasa, Shigatse, and Mount Everest, this amazing tour includes a three-day hike around Mount Kailash, following the ancient kora route of Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims for thousands of years.
Mount Kailash is a sacred mountain in four religions, and is believed to be the earthly representation of the legendary Mount Meru, the mountain of the gods at the center of the Universe. The highest mountain of the Gangdise Range, Mount Kailash is a unique pyramid-like mass of black rock, which stands tall above the neighboring mountains. To the south of the mountain lies the most sacred lake in Tibet, Lake Manasarovar. Held to be holy in the four religions, this lake is said to be the place where Maya Devi conceived Gautama Buddha, and is believed that bathing in the lake can wash away the sins of a lifetime.
The three-day trek around the mountain is rated as the hardest trek in Tibet, so is not for the faint-hearted. But for those with a real sense of adventure, this is the ultimate in high-altitude trekking experiences, combined with a unique chance to be a part of the Tibetan culture and religion. At its highest point, the trek reaches and altitude of 5,630 meters, at Dolma La Pass, and includes three ancient monasteries that were built to allow monks and pilgrims to pray at the sacred mountain.
Best Time to Visit Tibet
Tibet is a destination that can be visited throughout the year, but there are certain times of year that are better than others, depending on what you are intending to do.
The main season for tourism in Tibet runs from April to November, and is when the weather is at its best for either trekking or sightseeing on the plateau. Spring and autumn, from April to May and September to November, are the best times for trekking, as the weather is comfortable and dry, ideal for hiking.
The summer months, from June to August, are the peak season in Tibet, and while it is also the monsoon season, the plateau does not actually see that much rainfall, so it has little effect on tours of the region.
Travel Permit and Visa Needed for Tibet Tour 2020
For anyone that is not a Chinese citizen traveling to Tibet in 2020, you will need to have a valid Chinese Entry Visa and a Tibet Travel Permit. The Chinese visa can be obtained from your nearest Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, and normally takes around 3-5 working days to process. You will need to have this before you can book your tour to Tibet, as it is a requirement for getting the Tibetan permits.
The Tibet Travel Permit is only issued once you have booked a pre-arranged tour of the region with a travel agency. Independent travel in Tibet is not permitted, so all tourists must be on a guided tour. After you have booked your tour, we will make the application on your behalf, as personal applications are not permitted. The permit is required for you to board the trains or flights to Tibet, as well as being required for travel in the area of Lhasa.
If you are planning a trip to Tibet in 2020, then you have a wide range of tours to choose from. From the short 4-day tour of the capital and the extended tour that includes Ganden or Lake Namtso, to the longer tours to the far west of Tibet to visit the famous mountains that are major attractions in the region, there is no better way to visit this ancient and holy Buddhist land, where saints and gods have walked the earth, and where mystery and mythology go hand in hand.