One of the most common questions we were asked is when is the best time to visit Tibet? Actually there are no uniform answers. Covering about one eighths of total Chinese territory, Tibet consists of seven major cities and prefectures. Locating at different latitude, each place has its own distinct weather and climate. Thus, the best time to visit those places of interest also varies.
Touring Lhasa – The Whole Year Around
Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet, is always the first stop in Tibet tour. Whenever you come, it offers you the most distinctive views.
Lhasa is a great resort for you to escape hot summer. With an average temperature of 9 to 22℃, you can enjoy most warm days and cool nights. And the precipitation mainly concentrates from July to September and often falls at night. So no worry about the rainfall and road conditions. As summer comes, everything comes back to life. Trees turn green and flowers begin blooming. Meanwhile, oxygen level in summer is twice higher than in winter. Another highlight in Lhasa summer is Saga Dawa Festival and Shoton Festival. It’s an excellent chance to participate in the folk activities with local Tibetans, like having picnics in Lingkas, attending Buddha painting show, appreciating Tibetan opera performance, etc.
Autumn is considered as the most beautiful season to visit Lhasa. Pinks, reds, greens, golden yellows and other dues of colors altogether present you the most intoxicating world. The colorful scenery on the way to Lhasa downtown from Gonggar airport is a good example.
Traveling Lhasa in winter is a very pleasant thing. You can not only avoid flocks of Chinese students and tourists but also dive into Tibetan pilgrim’s life. Either following pilgrims to circumambulate Barkor street or just observing them prostrating in front of Jokhang Temple will definitely touch your heart. And winter in Lhasa is not that cold as you think. Under the strong ultraviolet, you’ll spend a special warm winter here. But it drops to below zero at night. Luckily, hotels in Lhasa are well-equipped with modern facilities. Hot water, central heating, electricity are offered for the whole day. Having a cozy hotspring at Yangbajing is something you shouldn’t miss in your winter tour.
Visiting Shigates – April to October & Trekking EBC – May to June
Housing Tashihunpo Monastery, Palcho Monastery, Rongbuk Monastery, etc, Shigatse is a really good place to explore Tibetan religious culture. As for visiting those historic relics, it’s less likely to be affected by bad weather and harsh climate. Thus, you can go there at any time as you want. But frankly speaking, natural scenery in winter is not so vibrant as summer.
Everest Base Camp is another big draw for tourists to travel Shigatse. Since the chilly winter (October to next April) has gone and rainy season (July to August) doesn’t come yet, May to June is the best period to trek EBC. Chances are that you’ll be lucky to catch a panoramic view of Mount Everest under such stable weather and mild climate.
Traveling Nyingchi – March to October
Nyingchi, reputed as “Tibet Jiangnan”, is said to be the most beautiful place in Tibet.Tourists are suggested to tour Nyingchi from March to October, especially March to April. At that moment, peach blooms across the whole valley, making you feel like wandering in a fairyland. As for tourists suffering from high altitude sickness, getting to Nyingchi first is helpful to relieve symptoms.
Hiking Mt.Kailash – May to July & September to October
Although natural condition here is the worst, Ngari Prefecture is home to the most breathtaking plateau scenery, including sacred mountains, holy lakes, precious wild animals, etc. If you are chasing after adventures and challenges, I’m sure that you’ll fall in love with this place at the first sight. We advise you to trek Mt.Kailash during May to July or September to October so as to avoid rainy season and cold winter.
Nagqu Horse Racing Festival – May to September
Nagqu is famous for vast grassland and numerous lakes. Lying between Mount Tangula and Nyenchen-Tangula, it’s cold, dry and anoxic. The weather becomes relatively warm from May to September. And it’s also the golden time for the grassland. You can see all the livings flourishing, nomadic tents dotting around,Tibetan yaks grazing leisurely. It’s highly recommended to set aside some time for Nagqu Horse Racing Festival. Not only is the festival for Tibetan nomads to compete physical strength and trade farm products but a rare chance for tourists to experience true lives of Tibet nomads.
Going to Lhokha – The Whole Year Around
Lhokha treasures lots of cultural and historic relics. Coming here, you’ll feel the most authentic Tibetan culture and local customs, and appreciate all sorts of natural landscape, ranging from snow mountains, endless grassland to stunning lakes. Ganden to Samye trek is recommended. Generally speaking, you can tour Lhokha all year around.
Appreciating Ranwu Lake in Chamdo – April to May & September to October
Situated between mountains and valleys, Chamdo is well-known for Ranwu Lake, Lhegu Glacier, Danxia landform, Kang-pa culture and ancient tea route, etc. You’d better go to Chamdo at April, May, September and October. Because the roads would be blocked down by heavy rains and snows at other periods of time.
In a word, when to go Tibet totally depends on your destinations, personal interest, travel budget, etc. Hope this article can help you to find the best time to explore the different beauty of this mysterious land.