Is Tibet closed in March?
Tibet has been closed for the period from the Tibetan New year (Losar) to the end of March for many years. However, thanks to changes in the structure of tourism in Tibet, March is now a month that has been opened for travelers to Tibet, and since 2019, international tourists can travel to Tibet in March and enjoy the very first month of spring in this beautiful high-altitude region of the world.
All it takes to visit Tibet is March is to be on a private tour of the region, which will give you a tour guide, driver, private vehicle, and the option of traveling to the areas of your choice, as listed in your itinerary. If you want to visit Tibet in March, just get in touch with one of our professional advisers, who will be more than happy to help you plan your adventure of a lifetime in Tibet.
Tibet Weather and Temperature in March
While March may be the first month of spring on the Tibetan plateau, it may not feel like it in most places as it is still very cold across most of the region. However, while it is still cold, with temperatures dropping to below freezing at night, the days are super sunny, with no rain and bright clear skies, which makes it a great time to come for a visit. Fewer tourists enter the region in the early part of spring, as the temperatures often put people off. However, during the daytime, March temperatures can range from -2 degrees at night to as high as 12 degrees during the day, with an average temperature of around 5 degrees. See more details about Tibet weather in March.
What to Wear for Tibet Tour in March 2019
While it can be relatively warm in the daytime, it can be cold at night, and the winds can be bitter and cold, even during the day. March is not yet the time for t-shirts and shorts, and you will still need long pants, a coat, a hat, and when it is colder, even long underwear. A lighter jacket and pants can be used for the warmer days, and wearing layers is the best way to stay warm when it gets cold, as you can add or remove layers, depending on how cold or hot the weather is. You should still bring good hiking boots, even if you are not hiking, as they are useful for the rough ground over which you will find yourself wandering in the more remote areas.
Top Things to Do in Tibet March 2019
1. Attending Nyingchi Peach Blossom Festival
As spring comes in Tibet, the lowest area of the region experiences one of the most unique occurrences in the world, a plethora of peach blossoms that covers the area like a sea of pink and violet flowers. Usually starting in mid-March, and running until well into April, the Peach Blossom Festival in Nyingchi is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. 2019 sees the 17th annual Nyingchi Peach Blossom Festival, which is expected to start in the middle of March, and is themed this year as “Exploring The Most Beautiful Spring in China”.
The peach trees in Nyingchi are mainly located along the banks of the Niyang River, as well as along the route of the road from the Mainling Airport to Bayi Town, and the flowering phase of the trees differs every year. The best places to see the festival in the spring in Nyingchi are usually in Bome County, Zayu County, Bayi District, Mainling County, Nang County, and Gongbo’gyamda County. As well as enjoying the amazing peach blossoms, you can also experience the local hot springs, try out some of the local delicacies, catch the performances of horsemanship and archery, and even participate in the lantern shows.
2. Enjoying bird-watching at Yamdrok Lake
One of the Great Three Holy Lakes of Tibet, Lake Yamdrok is a vast freshwater lake in Tibet, around 100 kilometers to the southwest of Lhasa. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, this huge and widespread lake is the home of hundreds of species of local and migrant birds. With 21 separate islands spread across the lake’s various arms, Lake Yamdrok is one of the best places in Tibet for bird watching in March and April. The most popular place for bird watching at Lake Yamdrok is Bird Island, the largest of the 21 islands in the lake, and an absolute paradise for wild birds and waterfowl.
The largest habitat for migrating birds in Tibet, Yamdrok Lake is the summer feeding and breeding ground of the bar-headed geese and brown-headed gulls, who return to the lake in March after wintering further south, in warmer lands. As the spring starts, and the winter birds prepare to leave for the north, while the summer birds are just arriving, the sandbank alongside the famous Bird Island is covered with a multitude of different species of birds, and set against the backdrop of the glittering blue lake and the snow-covered mountains, there are few sights as beautiful as this anywhere in the world.
3. Exploring Tashilhunpo Monastery – the traditional seat of Panchen Lama
Lying on the slopes of Nyiseri Mountain to the west of Shigatse City, the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery is one of the most beautiful sights of Shigatse. Built-in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama, Gedun Drupa, the monastery is the largest of its kind in the ancient Tsang region of Tibet, and has been the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama – the second highest incarnation in Tibetan Buddhism – for more than 500 years.
One of the Great Six major monasteries of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism, this unique monastery is an exciting place to visit. You can explore the unique architectures of the many halls and chapels of the monastery, including the Coqen Hall, the Chapel of the Jampa (Future Buddha), the Four Great Dratsangs, and the 56 Sutra Halls and 64 Kamcuns. Around the monastery is a very scenic kora route, where you can trek in just a couple of hours and get to experience the walk with devout Buddhist pilgrims and enjoy the stunning views across the valley below.
4. Visiting Everest Base Camp
No visit to Tibet is complete without a trip to Everest Base Camp (EBC) to the west of Shigatse, at the base of Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain. Lying at an altitude of 5,200 meters (17,056ft), the base camp in Tibet is a little lower in altitude than the base camp in Nepal, on the southern side of the mountain, but was the first base camp to be set up, and has been there since the 1920s, when Nepal was still closed to climbers.
EBC has long been the single most popular tourist attraction in Tibet, and travelers to the region can take a car all the way to the base camp, from where they can get one of the world’s best views of the massive mountain and its close neighbors. An immense experience that could only be topped by climbing the mountain itself, the mountain is open to visitors for most of the year, and while March can be quite cold in the west of Tibet, it is a great time to get clear and brilliant views of the summit of this glorious peak.
Notice: Some places may still be closed in March, due to snow, such as Lake Namtso, which does not usually start to thaw out until April.
How to Get Tibet Travel Permit for Visiting Tibet in March
If you are planning to visit Tibet in March, then you will need to book yourself on a tour of Tibet with a registered Tibet Tour Operator in order to obtain the required Tibet Travel Permit for traveling in Tibet. The Tibet Travel Permit is the main permit for traveling into and around Tibet, especially in the area of Lhasa, where you can travel without any other permits. You will also need this to get other permits for travel to places outside Lhasa on the plateau, such as Shigatse, Mount Everest, and Mount Kailash. Once you have booked your tour, we will use scanned copies of your passport and visa to make the application for the permit on your behalf. Processing can take up to 20 days, so it is essential to book well in advance of your expected travel dates.