Travel to Tibet from France
Tibet is the roof top of our world, a magical land of snows full of spirituality and colourful prayer flags. Tibet might not be the first travel destination that pops up in our head. But there are so many reasons why it should be.
Travel to Tibet from France
With so many stunning landscapes and snow-capped mountains it hard to deny the beauty of Tibetan topography. With 3 of the top 5 world’s highest summits in Tibet it is the perfect destination for climbers. Tibet is not for the adventurers, it also for those who are looking for a spiritual awakening, some soul searching, to experience new culture, and to explore new paths.
Enjoying the spectacular view of Himalaya Mountains at Gawula Pass.
These are some of the reasons why people of France, a country known for its beautiful countryside, wine, cheese, cuisine, and café lined boulevards, picture perfect sceneries, and Parisian fashion should choose Tibet as their next travel destination. If France is known for its piercing blue skies meeting the cliff, then Tibet is all about piercing blue lakes meeting the skies. Traveling all the way from Western Europe to Asia is worth every mile you cross and every second you spend on the journey.
Here is everything you need to know.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS NEEDED FOR FRENCH CITIZENS:
1) The first and foremost thing required for any foreign national to enter Tibet is the TTB-Tibet Travel Permit.
2) You will be required to obtain Chinese visa to enter china.
3) If you are planning to explore Tibetan parts outside of Lhasa , you will need an Alien’s Permit. This can obtained only upon arrival to Tibet.
4) You need a separate Military permit if you want to explore the sensitive or military areas in Tibet.
5) Permits can be obtained only by applying through travel agencies in china or Tibet. It should be a certified agency. Any foreign citizen cannot travel solo without a tour guide or a group. The whole trip should be arranged by a travel agency. To get the Chinese visa you are required to give the details of the hotel you will be staying in and how many you will be staying and such. Just tell us your travel plan, and we will take care all of the rest.
6) It is important to not lose your travel permits. You cannot visit or enter many places without the permit. Here are some of the places where your permits will be checked: at hotels, at checkpoints, at airports, at train stations, at entry point of tourist attractions are some of the places where your permits will be checked.
7) In case you are entering Tibet via Nepal (i.e. through the friendship highway) you will need to obtain a group visa approved from the Chinese embassy in Nepal. It takes 2 weeks to obtain this.
WHAT TO PACK FOR TIBET TRIP:
1) Have multiple scanned and printed copies of all your permits.
2) Always double check if you have packed your passport and camera before leaving any place.
3) It is advisable to pack multiple layers of clothing no matter what season you visit Tibet. Throughout the year the nights get pretty cold. Layering your clothes is suggested because you can remove or add them depending on the temperature variation within the day.
4) Get your sunshades and sun blocks as the sun light is pretty harsh during the day.
5) Do not forget to visit your doctor before travelling to Tibet. Experiencing altitude sickness is a pretty common thing amongst the tourists and it is advisable that you get your medications beforehand. Irrespective of your age and fitness, anyone can experience altitude sickness.
6) Buy enough oxygen tanks in case you get light headed because of the high altitude. They are easily available in Tibet. You can buy them from hospitals, tourist centres, or even from the hotel you are staying.
7) Other important things to pack are water bottle, flash lights, lots of chocolates with nuts, instant energy snack bars, and trekking equipment such as map, compass, shoes etc.
THE WAY OF TRAVELING TO TIBET FROM FRANCE:
There are two ways to enter Tibet from France: through Nepal and through China. For both the routes there are different travel permits required which were explained above.
ENTERING VIA NEPAL:
If you are entering via Nepal you must be part of an organized tour arranged by a travel agency based out of China or Tibet. Along with the travel permits required for Tibet, you have to get visa approval form Chinese embassy in Nepal. Here are three ways how you can enter Tibet via Nepal:
1) By flight:
Once you reach Kathmandu (capital of Nepal) you can get a direct flight to Lhasa (capital of Tibet) The direct flights are pretty regular during the months of May - October, during winter there are only 2 or 3 flights per week. The journey takes about an hour. You might be asked to show your documents while boarding in Kathmandu to prove that you are part of an organized tour.
2) By overland:
Due to earthquake in the Nepal-Tibet border in 2015, the border is closed and it’s impossible to go for overland in this most used route. It crosses over Kyirong, Rasuwaghadi, Nepal. The Zhangmu border has been shut off. This was the most vital for the over landers and traders. As of January 2017, the roads haven’t been open yet.
As a temporary solution, the crossing location is shifted 75km west of Kyirong County. But, the friendship highway is not closed. That is good news. It is still accessible to tourists. Friendship highway is another popular overland route among the travellers. There is so much to see along the friendship highway. You will come across the Yamdrok Lake, Pelkor Chode Monastery, Tashilunpo Monastery, Sakya Monastery, and with a short planned rerouting you can spend some time in EBC and the famous Rongbuk Monastery.
3) Through Simikot:
Getting to Nepal through Simikot will be a very unique and different experience. This route involves going by flight, trekking, driving everything. It’s one of the most adventurous routes.
The only way to get to Simikot is by flight. Simikot does not have any direct flights from Kathmandu. You have to first fly to Nepalganj and then to Simikot. Then from Simikot it’s a 5 day trek to Hilsa, a small and quaint village that’s right across the Tibet border. Once you cross over to the other side you will find yourself in Purang, from where your Tibetan adventures will begin.
Mind you, this route is neither budget friendly nor time friendly. This is not an option most tourists choose. The hike from Simikot to Hilsa is said to be very beautiful.
ENTERING VIA CHINA:
For entering through China you need a Chinese Visa and TTB. There are multiple entry points to Tibet from China. The most popular gateway cities are Hong Kong, Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, etc. Here are some suggestions that you can use.
There are direct flights and one stop flights from Paris to Beijing. The nearest airport in Paris is Charles De Gualle Airport (CDG) and in Beijing it is Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK). The direct flights take any time between 9h 50m to 13h.There are layover flights via London and Madrid.
|CDG to PEK||9h 50m||Air France|
|CDG to PEK||10h 5m||Air China|
The most recommended way to travel to Tibet is taking the Qinghai-Tibet railway. This is the highest railway in the world and one with the most beautiful scenic views. The views range from lakes to Snow Mountains to tunnels. The Beijing to Lhasa train stretches over a total of 3,757km. It is easily one of the longest train rides in Asia.
|Train no.||From||To||Dep./ Arr.||Distance||Stops||Duration||Hard Seat||Hard Sleeper||Soft Sleeper|
|Z21||Beijing||Lhasa||20: 00/ 12: 10 (third day)||3,757 km||10||40:10hrs||CNY 360||CNY 720||CNY 1,144|
*Market prices of Tibet train tickets usually change according to the travel date and season. Due to limited supply of tickets it is better to book 3- 6 months in advance, especially in peak season.
Tourists can take direct flights to Chengdu from Paris, France. And some connecting flights are also available.
|CDG to CTU||10h 45m||Air China|
Chengdu to Lhasa is the third shortest route of the seven routes to Tibet. And compared to other routes, it is much easier to obtain Chengdu Tibet train tickets.
|Train no.||From||To||Dep./ Arr.||Dep./ Arr.||Stops||Duration||Hard seater||Hard sleeper||Soft sleeper|
|Z322||Chengdu||Lhasa||14: 48/ 9: 55 (third day)||3,070km||9||43:07||CNY 328||CNY 668||CNY 1, 602|
*Market prices of Tibet train tickets are usually subject to change according to the travel date and season. Due to limited supply of tickets it is better to book 3- 6 months in advance, especially in peak season.
There are all facilities to keep you comfortable during your travel. There are oxygen tanks to help you with light headedness during the altitude change. There is also emergency medic in every train. There is a dining from where you can buy your meals. There is TV, charging points, AC, bathrooms, and washing areas. It is advisable to have toilet paper of your own as it tends to finish faster during long journeys.
TIPS FOR ALTITUDE CHANGES:
Irrespective of age and physical fitness condition, everyone experiences altitude sickness in train or even you go by flight. It is important to acclimatize before going to higher altitude places. When you go by flight the altitude change is too fast and the effect of altitude sickness might be quicker and more intense. It is advisable to keep small oxygen tanks with you all the time. Take precautions by getting doctor prescribed medications before starting the trip. Drink lots of water and eat lots of fruits. Avoid alcohol while travelling.
BEST TIME TO VISIT TIBET FROM FRANCE:
The best time to visit Tibet is from May to October. These are the warmer months, although the nights get cold. During this time the temperature is steady and averages above 10℃. you can see the peaks much clearer during these months. May and September are the best months for camping and hiking as there is very less rain during these months.
Camping in Tibet
Here are some recommended tours in Tibet. You can also arrange a tour according to your needs and wish with us.
1) Everest Base Camp tours- This involves hiking till the EBC and spending a day there before returning to Lhasa. This tour takes about 5 days long.
2) Lhasa exploration tours- There are lots of attractions in Lhasa and lots to explore too. Explore the culture and religion in Lhasa by visiting the palaces, temples, and monasteries. Lhasa is known as the spiritual centre of Tibet.
3) Mt. Kailash tours- Kailash tours involve seeing the holy and magnificent mountain and camping near Lake Mansarover which is considered holy by people of many faiths. You can go there by hike or in a vehicle. You can camp near the lake to watch the beautiful sunrise and sunset.
4) Hiking and cycling tours- Like mentioned in the beginning Tibet has a lot to offer for the adventurists. There is no dearth of cycling and hiking tours. The routes and trails cover various high passes and lakes. Even though they are challenging, hiking and biking in the roof of the world gives you a thrill like no other.