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Top Eleven Reasons Why You Should Visit Tibet in Winter

October,30 2023 BY Sonam Tenphel 0 COMMENTS

Speaking of the winter in Tibet, most people will picture continuous snowy ranges, frozen lakes, and chilly wind. Indeed, it’s true, but to some extent, traveling to Tibet in winter is quite a wise choice. You may think it is crazy to recommend visiting the snowy plateau in winter, however, there are the top eleven good reasons for taking a Tibet winter tour.

Top Reason 1: Tibet Isn't that Cold in Winter.

Though most places in Tibet are chilly, Tibet is not as cold as you might expect during the winter season, especially in Lhasa. It can be surprisingly even warmer than Beijing. It only snows occasionally, and there are more sunny days than at any other time of the year. The average temperature in Lhasa during winter is around 7°C to 9°C, and the city is bathed in warm sunlight during the daytime. However, the temperature drops sharply at night. In summary, winter is a dry and sunny season in Tibet.

Top Reason 2: The Oxygen Levels Remain Stable in Winter.

Some people believe that Tibet's oxygen levels are very low in winter, making it susceptible to altitude sickness. However, this is not the case. According to statistics, the oxygen levels in the Lhasa valley are 62.7% of those at sea level in Qingdao (at 0 meters above sea level) in winter. In spring and autumn, it ranges between 63-64%. It is evident that oxygen levels in winter in Tibet do not decrease significantly and are similar to other seasons, with the difference being almost negligible.

Visit Potala Palace in winterPotala Palace is bathed in warm sunlight during the daytime in winter.

In fact, no matter which season you choose to travel to Tibet, you will face the issue of oxygen deficiency due to its high altitude. Therefore, proper measures to prevent altitude sickness should be taken.

Top Reason 3: Enjoy Tranquil Winter Experience with Fewer Tourists.

One of the most appealing aspects of visiting Tibet in the winter is the peace and tranquility that prevails. The number of tourists dwindles, allowing you to savor the cities and destinations at a leisurely pace, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the peak season.

Visit Yamdrok Lake in winterEnjoy tranquil Yamdrok Lake in winter

This is the perfect moment to bask in the serene atmosphere of this highland, where you can relish the unspoiled beauty, connect with the local culture, and explore the pristine landscapes without the crowds. It's an opportunity to immerse yourself in the true essence of Tibet, free from the usual tourist hustle.

Top Reason 4: Encounter More Tibetan Pilgrims and Connect with Locals.

In winter, more Tibetan pilgrims swarmed into Lhasa for worship. Temples and religious activities can be found in every corner of Tibet with numerous devout worshipers holding butter lamps, spinning prayer wheels, and burning incense. On the way to Lhasa, you can see religious people devoutly prostrating themselves on the ground to show their deepest respect to the holy city.  

Encounter local TibetansThere are more chances to encounter Tibetan locals in winter.

On the other hand, you can take your time to experience Tibetan life by visiting a local family and chatting with them to get a better understanding of them. If you really wanna experience the Buddhist atmosphere of Tibet and know more about the Tibetan people, traveling to Tibet in winter will be your best choice.

Top Reason 5: Favorable Ambient Light for Photography in Winter Tibet.

Tibetan people, villages and natural landscapes offer plenty of opportunities for photography in Tibet. In winter, the sun is lower and the sky is clear, which casts beautiful light and illuminates the architecture and snow mountains perfectly.

In general, the visibility in winter is more brilliant compared to summer, as there is little rainfall and fog. Even if photography isn’t your cup of tea, just lay back in the sweet tea house and enjoy the cozy sunshine and pervasive Buddhist atmosphere in winter.

Top Reason 6: Appreciate the Breathtaking Snowscape in Winter Tibet.

Tibet's snowy landscapes in winter are nothing short of enchanting. The season transforms this already stunning region into a winter wonderland, offering captivating vistas of snow-covered mountains, including majestic peaks like Mt. Everest and Mount Namjagbarwa.

Visit Mount Namjagbarwa in winterAppreciate the beautiful snow-capped Mount Namjagbarwa in winter

The serene, white-cloaked scenery under clear blue skies is a photographer's dream and a nature lover's paradise. Winter in Tibet lets you witness a unique, serene beauty, a true hidden gem for those seeking a picturesque, snow-covered escape.

Top Reason 7: Witness a Clearer View of Mount Everest in Winter Tibet.

A visit to Tibet is not complete without a visit to Mount Everest! And the good news is that this premier mountain actually presents a much clearer visage in winter Tibet.

Visit Tibet Everest Base Camp in winterVisit Tibet Everest Base Camp in winter

As the winter weather is dry and clear, the Everest peak is seldom shrouded by clouds and fog, as often occurs in the summer season. You can better witness the grandeur of the world's summit during this season. Furthermore, the Everest Base Camp, the ideal location for viewing Mount Everest, remains open, unlike many other high-elevation attractions in Tibet during winter.

Top Reason 8: Enjoy Bird-Watching in Winter Tibet.

Winter in Tibet offers a unique opportunity for bird enthusiasts. In Lhasa, thousands of migratory birds flock to the Lhasa River wetlands to make the most of the region's ecologically rich environment, replete with wetlands, lakes, and pastures. Among these winter guests, you can spot fascinating species like the black-necked crane, bar-headed goose, and yellow duck, adding a delightful dimension to your Tibetan winter experience.

birds of Lhasa riverThousands of migratory birds fly to Lhasa River to overwinter.

Top Reason 9: Benefit from More Economical Travel Costs in Winter.

As winter is the "off-season" of Tibet travel, the tour costs, such as those for accommodations, transportation, entrance fees of attractions, and guides are far more affordable in winter. Many hotels, airlines, and Tibet travel agencies will promote tours by offering discounts to attract more tourists with no compromise to services. You can save at least as much as 50% on a trip to Tibet in summer.

Top Reason 10: It is Easier to Book a Train or Flight Ticket for Traveling to Tibet in Winter.

With far fewer tourists heading to Tibet in winter, it’s easier to obtain your Tibet Travel Permit and enjoy hassle-free booking of flights or train tickets. Transportation options remain available throughout the winter, and you may even benefit from discounted rates on your tickets, making it a convenient and budget-friendly time to embark on your Tibetan adventure.

Top Reason 11: Have More Opportunities to Experience Traditional Tibetan Festivals.

Winter is a festive season in Tibet, and many tourists love to participate in events to gain a deeper understanding of the local culture and customs. Joining a festival during your visit to Tibet is a wonderful way to create lasting memories in this snowy wonderland.

One of the most significant winter festivals is Tibetan New Year, also known as Losar, which falls on the 29th of December in the Tibetan calendar. It is a time when Tibetan families come together with hopes for a better year ahead.

Tibetan New Year in winterLocals are celebrating Tibetan New Year in winter.

In addition to Losar, there are several other famous winter festivals to enjoy. The Lamp Lighting Festival, observed on the 25th of October in the Tibetan calendar, commemorates the great Tibetan reformer Zongkaba. Another notable event is the Ghee Lamp Festival, occurring on the 15th of January in the Tibetan calendar, featuring daytime monastery worship and the Barkhor Street lamp festival at night.

Conclusion

Winter in Tibet offers a unique and alluring experience. Contrary to expectations, it's not bitterly cold. With fewer tourists, you can explore Tibetan culture and landscapes in a peaceful, immersive way. Witness devout pilgrims, engage with locals, capture stunning photographs, and enjoy unobstructed views of Mount Everest, among other delights. Winter also brings lower travel costs and easier transportation booking. Don't hesitate; a winter tour in Tibet is a win-win, offering you the experience of a lifetime. Come and enjoy it to the fullest.

Sonam Tenphel

About the Author - Sonam Tenphel

With 20+ years of guide experience and tons of great reviews, Sonam Tenphel is one of the top-rated local Tibetan guides in our team. Polite, enthusiastic, and extremely attentive to every traveler’s needs, he is your best travel companion in Tibet and a walking dictionary of Tibetan culture and history.

Additionally, being a great photographer, Sonam helps you capture great Tibet travel moments and maximize your Tibet experiences like no other.

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