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Tibet Winter Tour: the Cheapest Time to Travel Tibet

When it comes to traveling Tibet in winter, most tourists would think it must be a silver-white plateau with chilly days, heavy snow and low oxygen. But it’s totally wrong. In fact, Tibet in winter is not that cold as you imagine. Thanks to the high altitude and plenty sunshine, the daily temperature in Lhasa is above 10℃ and falls to around zero at night. And the stable climate and dry weather offer you a golden chance to enjoy the clear vista of Mt.Everest and its flag clouds.

With the ending of the week-long National Holiday of China, Tibet is entering its low tourism season and you are likelier to get a great discounts on Tibet tour cost and entrance ticket fees. Moreover, you would encounter more sincere devotees while making a winter pilgrimage to Tibet in winter. Why not travel to Tibet in the low season? Below are a handful of reasons to travel to Tibet in the low season.

1. Tibet in Winter Is Not That Cold as You Think

Most tourists prefer to come to Tibet in summer because they regard Tibet as very cold place to visit in winter, but in winter it’s not so cold actually. In Lhasa, we don’t have much snow falls in winter, which makes it not as cold as you think.

In Lhasa, the average winter high temperature is 9.5℃ or 49℉. These are hardly arctic like temperatures. With plenty of sunshine, the day time temps can feel much warmer than this. In fact, most days in Lhasa will be end up stripping off a layer of clothing because it is too hot. The average low temperature in Lhasa over the past 6 years is -4℃ or 24℉. Most of the mid and high end hotels in Lhasa have heat so there is no concern about freezing to death at night.

 Potala Palace Even in winter, you also can enjoy plenty sunshine

Places outside of Lhasa will be colder of course, but still not cold enough to not visit. Shigatse has an average winter high temperature of 7.8℃ or 46℉ and an average low of -9℃ or 16℉. Tingri, the closest main town to Everest Base Camp, has an average winter high temperature of 4.6℃ or 40℉ and an average low temperature of -13℃or 9℉. Again, when the sun comes out, its rays are quite strong at high elevation making the temperatures feel warmer than they are.

2. Fewer Tourists, Easier Tibet Train & Flight Ticket Booking and More Comfortable Trip to Tibet

Another reason is fewer tourists to Tibet during the low season. Fewer tourists means that it is easier to book Tibet train tickets or air tickets and hotels. Easier booking might also mean lower price. Though foreign tourists can never get discount on train tickets in China, they will pay less service fee on booking tickets.

 Train Ticket You can spend less money on all kinds of tickets during off-season in Tibet

As we all know, Qinghai-Tibet Railway, as the only railway to Tibet, is destined to be a busy tourist track since its debut. No wonder, it is very hard to get a train ticket to Lhasa during the peak tourism time of Tibet. Therefore, tourists must pay a considerable service fee for booking train tickets to Tibet. But in winter, only half, even less service fee is asked.

Fewer tourists also means that you can enjoy a more comfortable trip in Tibet. You know, there are 80,000 tourists to Tibet daily during the National Holiday this year. It is crazy. If you want to take a photo, you always have to wait a long time for a better shot. Some tourists would be overwhelmed by the massive amount of tourists. You might feel that you are in Disneyland rather than the Roof of the World! During the winter, the number of tourists to Tibet dramatically decreases.

3. Lower Price for Entrance Tickets and Accommodation in Tibet

It is different for different travelers in terms of the travelling time, the places which they like to visit and what kind of traveller they want to be. But there is one thing that most travelers would concern about, that is, the price of the tour, no matter they are rich or poor. It is just a popular consuming psychology.

What kind of price they can get, what kind of service they can enjoy and where they can go are not only problems on money, but rather on the season you come to Tibet. The same money may buy different services in different seasons.

The lowest price season for travelers is winter in Tibet. Lots of domestic tourists would come here in winter as they can get good price on everything, like air tickets, hotels, admission fees and service fee charged by travel agency.

Most travel agencies and hotels offer at least 10% to 15% off of their high season prices. Travel agencies are far more likely to offer their lowest prices possible during the winter. Hotels also will offer their lowest possible prices. Since there are so few tourists during the winter, travel agencies and hotels are glad to have customers, even if it means charging a lower rate.

Generally speaking, you can get good price in these aspects:

1) Entrance fee of Potala Palace is only a half of that in peak travel season.
2) Yamdrok Lake, Gyantse Pelkor Monastery, Tashilunpo Monastery also offer big discount in winter.
3) Hotels offer discount as high as 50%.
4) Tourist Vehicle price is 2/3 of its price in summer.
5) Airlines also provide considerable discount from 20% to 50%.
6) Travel agencies also offer discount to attract customers in the low season.

In a word, the cost on a winter tour to Tibet is much lower than that of a tour in summer. For example, if you take a private tour to Everest Base Camp in winter, you could save at least 30% of the tour cost. So why not take the advantage of such a good opportunity to enjoy a tour as you like at a low price?

4. Experience Authentic Tibetan Culture with More Pilgrims

You might be wondering what you can see in winter. Though it is bit cold in winter, you can see things more than that in summer. I actually mean to say that you can see lots of pilgrims from different region of Tibet. They usually come to Lhasa in winter as they are busy in farming or business in summer. Only in winter, you can see large number of Tibetan pilgrims. It is awesome. You can know more about Tibetan culture from these Tibetans.

 Tibetan New Year Tibetan New Year

Besides, a grand Tibetan festival, Tibetan New Year, is held each year either in late January or early February. Tibetans from all regions of Tibet arrive in Lhasa beginning in December for pilgrimage. Tibetans often will spend the winter months in Lhasa and the surrounding area visiting all of the major monasteries and temples. Literally tens of thousands of Tibetans are in the region during this time. Lhasa looks and feels far more "Tibetan" during this time than during the summer high season. There is nothing like being in Lhasa during the biggest holiday celebration in Tibet.

5. Great Vista of Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Tour with EBC via Sino-Nepal Highway

Travelling from Lhasa to Kathmandu is the most popular route in Tibet all the year. In winter, the sky along the Friendship Highway linking Lhasa to Kathmandu is generally clear. The views of Mount Everest during winter are great, since there are no rainfalls and fogs in this season. Chances are that you can take awesome snaps of the mysterious Everest flag clouds (the highest weathervane in the world) floating over the summit of Mt.Qomolangma.

 Tibet Winter Tour There are fewer people during winter in Tibet

Though a few of the touristy restaurants in Lhasa will close during the winter, most hotels and nearly all main tourist attractions remain open during the winter. Shigatse has a few hotels, like the Manasarovar Hotel, that offer heat during the winter, but none of the guesthouses or hotels near Everest Base Camp will have heat. They will offer lots of blankets and possibly even electric blankets, but will not have heat.

6. Photography Wild Birds in Tibet Winter

When chilly days come, tens of thousands of migratory birds move down from northern Asia and spent warm winter in Tibet. For the vast nesting area and abundant grains, most migratory birds would mainly gather in and around Lhasa, like Linizhou County, Maizhokunggar County, Zongjiao Lukang Park, Lhasa River, Lalu Wetlands National Nature Preserve, Dagzê County. Large groups of migratory birds can also be seen along the route from Lhasa to Shigatse. Especially at turquoise Lake Yamdrok, you can see waterfowls roaming freely on the lake and hunting food by the lakeshore. Since most locals follow Tibetan Buddhism and wouldn’t hurt animals, birds in Tibet are more used to humans and will allow you to get a litter closer.

 Birds You can see large groups of migratory birds

In consequence, it is a great idea to travel to Tibet in low season. It is perfect to save lots of money, avoid tourist rush, experience hilarious Tibetan new year festival and have fun to your heart’s content. Tibet Visa has designed several classic Tibet winter tour itineraries. Choose the one suiting you best or just tell us your travel plan, our travel experts will customize a trip to your needs and budget within 24 hours for free.

Master Catherine Jigme

About the Author - Master Catherine Jigme

With exceptional passion and outstanding leadership, Mrs. Catherine has dedicated herself to Tibet inbound tourism and China tour for 15 years. As one of the handful females who see great potential of Chinese inbound tourism, Catherine has made great contribution to promoting Tibet tourism and enhancing the employment of Tibetans and prosperity of local Tibetan community.

Over the years, she travelled overseas with Tibet Tourism Bureau many times to promote Tibet tourism. Currently, Catherine works as the marketing director of Tibet Vista, an opinion leader behind the whole team of Tibet Vista.

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