How to Choose the Travel Route for the Family Tour with Kids in Tibet

November,19 2019 BY Lobsang Tsering 0 COMMENTS

Taking your kids to Tibet is a journey of wonder and delight for them, as well as for you. And while the beauty of the region is undeniable, especially for children, it is important to choose a route for your tour that will make sure your kids do not get bored and enjoy the trip as much as you do. Planning that tour route means taking into consideration a lot of factors, from the extreme altitudes you will be visiting, to the things your kids might like to see and the things that will leave them scuffing their feet with boredom.

Things You Need to Know Before Coming

If you are planning on taking your kids with you to Tibet, then there are certain things to take into consideration before you leave, which include not only the things they will enjoy, but ensuring that they do not inadvertently offend the Tibetan locals. Tibet does have certain rules that even tourists should be aware of, and that you should make sure your kids understand as well. You should also know when is the best time to take kids to Tibet, as not all the seasons are ideal for traveling Tibet with kids.

Know Your Kids’ Interest and What Tibet Tour Can Offer

Knowing what things will interest your kids is of primary importance, as they will soon get easily bored if you are just dragging them around the places you want to see. Kids are little learners, and while almost everything new is amazing to them, some things may just get dull if it is repeated time after time throughout the tour.

Kid explores Barkhor StreetKids usually like outdoor activities

One example is that of the many monasteries that you can visit while you are in Tibet. While these ancient buildings are beautiful and interesting, they may not appeal much to a child that likes to be outdoors a lot. Similarly, taking a trekking tour of the region may not be the best thing to do if you have a child that prefers to stay indoors and read or play video games. While it may be good for them to get outside, you could find them dragging their feet and complaining a lot.

There are a lot of things to do in Tibet, and many of them can be matched to the interests of your children. For the outdoors type, a few days trekking to EBC from Tingri would be perfect, while for the bookworm child, learning about the Tibetan history and culture could be the way to allow them to realize the things they have read in books about Tibet.

Pay Attention to the Acclimatization to High Altitude in Tibet

When traveling with kids to a high altitude like that of the Tibetan plateau, altitude sickness can be a major concern for most parents. Acclimatizing to the increase in altitude is important while you are still in Lhasa, before you can safely travel outside the city to the higher elevations of the rest of Tibet. And this is even more important for the kids, as they can sometimes be more susceptible to severe altitude sickness.

Tibet tour means traveling at extreme altitudes, sometimes above 5,000 meters, which can be detrimental to your health if you do not allow your body time to adjust to the increased altitudes of the plateau. This is a problem that is unique to traveling to Tibet, and while there are high altitude areas around the world, none is as extreme as the Tibetan plateau, where you will be touring on the roof of the world.

Sitting on the steps of Potala PalaceAllowing enough time for the kids to acclimatize at this high altitude

It is important that you allow enough time for the kids to acclimatize as well, and it should be noted that not everyone acclimatizes to higher altitude in the same way and time. For some people it takes very little time, even not needing to acclimatize much at all. However, most people traveling to Tibet will feel some of the milder symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headaches, nausea, and dizziness, and it is necessary to allow your body chance to adjust before traveling further.

Kids can sometimes be less susceptible to the effects of high altitude than their parents, as their bodies tend to adapt much quicker, although with very small children extra care should be taken, as they can get symptoms that are severe and require hospital treatment. It is not recommended to take children under 7 to Tibet.

>>Read more about how to avoid altitude sickness and treatment in Tibet tour

Avoid Unnecessary Troubles in Tibet

It is important when traveling to Tibet with your kids to ensure that your kids understand some of the customs and etiquette of the plateau people, and follow a few guidelines on what not to do. There are certain rules regarding behavior in Tibet that local people always follow automatically, and as tourists, you should respect the ways of the local people. When in Rome…

Some of the more pertinent observances in Tibet are:
1. Don’t touch the head of the Tibetan people, as this is considered to be rude due to the Tibetan belief that the gods reside in the head.
2. Do not extend your feet towards people and religious objects when sitting, and keep them tucked under you out of the way. If sitting on the floor, sit cross-legged instead of stretching out your legs.
3. Dress properly when visiting monasteries, temples, and other places outside your hotel room. Wearing shorts and short skirts is taboo in Tibet, and long sleeves and collars should be worn when visiting temples and monasteries. Some monasteries will also expect you to take off your shoes, and your guide will advise you which do and which don’t.
4. Do not take photos of people without their permission, and never take photos of monks, as this is not appropriate behavior. Ask first.

Make sure that your child knows how to dress warmly using layers to stay warm, as it is easier for them to take off or add layers when hot or too cold. The temperature can change drastically from day to night, and it can reach close to freezing even in the summer months. You should also teach them that they need to wear sunglasses when outside all the time, to protect their sensitive eyes from the harsh sunlight of the plateau.

It is also important to keep their skin covered, either with clothing or sunscreen on the exposed areas, as the sunlight and winds can damage the delicate skin of the kids easily, causing sunburn that could require medical treatment. Hats should also be worn by the kids too, as the dangerous UVA rays of the sun are not beaten back by mere sunscreen.

>>Read more about etiquette and taboos when travelling in Tibet

Best Time for Family Tour in Tibet

Temperatures in Tibet change a lot from one season to the next, and the best time for taking kids to Tibet is from May to the mid- October, when the weather is more pleasant and the temperatures are warmer. Summer, from June to September, is the warmest time of the year, and ideal for taking kids to Tibet, despite it being the monsoon season. Even in the lower altitudes of the region, it rarely rains much, and most of the rainfall comes in the evenings and overnight, leaving the warm days free for touring and sightseeing.

Visiting Tibet in autumnThe best time to visit Tibet can offer you stunning scenery

Spring and autumn are also good times to travel with kids in Tibet, as the weather is still warm enough for them to enjoy the outdoors without getting too cold, and there is almost no rain during these seasons. It is also less popular in the early spring and late autumn, and with fewer tourists traveling to Tibet, there is more chance of some discounts on the trip, making it more affordable for a family.

Highly Recommended Travel Route for All Families, esp. with Young Kids

If you are traveling to Tibet with your family, and have kids with you, then there are some ideal itineraries that would suit your travel. Tibet is a place where you can take kids, and they can really enjoy their holidays, especially when they like to discover new things. So if you are thinking of taking your kids to Tibet, try one of the following tours.

Focus on City Tour in Lhasa and Its Surroundings

Lhasa has an abundance of things to see and do, and whether your kids are five or fifteen, they will always find some great things to do in this beautiful city. All of our Lhasa tours will take you to the most famous spots in the city, such as the Potala Palace, the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. Visit the Jokhang Temple, the most sacred Buddhist temple in the world with its ancient statue of Sakyamuni Buddha that was brought from China by the wife of the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo 1,300 years ago.

Jokhang TempleVisiting Jokhang Temple to experience Tibetan Buddhism

There are also some great monasteries in Lhasa, and at Sera Monastery you can watch the amazing philosophical monastic debates, filled with jumping and clapping as the younger monks learn their scriptures through debating with more experienced monks and lamas. Barkhor Street, while being the best place for shopping, is also the kora route around the Jokhang Temple, and you can see pilgrims making the ritual circumambulation daily, and prostrating in prayer before the gates of the temple.

There are also many other things to try while you are in the city. Lhasa is famous for its teahouses, where locals and tourists alike go to drink the delicious Tibetan sweet tea, or take in the local artists painting religious thangkas on cloth. Nearby, Norbulingka Palace, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, has a beautiful garden park, with dozens of types of trees where you can relax for the afternoon and enjoy the delightful surroundings with a picnic while the kids run and play on the expansive lawns.

Other activities that you can try as a family in Lhasa include a cycling tour of the city, good for older kids; check out the local orphanage, where you can see how the lost children of Lhasa live and learn under the tutelage of the Buddhist nuns; or visit a local family, which we can arrange for you, to see how the real Tibetan family lives on the plateau, and learn how Tibetan dishes are made.

Follow Classic Travel Route from Lhasa to Shigatse

If you are thinking of heading outside the city of Lhasa, then the journey to Shigatse from Lhasa is an ideal tour to head. Following the Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway, the Tibet’s second city is filled with wondrous sights and experiences that will make the holiday even more spectacular.

As you leave Lhasa, the first sight is the golden fields of barley that move like a sea in the plateau winds. Lying beside the banks of the Lhasa River, the autumn is the best time to see this stunning sight of Tibetan agriculture, just before the harvest.

As the road winds on, up the side of the mountains, making switchbacks continuously, you finally see the perfect reason for climbing to this first high pass. As you look out from the top of the pass, the stunning sight of Lake Yamdrok greets you, with its breathtaking beauty stretching out for miles around you. As the road continues, it drops back down, and runs alongside the lake for several miles, and you can stop and take a closer look before moving on.

Further along, you come to the bottom of one of the most famous glaciers in Tibet, the Karola Glacier. Just a few hundred meters from the road, the glacier shines pristine white in the sunlight, and rises to a height of around 7,200 meters as you look up at its vast expanse. You can also stop and get a closer look, or even walk on the lower end of the glacier.

Gyantse KumbumTouring Gyantse Kumbum with Kids

The first stop in a major town along this route is at Gyantse, where you can stop and visit the famous Gyantse Kumbum, the largest stupa in the world at 34 meters tall. This massive construction is one of the amazing sights of Gyantse, and has 108 chapels inside. The stupa lies within the Pelkor Chode Monastery, renowned for being the only Buddhist monastery in the word that houses three separate schools of Tibetan Buddhism under one roof.

After Gyantse, it is back on the road for the journey on to Shigatse, and as the road winds westwards, you will pass through the Shigatse Prefecture’s farmlands, with fields of barley waving in the sunlight on either side of the road. In Shigatse, the other end of the journey, there is still more to see and do, including the stunning Tashilhunpo Monastery, the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama, the second highest reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhism.

For Families with Teens : Challenging Travel Route from Shigatse to EBC

For those whose kids are a little older, the trip from Shigatse to Everest Base Camp (EBC) is a must, and they will wonder at the amazing sight of this massive peak rising directly above them. The route continues to follow the Friendship Highway for a while, and the most stunning view of the entore highway comes into view as you reach the stunning Gawu La Pass. At this high-altitude pass, you can stop and look around, and see eight of the world’s tallest mountains laid out in front of you.

Everest Base Camp tour with kidsStanding at Everest Base Camp with kids view the summit of Mount Everest

At 5,198 meters, the pass is the best place to view all of these mountains, and the sight includes the mountains of Shishapangma, Makalu, Cho Oyu, and Lhotse, to name just a few. A short distance further, just after the small town of Tingri, you will turn off the main highway and head south to the Rongbuk Monastery, the world’s highest monastery at 4,980 meters. Lying at the foot of Mount Everest, this monastery has seen many celebrated climbers pass through its doors, and it is the same monastery where the famous Sherpa, tenzin Norgay, received his new name from the Lama of the monastery almost 100 years ago.

From the monastery, the trip to Everest Base Camp takes just a short time, and you can opt to ride in the vehicle or take a short stroll to the camp itself, which lies just 8km away. Once there, you will finally get to see the amazing sight of the mountain towering above you. Although it is still around 11 kilometers from the base camp to the summit, it seems closer, as if you could almost reach out and touch it. The biggest attraction in Tibet for many of the tourists that travel there, Mount Everest is every schoolboy’s dream destination, and it should have your kids enthralled at its sheer immensity, whatever age they are. And what a tale to tell back at school, when they get asked about Mount Everest in their geography classes! How many kids can show photos of themselves at the actual mountain?

Lobsang Tsering

About the Author - Lobsang Tsering

I am a tour guide in Tibet an was Born in Kham Tibet, I am the father of 2 little girls, bachelor's degree. I have more than 7-years experience of being a tour guide in Tibet. I am a warm, friendly, knowledgeable and attractive guy.

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