How to Visit Tibet: follow the 9 easy steps
A visit to Tibet is one of the most spectacular journeys you can take, during which you will not only witness the highest mountains in the world, but also meet hospitable local Tibetans who live and breathe Buddhism in their everyday lives.
However, lying on the world’s highest Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Tibet remains a far-flung destination that requires careful tour preparation.
Here we offer you the best insider tips on how to visit Tibet before you hit the road.
Can I visit Tibet? Is there any age limit?
Of course, you can visit Tibet at any age, if you are physically able to adapt to high altitude travel. The youngest tourist we had was an 8-month baby, while the oldest was 82-year-old.
Having a Tibet tour with friends would be an excellent experience for you.
Please notice that even you can visit Tibet without an age-limit, you can’t visit Tibet independently. According to the Tibet travel policy, you need to book your Tibet tour through a registered travel agency, either a group or a private one, and visit Tibet with a licensed guide and driver.
Is it safe to visit Tibet nowadays?
No matter you are a solo traveler, a single woman tourist, or travel with family, the journey to Tibet will be surprisingly safe. The social security in Tibet is quite good and local Tibetans are simple and welcoming to guests from all over the world.
The only thing that threatens your safety is altitude sickness. Travelers with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, coronary heart disease, severe asthma, lung disease, and untreated cold are not able to visit Tibet.
It is advised to have a good rest after arriving in Lhasa so that your body can get used to the high altitude. You can also take medicine and oxygen to reduce the discomfort of altitude sickness.
1. The high altitude sickness in Tibet varies from person to person and can be life-threatening in severe cases. Therefore, please seek professional advice from your doctor before traveling.
2. If you feel any discomfort while traveling in Tibet, please contact your guide immediately.
The couple were enjoy the stunning view of the lake in Tibet.
What travel documents required to visit Tibet?
You need Tibet Travel Permit, a Chinese Visa, and your valid passport to visit Tibet. Without any of these, you can even not board the flight or the train to Tibet. You can easily get a Chinese visa in your county. But the Tibet Travel Permit can be only applied through a licensed local Travel agency with a pre-booked Tibet tour package.
1. It is suggested to apply for your Tibet permit at least 20 days before your Tibet tour starts.
2. If you have more than one passport, please make sure you visit Tibet with the same one you used for your Tibet Travel Permit. Or you will be denied entry into Tibet.
3. If you enter Tibet from Nepal, you need to apply for a Chinese group visa in Kathmandu.
Tibet Travel Permit is an indispensable travel document for Tibet entry.
How much does it cost to visit Tibet?
Overall, the total cost of a Tibet tour alone ranges from US$400 to over US$2500 (not include the transfer to Tibet). And it all depends on how long you are staying for, the travel season you are in, where you want to go to visit in Tibet, and your personal expenses like souvenirs.
The best way to cut down the cost of a Tibet tour is to travel with more people as a group. You can share the transfer cost, the accommodation, and the service fee with your group members.
1. No matter when you visit Tibet, joining a Tibet Small group tour is always cheaper than taking a private tour in Tibet.
2. You can also make your own group with your family and your friends. The more people in the group the cheaper price you can enjoy.
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When is the best time to visit Tibet?
Spring and summer are the best seasons to visit Tibet for the perfect weather, during which the weather in Tibet is warm enough to travel, yet neither too hot nor too cold. Also, you can have more chances to enjoy a clear view of the mountains in Tibet, especially when you visit Everest Base Camp.
Tibet winter, from November to mid-February, is the best time to visit Tibet for a cheaper price. In this low season of Tibetan tourism, the prices of Tibet flights and hotels are much cheaper than usual.
Summer is known as the rainy season in Tibet. But the rainfall is almost at night and will not have much impact on daytime sightseeing activities.
However, summer is the best time to experience Tibetan festival tours. Some popular Tibetan festivals, such as the Shoton Festival, the Saga Dawa Festival, and horse racing festivals are held in summertime (Late May to August).
1. Winter in Tibet is not as cold as you think. The average temperature of Lhasa in the daytime is around 18°C.
2. Pay attention to landslides or other geological disasters if you take a Sichuan Tibet overland tour in summer.
3. Please check the updated Tibetan Calendar for the exact dates of Tibetan festivals.
September is one of the best months to visit the famous Everest Base Camp in Tibet.
How to get to Tibet? which is the easiest way?
Visit Tibet from the Mainland of China
Mainland China is the major gateway to enter Tibet. You can easily visit Tibet from the mainland of China by air, by train, or by land.
It is easy and convenient to take a flight to Tibet from most major cities in mainland China. Among all the entry cities, Chengdu offers the most frequent daily flights to Lhasa and Nyingchi.
The Qinghai-Tibet railway from Xining to Lhasa is the only railway to Tibet. Joining the train network in China at Xining, you can also take Tibet trains from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, and Lanzhou.
There are also four highways to Lhasa, namely Sichuan-Tibet highway (G318 and G317), Qinghai-Tibet highway (G109), Yunnan-Tibet highway (G214), and Xinjiang-Tibet highway (G219). You can enjoy a lifetime overland tour to Tibet through any of them as you like.
The stunning scenery is always the highlight of Qinghai-Tibet Railway.
Visit Tibet from Nepal
Nepal is another popular gateway to enter Tibet, and Kathmandu is the only overseas city that offers international flights to Lhasa. The daily Kathmandu to Lhasa flights are run by Sichuan Airline and Air China.
You can also choose to enter Tibet from Nepal by land via the Gyirong border. The epic overland journey from Kathmandu to Lhasa takes about 8 days including a one-night stay on the Everest Base Camp at the northern side of Mount Everest.
Getting around Tibet
Road travel is the major way to visit Tibet. You need to prepare for long-distance travel if your Tibet tour including attractions outside Lhasa city.
The road condition in Tibet has been improved in recent years and most are asphalt roads, which are good for both vehicles, bikes, and motorbikes.
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What are the must-sees places in Tibet?
Covering a total area of 1,228,400 square km, Tibet promises infinite opportunities for adventure, spiritual, and cultural discovery.
Lhasa is the must-see on all trips to Tibet. And a classic 4-day Lhasa tour is the best choice for the first-timers to Tibet and those who are short on time. The trip to nearby Namtso Lake or Yamdrok Lake only takes one more day.
Everest Base Camp is always on the list of most travelers to Tibet. The classic EBC tour from Lhasa takes 8 days, which includes an overnight stay at the base camp, so that you can enjoy the sunset or the sunrise at the top of the world.
Mount Kailash is like an ultimate goal for both pilgrims and non-pilgrim. A general 15 days Kailash Tour combines the classic Lhasa to EBC tour with an extended 3-day Kailash Kora and Manasarovar Yatra.
The overland tour from Lhasa to Kathmandu covers all the best along the Sino-Nepal friendship highway. This epic overland journey through the Himalayas takes 7 days by car and around 15 days by bike.
In fact, there are more attractions in Tibet. You can find something that interests you in Tibet.
Jokhang Temple, the spiritual center of Tibet.
The epic Mt.Kailash trekking tour in Tibet
What to pack? Do I have to pack a lot?
Traveling to Tibet is not recommended to carry too big luggage. It is recommended to use a boarding case, hiking backpack, and carry-on backpack so that it is convenient to carry the necessary items and documents with you, and also to ensure that there is enough space to store your luggage on the train or your travel vehicles in Tibet.
Some Packing Tips for Visiting Tibet
Clothing: Warmth is the main concern. Also, it is recommended to wear a windproof jacket for your Tibet tour.
Shoes: Comfortable shoes or more professional hiking boots if you are going to enjoy a Tibet trekking tour.
Skincare products: Lotion and lipstick are essential to protect your skin in Tibet.
Sun Protection Products: Sunscreen with SPF 50 is recommended. Physical sun protection, like a hat, sunglasses, etc. is also essential.
Medicines: Follow your doctor’s instructions and prepare some cold medicine, gastrointestinal medicine, and pain relief medicine according to your condition.
Professional Gears: Things like trekking poles, biking accessories, sleeping bags can be rent or buy at outdoor stores in Lhasa. You can also bring the ones you are used to using.
Learn more about what to pack for a Tibet tour from our ultimate packing guide.
We have prepared some common items free trial services for tourists, such as rechargeable batteries. There are also rental services for professional equipment such as trekking poles and sleeping bags.
Accommodation and dining tips of Tibet visting
Accommodation in Tibet
The Tibet hotels are not as good as those in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, etc. The best hotels mostly center in Lhasa, Shigatse, and Nyingchi. As you travel north or to the west of Tibet, like EBC and Mount Kailash, where you can stay are often the guesthouses or yak tents with a filthy pit toilet and no running water.
St.Regis Lhasa Resort
What to Eat in Tibet
The major Tibetan food you can taste in a local restaurant or a Tibetan teahouse includes Tsampa, yak butter tea, Tibetan noodles, yak meat, and so on. Also, Chinese dishes are widely served in Tibet.
In Lhasa city, you can find more food options such as Nepali, Indian and western cuisines.
If you have special food requirements, like vegan food or Muslim food, please tell your travel consultant or tour guide in advance so that they can arrange the right food for you.
Enjoying the toothsome food in a local Tibetan restaurant of Lhasa.
Visiting Tibet is not as difficult as you think. You can travel to Tibet at any age, in any season, as you like. Just make sure you are physically healthy enough to take the tour at such a high altitude.
Getting to Tibet is no longer a problem, as now both flights and trains connect to Tibet. Moreover, there are five highways to Lhasa from Chengdu, Xining, Lijiang, Yecheng, and Kathmandu.
No matter what you want to know about visiting Tibet, such as the tour cost, the best places to visit, the accommodation standard in Tibet, etc. we are always here to provide the most professional suggestions and share our experiences with you.
Video about How to Visit Tibet from Nepal
Following pious pilgrims to walk around the Barkhor Street
Namtso Lake, one of the three holy lakes in Tibet
Tashilunpo Monastery, the traditional seat of Panchen Lamas
Most Popular Tibet Tour Packages
Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse - Everest Base Camp - Lhasa
Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse - E.B.C - Lake Manasarova - Kailash Trek - Saga - Shigatse - Lhasa
Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse - EBC - Shigatse - Lhasa - Namtso Lake - Damxung - Lhasa
Kathmandu - Gyirong - Everest Base Camp - Tingri - Shigatse - Gyantse - Lhasa
Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse - Everest Base Camp - Kathmandu
Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse- Lhasa
Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse - EBC - Saga - Darchen - Kailash Trek - Darchen - Saga - Gyirong - Kathmandu