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These People Can Not Travel to Tibet? 8 Confusing Facts Clarified by Experts

Having a Tibet tour is a dream for many people, however, as Tibet is located on the highest plateau in the world the fantastic experience of traveling there can be challenging. Before deciding to go, you should be aware of the physical reasons that might stop a traveler from going there as well as certain travel requirements.

Here we provide detailed information to help you figure out what is really stopping you from going to Tibet.

People with Poor Health Cannot Travel to Tibet? True for Those with High-Risk Diseases

For all travelers going to Tibet, the first thing to concern about is the altitude sickness, which occurs when going to the high altitude places from a lower place.

As the average altitude in Tibet is over 3,000 meters, it is very easy for most first-time visitors to get altitude sickness.

People with milder symptoms may experience headaches, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, or disturbed sleep. Generally, the symptoms of altitude sickness will gradually decrease and eventually disappear within one or two days in Lhasa when you acclimatize to the high altitude.

But severe cases of altitude sickness in Tibet can be life-threatening, especially when traveling to places that are too high in altitude in a short period. For those who are going to visit Everest Base Camp or Mount Kailash, it is suggested to make a looser itinerary, allowing enough time to acclimate yourself to the increasing altitude from Lhasa (3650 meters) to the mountain areas over 5000 meters above sea level.

Visit TibetIt is suggested to make a looser itinerary to tour Tibet.

For people with the following conditions, travel may be inadvisable. Please consult your doctor for professional medical advice.

Organic heart diseases, including severe arrhythmia or resting heart rate over 100 per minute, high blood pressure II or above, all kinds of blood diseases, and cranial vascular diseases can increase your risk of traveling to Tibet.

Chronic respiratory system diseases, including a medium degree of obstructive pulmonary diseases or above, such as bronchus expansion, emphysema, and so on, are also dangerous for travelers who are planning to go to Tibet.

Travelers with Diabetes Mellitus, Hysteria, Epilepsia, and Schizophrenia are also not suggested to travel to Tibet.

Travelers with Bad colds, upper respiratory tract infections, and body temperature above 38℃ or below 38℃ are not recommended to travel to Tibet until after they are recovered.

High-altitude pulmonary edema includes high-altitude cerebral edema, high-altitude hypertension with an obvious increase of blood pressure, high-altitude heart diseases, and high-altitude polycythemia.

Pregnant women are not suggested to visit Tibet.

People without Tibet Travel Permit Cannot Travel to Tibet? True for International Tourists

Besides physical reasons, not having a Tibet Travel Permit will also prevent you from traveling to Tibet.

Tibet Travel Permit, issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, is a must for all international tourists visiting Tibet. Without this permit, you cannot board a train or flight to Tibet, and you cannot pass the land border.

Since individual applications are not accepted by Tibet Tourism Bureau, you need to arrange your Tibet tour and book the tour service with a licensed local travel agency like us to get the travel permit.

Tibet Travel PermitThe Tibet Travel Permit is a must for travelling to Tibet.

The travel agency will apply for the permit on your behalf after you confirm the travel itinerary and provide a clear copy of your Chinese Visa and passport.

Your travel information, such as the travel date, the entry city, and destinations to visit in Tibet, and the number of your group people will be listed in the permit and cannot be changed once it is issued.

So you need to make a detailed travel itinerary with your travel agent and follow the plan. You cannot change your itinerary at will. For any emergency changes, please contact your agency first.

It is suggested to apply for your Tibet Travel Permit at least 20 days before you go since it takes time to be issued and deliver to your address in mainland China.

Please note that since the travel permit is quite important for your trip to Tibet, and we will deliver the permit by express to your hotel in mainland China as soon as we receive it from the Bureau, or give it to you in person at your departure railway station or airport.

People not in a Join-in Tour Cannot Travel to Tibet? Also True for International Tourists

Traveling to Tibet is different from traveling to other places and cannot be done independently. Foreign travelers must go through a registered Tibetan tour operator and be accompanied by a local travel guide and driver.

One of the best options is to join a small group tour. We have many choices available with budget prices and various itineraries. One of the best choices for tourists with limited time is the 4 Days Lhasa Impression Small Group Tour. You can see all the must-see spots in the city and get a comprehensive impression of Tibetan culture.

Popular longer tours, such as the 8 Days Lhasa to Everest Base Camp Small Group Tour allow you to spend time getting to experience Lhasa while acclimatizing to the high altitude before heading off to other sites. From Everest Base Camp you can see the peak of the famous Mount Everest, weather permitting, after traveling through the breathtaking landscape that includes sites such as beautiful Lake Yamdrok-tso, Korola Glacier, and Tashilhunpo Monastery.

Everest Base Camp Small Group TourJoin our classic Lhasa to Everest Base Camp tour to enjoy the best experience.

The 15 Days Kailash and Manasarovar Small Group Tour is the most adventurous pilgrimage tour in Tibet. The first part of the tour overlaps the Lhasa to Everest Base Camp tour before heading west to Darchen via Saga and holy Manasarovar Lake. The biggest highlight is the Mt. Kailash Kora. Usually taking three days, you will trek around the sacred mountain, taking part in an important holy pilgrimage while seeing natural beauty unique to this part of the world.

Besides, we also offer customized private tours that can take you deep into the real Tibet. Private tour groups can be as small as you, your tour guide and driver. You have the freedom to tailor your travel itinerary based on your unique preferences. This option is highly recommended for couples or families, as it allows you and your loved ones to cherish intimate moments and create lasting memories together.

Journalists and Diplomats Cannot Travel to Tibet? Just Not Allowed through Travel Agencies

Foreign journalists and diplomats can travel to Tibet. But they cannot get the Tibet Travel Permit through an ordinary travel agency. The application of their Tibet permit can be only handled by the Tibet Foreign Affairs Office.

Indian Tourists Cannot Travel to Tibet? Just Application Method for Tibet Travel Permit May Vary

Indian tourists can certainly travel to Tibet. It is just a matter of how to get a China Tibet Visa for Indian citizens that is handled differently.

pilgrimage to Tibet mount KailashTaking a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash in Tibet.

If you are planning to travel to Tibet, including a trip to Mount Kailash, Lake Manasarovar or any other places in Ali prefecture, with an Indian passport, you need to contact the Foreign Affairs Office of TAR, or the Tibet-India Pilgrim Reception (shortly Pilgrim Center) to arrange the trip for you.

If Mount Kailash is not your destination, you can just contact us and we can handle the trip for you with Tibet Travel Permit application included.

Elderly Travelers Over the Age of 80 Cannot Travel to Tibet? It Depends

There are no age limits for visitors to Tibet. The oldest tourist we've had was a German traveler who completed the Everest Base Camp tour at the age of 82.

Of course, it doesn't mean that anyone over the age of 80 can travel to Tibet without hesitation. It still depends on their health. Be sure to consult a medical professional before planning your trip.

Senior to TibetOur client made it to Tibet EBC at the age of 82.

Compared to age, personal physical fitness, adaptability, and health condition are larger concerns. It is highly recommended for seniors to have a thorough physical health examination before traveling to Tibet. A doctor is the best person to help them understand their own health condition to ensure there are no potential health problems.

In addition, seniors should make preparations to ensure they stay in good health during the trip. They should learn in detail about the symptoms of altitude sickness and prepare relevant medication in consultation with a doctor.

Seniors should also make a reasonable itinerary. A slow-paced itinerary that follows the principle of touring from low to high will help them gradually adapt to changes in altitude.

Popular destinations in and around Lhasa, such as Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, and Ganden Monastery, are easily accessible without long treks. The picturesque shoreline of Yamdrok Lake can be experienced with a relaxed drive, or seniors can explore the architecture, artifacts, and artwork of Tashilhunpo Monastery at their own pace.

Kids under 7 Cannot Travel to Tibet? It Also Depends

For children, a trip to the Tibetan Plateau can be a unique and wonderful experience that changes how they see the world. However, traveling to Tibet with children brings some special challenges that parents need to be aware of.

High altitudes are a concern for all visitors to Tibet. Experts recommend not traveling with children under 4 years old. Young children face an increased risk of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and may have trouble explaining what they are feeling. The symptoms can easily be mistaken for simpler issues such as jet lag, unfamiliar food, or the flu.

Visit Namtso Lake with kidsOur clients had a trip to Namtso Lake with their young kids.

Children can be picky eaters, and much of Tibetan food may be unfamiliar to them. Major cities in Tibet offer a wide mix of food, including Chinese, Nepalese, Indian, and even American-style breakfasts and pizza. However, in more remote regions, restaurants may only serve Tibetan dishes.

While Lhasa has many good hotels, in more remote areas, the rooms might not be large enough for an entire family. Adjoining rooms can often be arranged to ensure you can stay close to your children.

Spend some extra time planning your Tibet trip with your children. Involve them in itinerary planning from the beginning. Not only will it ensure you include activities that interest your children, but it's also a great way to set the right expectations for the trip.

If possible, plan your visit during the off-peak seasons. Early April to mid-June and mid-October to late November are among the best times to visit with kids. The weather is generally clear, and there are fewer tourists in the region. If you plan to travel in the summer, consider going in late June or July to avoid peak season crowds.

Photo with the Local TibetansThe child is excited to photo with the local Tibetan.

Upon arrival in Tibet, it may not always be possible to find a shop to buy something you forgot. Before you go, make a list of everything your kids can do without and ensure you pack everything they need.

Lastly, and most importantly, ensure your children are in good health. Have them checked by a doctor before the trip, and make sure you understand the risks of altitude sickness.

Foreign Tourists Cannot Travel to Tibet with Chinese Companions? Just Follow the Rules for All Foreigners

Foreign tourists can travel to Tibet with Chinese friends or family members. However, you still need to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit and join an organized tour like other international tourists. You and your Chinese companion can choose our Tibet small group tour, which guarantees Tibet permit application and offers the best local service. Alternatively, you can customize your private trip in Tibet.


Whether you can travel to Tibet or not depends on many factors, such as your physical condition, obtaining the Tibet permit, and choosing to join a tour group. It's important to note that there is no age limit for Tibet tours, and certain groups of tourists, like Indians, may have different procedures for visiting Tibet.

If you still have questions or are unsure about your eligibility, feel free to contact us and provide details about your situation. We will be happy to assist you further.

Master Kungga Dundruk

About the Author - Master Kungga Dundruk

Kungga Dundruk, often respectfully referred to as “Manager Kunga”, is the most revered and legendary Tibetan guide in our team.

Currently working as a customer service manager in Lhasa, Kunga used to study business overseas and got his Bachelor of Business in Nepal and India before moving back to his homeland. With pure passion for life and unlimited love for Tibet, Kunga started his guide career as early as 1997.

As a legendary Tibetan guide with 22 years of guide experience, Kunga was awarded the Gold Medalist of China’s Best Tour Guide in 2019, marking the pinnacle of his career. Today, Kunga loves sharing his wealth of Tibetan knowledge through travel articles and stands ready to offer prompt support whenever our guests need help in Lhasa.

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