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Travel Advice for Tibet Winter Tour: 10 Insider Tips

November,13 2023 BY Master Catherine Jigme 0 COMMENTS

Traveling to Tibet in winter is a unique experience for an already unique destination. It brings with it some challenges from the cold climate, but, with the right preparation, a winter tour of Tibet has special advantages over traveling in the peak summer season. To help you plan for the best trip, here are 10 insider tips for a Tibet winter tour.

1. Tibet Isn't as Cold in Winter, But You Still Need to Dress Warmly.

The high-altitude Tibetan Plateau is a place that experiences extreme weather, but it’s not as cold as you might imagine. At an elevation of around 3,650 meters, places like Lhasa are cold but are nothing like Siberia or the Arctic. The average winter temperature in Lhasa is around 12 degrees, and on clear days in the sun, it can feel quite warm. At night, however, the temperatures plummet quickly to well below 0 degrees.

Tourists visiting Tibet in winter need to prepare proper warm clothes. It’s best to dress in layers so that you can adjust to the changing temperatures throughout the day. Down garments, fur coats, fur boots, warm gloves, a hat, and thermal underwear are all essentials for keeping warm and comfortable.

2. Tibet in Winter Is Drier Than in Summer, So Bring Moisturizing Products.

Tibet is generally an arid environment and in winter, the combination of high altitude and low humidity can be harsh on your skin. Unprotected, the dry winter air can lead to dry skin, chapped lips, and discomfort.

To combat the dryness, it's a good idea to bring moisturizing products such as lip balm, hand cream, and skin lotion. You might also consider a humidifier for your room, especially if you're staying in air-conditioned hotels. Staying hydrated is also important not just for your skin but for your overall well-being. Drinking water helps combat the effects of dry air at high altitudes.

tour Tibet in winterOne of our clients made a snowman when touring Tibet in winter.

3. Winter in Tibet Has Little Rain and Lots of Sunshine, So Bring Sun Protection.

Winters in Tibet bring clear skies and plenty of sunshine. Great conditions for amazing views of the landscape but, due to Tibet's high elevation, the sun's rays can be intense. UV radiation is stronger at higher altitudes, so sun protection is crucial to prevent sunburn and skin damage.

For protection, number one is sunscreen. Use sunscreen with a high SPF rating on any exposed skin to protect yourself from UV radiation. The sun reflecting off the snow can be blinding, so a good pair of sunglasses that provide UV protection is also important. A wide-brimmed sun hat is also a good idea for when you’re out in the day.

Visit Ganden Monastery in winterTourists paid a visit to the Ganden Monastery in winter.

4. Visiting Tibet in Winter Is Cost-Effective, Check for Big Flight Discounts.

Off-peak season traveling is one of the favorite options for budget-conscious travelers. In winter, tourism in Tibet slows down, so there are great deals to be found. From November to January, in particular, big discounts are available on flights and tours. Many Tibet winter tours are offered, including short tours of Lhasa or longer tours of central Tibet and Everest.

Airlines often offer discounted fares during the winter months to encourage tourism. It's a good idea to book your flights well in advance to secure the best deals. Many hotels and guesthouses in Tibet also lower their rates during the winter. You can take advantage of reduced prices and potentially negotiate even better deals.

5. Mount Kailash and Lake Namtso Are Closed in Winter.

Mount Kailash and Lake Namtso, two of Tibet's most famous and sacred destinations, are typically closed to tourists during the winter months. Mount Kailash experiences extreme weather conditions and high altitudes during winter, so the trekking season is generally limited to the milder months from April to October.

Similarly, Lake Namtso is also typically closed to tourists during the winter. The lake's high elevation and harsh winter conditions make it inaccessible and inhospitable for travelers during this time. Make sure to check the specific opening and closing dates for these destinations as they can vary depending on local conditions and regulations.

6. Mount Everest Is Much Clearer in Winter, Making It One of the Best Times to View the Sunset and Sunrise.

The winter months in Tibet are a great time to witness the breathtaking scenery of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak. The season often brings clear, blue skies, and the cold, dry air is free of atmospheric interference that can obscure the view. Combined this makes for crystal clear views of the majestic mountain.

Visit Everest Base Camp in winterOn the way to Everest Base Camp in winter Tibet

The crisp air of winter creates a unique and magical atmosphere, especially during sunrise and sunset. The play of colors and light on the snow-covered landscape can be truly mesmerizing. And with fewer tourists around than during the peak season, you can enjoy the natural beauty and serenity of the region without the crowds.

7. The Tent-Houses at Everest Base Camp Are Not Available.

It's important to note that the tented accommodation options at Everest Base Camp (EBC) are typically not available during the winter months. These tented houses are often set up during the peak trekking season, which is from April to October, to accommodate the influx of trekkers and tourists. During the winter, they are typically closed down due to the extreme cold and challenging weather conditions.

If you plan to visit Everest Base Camp during the winter, you will need to make alternative arrangements for accommodation. You can go to the nearby Tashi Dzom Town, or Basong Village, which are at lower altitudes and provide hotels for warm overnight stay.

8. There Are More Opportunities to See the Snowy Mountains of Tibet in Winter.

During the winter, many of Tibet's mountains, including the Himalayas and the peaks around Lhasa, are covered in pristine, white snow. This creates a stunning and picturesque landscape, perfect for photography.

Visit Gawula Pass in winterTaken a group photo at Gawula Pass in winter

The combination of snow, clear skies, and the serene winter environment can create a unique and magical atmosphere. The contrast of the white snow against the blue sky is especially captivating.

9. Winter Is One of the Best Times to Explore Authentic Tibetan Culture and Meet the People.

Some of the most important Tibetan festivals, such as Losar (Tibetan New Year), occur during the winter months. Attending these festivals allows you to witness and participate in traditional celebrations and cultural activities. With fewer tourists around, it is a chance for more authentic and intimate interactions with the local Tibetan people.

Tibetan New YearLocal Tibetans celebrate Tibetan New Year during the winter months.

Winter is also a good time to visit Tibetan monasteries. Famous monasteries such as Sera Monastery in Lhasa and Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse attract a lot of visitors during the peak season. In winter they are less crowded, you can observe religious rituals, meet monks, and gain a deeper understanding of Tibetan Buddhism.

10. Some Restaurants Along the Tibet Tour Route Are Closed During Winter.

Some restaurants and businesses along the Tibet tour route, especially in more remote or less-visited areas, may be closed or have reduced operating hours during the winter months. If you're traveling during the winter, plan your meals and accommodations. Check with your tour operator for recommendations on where to eat, or ask locals for their suggestions.

Conclusion

Tibetans enjoy their local life through the winter months, and so can you. Dress warmly, protect yourself against the sun and dry air, and you’ll be able to witness the enchanting winter scenery and rich local culture without crowds of tourists getting in the way. Contact us now to start planning your winter tour of Tibet.

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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