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Tibet Weather in May: Tibet temperature and how to plan a Tibet tour in May

May is often seen as the true start of spring, and across most of Tibet, the weather is dry with bright sunshine and cool to warm temperatures. For Lhasa, it is one of the best months, with temperatures of around 20 degrees in the daytime, dropping to only 6 degrees at night, almost two-thirds of the days in May are sunny, and the city is full of energy and vitality. In the areas of Yamdrok, Shigatse, and Namtso, the weather is also warmer, while Lake Yamdrok and Shigatse see temperatures of up to 23 degrees, Lake Namtso is still warming up and defrosting, with daily temperatures of around 11 degrees.

In the west, around the mountains of Everest and Kailash, the weather is also getting warmer, with temperature ranges of between 15 degrees and freezing, which is warm for these mountain areas. Everest Base Camp is completely free of snow, and the view of the mountain over the barren landscape is amazing, Meanwhile, Mount Kailash has opened up its surrounding valleys to allow the pilgrims and tourists to make the epic three-day journey around the kora route.

Average Minimum Temperature (℃): 5
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 19
Tibet Average Temperature (℃): 12
Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 25
Wet Days (>0.1mm): 3
Relative Humidity (%): 59
(Overall Tibet weather in May)

Table of Tibet Weather in May

Most-Visited Places of Tibet and Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Tour in May

Marking the end of spring and the preparation for summer, May is an awesome month in which to visit Tibet. Not only do you get to experience the stunning scenery of the spring growth, and if you are lucky the peach blossoms before they fruit, but you also get to travel at a time that is much warmer than the rest of spring. Warm, sunny, and dry, May is the run-up to the summer tourist season, and one of the best seasons in Tibet for trekking and mountain climbing. In Lhasa, the slopes around the city are covered with lush green grass and elegant trees covered with fresh new leaves, with wild flowers dotting the hillsides.

May is the main month for mountaineering in Tibet, and this beautiful month sees many adventurous climbers making their way to Mount Everest. It is also the peak time for trekking, with dry weather and virtually no rain, warm temperatures yet cool enough to be comfortable when hiking through the hills and valleys of the region.

Lhasa Tibet Weather in May

Average Minimum Temperature (℃): 6
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 20
Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 26

If you are visiting Lhasa, May is one of the last months when you can get to tour around the city without the crowds of people that will son descend on the high-altitude capital, making the attractions cramped and busy. For a while longer, there are still fewer tourists in Tibet, and it is the best time to make the most of the good weather with a quieter and more peaceful city to explore.

Namtso Tibet Weather in May

Average Minimum Temperature (℃): -3
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 11
Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 31

To the north of Lhasa, Lake Namtso has defrosted from its long winter freeze, and the ice and snow is slowly melting, making a journey to the lakeshore a must for many visitors to Tibet in May. Travelers can now appreciate the stunning turquoise waters of the lake once more, yet get the most amazing photos of the lake surrounded by the last of the winter snows, with the beautiful snow-capped peaks in the background.

Namtso Lake in MayIn May, the ice of the holy Namtso Lake has begun to melt.

Nyingchi Tibet Weather in May

Average Minimum Temperature (℃): 12
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 19
Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 75

May sees the blooming of the stunning azalea blossoms in the mountain areas of Nyingchi between Dongbacai Village and the Baifengtai foothills. These amazing flowers glow red in the early spring sunshine. May is also the best time for hiking in the Yarlung Zangbo River area, especially around the Grand Canyon, and the trekking trails give great views of the surrounding mountains as they run through the dense azalea forests.

Shannan Tibet Weather in May

Average Minimum Temperature (℃): 6
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 20
Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 26

Lhokha often sees a rapid increase in overall temperatures in May, yet is still low in rainfall, making it the best time for trekking in the area, especially for the trek from Ganden to Samye Monasteries and for a trip to the famous Yumbulakang Palace. Daytimes are relatively hot, with highs of around 20 degrees, which means sun block is necessary.

Yamdrok Lake Tibet Weather in May

Average Minimum Temperature (℃): 3
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 12
Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 17

May is the start of the best season to travel to Lake Yamdrok, and with the warmer weather, and the temperature reaching as high as 12 degrees, this stunning lake is an amazing sight. May has little rain yet, as the monsoon season is not yet here, but the warmer weather and bright sun mean that a hat and sun cream are necessary.

Enjoying the stunning view of Yamdrok Lake in MayEnjoying the stunning view of Yamdrok Lake in May.

Gyantse Tibet Weather in May

Average Minimum Temperature (℃): 2
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 18
Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 20

As April rolls around, Gyantse starts to get warmer, and the tourists begin their journey through Gyantse County as they head for Shigatse and Mount Everest, to the west. The nights are no longer as cold as well, staying above freezing at night at around 2-3 degrees. Gyantse starts to see more rain in May, as the monsoon approaches.

Shigatse Tibet Weather in May

Average Minimum Temperature (℃): 3
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 17
Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 15

As the last part of spring heads towards summer, Shigatse gets a little warmer, with daily temperatures that average around 12 degrees, and nights that are now normally above freezing. A little more rain begins, though the area still sees more than 27 days of sunshine throughout the month.

EBC Tibet Weather in May

Average Minimum Temperature (℃): -1
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 15
Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 7

Of all the places to visit in Tibet in May, the first place most people think of is Mount Everest, in the west of Tibet on the border with Nepal. Everest Base Camp, known to many as EBC, is once again fully open, with the tent guesthouses catering to their international guests for somewhere to eat and sleep whilst visiting the world’s highest mountain. The base camp is clear and dry, and the skies are bright and sunny, making the view of the mountain’s lofty peak one of the best in the world.

Mt. Kailash Tibet Weather in May

Average Minimum Temperature (℃): 1
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 15
Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 11

A little further northwest of Everest lays one of the most popular trekking trails in Tibet, the Mount Kailash Kora Trek. A major pilgrimage destination on the plateau for both Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims, Mount Kailash is still warming up to the season, and while it may not be as hot as the eastern areas of Tibet, the weather is comfortable in May and makes the trekking around the mountain even more pleasant.

Our clients were enjoying their Mount Kailash kora trekking in MayOur clients were enjoying their Mount Kailash kora trekking in May.

Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland in May

Kathmandu Average Minimum Temperature (℃): 16
Kathmandu Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 28
Kathmandu Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 114
Gyirong Port Average Minimum Temperature (℃): 4
Gyirong Port Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 12

May is one of the best times to tour in Tibet, and the drive along the Friendship Highway to Kathmandu is one of the most amazing experiences on the planet. With its lower altitude, Gyirong is already warm and sunny, with highs of around 12 degrees in the daytime, and pleasantly warmer nights at around 4 degrees.

The road trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu (and vice versa) takes around 7-8 days, and is one of the most stunning adventures on the plateau. You travel through the major cities of Tibet, from Lhasa to Gyantse, and on to Shigatse. Then you will have the chance to visit Mount Everest and the Rongbuk Monastery, noted for being the highest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the world.

After leaving the famous mountain behind, you will take a circuitous route past two stunning lakes to get to Gyirong Town, the last major town before the road takes you to the border with Nepal. On the last day, your guide will take you to Gyirong Port, the border checkpoint on the Sino-Nepal border, where you will exit China and walk across the bridge into Nepal. The Resuo Bridge, which spans the awesome Trishuli River Gorge, is the crossing point into Nepal, across this stunning natural boundary, and on the other side, you will be able to arrange your visa for the drive down through the lush and spectacular valleys and forests to the exotic Nepali capital of Kathmandu. For our clients, our tour offers transfer service from Gyirong Port to Kathmandu for 60USD/person.

Insider Tips: If you prefer to travel overland from Kathmandu to Lhasa, in addition to the Tibet Permit, you need to apply for the China Group Visa, using your original passport, in Kathmandu. Our staff will help you get it, and will meet you once you arrive to process the visa on your behalf. Processing does normally take around three working days at the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, so it is advisable to arrive in Nepal at least five working days before your expected date of travel to Tibet. Our professional travel consultants will help you deal with all the details and understand the requirements.

Tibetan Festivals in May

While it may be a great time to visit Tibet, there are few festivals in May. Some years, the Saga Dawa Festival fall in May, though more often this falls in June. One festival that is worth seeing is the Chawalong Horse Racing Festival, which is held in Chayu County of Nyingchi Prefecture. Located in the east of Tibet, off the G318 Sichuan Tibet Highway from Lhasa through Nyingchi, this remote village has few resources, only four small gravel roads linking it to the outside world, and no electricity or cell phone signals.

watch the furious horse racing in Chayu County,NyingchiLocal Tibetans gathered to watch the furious horse racing in Chayu County, Nyingchi.

Horses are a major part of the culture in Chawalong Village, and it is hard to get there without riding horses for some part of the trip. Some of the rougher sections of roads are impassible using vehicles. So it makes sense that their main festival is one of horse racing. However, if you can get there, the event is well worth the trip, with amazing races on the sturdy Tibetan ponies, as well as performances of unique and skilled horsemanship and other fun and games.

What to pack for traveling Tibet in May?

May is warmer than the rest of the spring in Tibet, and you can almost forego those thick heavy sweaters and jackets in most of the region. However, you will need to keep one or two if you are traveling west towards Everest and Kailash, as the temperatures can still get quite cold at night. The landscape is mostly dry, and in rougher patches, you will be thankful for having some good hiking boots to wear, as well as strong shoes for the less rocky areas. Thinner layers are better now, and having a few for when it is not as warm is useful.

May also sees the sun’s rays getting stronger, and there is a definite need to cover up to prevent sunburn and sunstroke. Use a good sun block while out in the heat of the day, and bring sunglasses to protect your eyes from the bright sunlight. You should also be a good hat to cover your head to keep the sun off. The winds can still be quite strong and biting, though not as cold, so moisturizers and lip balm may be useful in some places. If you are trekking, hiking poles can be useful, and make sure you have a raincoat just in case a shower hits. A good day pack can also be helpful for trekkers, instead of always carrying their main pack, which can stay with the support team or be carried on yaks.

>> Check the ultimate guide about what to pack for Tibet travel

Conclusion

The transitional month from spring to summer and the peak season for tourism in Tibet, May is a great time to travel to the region at the roof of the world. An exciting time for trekkers and mountain climbers, this period of the Tibetan tourist season is one of the most stunning for adventurous mountaineers and ardent hikers. The trails are all open for exploring and the mountains are just begging to be scaled, making it the perfect time to be an adventurer in Tibet.

Ganden Monastery in MayYou can visit Ganden Monastery, the most scenic monastery in May.

Trekking in Mount Kailash in MayTourists have an opportunity to trek in Mount Kailash.

Royal Botanical Gardens in MayRoyal Botanical Gardens in Kathmandu is full of vatality in May

Master Kungga Dundruk

About the Author - Master Kungga Dundruk

The Lhasa-born prodigy 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.

Responsible, considerate and humorous, he devoted his entire life guiding and serving international tourists travelling in Tibet.As a legendary Tibetan travel guru with 20-year pro guide experience , he once had an exclusive interview with the US media. Currently he is working in Tibet Vista as the Tour Operating Director. Whenever our clients run into troubles, he is your first call and will offer prompt support.

Email me about your travel idea

https://plus.google.com/+Kunga-TibetVista

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