Tibet travel is not as easy as in other places in China for foreigners due to its special geographic and political situations. Hence, here we list the step-by-step tips for foreigners traveling to Tibet based on our experience.
Is It Safe to Travel to Tibet?
Tibet, a pearl on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, has attracted a lot of followers from all over the world. It has a unique landscape, snow towering mountains, holy lakes, mysterious Tibetan Buddhism, magnificent monasteries, colorful prayer flags, and many other fantastic things for you to explore.
Safety in Tibet is a common question and a precursor to making a decision before traveling here. As a local travel agency in Tibet, regarding the security in Tibet, we can say that traveling in Tibet is very safe for you. China is rated as one of the safest and most suitable countries for female tourists in the world. The security in Tibet is even better than that of many major cities in mainland China. In Lhasa city, it’s common to see armed policemen everywhere, as well as many security posts, which provide security service 24 hours a day. So there’s no hint of instability or violence.
Besides, most Tibetans in Tibet are devout Buddhists. They are humble and kind, and their belief abstains them from stealing and killing. You can feel the truth and goodness of human nature when you communicate with them. If you visit them, their hospitality makes you feel at home.
What’s the Best Time to Visit Tibet?
Tibet is a place you can visit all year round, except for mid-February to March when Tibet will close for foreigners due to the Chinese and Tibetan New Year. You can choose the rest of the year to make your Tibet trip.
The best time to visit Tibet is from April to October, during which, the weather is the best, neither too hot, nor too cold. You can get a clear view of the most tourist attractions in Tibet. Besides, the oxygen content of the air is higher than at other times, which is helpful indeed to reduce the risk of getting altitude sickness. July, August, and September are the peak tourist season, so the price is relatively higher. It’s advised to avoid the Chinese National Holiday(Oct 1st to 7th) when millions of Chinese people head to Tibet and you have to enjoy the scenic spots with a lot of people.
Where to Go?
As a big highlight of Tibet tours, Everest Base Camp attracts 60% of the travelers during their Tibet trip. The best time to visit Mt. Everest is from late April to May and late September to October. Another 20% of travelers would visit Mt.Kailash. The best time to have an Mt. Kailash pilgrim trekking tour is between September and October when the weather is moderate and the scenery is the best of the year. It’s better to avoid the monsoon season from late June to August. Only 20% of the travelers would visit Lhasa and surrounding areas alone.
How Long to Stay in Tibet?
For first-timers, it is recommended to stay for 8~15 days in Tibet. By visiting the main attractions, you are able to see the unique cultural landscape and natural scenery of Tibet: the magnificent Potala Palace, the turquoise Yamdrok lake, the spectacular Everest peak even Mt. Kailash and Manasarovar in remote Ngari Prefecture.
Knowing what you expect to see or do in Tibet will help determine how long you should stay. The more you want to experience, the more time you will need to take.
Book Your Tibet Tour in Advance
Sometimes people may buy an immediate air ticket to some tourist attractions on a whim. But for Tibet, it never happens. Unlike other tourist destinations in the world, foreigners must book the Tibet tour 20 days prior.
According to the regulations, foreigners are not allowed to travel to Tibet alone but must be accompanied by a travel-licensed guide & vehicle with the prearranged time & route. That means you should join an organized tour with a Tibet travel agency. After you finally engaged with a Tibet travel agency, your agency will help you obtain your Tibet Travel Permit.
What is Tibet Travel Permit?
Well, a permit for Tibet Travel is an essential paper document issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau. If you are going to certain areas such as Ngari, it requires multiple travel permits such as Aline’s Travel Permit and Military Permit. As mentioned above, your travel agency will help you handle all your Tibet Travel Permits after you confirm the booking.
Getting your Tibet Travel Permit requires scans of your China Visa and Passport. If you choose Kathmandu as your entry to Tibet, you need to apply for your China Group Visa with the assistance of your Tibet travel agency. In this way, you don’t have to apply for a China Visa.