Tibet Travel Information
Aptly titled as “the roof of the world”, Tibet, the highest region on earth beckons you to explore the majestic mountain peaks, amazing canyons, and fascinating high altitude lakes, vast expanses of arid plains and traditionally and religiously steeped people of Tibet.
The average elevation of Tibet is 4,900m. Located to the western part of proper China, Tibet is home to the indigenous Tibetan and to some of the ethnic groups like Monpas and Lhobas. One of the key highlights of the Tibet tour is the alluring culture, tradition and religion of that the Tibetan people have been able to guard with such care and devotion down the ages.
We offer many kinds of tour packages to Tibet. Since tourism in Tibet began relatively late the facilities provided to visitors are limited and basic. However, we put our utmost efforts to make your tour as comfortable and pleasant as possible.
At a Glance
Area: 471,700sq. miles Border 2.5 million sq. km, appro. The size of Western Europe
Terrain: 70% Grassland, from high plateau to forested gorges.
Climate: Average temperature 28 degrees Celsius (Summer) - 15degrees Celsius (in which), extremely dry except during raining season (July- August)
Population: 2.62 million
Ethnic groups: Ethnic Tibetans, Monpas, Lhobas, Qiang, Mongols, Hui and Han people.
Religions: Tibetan Buddhism and Bon
Culture: Wedding, Funeral
Languages: Tibetan, Chinese
Festivals: Tibetan New Year, Shoton festival, Bathing Festival
Currency: Chinese Yuan Renmindi (CNY)
Time: Local Time = UTC + 8h6
Money & Credit Card
In Tibet the only place to change foreign currency and travelers cheques is the Bank of China. All the star ranking hotels in Lhasa have exchange services but they are only available for guests. The sensible thing to do is to change as much money in Lhasa as you think you need. The only other places to change money are in Shigatse, Zhangmu and Purang. If you are traveling upcountry, try and get your cash in small denominations: RMB100 and RMB50 bills. If you don't like the idea of turning up at the border with no Chinese currency you can buy cash RMB from banks in Hong Kong and the Bank of China in large cities.
Credit cards are not recommended as a way of payment in Tibet. Flights and Lhasa cannot be paid using a credit card. The Lhasa central branch of the Bank of China is the only place in Tibet which provides credit card advances. A 4% commission is usually deducted and the minimum advance is normally RMB1200.
Travellers cheques are now acceptable at the Bank of China. It is recommended that you cash them in Lhasa.
The airport departure tax on Lhasa / Kathmandu flight is included in the flight fare. The airport tax on Kathmandu / Lhasa flight is approximately US$ __________ which is payable at the Kathmandu International Airport.
Air China operates its flights everyday for Kathmandu-Lhasa-Kathmandu
Booking & Visa Procedures
A traveler to Tibet requires to obtain a special group visa/travel permit. Original passport has to be submitted while applying for visa and permit at the Chinese Embassy in Nepal or abroad.
A minimum of two weeks advance booking along with the following passport details is required: Surname/ First Name/ Nationality/ Sex/ Occupation/ Date of Birth/ Passport Number/ Passport Validity.
To obtain the Tibet visa, we require one full working week and the participant along with their passport and one copy of passport sized photograph. There will be an additional surcharge of US$ 30 per person as urgent visa fee if the participant is available less than the above mentioned period. The normal Tibet visa fee depends upon the nationality of the participants. The visa obtaining days at the Chinese Embassy here in Kathmandu are on every Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. Participants traveling on a diplomatic or official passport are refused entry into Tibet. Thus kindly ensure you are traveling on a normal passport.
Your ground transportation is organized by our Representative in Lhasa. With the exception of sight seeing in Lhasa, all sight seeing and transfers by Toyota Land Cruiser. However, for the overland journey to Lhasa we use Land Cruiser for the deluxe travelers and Bus (Coach) for the budget travelers.
Trekking in Tibet is a unique experience as the major trekking areas in Tibet are still a virgin territory without proper guides one can easily get lost in the vast area. All Treks organized to Tibet are full service Camping treks and use Sherpa Staff from Nepal. We will organize all the necessary trekking and Camping Permits.
All travelers visiting TIBET are strongly recommended to provide for their own travel/trip insurance from their own home country that adequately covers for medical, emergency rescue expenses, trip cancellations or nay other eventual mishaps. One should not feel that Tibet trip is a pleasure tour since there is no basic tourist infrastructure and facilities in Tibet. One should feel that trip to Tibet is an adventure and culture tour.
Warm clothes are required to avoid the frosty cold weather during the month of October, November, December, January, February and March. Whereas months of April, May, June, July, August and September can allow you to wear light clothes to shun the scorching heat. However, a jacket and sweater are advised throughout the year as the weather may unexpectedly change at any time. Other recommended items are a domestic first aid kit, water purification tablets, toilet and issue paper, flashlight, sleeping bag comfortable walking shoes, dusts masks, utility knife, sun hat, sun glasses, suntan lotion and limited number of clothes.
Climates in Tibet vary from place to place and temperatures vary greatly within a single day. In western Tibet the average temperature is below zero degree while in Lhasa and the central part of Tibet, the weather remains nice and cool. Travelers would not feel cold in winter nor hot in summer, especially from March to October which is the best time for traveling. Most annual rainfall comes in the rainy season that starts from May to September, when the precipitation covers 90 percent of the whole year. Usually it rains at night in Lhasa, Shigatse and Chamdo area. The precipitations gradually decrease from 500 millimeters in the lower part of southeast to just 50 in the northwest.
High Altitude Sickness
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is common at high altitudes, and depends on the elevation, the rate of ascent and individual susceptibility. Most visitors to Tibet will suffer from at least some symptoms that will generally disappear through acclimatization in several hours to several days.
Symptoms tend to be worse at night and include headache, dizziness, and lethargy, loss of appetite, nausea, breathlessness and irritability. Difficulty sleeping is another common symptom, and many travelers have trouble sleeping for the first few days after arriving in Lhasa.
To Prevent High Altitude Sickness We Suggest
- Drink extra fluids. The mountain air is dry and cold and moisture is lost as you breathe.
- Evaporation of sweat may occur unnoticed and result in dehydration.
- Eat light, high-carbohydrate meals for more energy.
- Avoid alcohol as it may increase the risk of dehydration, and don't smoke.
- Avoid sedatives.
- Don't push yourself when climbing up to passes, rather take plenty of breaks.
- Avoid catching cold before you entering Tibet.
Following cultural etiquette needs to be paid attention while traveling
- Do not take photograph of the cultural sites without permission
- Always circumambulate Gompas and other religious sites clockwise, thus keeping shrines and chortens to your right.
- Do not touch or remove anything on an altar.
- Do not take photographs during a prayer meeting. At other times always ask permission to take photograph, especially one using flash. The larger monasteries charge photography fees.
- Do not wear shorts or short skirts in a monastery.
- Take your hat off when you go enter a monastery.
- Do not smoke in a monastery. Do not bring or eat dog, donkey and horse meat in Tibet.
- Be aware that Tibetans often gesture with their lips to show a direction, so if a member of the opposite sex points at you they are just showing you the direction where to go.