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Frequently Asked Questions of Tibet Travel

 

The following questions are frequently asked by our customers. Please follow the categories below to get the answers. If the answers are not to your questions, please click "ask a question".

Traveling to Tibet

  • Can I travel to Tibet on my own ?

No. Foreigners are still forbidden to travel to Tibet on their own. You can join in a group or take a private tour arranged by a travel agency.

 

  • What is the weather like in Tibet? When is the best time to travel to Tibet?

As a matter of fact, Tibetan weather is not as harsh as many people imagine. Sun radiation is extremely strong in Tibet. The air is thin that can neither block off nor retain heat so that the temperature extremes can be met in daytime and also in the night. Most rainfall comes in the rainy season starting from June to September. Usually, it rains at night Lhasa, Shigatse, and Chambo area. The rainfall may block the roads and make the travel difficult but the scenery at this time is the best.

It is suitable for travel there from April to the beginning of November, and the best time is August and September. It is quite cold which makes travel more difficult in other time. But if you only travel to Lhasa, you can go there any time of the year.

Some specific information about travel in different areas of Tibet:

Mt. Everest Area: Early May and early October are best time to visit Mt. Everest. Because during these periods, the weather is always good, the sky is always blue so you have more chance to see the true face of Mt. Everest.

Ali (Mt. Kailash): Even without climate restrictions, this area is already inhospitable. Heavy rain and snow could make the journey worse. However, for those determined tourists, the appropriate time is May, June, July, September and October.

Eastern Tibet: July and August is the rainy season. It is not a good idea because the rain could ruin the road, and make terrible landslides. In winter, the road could be frozen.

Northern Tibet: this area offers very limited time for traveler as the average altitude is 4,500m. Summer (July to August) is the prime time to enjoy the great plain in northern Tibet.

Lhasa-Shigatse-Lhatse-Tingri-Nyalan: Along the Friendship highway is basically in good conditions year around. But from December to February, the thawed road could make some trouble. August is also should be avoid because heavy rain easily make landslide.

 

  • What should I pack when I travel to Tibet?

For clothing: Because of the temperature extremes in Tibet, we suggest casual attire style and layered clothing. During the day time you may only need a T-shirt or at most a jacket, but at night a coat is necessary. You will need down coat if go beyond Lhasa and Shigatse to remote area, the Everest Camp or further to Mount. Karlash.

Others: sun glasses, sun blocking cream, moisture cream and comfortable walking shoes are necessary.

 

  • Where can I take a train to Lhasa?

So far, there are five trains to Lhasa. There are from Beijing, Xining/Lanzhou, Chongqing/Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

 

  • How long it will take to travel to Lhasa by train?

Beijing -Lhasa: around 48 hours
Xining-Lhasa: about 27 hours
Lanzhou-Lhasa: 30 hours
Chongqing-Lhasa: 47 hours
Chengdu-Lhasa: 50 hours

 

  • How to get Tibet Permit? Can you purchase Tibet permit for me? How much does it cost?

Travel permits are issued by Tibet Tourism Administration. Applications require a copy of passport and Chinese visa, together with other information such as your occupation. Most people can obtain a Tibet permit through their travel agency except diplomats, journalists and government officials who should travel to Tibet under the arrangement by the Foreign Affairs Office of the Tibet Government.

We are not able to only purchase Tibet permit for you and no travel agency can provide "permit-only" service. If you book a tour from us , we will handle all aspects of obtaining your Tibet permit. The charge of applying permit is 7-10 US dollars per person by the government.
Here is a note from Lonely Planet:

"Lhasa PSB will not issue travel permits to individuals and will direct you to a travel agency. Agencies can arrange a travel permit to almost anywhere but only if you book a Land Cruiser, driver and a guide."

It is impossible for a travel agency to SELL you a Tibet permit if you have not booked a tour with them. Do not "buy" a travel permit only or you may get in trouble!

 

  • How to prevent altitude sickness when I travel to Tibet?

It is quite normal for people to have slight altitude sickness symptoms when in Tibet, such as shortness of breath, headache or insomnia. But there is nothing to worry about because these symptoms will disappear after two or three days when your body adjusts to the high altitude.

Here are some suggestions to prevent the altitude sickness:
  1. After landing at Tibet, have a good rest. Do not do anything strenuous on the first and second days.
  2. Drink extra fluids. The dry air and evaporation of sweat may cause dehydration.
  3. Avoid alcohol as it may increase the risk of dehydration, and don't smoke.
  4. Make sure that you wear the appropriate amount of clothing for the weather.
  5. Do not take baths too frequently to avoid catching cold. It is better not taking shower on your arrival day.
  6. Avoid sedatives.
  7. Walk slowly, especially on the first day.
  8. Take more deep breath.
  9. Prepare an oxygen bag if you don't feel well on the first day.
  10. If you feel uncomfortable, make sure to go to the hospital immediately

     

  • What should I keep in mind when I meet Tibetans?

Tibetans are very kind and hospitable but you should always remember to respect their religion.

  1. Do not touch anyone on the head.
  2. Do not take pictures of Tibetans without their permission.
  3. Do not step on the threshold of any temple, monastery, house or tent.

Do not smoke in temples or monasteries.

 

  • Is it easy to find an ATM in Tibet?

In Lhasa and Shigatse, ATMs are easily found. You may not be able to find one in remote areas or the smaller towns. However, this situation is changing, and ATMs are gradually spreading out across the land.

 

  • What I can eat in Tibet?

Food choice in Lhasa is large. You can find Chinese food, western food, Tibetan food and Nepali food there. However, in the remote towns and areas, choice is less and standard is not as good as that in Lhasa. Sichuan cuisine will be a better choice.

 

 

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