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Travel Tibet FAQ

General Questions:

1. When is the best time to visit Tibet?

It is said the suitable time for visiting Tibet is from early May to Late October, while the golden time is August and September. During this period, the weather would be not harsh, and it is the also the best time to visit Mt. Everest Base Camp. However, Tibet can be visited all year round. The following is the specific best travel time to the different places in Tibet.  

Lhasa: central and southeast areas (including Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, Lhatse, Tingri, Nyalam, Tsedang, Nyingchi, etc.) suitable to come throughout the year with relatively pleasant weather and well-equipped tourist facilities. You can find bigger discounts and less crowding in low season from November to second year March.

Mt. Everest: suitable time is from May to October. Best time is early May and early October. Other months are too cold.

Ngari (Mt. Kailash): suitable time is May, June, July, September and October. Normally not a hospitable place and heavy rain and snow could make it worse.

Eastern Tibet: avoid coming here in winter and July and August when roads may be blocked by landslides and snowfalls.

Northern Tibet: only suitable for summer travel (July and August) to avoid terrible weather such as strong wind and heavy snowfall.

Read more about Tibet Weather.

2. Is independent tour allowed in Tibet?

Independent tour is prohibited in Tibet. You should take part in an organized group or have the local travel operator to arrange for you

3. Can I travel Tibet with my young kids?

The climate and generally harsher conditions in Tibet may not be ideal for young children. The sights and attractions are not those which children like and visit and facilities will be very primitive. Some experts suggest that children younger than 10 year old should not travel to Tibet. Their lower immune resistance slows recovery from altitude sickness and the altitude can adversely affect their normal growth.

4. Is it OK for me to bathe every day?

It is not a good idea to bathe immediately when you arrive in Tibet in case you catch cold or loss of energy. It is better to bathe one or two days later when your body hs acclimatized to the conditions in Tibet. It is very dry at cold at night in Tibet, so bathe at night is not suggested as it is easily catch cold.

5. Is it easily found ATM in Tibet? And Are credit cards accepted in Tibet?

It is not any problems to find an ATM in Lhasa and Shigatse, however, in the remote towns, ATM is hard to be found. Tibet is developed very quickly, and ATMs are gradually spreading out across the land.

Credit cards are not recommended as a way of payment in Tibet because they are only accepted by the Bank of China, up-market hotels and large shopping departments in Lhasa and Shigatse

Preparations :

1. What documents do I need if I am planning to travel to Tibet?

You need to have a valid passport, a valid China visa and a Tibet travel permit (sometimes people call it Entry permit or TTB, or Tibet visa).  Please refer to Tibet Permits to see more details.

2. If I travel via Nepal to Tibet, are there any special requirements on China visa?

Before you are coming to Lhasa from Katmandu, you must get China visa from Katmandu because no matter you've already got the visa in your country or not, you must get a visa in Katmandu, which is regulated in an official memo between China and Nepal. The fastest way is that we send the Invitation Letter to Katmandu at least one day prior to your arrival in Katmandu, then you can apply for China Visa in the second day easily, which will cost around 1-2 days. Chinese Visa fees: US$ 50.00 payable in cash upon arrival in Katmandu [US$ 70.00 for US Citizens].

The Chinese embassy in Katmandu only opens for visa application on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00am to 11:30am. The application will take at least one working day, please confirm your schedule to fit the visa application.

3. When do I need to apply for the Tibet travel Permit?

You need to apply for the travel permit at least 10 days prior to your entry date, which means you should prepare all the information and documents in hand before this period of time.

4. What clothes should I wear when traveling in Tibet?

There is a great variation of temperature from day to night in Tibet so warm clothes are a necessity on the travel. Except during summer, feather down clothes and woolen underpants are needed – in summer a sweater is still needed. On Mt. Everest, Ngari and north Tibet, feather down clothes are needed throughout the year. Please refer to What to pack for travelling to Tibet for more details

5. I heard that the sunshine is ruthless in Tibet? How can I protect my skins?

Hat, sun protection cream, sunglasses, lipstick, and long-sleeve tops and trousers are needed. Don't wash your faces too frequently, and it's also good to apply some yak butter in Tibet! Additionally, you could eat more vegetables and fruits.

Please refer to What to pack for travelling to Tibet for more details.

Accommodation and Dining :

1. What are accommodations like?

There are many hotels in the major cities or towns of Tibet, though for and five-star hotels are quite limited. The service may be inferior to those of the inner land of China and so does the facilities. In the small towns in Tibet and the Everest Base camp are very basic. They will usually have a public bathroom with squat toilet.

2. Can I access to the internet in the hotels in Tibet?

Yes, usually internet service is accessible in the business center or the separate internet café in the hotels. In some luxury hotel rooms in Lhasa have access to internet. You can inquiry your travel consultant for accurate information before making reservation.

3. Is there 24-hour hot water running?

Due to basic condition in Tibet, sometimes with the poor pressure, the water flow may small and water sometime is not hot but just warm. In remote area, the condition can be even worse.

4. Do I need a tent or sleeping bag in Tibet?

For traveling to the well-trodden areas in the major cities or towns of Tibet, such as Lhasa, tent or sleeping bag is not necessary at all. However, when going to the remote area only basic hostels are available, sleeping bag is suggest to bring with you to keep warm and clean. You can bring a tent if you would like to camp for the night, such as at Namtso Lake.

5. I am a vegetarian will I be able to eat a balanced diet when I'm in Tibet?

Yes, but vegetables and fruits are scarce and you may meet higher price on them. Please refer to Tibet food? to see what to eat in Tibet.

6. Will I get used to Tibetan food? What if I can't?

Tibetan Dishes are not simply a harmonizing of the strange food, but have been developed into a distinctive cuisine which is not only nutritious but also tantalizing in taste, color and class. These kinds of local dishes are very popular with the outside travelers, but if they are not to your liking, you can have buns, porridges, noodles, tea with milk and other dishes. Many Chinese dishes such as Sichuan dishes and Canton dishes are available in Lhasa now. So if you are not use to the Tibetan food, you can have the other dishes.

Transportation :

1. What kind of vehicles is available for us to getting around Tibet?

If the tour is around Lhasa, the minivan is good choice, as the road condition around Lhasa is good enough and the cost of the minivan is lower as well. If the tour is covering other places out of Lhasa with long distance to reach and the condition of road is bad, we usually offer 4X4 off road vehicle.

2. How is the condition of the train to Tibet? Is it easy to purchase a train ticket to Tibet now?

Since its opening in July 2006, Tibet Railway has proved to be very successful. The design of the trains not only considers the peculiar natural environmental conditions of the plateau, but also the safety and comfort of passengers.

The trains are among the most advanced in China, which are fully equipped with soft berths, hard berths, soft seats and hard seats, as well as washing closets, hot water, and other basic facilities. Walking into the carriage, you'll find the floor is covered with the gorgeous red Tibetan carpets, and all signs are in the three languages of English, Chinese and Tibetan. The wash room provide for three persons at a time, with Tibetan styled mirrors. And every train has an attendant familiar with all three languages as the translator. Between Qinghai and Tibet, oxygen is provided on the train, and every seat has facilities for oxygen inhalation. You can refer to Tibet Railway to learn more about it.

Due to the comfort of the railway, the popularity of train travel to Tibet has resulted in the huge demand for Tibet train tickets among visitors. It is hard for individual to get a ticket on their own. Even the reliable travel agencies can NOT guarantee successful booking. We recommend you fly into Tibet and return by a train. Comparatively return ticket is easily bought.

Find more Tibet travel tips:

 
 
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