Tibet Travel information
All visitors entering Tibet should require Special travel permit. This can be obtained joining only by-organized tours through recognized travel agencies. Chinese visa, obtained by the visitors in their home town will not be valid entering into Tibet.
For your kind information Chinese Embassy, Kathmandu working days are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1000 hrs to 1115 hrs in Kathmandu. Diplomatic passport holders must get clearance from Beijing for travel into Tibet which often takes long-time. It is advisable to travel on non diplomatic passport, if you have one.
Booking conditions and visa arrangement
Confirmed reservation should reach us 2 weeks prior to tour departure date along with full payment among which USD 200 is non-refundable deposit per person.
We require following details for booking:
- Full Name
- Date of Birth
- Passport Number
- Date of Issue/Expiry
Cost of visa fee varies for every national. A normal visa fee is applicable if the visa is processed on 5 full working day basis. An urgent fee of US$ 50 additional is applicable for the visa to be processed in 3 days and US$45 additional, if the visa is to be processed within a day.
When to go
Climate is not such a major consideration when visiting Tibet as many people might imagine. For a place nicknamed ‘The Land of Snows’, there’s a surprising lack of snow. The boom in domestic tourism means that Lhasa swells with Chinese tourists in the summer and particularly in the week-long holidays around 1 May and 1 October. Finding accommodation can be trickier during these weeks, so try to have something nailed down by lunch time. Winter is very cold, many restaurants are shut and snow can close mountain passes, but some travellers swear by the winter months. There are few travellers about at this time and Lhasa is crowded with drokpas (nomads). The average temperature in January is -2°C.
Spring, early summer and late autumn are probably the best times to visit Tibet. March is a politically sensitive month in the country and there is occasional tightening of restrictions on travellers heading into Tibet at this time, but the weather’s pretty good. April brings reliable weather in eastern Tibet and discounts on accommodation and vehicle rental in Lhasa. Mt Everest is particularly clear during April and May.
From mid-July through to the end of September the monsoon starts to affect parts of Tibet. (The months of July and August bring half of Tibet’s annual rainfall.) Travel to western Tibet becomes slightly more difficult, the roads to the east are temporarily washed out and the Friendship Hwy sometimes becomes impassable on the Nepal side or on the border itself.
Trips to Mt Kailash can be undertaken from April to October, although September and October are considered the best months. October is also the best time to make a trip out to the east. Lhasa and its environs don’t get really cold until the end of November.
It’s worth trying to time your trip with one of Tibet’s festivals. New Year (Losar) in January or February is an excellent time to be in Lhasa, as is the Saga Dawa festival in April or May.
Accommodation and food are both very economical in Tibet. The major expense – unless you have plenty of time and enjoy rough travelling – is getting around. If you really want to see a lot in a short space of time, you will probably have to consider hiring a vehicle and driver. Shared hired transport tends to work out at around US$30 per person per day. The per-person cost for a group of six travelling with stops from Lhasa to the Nepali border is around US$200 per person. Getting into Tibet is also relatively expensive. Train packages from Xining start at around US$170 (including permits), while the cheapest package by air costs around US$245 from Chengdu.
China’s epic drive to develop its western hinterland has had a considerable impact on Tibet, and its economy is booming. Growth over the last six years has averaged an impressive 12%, trade is growing at 50% and GDP hit $3.7 billion in 2006. New businesses and hotels are popping up everywhere, spurred on by investment from China’s eastern provinces.
Not all Chinese are here to earn money, though. Wealthy urban Chinese tourists are flocking to Tibet in droves to spend it, and tourism is an increasingly important source of revenue. Tibet currently receives three million tourists in a year, a rate growing by an amazing 40% annually. This influx brings in US$300 million each year. More than 93% of tourists to Tibet are Chinese. Over 30, 000 tourists arrived at Lhasa airport during the May 1 national holiday.
For your trip to Tibet bring a mix of cash in US dollars (40%) and a credit card.
Several ATMs in Lhasa and Shigatse accept foreign cards. The Bank of China accepts Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, American Express and Plus. The Agricultural Bank accepts Visa, Plus and Electron. Check before trying your card as many ATMs can only be used by domestic account holders. The maximum amount you can withdraw per transaction is Y2000 with the Bank of China and Y1000 with the Agricultural Bank. Cards are occasionally eaten, so try to make your transaction during bank hours. For those without an ATM card or credit card, a PIN-activated Visa Travel Money card (US 1-877-394 2247) will give you access to pre deposited cash through the ATM network.
Before you go
Make sure you’re healthy before you start travelling. If you are going on a long trip, make sure your teeth are OK. If you wear glasses, take a spare pair and your prescription. If you require a particular medication take a good supply, as it may not be available in Tibet. Take along part of the packaging showing the generic name rather than the brand to make getting replacements easier. To avoid problems, it’s a good idea to have a legible prescription or letter from your doctor to show that you legally use the medication.
Keep in mind that Tibet is a remote location, and if you become seriously injured or very sick, you may need to be evacuated by air. Under these circumstances, you don’t want to be without adequate health insurance. Be sure your policy covers evacuation.