Tibet Travel Guide

 

Behind the world’s highest mountain range is the mystical land, Tibet. The name ‘Tibet’ means heaven, its derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Trivistapa’. Average heights of over 4,000 m, makes it the world's highest plateau, crowning it as the ‘Roof of the World’. Tibet is home to some of the world's tallest mountains, several of them making it to the top ten lists. Some of the major rivers of Asia have their source in the Tibetan plateau. With its vast grasslands, high mountains and alpine lakes, Tibet, is surely a dream destination for tourists, climbers and adventurers.

Population: 2.62 million
Capital: Lhasa
Area: 1.2m sq km (471 700 sq miles)
Climate: Average temperature 28 degrees Celsius (summer) to -15 degrees Celsius (winter), extremely dry except during rainy season (July-August).
Major Languages: Tibetan, Mandarin, English and Nepali
Major Religions: Tibetan Buddhism, Animism
Life Expectancy: Over 65 years (UN, 2000)
Monetary Unit: 1 Yuan = 10 Jiao or 100 Fen
Main Exports: Light industry products, Output of livestock products, Traditional Chinese medicine and Carpets
GDP Per Capita: USD 1324

How to get in to Tibet
The traditional saying 'easy to travel abroad but difficult to enter Tibet' has become obsolete as one can access Tibet either by road, air or rail.

By Road: There are five main highways in Tibet, namely:
Sichuan-Tibet Highway – it runs between Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province, and Lhasa.
Qinghai-Tibet Highway – it runs between Xining, the capital city of Qinghai, to Lhasa.
Yunnan-Tibet Highway – it runs between Yunnan province and Tibet.
Xinjiang-Tibet Highway – it runs across boundless deserts, lofty and steep peaks.
By Air: Flying to Lhasa always requires a stopover in either China or Nepal. Lhasa Gonggar Airport is located about 98 kilometers (about 61 miles) to the south of Lhasa City. The only international flight to and from Tibet is between Lhasa and Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.
If you are looking for information regarding flight booking please contact us. We will provide you with best possible information.

By Rail: The Gormo to Lhasa railway stretches for 1,142 kilometers (710 miles) and serves as a link between mainland China and Tibet

Travel Permit
Aside from visas for China, travelers to Tibet must also obtain permits from the Tibetan Tourism Bureau. Adventure Mountain Explore Treks will organize your Tibet travel permit. Please send copy of your passport if you are planning to enter Tibet via Nepal as soon as you book the trip. In the condition you are planning to enter Tibet via China; you need to send us copy of your passport and Chinese visa as soon as you book the trip.

-Traveling individually to Tibet is officially not allowed. Travelers must officially be part of a group tour with a guide who will help you dealing with the Chinese authorities at checkpoints en route.

-You are not allowed to travel in Tibet with an individual Chinese visa via Nepal (your individual Chinese visa such as multiple entry tourist visas, working visas, student visas, etc., all will get canceled once we apply for Chinese visa from Nepal. There is no other way to save your individual visas, only you can save these visas by entering Tibet from mainland China to Tibet, i.e. taking Lhasa to Kathmandu tour instead of Kathmandu to Lhasa tour.)

- If you are planning to enter Tibet via mainland China, you need to organize your Chinese visa from Chinese embassy in your home country BUT If you are entering Tibet via Nepal, your Chinese visa must only be organized through Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu is opened only Monday to Friday. Generally on normal condition, it takes 4 working days to issue Chinese visa from Chinese embassy in Kathmandu. In urgent condition, we can also organize your Chinese visas in 2 working days too by paying express fee but we only charge normal visa fee with the clients and take responsibility of express fee on our own.

-Please make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months before travelling. Visa is not provided to the passports with less than six months’ validity. You need two passport-sized photos for the visa application.

-Travelers must use same passport while traveling Nepal and Tibet (while traveling Tibet via Nepal, you will get Chinese visa only in the passport that is stamped with Nepalese visa). We have found tourists traveling with more than one passport but while traveling Tibet via Nepal, you need to use the same passport for Nepal and Tibet.

-All Tibet permits can be obtained using photocopy of your passport but you must need your original passport to apply for Chinese visa which is collected by AmE Treks once you arrive in Kathmandu.

- Itinerary and the places to visit in Tibet must be stated clearly and finalized in advance because while applying for a Chinese visa from Kathmandu, a copy of this should be attached. The visa is issued accordingly. According to the places mentioned in the itinerary, travel permit from the Tibet Tourism Bureau (Lhasa) is obtained. Adventure Mountain Explore Treks will do this for you.

- If you would like to head out to mainland China after your Tibet travel, the group visa will allow you to enter but once you are in mainland China this visa will be replaced with an individual Chinese visa. (if duration of your group visa covers all your programs in mainland China also, you can use it during your stay in mainland China or it can be replaced by individual visa, it depends on Chinese officials’ decision).

-You are not allowed to take any Tibetan religious books, literatures, photographs, especially related to Dalai Lama during your travel to Tibet. If found, these related possessions are confiscated and you are not allowed to enter Tibet.

- It is very tough to get your group visa extended, so better to let us know about your programs very clearly during your trip planning phase so according to that we will try to arrange your visa and permit.

- However, the rules and regulations regarding Chinese visa and Tibet travel permit get changing very often, therefore we suggest our customers to consult with our travel consultant to be sure regarding the visa issues so that your all programs and plans goes smoothly without any obstacles.

Custom and airport formalities
All baggage must be declared and cleared through the customs on arrival at the entry. Personal effects are permitted free entry. It is important to remember NOT to carry any material relating to free Tibet like for instance Dalai Lama books or flags, masks etc carrying such slogans

Climate
Generaly, April to the beginning of November is considered apt for traveling in Tibet. August and September are considered as the ideal time; however, Lhasa can be visited throughout the year. 
The sun radiation is strong in Tibet. Lhasa is also known as the ‘Sunlight City’ due to the extremely intense sunlight there. Tibet is cold during winter; cool in summer and is normally dry, receiving only about 450 millimeters of rain or snow. 

Communication
Post Office: The biggest post office in Lhasa is located on the West Beijing Road, at the east side of the Potala Palace. It not only offers full postal services but also sells various kinds of postcards. 

Telephone: China Mobile coverage is available in some areas of Tibet, but there is no coverage in villages or remote places. Therefore, cell phones are not a reliable mode of communication. You can use telephones found in the post office, hotels, street booths and shops. 
However, with the exception of the major cities like Lhasa, Xigatse, Gynatse, Lhatse and Tsedang, communication facilities including telephone and postal services are absent in other parts of Tibet.

Internet: Internet cafes are available in Lhasa. Hotels in Lhasa like the Xigatse hotel also provide internet facility to its customers.

Accommodation
In most of the cities and towns hotels and guest houses are available. Lhasa boasts of accommodation ranging from simple guest houses to four star hotels. Shigatse, Gyantse and Tsedang offers up to three star hotels. While other smaller or remote areas, accommodation is available mainly in guest houses.

Forex and Banking
The unit of currency is Chinese Yuan. The Bank of China can exchange all foreign currencies. The banks in Tibet/China are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Travelers Cheques and credit cards are very difficult to be cashed outside the banks especially outside Lhasa. ATM facilities are easily available in Lhasa and Shigatse; however, it may be difficult to find one in other smaller towns or in remote places.

Electricity
If you wish to bring along electric devices for use during your stay, a transformer is necessary. Most of the hotels in Tibet have both 110V and 220V electrical outlets in the bathrooms, though in guest rooms usually only 220V sockets are available. As the shape of a socket varies between countries, a portable plug adapter may also be necessary.

Health
Tibet being a region of high altitude, travelers may experience Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) which is characterized by mild headaches, nausea, altered breathing patterns at night and loss of appetite. This can be reduced by frequently drinking non-alcoholic liquids such as water and juice. Travelers should also protect themselves from the strong sunlight which can cause sunburn.


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