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Overview of Tibet

Tibet is a land of snow as well as a mysterious place to explore. Filled with soaring high mountains, arid valleys, and pristine mountain lakes. Tibet is a heaven for adventurers as well as pilgrimage tour groups. Snow mountains and grasslands, scattered herds of yak nomads on the plateau, spectacular monasteries, unsophisticated smiles, and transparent blue sky, all can be seen on this magic land. Tibet is a word that refers to real Shangri-La, the forbidden land and the holy land of your innermost desire. When people refer to Tibet, they will describe this land as the roof of the world. Due to its high altitude, Tibet is a province of natural wonder, a treasury of cultural relics, and a destination of attractive adventure. Tibet, the remote and mainly Buddhist territory known as the "roof of the world", is governed as an autonomous region of China. For centuries this mysterious Buddhist kingdom, locked away in its mountain fastness of the Himalayas, has exercised a unique hold on the imagination of the West. Tibet offers fabulous monasteries, breathtaking high-altitude walks, stunning views of the world’s highest mountains as well as one of the most likable cultures. For explorers, imperialists, and traders it was a forbidden land of treasures. There is no better way to enter Tibet, more exciting and adventurous than traveling overland from Kathmandu to Lhasa. Those who do have enough time prefer the overland tour.



Tibet Travel Guide

Tibet Travel Guide




By Flight: Flying from Kathmandu to Lhasa is the fastest way to reach Tibet. In fact, it is the only international flight available to Tibet. The non-stop flight, run by Sichuan Airline and Air China respectively, has daily flights traveling between these two cities. It takes 1h20min to complete the flight. The best thing about flying to Tibet from Nepal is the stunning bird’s-eye view of the Himalayas including Mt. Everest, the world’s highest peak.


By Road: It is the easiest way to enter Tibet. However, if you are already in Nepal, you can enter Tibet via Kerung, Simikot. The Kerung border which is 3 hours away from Kathmandu is used. Note that the Simikot border is used mostly by travelers wishing to tour/trek Kailash. Kathmandu(1400m) - Syabrubesi(2380m) - Gyirong Border(1800m) - Gyirong Town(2700m) - EBC(5200m) - Tingri(4348m) - Shigatse(4000m) - Lhasa(3658m)



Tibet Travel Permit, also known as Tibet Entry Permit, is the official document that permits a foreign traveler to enter and travel in Tibet. It is the secondary travel document to travel in Tibet besides the China Visa. Among several Tibet permits, the Tibet Travel Permit (Tibet Entry Permit) is foremost and compulsory for foreign passport holders to enter Tibet. Issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau, it is also called the Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit or TTB Permit. With the permit, you can visit Lhasa, Shigatse, Namtso Lake, Everest, Mt Kailash, etc. A Tibet Travel Permit is also needed to take a train or flight to and off Tibet. Tibet Travel Permit and Chinese visa both can be obtained in Kathmandu.



Insurance is the most important part of the trip. Tibet is a remote area, and if you become injured or very sick, you may need to be evacuated by air. Under these circumstances, Be sure your policy covers evacuation.



Remember to bring some cash in different denominations and prepare enough cash for the days you are out of Lhasa since ATMs are few in the more remote areas.

As in the rest of China, Renminbi (RMB) is the legal currency in Tibet. Only the Bank of China offers foreign exchange services. Chinese banks in Lhasa include the Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and Agricultural Bank of China. Additionally, some 4/5 star hotels also offer exchange services. Tibetans do not use and accept coins. You are also advised to carry enough cash if traveling to remote areas in Shigatse, Shannan, Ngari, Nyingchi, and Nagqu where banking services are limited.



In Tibet, the power sockets are of type A, C, and I. The standard voltage is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. If the standard voltage in your country is between 220 - 240 V (as in the UK, Europe, Australia, and most of Asia and Africa) you can easily use your electric appliances in Tibet.

However, if the standard voltage in your country is in the range of 100 V - 127 V (as in the US, Canada, and most South American countries), you need a voltage converter in Tibet. You can bring your voltage converter as you might not find them in Tibetan stores. Alternatively, you can also buy them in Kathmandu (if traveling to Tibet via Nepal).

If the label on your electric appliance states 'INPUT: 100-240V, 50/60 Hz' the appliance can be used in all countries of the world. This is common for chargers of tablets/laptops, photo cameras, cell phones, toothbrushes, etc.



May to September is the most popular season to visit Tibet. The weather is warm with clear skies. The snow/ice starts melting from April clearing the blocked roads and making it easier for you to visit various Tibetan townships. Spring in Tibet occurs around April and May. Due to melted snow and gentler temperatures, this is the most convenient, but also the busiest time to visit. Tibet is usually closed to visitors in March, due to the Tibetan New Year and the government’s fears of political occurrences. Winter falls in December and January. It’s cold, but the skies are typically clear, and fewer tourists mean wait times for permits can be noticeably reduced. The best time for a Kailash tour/trekking is from mid-May to mid-October. However, snow could be encountered on the Drolma-la pass at any time of year. The temperature will often drop well below freezing at night, even during the summer months.


Due to its proximity to Nepal and the influence of Indian cuisine, dishes like rich curries and samosas are commonly available at larger restaurants in Tibet. Eating in Tibet is more expensive than elsewhere in China. Budget at least USD 10 per meal to make sure you don’t go hungry. Don’t expect gourmet meals when you come to Tibet, especially to Mount Kailash. Only in Lhasa and Shigatse, you will find some international restaurants that serve some Western food, as well as Nepali and Indian thali sets. In other places, you will only be able to find local Tibetan and Chinese food. Generally speaking, traditional Tibetan food is quite basic, Tibetans used to subsist on Tsampa (barley flour) and butter tea, but now many Chinese dishes have been introduced to their diet. Many small restaurants on the way to Mount Kailash serve typical dishes like yak momo (steamed dumplings with yak meat), Tibetan soup noodles, fried rice with eggs (or vegetable with meat), braised yak meat with potatoes, and some other fried Chinese vegetable dishes with/without meat (chicken, pork or yak meat, etcetera).



From the moment you land in Lhasa, a city that stands 3,650 meters above sea level, many travelers will start experiencing mild symptoms of altitude sickness, including headaches, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Your tour guide will ensure you climb gradually to the higher altitudes so that by the time you reach Everest Base Camp at 5,150 meters you should be reasonably acclimatized. If you travel by road, you will be acclimatized on the way. Altitude sickness is something to take extremely seriously. Fitness is not a factor. Even the toughest mountaineers can die if they climb too high without giving their bodies time to adjust. Stay well hydrated, give yourself time to adjust to the altitude before embarking on any major hikes. Report any symptoms to your tour guide, and know what you’re getting into: Tibet is the roof of the world, and the air is thin! The biggest safety concern during your travel to Mount Kailash is the AMS (Acute mountain sickness), as most of the places you will be visiting are located over 4,000-4,500 m of altitude (roughly 13,000-15,000 ft.).

Generally speaking, most visitors to Tibet will suffer from at least some symptoms that will generally disappear through acclimatization (which may take from several hours to several days, according to the person). Symptoms tend to be worse at night and include headache, dizziness, lethargy, loss of appetite, nausea, breathlessness, and irritability. Difficulty sleeping is another common symptom.



Best hotels mostly center in Lhasa, Shigatse, and Nyingchi prefecture. As you travel north or to the west of Tibet, the more remote place you go, the more basic lodging facilities will be. In Lhasa, you have the widest choice for accommodation, from 5-star hotels to small local guesthouses with quaint local architecture and décor. The accommodation conditions have been improved in West Tibet in the past years, due to more travelers' demands, however, it is still quite basic compared to larger cities. In Saga, Darchen you can find local 3/4 star hotels, which provide rooms with private bathrooms and hot showers, but at the village near Lake Manasarovar and the ones that you will encounter while crossing the Northern Tibetan Changthang plateau, expect only dormitory beds available at the local guest houses. The lodging during the Kailash Kora will probably be a camping or a monastery guest house.



Most hotels in Tibet have no central heating. The air-conditioners in single rooms do not work well in the cold night. In winter, from November to next March, of course, you need to bring down jackets, warm sweaters, gloves, warm pants, and woolen hats. It is very cold in the morning and evening. In summer, wearing a T-shirt in day time but a Jacket is necessary at the hotel in the morning and evening. Other essentials to pack include four or five pairs of cotton or woolen underwear, four or five pairs of woolen socks, long sleeve cotton or lightweight wool shirts, and T-shirts. Women should avoid skirts or dresses. Also, whenever you visit Tibet, if your plan includes overnight at Everest Base Camp or Namtso Lake, or a several days outdoor trek in the mountain area, keeping warm is very important. The winter clothes are a must. It is very important to have a strong comfortable pair of boots, especially if your travel covers a remote area and you have to walk for a long distance. A large backpack, a smaller one, plus a waist bag make it perfect. The smaller one can be used for daily activities and can also be put into the big one when necessary. The waist bag is for taking some small and important things with you. Please do not take any big suitcase with you, as a wise traveler knows, the outdoor backpack is the best bag for travel because you can move more freely. Hotels in some areas are very simple, without towels, soap, etc. You need to bring your items such as a cup, a small towel, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and slippers. Or you take some disposable items to the better hotel you stay in Lhasa. It is not convenient to wash clothes when traveling in remote places, you can buy some disposable underpants. Wind and solar radiation are quite strong in Tibet. Skincare products are quite necessary, such as lip balms, sunblock, skin creams, and sunglasses. When sleeping in an EBC tent camp, a sleeping bag is a good way to keep your personal sanitary. Besides that, we have a list of gear and personal Equipment.


Facts of Tibet

Capital City : Lhasa
Total Area : 1.228 million
Total Population : 6.7 Million
Official language : Tibetan
Currency : Chinese Yuan (Renminbi)
UNESCO Sites : Potala Palace, Norbulingka,Jokhang Temple,Yalong

Popular Packages in Tibet