Tibet is on our list of Five Recommended China Tourist Destinations for 2014, and our predictions of a relaxation of entry regulations were correct. Our advice is still to apply early and have alternative plans.
Tibet was closed again for most of February and March 2014 for the politically sensitive time of Tibetan New Year, including the time of the Monlam Prayer Festival and the Butter Lamp Festival. Winter is not a recommended time for visiting Tibet anyway because of the harsh weather conditions.
Tibet's summer time is a "sea of festivals", with thangka unrollings, horse races on the grasslands, and other significant Tibetan Buddhist events. See more on Tibetan Festivals and Tibet festival dates for 2014.
A Tibet Entry Permit is required. If you travel with China Highlights we will make all necessary arrangements for the Entry Permit.
The only things that may inconvenience your Tibet plans now is a lack of train tickets or plane tickets at the peak times, the Alien Travel Permit for remoter areas, or a doctor's assessment saying you should not go high-altitude areas.
The reality is that there is still some difficulty in touring Tibet. Though it is becoming much easier in 2013, flights/trains are limited, remoter parts of Tibet, like Shigatse, require an Alien Travel Permit, and altitude sickness may be an issue. Therefore it is worth considering our alternative tour options.
Provinces bordering Tibet (Qinghai, Sichuan, and Yunnan) have many of the attractions Tibet does. The following places will be less-crowded, less high (less risk of altitude sickness), and less expensive.
Sichuan Province may not have Mount Everest, but Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture does have Mount Gongga, the most easterly 7,000m+ peak in the world, and a beautiful scenic area in Hailuogou Forest Park, to appreciate it from.
See our most popular Tibet tour for inspiration: Four-Day Essence Tour of Lhasa