Tibet Travel Guide
Tibet is Going to Reopen for Travel!
Have you been dreaming of a Tibet tour for a long time? It’s time to restart your travel plans now. Tibet is predicted to reopen to China expats in April 2021 after being closed for more than a year.
Contact us now to plan your tour and prepare your Tibet Travel Permit documents in advance. Don’t worry about canceling. We allow free cancellation for any reason up to 24 hours before departure.
Contact us via WeChat: chinahighlightstour
- Chinese: 西藏 xī zàng /sshee-dzung/
- Location: Southwest China
- Population (city): 3M
- Language: Mandarin, Tibetan
- Planning a Tibet tour
- A Tibet permit is required
- Best time to visit is from May to October
- Respect local customs and traditions
- Entry from Chengdu, Beijing, Xi'an
Tibet, isolated on the remote Himalayan Plateau, is every traveler’s dream. It draws millions of travelers each year to explore its old Tibetan culture and pure, untouched natural scenery.
Located on the largest and highest plateau in the world, Tibet is known as the roof of the world. People also regard Tibet as the third pole as its remoteness and harsh climate rival the Arctic and Antarctic.
The harsh environment of Tibet managed to forge breathtaking highland scenery but failed to stop the Tibetans from building their culture and history. Today, the culture, nature, and people living in this land are reasons for you to pay a visit to Tibet at least once in your lifetime.
This page will provide you with some basic information for a Tibet trip, including the highlights, the transportation, and some useful tips.
The Top Things to Do in Tibet
1. Visit Tibet’s Cultural Heritage
There are many Buddhist temples and monasteries in Tibet due to Tibetans’ strong religious culture. The ancient royal palace and garden are also superb places to see Tibetan architecture and art.
The most classic and popular sites:
- Jokhang Temple: The temple is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan Buddhists.
- The Potala Palace: The palace is honored as being the highest ancient palace in the world. The architecture and interior are highlights at this must-see attraction in Tibet.
- Sera Monastery: Watching the monks debating with each other at about 3pm is a wonderful chance to get closer to the local Buddhist culture.
- Samye Monastery: This was the first monastery to be built in Tibet. The architectural complex is very distinctive.
2. Admire the Fantastic Natural Scenery
The Tibetan Plateau generally slopes from the northwest to the southeast, with a complex and varied terrain of snowcapped mountains, precipitous valleys, stretching glaciers, crystal clear lakes, boundless grassland, and profound tundra.
The most popular natural sites with breathtaking scenery:
- Mount Everest: The mountain is located on the southern border of Tibet, bordering Nepal. At 8,844 meters (29,016 feet) it has the highest point on the Earth's surface. Read more on Tibet's altitude.
- Mount Kailash: This is the most sacred mountain for four religions. Walking around the mountain is believed to bring a lot of spiritual benefits.
- Yamdrok Lake: The lake has beautiful turquoise water and is surrounded by snowcapped mountains.
- Namtso: The lake has crystal clear water and stunning surroundings. It is also one of the best places in the world to view and take photos of the starry sky.
3. Meet Tibetan People
Walk through Lhasa’s streets or have a cup of tea in a local teahouse to see and meet these hardy and devout, traditionally feudal people. If you visit Tibet during any Tibetan festival, you will also be invited to join in with their celebrations.
The best place to meet local people and the most important festival:
- Barkhor Street: This is a favorite place for locals near the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple, with a lot of local people doing business there.
- The Shoton Festival: This is the most important and lively festival in Tibet.
- See Tibetan Festival Dates for 2020.
How to Travel to Tibet
Tibet travel permits are needed. Usually, it takes about 5 working days to apply for the Tibet Entry Permit. The earliest dates you are advised to enter Tibet are from:
- April 5th by train (use the permit scans we send you)
- April 10th by air (extra time is needed for mail delivery because original permits must be checked)
Most Recommended: by Air from Mainland China or Nepal
There are direct flights from China’s major cities to Lhasa in Tibet, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Chongqing. From Kathmandu in Nepal, there are also two to six direct flights every day.
The most frequent and reliable flights to Tibet are from Chengdu, with about eight flights per day.
Taking a flight to Tibet is the most recommended way to get there as it saves time and energy. A leisurely journey and a good rest help you overcome altitude sickness.
By Train from Mainland China
Trains to Tibet depart from these cities in mainland China: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi'an, Chongqing, Lanzhou, and Xining. Tickets are very hard to buy, especially in the peak season from May to October.
Train trips from other China cities involve quite a long journey (about 20–40 hours). Although you can gradually get used to the altitude during the journey, you may feel exhausted when you arrive, which is more likely to lead to serious altitude sickness.
By Road from Nepal
Another way is to enter Tibet from Nepal. To make this trip, you can apply for a group visa and a Tibet permit in Nepal. We can help our customers to obtain both documents.
From Kathmandu, it will take 2 days by road to reach Shigatse, a city near Lhasa, and one more day to get to Lhasa.
Traveling by road is good on a budget but is not recommended for everyone. The roads in Nepal are not very well constructed, and the long and tiring journey may cause more disadvantages for your visit.
Road Conditions in Tibet
Roads in and around Tibet’s major cities and towns, as well as some remote places, are smoothly paved.
Car speeds are generally limited to 50 kph for safety.
Snow: Roads to some remote lakes or mountains may be closed after late October because of snow.
If you are traveling with us, your driver will go on the smoothest and safest road, if possible.
Preparing to Go
Get a Travel Permit
Travelers need to go through a travel agent like us to get a Tibet Entry Permit. Tourists are permitted to book their accommodation and flight/train tickets; however, tours of Tibet must be organized by and accompanied by an authorized travel agency.
The Best Time to Visit Tibet
The most suitable time to visit Tibet is from May to October when the weather is warmer and the oxygen content is higher.
Read details on Tibet weather.
Take Care about Health Issues
Be prepared for altitude sickness. If you are not sure you can cope with the high altitude, limit your sightseeing to Lhasa.
Read our Tibet facts to learn more information about Tibet.
Visit Tibet with Us
We can help you to get all the documents needed and can manage your itinerary in Tibet. Check out our most popular tours:
- 4-Day Lhasa Highlights Comfort Tour
- 5-Day Lhasa Classics and Lake Yamdrok Tour
- 8-Day Lhasa and Everest Base Camp Tour
Or contact us to customize your experience.