1) What documents are necessary for going to Tibet?
For most people, to travel to Tibet, you'll need:
- Passport - valid for 6 months.
- Chinese Visa - you can apply for one from a Chinese Embassy or through China Highlights.
- Tibet Entry Permit - It is issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau and is a must for foreigners entering Tibet.
Some people who wish to travel to certain areas in Tibet must also obtain:
- Travel Permit - It is required when you are planning to travel to closed areas in Tibet. These are issued after you arrive in Tibet.
- Military Permit - It is obtained to travel to some militarily sensitive areas.
As a local travel agency, China Highlights is able to assist you to process all of those above documents if you book a Tibet tour with us.
China Highlights will make all necessary arrangements to obtain the correct documentation for you if you book a tour with us.
Note that there are details concerning the business, tourist, and student visa requirements, additional required information depending on point of entry and country of origin, and processing time that change sometimes.
2) Is it possible to travel individually, or must people be part of a tour group?
All tourists must tour with a tour group. You may apply for a group visa from us (minimum of two people in a group and you must leave China with this person unless you can change the visa inside China). For more information, read "Latest FAQs about the Tibet permit."
>>Also read "Planning a Tibet Tour in 2021".
3) When is a good travel time?
Weatherwise, spring, summer, and fall are the best seasons to travel since it is warmer and sunnier.
But winter travel has its advantages for travel to Lhasa and other lower altitude destinations. Prices are lower, and the high altitude sunny weather and low precipitation make it feel comfortable during the day and much warmer than it is.
>>Further Reading on Tibet Weather - Best Time to Visit Tibet
4) Is altitude sickness a big problem?
In general, most healthy people will experience altitude sickness for at least two days. High altitude sickness is also called mountain sickness.
It can occur when people who are not acclimated travel above about 2,700 meters (8,900 feet). Lhasa sits at a heady 3,650 meters (11,500 feet), and it is one of the lower altitude destinations in Tibet.
You might feel sick and get headaches until you are acclimated. We advise that before the trip you do aerobic exercise such as jogging. Get into shape and eat well before you go. Also, consult a physician.
It will make your transition easier to spend time in high-altitude areas for a day or two. Some of our China tours are designed to give you some time to acclimatize at medium altitude.
At China Highlights we aim to make your tour as enjoyable as possible. Tell us any medical concerns you have and we will do our best to advise and accommodate your needs on a tour.
5) Which parts of Tibet are closed areas that require special travel permits?
At present you have to apply for a Travel Permit if you are planning to visit the following places:
- Tsetang: Samye Monastery, Tomb of Tibetan King, Changdruk Temple, Yumbulakhang
- Shigatse: Sakya Monastery, Mt. Everest, Rongbuk Monastery
- Gyangtse: Pelkor Chode Monastery Kubum Stupa
- Nagari Region
- Basumtso lake in Nyingchi Region
- Chamdo Region
The Lhasa and Nagqu regions are open to foreign travelers and don't require a special Travel Permit.
Military Permit: Some areas of Ngari, Nyingchi, and Nagqu are regarded as military sensitive areas and require a special Military Permit. It normally takes 1–2 working days, and the cost is 100 yuan/person.
Please contact us for the latest policy information, or share the latest news with us.
6) Where are the best places to go?
The Potala Palace is the number one attraction and probably a place you've seen in movies. It is a symbol of Tibet. The majestic white and red building complex is set against grey and green mountains and blue sky. It is an iconic image of the Roof of the World.
It is a huge treasure house of materials and articles from Tibetan history, religion, culture, and art. It is a must-see attraction that is included in almost all Tibet tour itineraries.
Jokhang Temple is the most sacred temple for Tibetan people. Pilgrims travel from all over Tibet to their spiritual focal point. No Lhasa tour is complete without visiting Jokhang Temple.
Barkhor Street is Lhasa's pilgrimage circuit around Jokhang Temple. For tourists, it is their favorite market street for souvenirs.
7) Is politics a problem?
Most tourists who stay with their tour and avoid getting involved in the politics of the country, will not experience problems. >>Read more on Things not to do in Tibet
8) What to pack, carry, and wear?
- Clothes: Warm clothes are needed even in summer as the day-night temperature drop is big. A thick coat is essential if you go to Everest.
- Sunglasses are really important.
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Altitude sickness medicine
- A good camera
9) Things to do, not do?
- Walk clockwise around Barkhor Street, especially during the rush hour of pilgrimage from 9 am to 6 pm.
- Taking photos of Buddha statues is not allowed in the majority of Tibetan monasteries. In some monasteries, such as Tashilhunpo Monastery, tourists can take pictures of the Buddha statues after paying some money.
- Ask permission first before taking pictures of other people in the Barkhor areas. Sometimes they will ask you for money, but most of the time it is fine to give them a little gift.
- Do not enter monasteries without permission. Smoking is not allowed when visiting monasteries.
10) Is Mount Everest worth your trip?
Yes! If you are one of those interested in touring the world's highest mountain, we arrange both group and private tours of Mount Everest. The beauty of Mount Everest is inspiring.
Tibet Tour Best Sellers:
- 11-Day Overland Trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu: From the holy city of Tibet to the mysterious Kathmandu
- 8-Day Everest Base Camp Tour: Enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience of surveying Mount Everest from Everest Base Camp
- 7-Days Tibet Tours by Train from Xining: Experience the new Tibet railway, enjoy the most mysterious and beautiful area in the world.
- 5-Day Lhasa Classics and Holy Lake Yomdrok Tour: See Lhasa's highlights and a lakeside picnic nearby Tibetan holy Lake-Lake Yomdrok.
- 4-Days Lhasa Highlights Comfort Tour: Explore mysterious Tibet in comfort. Watch the colorful prayer flags flutter and pilgrims' worshipful walks.