9 Important Tibet Travel Restrictions You Must Know

9 Important Tibet Travel Restrictions You Must Know

By Candice SongUpdated Sep. 17, 2021

Tibet is not like other places in China that are easy to travel to. There are many restrictions and regulations you need to know before your departure. The most convenient way to travel to Tibet is to find a local travel agency and they will help you arrange everything. 

Update Tibet Travel Restrictions COVID-19

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You can travel to Tibet now! Tibet has reopened to China expats after being closed for more than a year. The first Travel Permits in 2021 were officially issued on July 27th.

[September 2021] You must be physically in China for the last 3 months before you can travel to Tibet. When traveling from Tibet to China's mainland, quarantine is not needed.

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.

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We have listed below 9 important tips and Tibet travel restrictions that you must know when planning your trip.

1. You Can Only Enter Tibet via Mainland China or Nepal

There are no direct international flights from foreign countries to Tibet, except for Nepal, which borders Tibet. That means you can only enter Tibet from mainland China or Nepal.

Mount EverestMount Everest locates on the border between China and Nepal
  • Nepal flights: direct flights from Kathmandu to Lhasa Gonggar International Airport
  • Mainland China flights: direct flights from Beijing, Xi'an, Chongqing, Chengdu, and Kunming. Or flights from Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou that require a stopover at Chengdu, Chongqing, and Xi'an.
  • Trains to Tibet from mainland China cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi'an, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lanzhou, and Xining

There are actually flights from Hong Kong to Lhasa, but non-Chinese citizens are not allowed to buy flight tickets.

So no matter which country you are from, Nepal or mainland China first, and then transfer to Tibet.

Recommended Tibet Tours:

2. You Are Not Allowed to Travel to Tibet Independently

Lhasa Gonggar International AirportLhasa Gonggar International Airport

It is Tibet's travel restrictions that you are unable to visit Tibet independently without a tour guide. All foreign citizens' tour has to be organized by a travel agency.

As Tibet tour experts, we can tailor-make tour itinerary as well as apply for the travel permit for you.  Just leave us your email and interests

And you have to be accompanied by a tour guide during your visit to Tibet, including transportation. The most you can do independently is to wander around the city of Lhasa or go to a restaurant.

Never expect to visit a monastery without a tour guide. Check How to Plan a Tibet tour

3. Enter Tibet from Mainland China - a Tibet Entry Permit Is Required

If you plan to enter Tibet from Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Chengdu, or any cities from mainland China, you have to apply for a Tibet Entry Permit.

Again, you are not allowed to do this by yourself. You have to find a local travel agency, like China Highlights, to help you apply for it.

Tibet PermitTibet Permit

The permit will be checked before you board a train or a flight, or on the way to places outside the city of Lhasa. Sometimes, you will be required to show it when entering an attraction.

It's useful to know that, in order to apply for a Tibet permit, you will still have to apply for a China visa, even if you enjoy visa-free access to mainland China's cities.

Read more about Tibet Travel Permits.

Recommended Tibet Tours:

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4. Enter Tibet from Nepal - Group Tourist Visa Is Required

If you want to spend some time visiting Nepal first, and then enter Tibet from Nepal, it is a policy that you need to apply for a separate Group Tourist Visa (different from a normal China visa) from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal.

You will need to find a local travel agency like China Highlights to help you arrange a Tibet tour and help you apply for a Tibet Entry Permit first, before your departure.

You will receive an invitation letter and Tibet tour itinerary from us, and our partner in Nepal will help you apply for a Group Tourist Visa in Kathmandu.

It's useful to know that a Group Tourist Visa can be issued to a solo traveler as well. You don't need to be in a large group.

Read more details and tips about Entering Tibet from Nepal or contact us for the detailed procedures.

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5. Journalists and Diplomats Are Not Allowed to Travel to Tibet with a Travel Agency

Your Tibet tour has to be arranged by a local travel agency. However, if you are a diplomat, journalist, or media staff with a journalist visa, you won't be able to find a travel agency that can help you. You have to be approved by the China Foreign Affairs Office.

So if you want to travel to Tibet as a tourist, don't apply for a China visa and Tibet permit as a journalist or diplomat.

6. Not Every Place in Tibet Can Be Visited - Attraction Restrictions

RawuRawu Lake in Shannan

Not every attraction is open to foreign travelers. Your travel expert from a local travel agency will help you arrange a good itinerary, but the following list gives you an idea of some available places:

NyingchiPeach Blosom in Nyingchi

Contact us to inquiry about your once-in-a-life-time Tibet tour experience

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7. You Can't Enter Tibet During the Tibetan New Year - Usually in February and March

Tibetan New YearTibetan New Year

Tibetan New Year, or Losar, is the most important festival in Tibet. There are many activities and performances during the Tibetan New Year period.

However, during Tibetan New Year, Tibet is closed to foreign travelers. The festival usually falls in February or March and you are not able to enter Tibet during this period. It will often reopen from early April.

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8. Age Limit - No Limit but Be Careful

There is no age limit for visiting Tibet, but we would like to give you some helpful advice.

It's perfectly fine for you to take your kids or elderly parents to Tibet. However, be aware that there are only basic facilities in remote areas outside the city of Lhasa. It will be a tough job to take care of babies and elderly people.

Those suffering from high blood pressure and heart disease should reconsider a visit to Tibet as the high altitude is a high risk for their health. 

Contact us to know Travel with Kid in Tibet

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9. You Need Permission to Climb Mt. Everest from the Tibetan Side

More than 4,000 climbers have conquered Mt. Everest. According to government restrictions, a solo person is not allowed to climb Mount Everest without permission.

If you are a climber and plan to conquer the highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest, you have to apply for a climbing permit via a professional mountaineering company.

If you plan to climb Mt. Everest from the Tibetan side, you have to get permission from the General Administration of Sport of China. You can find a professional mountaineering company, such as Himalaya Expeditions, to help you with training and to get permission.

Read more about Permit for EBC trek

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Visit Tibet with China Highlights' Help and Care

As you are not allowed to travel to Tibet independently, we are here to help you arrange your Tibet tour. You only need to send us your passport and China visa copies and tell us your occupation, and we will help you get your Tibet travel permit with a 100% success rate.

Our travel expert will arrange your Tibet tour according to your interests and requirements and will give you recommendations.

Ready for a Tibet tour? See our popular Tibet tours below for inspiration, or just send us your interests and requirements and we will help you create a Tibet tour.

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