Tibet is situated in the South-West of China, also bordering Nepal, India, Burma, and Bhutan. The historical territory of Tibet would make the world’s tenth-largest nation. At present, Tibet is under China’s occupation and has been divided up, renamed, and incorporated into Chinese Provinces. If China refers to Tibet, It means only part of historic Tibet; what it names the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of China.
You will be required to apply for Tibet Travel Permit (TTP) in order to enter Tibet and the Permit is issued by Tibet Travel Bureau (TTB). Without the necessary permits, we cannot imagine traveling to Tibet. Your travel agent applies for the permit, which takes about two weeks to make it done.
After the necessary permit arrangements, you will be entering via these ports
There are FIVE major highways to enter Tibet [it is quite difficult to enter Tibet via highways for foreigners.]
Flying to Lhasa, Tibet needs to stopover either in Mainland China or Nepal. Lhasa Gonggar Airport is situated about 97 Km south of Lhasa city and it is only the international airport of Tibet that connects to Kathmandu and cities of China.
The Train facilities for Lhasa has been expanded; you can travel by train from different cities of China such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Kunming, Xining, Xian and etc.
No, it is not possible to travel to Tibet without an organized tour. A tour guide and permits are required to travel to Tibet from any ports of Nepal and Mainland China. You must process the permit and book a tour guide through the tour operator.
Your travel agent applies for the necessary permits to TTB. The travel agent applies for the permit 2-3 weeks in advance which means you are requested to confirm your trip at least 4 weeks in advance to avoid any risk. The authority starts to issue permits 2-3 weeks prior to your departure.
Your permit will be sent to your given address in China but not other countries, you will be required to send your proper address of China (Either apartment or hotel) with telephone number, the postman will send your original permit prior to your flight or train to China. On the other hand, if you are traveling from Kathmandu, there is a different procedure as you will need to prepare the paper issued from the Embassy of China in Kathmandu. Please consult with your travel agent about it. Please check out Tibet Travel Procedure for more details.
Sadly, it is not possible to prepare the visa and permit by yourself because of the strict tourism policy by the government. You can travel alone/solo but must be accompanied by a guide as every tour has to be organized. HimalayanWindows can organize your visa, Permit in order to enter Tibet.
The weather in Tibet is good from April to Mid November and better from August to October as the climate in Tibet is not as unkind as people think it to be. The climate of Lhasa is much favorable than other places in Tibet so that Lhasa is suitable to travel for all year-round.
We suggest tourists pack casual clothing and layered clothing, during the daytime you may need a T-shirt or cotton shorts either long or short-sleeved. The jacket is also recommended, but light but warmer. If you are traveling further than Lhasa to Sighatse, Rongbuk, Mt. Kailash, Everest Base Camp, Sun Blocking cream, Sun Glasses, lip protector, warm cotton trousers, thermal underwear, woolen clothes, hats, gloves, sandals, towel, sleeping bag, rain jacket will be very helpful in you keep them on your packing list.
The currency used in Tibet is the Chinese Yuan. You can exchange your dollars, Euros, Pounds into Chinese currencies from any banks or ATMs in China. Banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays in Tibet. So, it is advised to bring some cash before you start your day or trip. ATMs are available in Lhasa, Shigatse, and Gyantse, however, it may be difficult to get one in other small towns in remote areas.
Winters (November to March) are cold but not that much snow. Summers (May to September) have warm days with strong sunshine and cool nights. At higher elevation (i.e. above 4000m) even summer days can be chilly. In spring and autumn, you will need to be prepared for four seasons in one day, plus the possibility of snowfall.
The average, highest, and lowest annual temperature along with the maximum elevation of the major cities/towns in Tibet (in Celsius) is provided below:
Tibet is known as the Roof of the World and it is the highest place on earth. Due to this, many travelers may suffer from high altitude sickness in Tibet; especially people from low-altitude areas. Most of the travelers feel miner effects such as headache, loss of appetite, dizziness and etc; in this case, you should not exhaust yourself and should take complete rest and drink water as much as you can. However, it is recommended that you consult with your local physician about AMS and medicines to help discourage altitude sickness.
Well, some of the vaccines are advised to all travelers traveling to Tibet such as Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B and etc. The best way is to consult with your physician before you plan your trip to Tibet. Or you can visit the link to have more info at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/ or http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/vaccinations.htm
Basically, the electricity supply in Tibet is 220V or 50HZ. The hotel bathrooms have access to 220V and 110V electrical devices power. However, the guest room has only 220 electrical sockets. For charging your electrical devices, you’d better bring master plug-ins or ask reception to solve the problem.
We believe the above information is good enough before planning to visit Tibet.