Tibet Travel Guide

Take a trip to the ‘roof of the world’, and discover a unique culture and Buddhist spiritualism….

Introducing Tibet

One of the highest destinations on earth, Tibet is popularly known as the ‘Roof of the World’. Filled with soaring high mountains, arid valleys and pristine mountain lakes Tibet is a haven for adventurers as well as pilgrimage tour groups. Take an overland tour and visit the settlements of Tibetan highlanders. Step into the hallowed chambers of ancient Buddhist monasteries and interact with learned monks. In Lhasa visit the iconic Potala Palace, Norbulingka Palace , Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street. Tour ancient Tibetan cities and towns like Shigatse, Gyantse, Samye, Tsetang, Nagqu etc. Go on delightful excursions to heavenly mountain lakes. An overland adventure to Rongbuk will take you to Everest Base Camp. Enjoy close up views of Mount Everest’s north face from here.


Entry, Visa and Transportation

From Nepal:

Flight: Sichuan Airlines and Air China operate daily flights between Kathmandu and Lhasa. Other Chinese airlines that fly in this sector are – China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Tibet Air. The KTM-Lhasa flight lasts for nearly an hour and a half. During the flight, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks.

Overland: You can enter also Tibet via Kerung and Simikot. Kerung lies about 8 hours’ drive from Kathmandu. Those who wish to journey to Mount Kailash and lake Mansarover take the Simikot route. Simikot lies in the far-western region of Nepal. From Kathmandu, one has to catch a plane to Nepalgunj and from there one can ride overland or take a helicopter ride to Simikot.

Independent travelers are not allowed to enter into Tibet. If you want to visit Tibet, you need to book a tour with a travel agency. You need to be part of an organized tour group. Only a travel agency can arrange a permit for you to visit Tibet.

From Mainland China: One can take a train to Lhasa from these Chinese cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xining, and Guangzhou. The journey may last for around two days.

The easiest way to enter Tibet from mainland China is by flight. You can book a flight to Lhasa from any of these major Chinese cities – Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Chengdu, Xining, Xian, Kumning, Chongqing and Guangzhou. 


People, Culture and Language

Visa and Passport: If you are entering Tibet from Nepal you will only need the Tibet travel permit and group tourist visa. You don’t have to apply for Chinese Visa. But if you are planning to enter Tibet from mainland China, you need to have Chinese Visa as well as the Tibet Travel permit.

To apply permit for Tibet Travel you need to send us your passport copy and a copy of your Chinese Visa (if you are planning to enter Tibet from mainland China) at least 20 days before your Tibet visit. As your original passport is needed for the Group Tourist Visa, you need to arrive in Nepal at least three days (working days) before your Tibet trip begins. 


Money, Shopping and Food

Altitude: Tibet is known as the “Roof of the World”. As most of Tibet lies 3000 metres above sea level, visitors may feel a slight discomfort on entering Tibet. This will subside once your body gets used to the altitude. On the first day of your arrival, you are advised to take it easy and rest at your hotel. Drink plenty of fluids and keep yourself hydrated. Pharmacies and some hotels in Lhasa have oxygen bars where you can get your supply of supplementary oxygen if you feel the need. 


Others Travellers' Guide

Travel Insurance

As you are travelling to a country where the altitude ranges from 3000 to 5000 metres, it would be wise on your part to take out travel insurance before the start of your trip. Please do make sure that your insurance covers rescue and evacuation via helicopter.

Some common ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’
  • While walking around religious sites, do walk clockwise.
  • Always dress decently. Don’t wear clothes that leaves too much of your body exposed (like shorts and tank tops). Your arms and legs should be covered if you are visiting a monastery.
  • While sitting at the monastery or at a Tibetan home always keep your legs folded or crossed. Do not stretch it out in front, as pointing the soles of your feet at other people is regarded as disrespectful.
  • Before taking photographs of the local people, please take their permission.
  • When you are offered something by the Lamas (monks) accept it with both hands, with the palms faced upwards.

Electricity

Most electricity outlets in Tibet operate on 220 volt electricity generated at 50 Hz (cycles) alternating current. Power plugs and sockets are of A, C and I.

Currency

The local currency is Renminbi (RMB) or Chinese Yuan. There are ATM booths in Lhasa where you can take out cash using your credit or debit card. Visa, MasterCard, American Express cards etc. are accepted by the Bank of China. The Bank of China also have currency-exchange ATMS that changes USD, Pound Sterling, Euro and Japanese yen into local currency. If you are traveling to the interior part of Tibet, it’s advisable to carry some hard cash as there may not be banks or ATM booths in the remote locations.

Food

Tibetan food is hearty and body-warming. Some of the traditional Tibetan dishes include thenthuk (a hearty broth made with vegetables, meat and flour), shapalay(a deep fried meat pie), momo (dumplings) , thukpa(noodlesoup), tsampa (roastedbarleyflour) and sausages made from mutton, beef and pork. Tibetans love to drink butter tea.Chang (local wine made from barley) is popular as an alcoholic beverage.

Many restaurants in Lhasa offer continental, Indian, Nepali and Tibetan dishes. In some of the local dishes you will find yak meat. 


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