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A Comparison of Top Tibet Tours

Last Update: March 24, 2020
Tibet ToursTibet tours come in different types and you can choose the best one that suits yourself.

Tours to Tibet come in a variety of different types, durations, and costs, and the type of tour you can take largely depends on what you want out of the trip to Tibet. A journey to Tibet can be a long or short trip, but is always guaranteed to give you the best experience, no matter which tour you are taking. With independent travel no longer being permitted in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), all tourists to Tibet now need to take a pre-arrange tour of the region with a registered Tibetan tour operator or travel agency. This actually makes it much easier to plan, and you can leave all the details up to the travel agent once you have decided on when and where to go, and how you will travel.

Who are you planning to travel with?


Tours of Tibet generally come in three types, private tours, family tours, and small group tours. The type of tour you choose can be based on whether you want to travel alone, with your family as a family private tour, or whether you will travel in the small group tours with other people that have joined in on the tour. Each has its benefits, while at the same time, each has its cons for different types of traveler. The private tour is generally more expensive, but it does give you a personal one-on-one experience, traveling with your tour guide and getting a more personal guide experience of Tibet.

Family tours are a great way to travel to Tibet with other members of the family, and are a popular way to tour in Tibet for families with kids or older family members. These can also be rather expensive, though some of the cost can normally be shared with other members of the family that are helping to pay for the tour.

Small Group Tours are a very popular option for solo travelers to Tibet, and allow you to join in on a tour that already has other people booked on it, which means you save money on the overall cost of the tour against the cost of a private tour. However, since you will be traveling with strangers, this is not everyone’s idea of an ideal holiday, and you are restricted in the tour itinerary and departure dates, as they are pre-set.

Private Tours

Private ToursA private tour is a better way to learn more about the culture, religion, and people of the Tibet.

A private tour of Tibet is one of the most expensive options for tourism in Tibet, but it does have a huge number of advantages that other tour types do not have. Firstly, the itinerary is entirely up to you, and you can choose where you want to go and what you want to see, and have the tour customized based on your requirements. This is a definite advantage, as it gives you more freedom to travel the region.

Secondly, a private tour means that you get your tour guide all to yourself, without him needing to see to the needs of other people during the tour. This gives you a more one-on-one experience, and is a better way to learn more about the culture, religion, and people of the Tibetan plateau region. A private tour also gives you the choice of taking a longer tour from China into Tibet, exploring more places in the country as you travel to the Tibetan plateau. A tour of this kind, such as the 16-day Silk Road and Tibet Odyssey Tour, is a great way to explore more of China and its variety of cultures and ethnic peoples than on any other kind of tour.

Family Tours

Family tours are ideal for families with kids or with older family members, and make a great vacation for the entire family together. Taking a trip to Tibet with your kids or your parents is not difficult, and with a little preparation, you can all enjoy the trip to the roof of the world, no matter what age the family members are. A family holiday in Tibet is unlike any other family holiday, and gives your family the chance to explore the mystical Tibetan plateau, its unique culture, and the devout religious Buddhist people.

Family tours in Tibet can easily be arranged to cater to both younger and older members of the family, and out guides and staff are well trained in handling tours for families, both with young children and with older family members. And other benefits of taking a family tour when you have kids includes giving your young children an insight into the way other cultures and people live their everyday lives, which can be very different from what they are used to. A family trip to Tibet with kids can be a real eye-opener for them at an early age.

Small Group Tours

Tibet Small Group ToursTibet small group tour is not only a cheaper option, but a great way to meet new people.

Small Group Tours are one of the most popular ways for solo travelers to visit Tibet, and allow a cheaper tour of the region. A small group tour is based on a number of different travelers all joining a tour together that has a pre-set itinerary and a defined departure date that is already set. When you join a Small Group Tour, you will join in with other like-minded travelers that are taking a tour of Tibet, all traveling together in one group, despite having all booked the tour separately. There are many advantages to this kind of tour, especially for solo travelers. Not only is it a cheaper option, as the cost of the major expenses are shared between all the members of the party, but it is a great way to meet new people, often people that you would never have known otherwise. Many of the members of our Small Group Tours stay in touch long after the tour has finished, and forge lasting friendships.

How much are you expecting to spend?


One of the deciding factors of a trip to Tibet is the cost, and there is a difference between those that are looking for a luxury trip to Tibet and those that are traveling on a budget. How much you will spend on the tour is the deciding factor on which tour you will take, and you can work out the type of tour you can take based on how much you want to spend on the tour.

Budget Tours

Budget tours are one of the most popular ways to travel to Tibet for those that do not want to spend a fortune on their trip. If you are limited on your budget for a trip to Tibet, it is still possible to take the tour and get the amazing experience of the Tibetan plateau, without having to spend an absolute fortune on the tour. If you are traveling on a budget, you can join in on one of our famous small group tours, which will depart on a set date with a pre-set tour itinerary. You will be traveling with other tourists that are coming to Tibet for the same tour, and you will have the company of other interesting people that are interested in the same things as you for their tour of Tibet. You can even make lasting friendships on one of the Small Group Tours, and meet new people from all over the world.

Luxury Tours

Luxurious AccommodationA luxury tibet tour gives you all the excellent service.

Luxury tours of Tibet are the ultimate in traveling around this high-altitude region, and are an amazing way to explore the Tibetan plateau, with its unique people, culture, and religion. A luxury Tibet Tour gives you all the excellent service that you are expecting on the tour, from stunning locations and comfortable tour transport to personal guides and luxurious accommodation. Our luxury tours give you the opportunity to explore the mystical land of Tibet without having to sacrifice your favorite home comforts. And on one of our luxury tours, you do not have to start in Tibet. You can take one of our longer tours, traveling from eastern China to Tibet in a much longer and exquisite tour of the whole nation, traveling the breadth of one of the oldest nations in the world, and ending it in the most exotic capital city on the planet, Kathmandu.

What are you expecting to experience?


Tibet is more than just a desolate and cold plateau region in the west of China. This high-altitude mystical land is filled with myths and legends, history and culture, and stunning landscapes, with huge mountains, vast plains, and shimmering sparkling lakes. And there are a number of different ways to experience the divine beauty that is Tibet for yourself.

Tibet Rail Tours

Tibet Rail ToursTraveling to Tibet by train is one of the popular options for tourists.

Rail tours are a great way to travel to Tibet, and start in mainland China, in one of seven gateway cities that have trains departing daily to the TAR. A rail tour of Tibet can start from Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lanzhou, or Xining, depending on your own preference, and takes you from the gateway departure city of your choice to the stunning Tibetan plateau.

The journey follows the famous Qinghai Tibet Railway, the highest railway line in the world, as it passes from mainland China up over the high Kunlun and Tanggula Mountains, across the vast plains of the Kekexili and the Changtang grasslands, and down across the plateau among the beautiful Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains to Lhasa. A train tour to Tibet is one of the best ways to see the landscapes and beautiful scenery of northern Tibet, which few tourists to the region get to see.

Tibet Bus Tours

While it is faster and more convenient to get to Lhasa from Nepal by flight, there is something about taking a bus on the long journey from the Nepali capital to the City of Sunshine that can leave you with a lasting memory of an unforgettable trip. For those that really love to enjoy the journey, not just the destination, a bus tour is the obvious choice for traveling to Lhasa.

Bus tours depart from Kathmandu, the exotic capital of Nepal, and travel across the mighty Himalayas, stopping at the world’s highest mountain, and enjoying the unique landscapes of the Tibetan plateau along the way. One of the most amazing travel experiences you can have on the plateau, a spectacular bus trip across this vast and stunning land is one of the best ways to get to the Tibetan capital.

Tibet Cultural Tours

Tibet Culture ToursTibet culture tour will take you to see some of the most culturally important sites in Tibet.

If you are looking for a little culture on your tour of Tibet, then you are in for a big surprise. There is nothing little about the culture of Tibet, and these unique people, with their ancient and unique way of life, is the ultimate cultural experience for the discerning traveler. The Tibetan culture is more than just a bunch of traditions that have lasted over the centuries. In Tibet, the culture is intertwined with the unique Tibetan religion, and the two go hand in hand to form a major part of the daily lives of these devout Buddhist people.

A cultural tour of Tibet will take you to see some of the most culturally important sites in Tibet, many of which have had major influences on Tibetan culture over the last 1,300 years. Sites you can visit to learn more of the culture of Tibet include the Potala Palace, the iconic emblem of Tibet, sitting on top of the Red Hill in the center of Lhasa, which was the former center of the Dalai Lama’s power in Tibet; the Jokhang Temple, the most sacred temple in Tibet, which houses one of the oldest statues of Buddha in Existence, which is said to have been blessed by Buddha himself, more than 2,500 years ago; and the stunning Gelug monasteries of Sera, Drepung, and Ganden, the three most important monasteries in Tibet.

Tibet Historical & Heritage Tours

The history of Tibet dates back thousands of years, and this unique land was not always a Buddhist stronghold. The cradle of Tibetan civilization lies in the Tsedang area of Lhoka Prefecture in Southern Tibet, and this amazing region of the plateau has some of the most historic buildings and cultural heritage of the Tibetan people.

Tsedang is renowned for being the birthplace of civilization in Tibet, and the Yungbulakang temple is believed to be the oldest building in Tibet, and is said to date back to the 2nd century BC, and the time of the first Tibetan king. A time of the animistic Bon religion of Tibet, before the introduction of Buddhism, the temple is said to have been built as the first palace of the first king, who is said to have descended from the heavens on a silvery thread.

The heritage of Tibet lies in more than just the buildings and people. Much of the region is considered to be sacred, and lakes and mountains all across the plateau are revered in both Buddhism and Bon, such as the sacred Mount Kailash, the most sacred mountain in the world. Tradition is a major part of Tibetan heritage, and this unique region has more ancient traditions that anywhere else on the planet.

Tibet Photography Tours

Tibet Photography ToursTibet has a number of amazing places that are ideal for photography.

If you love photography, then Tibet is the perfect place to travel to for the best photos you will ever take. An immensely beautiful landscape, stunning scenery, and outstanding mountain views make for the best photos you can find, and you will be amazed at the wealth of spectacular shots you can take. You may even find that you do not have enough film for all the photos you want to take.

There are a number of amazing places that are ideal for photography in Tibet. Lhasa itself is an amazing place to take photos, with iconic buildings and the stunning backdrop of the Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains. Alternatively, you can travel to one of the sacred lake of Tibet, from Lake Yamdrok to the southwest of Lhasa to Lake Namtso in the north of the capital, both of which are amazing sights for photographers.

And for that ultimate photoshoot, there is no better place to travel than to the Everest Base Camp, in the far west of Tibet. Not only can you get the best views of the mountain and its high summit of anywhere in the Himalayas, but you can also get some great shots of the sun turning the slopes of the mountain a burnished orange at sunrise and sunset.

Tibet City Tours

If you love to spend time in cities, exploring the back alleys and astounding buildings, then Lhasa and Shigatse are the perfect locations for a tour. Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, is a mix of both ancient and modern, which blend together seamlessly. In the old quarter of Lhasa, you can experience the beauty of the Jokhang Temple and Potala Palace, as well as the astounding Barkhor Street, and many other winding alleys that snake through the city.

Shigatse city, lying at the confluence of the Yarlung Tsangpo River and the Nyangchu River, is one of the most astonishing cities on the planet. The city itself is of great importance in Tibet, and is the home of the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama, the second highest incarnation in Tibetan Buddhism. This ancient city has a history that dates back over 600 years, and is the cultural, economic, and political center of modern Tibet.

Tibet Eco Tours

Responsible Travel is one of the most recent ideas for touring on the Tibetan plateau, and is based on the idea of making sure that your tour of Tibet has a positive impact on the places you travel to and the people you meet. Eco-tours are designed to have the least detrimental impact on the environment, as well as on the unique culture of the Tibetan people, as well as being able to positively benefit local businesses and increase awareness of the delicate eco-system that is the Tibetan plateau. From making the effort to learn about the local culture and people and minimizing waste to buying locally in Tibet and being sensitive to the local culture, an eco-tour is a great way to ensure your tour can benefit the local Tibetan people in the best possible way.

Tibet Nature & Wildlife Tours

Tibet Nature & Wildlife ToursTibet is a beautiful region with a vast abundance of natural wildlife.

Tibet is a beautiful region with a vast abundance of natural wildlife, much of which is protected in China. A tour to Tibet for photographing or just seeing the wildlife of the plateau is an excellent tour that can give you a unique understanding of the eco-system and the unique wildlife that inhabits this high-altitude region. From the wild Tibetan antelopes that roam the plains and prairies of the plateau to the wild yaks, herds of free-roaming kiang (the Tibetan wild ass), and the potential to spot a snow leopard on the plateau, a wildlife tour can give you all of this and more. You can also spend some time exploring the habitats of the many species of wild birds that live on the plateau, including the rare black-necked cranes, the ruddy Shellduck, and many more.

Tibet Sightseeing Tours

Sightseeing is the main reason anyone goes to another country, and traveling to Tibet is just the same. This spectacular region at the roof of the world has a vast number of things to see and places to go, from the stunning sights of Lhasa to the outstanding sight of Mount Everest in the far west, on the border with Nepal. In the capital, you have a wealth of sightseeing possibilities, from the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple to the many monasteries, the nunneries, and the numerous hermitage sites and caves that can be found around the Lhasa valley. You can travel around the region too, heading out to Gyantse and Shigatse, to visit the monasteries of Pelkor Chode and Tashilhunpo, as well as stopping at the Everest Base Camp for the ultimate sightseeing destination at the foot of Mount Everest.

Tibet 4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

When people talk about adventure activities, most think of climbing and trekking, but you can also do some off-road driving in Tibet, using a 4x4, ATV motorbike, and cross-country bike. An adventure for the truly adventurous, taking on the rugged mountain landscape of Tibet in a 4x4 or ATV is the ultimate adventure. Nowhere in the world has the kind of landscapes and off-road adventures that you can find in Tibet, and our experienced drivers and guides can take you to the best locations on the plateau for off-roading, without affecting the local eco-system.

Tibet Bike Tours

Tibet Bike ToursTibet bike tour is one of the most outstanding adventures you can have in the world.

Riding a bike across the Tibetan plateau is one of the most outstanding adventures you can have in the world. The beauty of the unique Tibetan landscapes, the devout religious Buddhist culture, and the amazing sights of the Tibetan plateau make it a Mecca for cyclists from all over the world. And you do not need to be the fittest cyclist to take on the long and arduous journey across the Tibetan plateau. Now, with our excellent support teams and vehicles traveling with you all the way, a cycling tour across Tibet is open to everyone, from all walks of life.

Tibet Hiking & Camping Tours

Hiking in Tibet is one of the most stunning ways to explore the plateau regions, and there is no better feeling than cresting a rise or hill and admiring the outstanding views on the other side. Most of the hiking in Tibet means that you will be camping in tents, as Tibet does not have the whole teahouse trekking culture of Nepal, which makes it a more authentic trekking experience, without any of the home comforts. And there are a huge number of treks to choose from, from short day-treks in the area around Lhasa to the harder and longer treks around the sacred Mount Kailash and the Gama Valley.

How many days are you expecting to spend?


The number of days of the tour you are taking is not normally an issue, as long as you book long enough in advance to allow for the whole tour to be organized. If you are panning on taking a long tour that will include a trip in mainland China before traveling to Tibet, advance booking is a necessity, and even for a trip just to Tibet, booking well in advance is advised to ensure that all of your permits and passes are already obtained before you depart for the plateau region.

Long Duration Tours

A longer tour of mainland China and Tibet is an epic adventure that will give you the best of the major sites in China, as well as the outstanding experience that is the Tibetan plateau. Longer tours can start from anywhere in China, and include anything you want to see, such as starting in Chengdu and traveling on to Tibet, or starting in Shanghai, before heading on to Lhasa, exploring the plateau, and ending the trip in Kathmandu. An amazing long tour such as 21 Days Epic Shanghai Tibet Nepal Scenic Tour will give you an outstanding experience of mainland China and the Himalayan regions together.

Short Duration Tours

Short Duration ToursLhasa city tour can take you to all the major highlights of the Tibetan capital within a shorter period.

If time is of an issue for you, then you can still spend time in Tibet on one of our shorter tours, giving you four days in Lhasa to experience the outstanding sights and spectacular mountain scenery. Our stupendous 4-day Lhasa Small Group Tour takes you to all the major highlights of the Tibetan capital, known as the City of Sunshine, and gives you a unique insight into this spiritual heart of Tibet. Take in the delights of the Potala Palace and the sacred Jokhang Temple, and enjoy the tours around the primary monasteries of the Gelug Tradition, at Sera and Drepung.

Enjoy Your Trip!

Whatever your trip to Tibet entails, and whatever time you have to spend here, you are guaranteed to enjoy the experience with one of our excellent tours. Whether you choose a private tour for yourself, want to join in on one of our great Small Group Tours, or are traveling with family or friends, we have the ideal tour for you, and can cater to all of your needs and requirements to make this the best vacation you have ever taken, and give you memories that will last a lifetime.

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