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Is Tibet Open to Tourists? Can I Visit Tibet this Year?

Last Update: December 24, 2022

In a normal year, Tibet is open for most of the year, with only a few instances of closures for international tourists. And certain places of the plateau will close due to the harsh weather in winter.

But how is the situation for the Tibet tour now? Is Tibet open to travel in 2023? Check this guideline to get inspired on planning your Tibet tour.

Tibet is Open for Most Time in Normal Years

Normally, Tibet is open for most of the year, with very few times throughout the year when it is closed to international tourists.

Tibet is Normally Closed during the Losar Celebration

Losar, or the Tibetan New Year, is actually the only time that the region closes regularly. Every year, from around the middle of February, the entry to Tibet for foreign nationals closes, to reopen again in April.

The Tibetan New Year celebrations are a major part of the religious culture of the Tibetan people and are the most important ceremony in the region. The closure of the region during the Losar period varies somewhat, with the dates for Losar changing each year depending on the Tibetan calendar.

Tibet Travel Permit is Required to Visit Tibet

The rest of the year, Tibet is open to tourists both domestic and foreign. While for foreign tourists, the Tibet Travel Permit is a requirement for travel. Sometimes mistakenly called the “Tibet Visa”, the permit is not a visa at all, and is required for entry to the TAR and travel around the plateau.

Tibet Travel Permit SampleA sample of Tibet Travel Permit we have obtained for our clients.

The permit can only be obtained after you have booked a pre-arranged Tibet tour with a registered Tibetan travel agency. Your travel agency will help you to apply for the permit, using scanned copies of your valid passport and Chinese Visa. The processing time of the permit is normally 8 to 9 working days.

Traveling to Tibet without Tibet Travel Permit is not possible, as the permit is required to be shown at several points along the way. The first point would naturally be the check-in gate, before you board the flight to train to Tibet.

Some Regions in Tibet are not Open for Traveling

Some parts of Tibet are not open to tourists. These regions are normally those places where the weather is too bad, or the climate too harsh, to adequately support human life without specialist equipment.

While most of Tibet is opening up to tourism, and there are now only a few places that it is harder to get to, there are some areas of this high-altitude plateau that are almost completely inaccessible. These are mostly in the areas of northern Tibet, in Nagqu and Ngari prefectures at the highest altitudes.

Mount Kailash and Lake Namtso May Close in Winter

There are also areas of Tibet that are not open at certain times of the year due to inclement weather situations. When the weather on the plateau becomes too cold and snow-bound in the winter months, places like Mount Kailash and Lake Namtso often become almost impossible to get to.

Mount Kailash in WinterMount Kailash will be closed due to heavy snow and frozen cold in winter.

For Mount Kailash, in the north-western area of Ngari Prefecture, the depths of winter from late December to around the middle of February mean the mountain becomes harder to travel around. The road to the mountain is rarely blocked now, thanks to better road conditions. However, traveling to the mountain is an impossible task in the depths of winter, with snow blocking the passes along the route.

Similarly, Lake Namtso is often closed to visitors in the same winter months as Kailash. While it is still possible to travel north to Damxung County, where Lake Namtso lies, the pass over the Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains to get there is often blocked in the depths of winter. And as much as the lake is just as beautiful when frozen over in winter as it is when shimmering in the sunlight of summer, the intense cold of the area around the lake at this high altitude is not favorable for most tourists to the region.

How About the Tibet Tour in 2023 and 2024

With travel restrictions greatly relaxed recently, Tibet is undoubtedly going to reopen to foreigners. It’s time to plan your Tibet tour and make preparation now.

Tibet Tour will soon Reopen to Foreign Tourists

Tibet is open to China expats at present. For foreign tourists living in mainland China, you can book your Tibet tour with us right now. We offer a wide collection of Tibet small group tours to meet the needs of different people.

For overseas foreigners, you will have the chance to visit Tibet in 2023, optimistically in the first half of the year. Since the travel restrictions are largely relaxed now. Domestic travel in China becomes more convenient and smooth than ever, no longer requiring a negative nucleic acid test report and green health code.

You can Plan to Visit Tibet in Advance

In the meantime, you can start to plan your trip to Tibet, so that you are ready to go once the ban on international travel has been lifted in the region. And it is always advisable to plan and book your trip well in advance, to make sure that you can travel on the dates you require.

Visit Tibet in GroupPlanning your visit to Tibet in advance to get deals and offers.

The first thing to do is to work out where you want to go and what you want to see. You can turn to our travel consultants who are ready to help you, if you feel confused and think it is complicated to do the plan. You can tell them what you are concerned about, to get some sound advice and make the best tour option.

With all our Small Group Tours available at the moment, you can book early and be prepared. And whether you are planning a quick trip to Lhasa or a long extended tour to take in the wonders of Mount Kailash, we can offer you the best prices, the best tours, and the best experiences for your tour of the TAR.

Conclusion

According to the current situation, Tibet will be reopened to foreign tourists soon. If you want to travel to Tibet in 2023, you are suggested to plan your trip right now. And as the leading tour operator based in Lhasa, we offer well-crafted small group tours, and are ready to help you to enjoy a pleasant trip to the plateau. You can contact us for more detailed information on the status of tours to Tibet.

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