Frequently Asked Questions about Tibet Motorbike Tours
What is the physical demand for motorcycling in Tibet?
While not as physically demanding as a cycling tour, an adventurous motorbike tour of Tibet does have its own demands on your health and strength. Especially if you are not used to riding for long days at a time. Aside from the obvious assault on your body by the higher altitude, you can expect to feel back-aches and the sapping of strength from your arms and shoulders. As any biker knows, you need some good upper-body strength to handle a larger bike, especially across rougher terrain. And while the roads in Tibet are pretty decent, there are stretches where you will be almost off-road, with dirt and gravel roads still present in some places. You need to make sure that you rest well each night, eat properly, and drink plenty of water to remain hydrated during the journey.
Can I bring my own motorcycle into Tibet?
While it is possible to bring your own motorbike into Tibet, it does require a lot of paperwork and permits, and you need the temporary license and license plate to drive it. You will also have to pay heavy transport costs to have your bike shipped from your home country, unless you are planning to ride it all the way to China.
For most riders touring in Tibet, it is a better option to rent your bike for travel through us, as we can provide you with good BMW touring bikes that are perfect for the trip across the vast plateau region. And with sizes ranging from 350cc to 1200cc, you can choose the type of bike you prefer. We can also help you with obtaining your temporary license to allow you to drive in Tibet as part of our tour services.
How is the road condition in Tibet? Is it safe to ride in Tibet?
Roads in Tibet are now far from what they used to be, and even the last county in Tibet now has an asphalt road into it. For the main route across the plateau, which follows the famous G318 Friendship Highway, the road surface is in excellent condition, and maintained well throughout the year. And even in the more remote places, there are often good paved roads, including all the way to Darchen in Ngari and the road to EBC from Shigatse. Heading for Mount Everest, only the last stretch of the road is just dirt, and you can ride all the way to Rongbuk Monastery on paved roads.
As to whether it is safe to ride in Tibet, in general it is as safe as anywhere else in the world, including your own home town. Generally, it is not advised to ride the plateau in winter and summer, because of ide and wet roads. Most turs run in spring and autumn, when the weather is clear and bright, and the ground is dry, with plenty of sunshine to speed you on your way.
What documents are needed for motorbike in Tibet?
The documents you need for a motorbike tour of Tibet largely depend on where you are traveling. You will need to have your Chinese Entry Visa, unless you are entering China from Nepal, in which case we will arrange your Chinese Group Visa on your behalf once you arrive in Kathmandu. You will also need to have the Tibet travel Permit, for travel into Tibet and around the area of Lhasa. For those traveling to Shigatse and EBC, or east into Nyingchi, you also need to have the Alien’s Travel Permit, for travel outside Lhasa to the unopened areas of Tibet. And if you are planning to head all the way to Mount Kailash, you will also need the Military Permit.
You will also need to have a driving license that permits you to drive a vehicle in China. International licenses are not valid in China, and you will need to have a temporary Chinese driving license to operate your bike. This is applied for in China, and normally takes a couple of days to process, after which you will get a temporary license to use in conjunction with your own international license.
Which season is recommended to enjoy motorbike tour in Tibet?
Tibet is a region that can be visited throughout the year, but there are times when it is not advisable to travel by motorbike on the plateau. The best times for a motorbike tour of Tibet is in spring and autumn, from April to early June and September to early November. This is when the weather is at its best, with clear sunny skies and a dry climate. It is not advisable to ride the plateau roads in the winter, as ice and snow can cause dangerous stretches of the roads. Summer is also not recommended for most riders with little experience, as the wetter roads make it a little more dangerous. However, for someone with plenty of biking experience, a summer trip is still possible.