Frequently Asked Questions about Tibet Overland Tour
When is the best time to take overland tour to Tibet?
It is recommended to travel overland to Tibet during April to June and Sept to November, which roughly corresponds to the spring and autumn season in Tibet.
Spring is the best time to take the route from Chengdu to Lhasa, as one can first shoot pear blossoms in west Sichuan, then see Tibetan style houses, and appreciate the blooming peach blossoms in Nyingchi along the way. It will be a relaxing trip to enjoy a sea of flowers during this time.
While in autumn, the air is fresh and the sky is clear, with few rains, which makes travelling overland quite amazing. The scenery along the roads to Tibet as well as on the plateau will be exquisitely dainty and ravishingly beautiful.
In summer time of July and August, it is prone to landslides and mudslides owing to the loose geological structure of Tibetan Plateau. While the landscape of this time is particularly rich and colorful, it is also the peak season when many domestic travelers driving to the highland to avoid the summer heat. Thus, it will be more crowded on the highway compared to other seasons.
What are the travel documents required to take Tibet overland tour?
For international tourists to Tibet, you need to obtain the Tibet Travel Permit to proceed your overland trip. The application of the Tibet permit is not complicated, since you will only need to contact a reliable local travel agency like us to handle the issue. The copies of your passport and Chinese Visa are needed to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit. And it will need about 8 to 9 work days to get the permit issued.
How many roads are available to Tibet? Which route should I take?
There are overall 5 routes leading to Tibet, namely the Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway, Sichuan-Tibet Highway, Xinjiang-Tibet Highway, Qinghai-Tibet Highway and Yunnan-Tibet Highway. Among them, the first two routes are the most popular, which take tourists to travel from Kathmandu to Lhasa and Chengdu to Lhasa respectively.
The Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway will take tourists to travel across the mighty Himalayas from Kathmandu to Lhasa. Except for the Nepalese part before Gyirong Port, the entire road is well-paved. You will have the chance to visit the Mount Everest, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Yamdrok Lake and more Tibetan highlights along the way. It is the classic road for international travelers to get to Tibet from Nepal.
The Chengdu to Lhasa overland tour via Sichuan-Tibet Highway southern route is the most scenic of all routes. It passes high mountains, valleys, and various landforms, with extremely beautiful scenery, especially for the section of Nyingchi region in eastern Tibet. However, it is also one of the most dangerous roads in the world, passing through steep mountains and rapid rivers, with the highest altitude of the route being 4700 meters above sea level.
Qinghai-Tibet Highway, being roughly parallel to the world-famous Qinghai-Tibet Railway, is also a tarmac road. Starting from Xining in Qinghai, the road is open to traffic all year round and is the busiest highway among the routes to Tibet. Instead of driving the road, one can also take the Tibet train if you prefer the scenery along this route.
Xinjiang-Tibet Highway is the most challenging of all Tibetan routes, with less scenery and charm than the other four. There are no flat roads of the route. But one can witness the amazing views of holy Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar, the mysterious Guge Kingdom, which will be a lifetime memory for tourists.
Yunnan-Tibet Highway, which connects Kunming and Lhasa, is the road to Tibet with the lowest average altitude. It passes the fairyland of Shangri-La, ancient town of Lijiang, following the Ancient Tea Horse Road. It is a pleasant route with mild and humid climate, luxuriant forests along the way. If you are afraid of altitude sickness, you can choose this highway to go to Tibet.
Do I need a tour agency to travel overland to Tibet?
Well, since it is regulated that individual travel in Tibet is not allowed for international tourists, you will need to book an organized tour with a local travel agency, if you want to enjoy overland trip to Tibet. Plus, your travel agency will also help to handle your Tibet Travel Permit and other documents for the whole trip.
As the leading tour operator with years of experiences, we offer a series of Kathmandu and Lhasa overland tours, and Chengdu to Lhasa overland tours. During your entire road trip, your accommodation and dining will be get well arranged. And you will be accompanied with seasoned driver and local guide, who are familiar with the road conditions. In this way, it will be no longer troublesome and complicated to travel overland to Tibet.
Will I suffer from altitude sickness when travel overland to Tibet?
Considering the high altitude of all routes to Tibet is quite high, it is likely for tourists to suffer from mild altitude sickness, like headache or polypnea, especially when the car traverse mountain passes. Tourists are suggested to keep calm in this occasion as it is a normal reaction. And you can turn to the oxygen carrier which is supplied in our tour bus, to get relief from your symptoms.
It is also recommended to consult your doctor or conduct a health check, before the overland drive. Prepare well, like having proper exercises of jogging or cycling is also suggested. But do not over exercise. While after you reach Lhasa, don’t rush to visit higher places on the plateau on the first two days. Take enough rest and drink more water, to get yourself gradually adapted to the high altitude.