Owing to its unrivalled scenery and intriguing culture, Tibet has always been one of the most wish-listed destinations for many tourists. But before you are ready to leave for Tibet, you need to know some important local travel policies and restrictions.
The geography and local culture of Tibet are unique, so you will find many things to pay attention to. Here we list 10 most important Tibet travel bans and tour tips for your reference. Check as follows for details.
1. Independent Travel in Tibet is not allowed
Many people like to be a free walker when traveling around wonderful places of the world. When it refers to Tibet, however, independent travel is not allowed for foreign travelers. During your trip in Tibet, you need to be accompanied by a tour guide, or plus a driver when transportation between attractions are needed.
Indipendent travel to Tibet is not allowed.
In this way, you need to join in a tour group organized by a local travel agency which is authorized by the Tibet Tourism Bureau. And both the guide and driver will be assigned by your agency, according to your tour itinerary.
For foreign tourists who plan to travel solo in Tibet, you can book your tour with us. We offer kinds of private Tibet tour to suit any size of travel group, even if there is just one member. Our travel guru can also help to customize your personal itinerary according to your needs.
2. You need a Tibet Travel Permit to enter Tibet
International tourist need to obtain the Tibet Travel Permit before visit Tibet. Also known as Tibet Visa, the Tibet Travel Permit is a must for any non-Chinese citizens, expats in China, as well as overseas Chinese tourists with no Chinese passport. Before you board the flight or train, your Tibet Travel Permit will be checked at the airport or train station.
Since individual application of Tibet Travel Permit is not accepted, you need to contact a local travel agency to help you to obtain it. The procedure to get yourself a Tibet Travel Permit is not complex. Just email us the copies of your Chinese Visa and passport, at least 20 days before your departure. Then we will handle the rest for you.
3. You can only get to Tibet via mainland China or Nepal
Currently, international tourists can only get to Tibet from mainland China or Nepal. Except for the flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa, there is no other international flight that flies directly to Tibet.
One can get to Tibet by train from mainland China.
If you travel from mainland China to Tibet, you need to first fly to China from your location, and then board the Tibet train or flight to Lhasa. Trains to Tibet depart from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xining etc. And there are direct flights flying from these cities to Lhasa.
If you get from Nepal to Tibet, you can travel overland via Gyirong Port, or take a flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa.
4. You need to get Chinese Group Visa when enter Tibet from Nepal
For tourists getting to Tibet from Nepal, you need to get a Chinese Group Visa, in addition to the Tibet Travel Permit. Different from the Chinese Visa, the Chinese Group Visa is a single entry visa that is issued by Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. And whether you have already obtained a Chinese Visa or not, you need to get the Chinese Group Visa.
The Chinese Group Visa is usually valid for no more than 30 days. With it, you can also visit mainland China. Since your original passport is required when apply for the Chinese Group Visa, you need to arrive in Kathmandu several days earlier before your tour starts.
5. Journalists and diplomats can’t travel in Tibet with a travel agency
If you are a journalist or a diplomat, or a media staff with a journalist visa , you will not be able to visit Tibet as an ordinary tourist. No travel agency can arrange your Tibet tour, or help to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit for you. You have to get approved by China Ministry of Foreign Affairs to visit Tibet.
6. Tibet tour is not available during Tibetan New Year
Generally, tourists can visit Tibet all the year round except for the time of Tibetan New Year. The festival usually falls on late February or March, and during this time Tibet will be closed to tourists. The Tibet Travel Permit can not be obtained either.
So if you want to visit Tibet in the first half year, you are suggested to plan it from early April, when Tibet is reopen for travel again.
7. Ordinary tourists can only reach EBC when visit Mount Everest
Many tourists will visit Mount Everest when they make their trip to Tibet. And as an ordinary visitor to Mount Everest in Tibetan side, you can reach no more higher than Everest Base Camp. The restriction is mainly in consideration of environment protection as well as the safety of tourists.
Our tourists took photos at the Everest Base Camp.
And if you are professional mountaineer and want to climb Mount Everest, you need to obtain the permission from General Administration of Sport of China. You need to find a professional mountaineering company to apply for the climbing permit on behalf of you.
8. Some Tibet attractions will be closed in winter season
Tibet boasts many different attractions across its massive land, from cultural relics, to snowy mountains, to pure holy lake. Due to its extreme environment and climate, some attractions will usually be closed during winter season. And this includes the famous Mount Kailash and Lake Namtso.
In the cold season of winter, there will always be heavy snow that blocks the road. It could be very dangerous to travel to places at a higher altitude, or with no broad road to lead to. So if you want to tour Tibet in winter, please check with your travel consultant whether the attraction in your list is open or not.
9. Pay attention to altitude sickness when touring Tibet
Most people will suffer from altitude sickness when they first arrive in Tibetan Plateau. The symptoms of altitude sickness include chest distress, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, nausea, insomnia etc. Most people will recover in a couple of days after adaption. But if the symptom gets severe, it can be dangerous.
The best way to avoid altitude sickness is to keep a good mind of state. And one should not walk fast or run, after you just arrive in the plateau. Avoid overeating or drink alcohol, or even smoke. Eat more vegetables and fruits or food with vitamins, drink enough water.
Also, pay attention to keeping warm, since once you catch a cold, the altitude sickness will be easily aggravated. Don’t take a shower for the first day or two after arriving at the plateau. It is also suggested to stay several days in Lhasa to get yourself adapted before you ascend to higher places.
10. Respect local customs and religions of Tibetan people
Tibet is a holy land of Buddhism, and local Tibetans are all devout believers. It is important to respect local customs and traditions during your visit to Tibet. One should follow the local etiquette and avoid the taboos in case of unnecessary troubles.
For example, when visiting the temple, you should remove your hat and sunglasses, and do not wear shorts or short skirts. Do not take photos inside the temple without permission. When walking in Barkhor Street, you need to walk in the clockwise direction. Also, please ask permission from the Tibetans before taking pictures of them, sometimes you need to pay them.
Whether it refers to Tibet Travel Permit, or Tibet transportation, or local attractions, it is important to know Tibet travel restrictions before you head to the land. In addition to the major 10 items mentioned above, there are many more to be aware of. If you have any questions, please contact our travel consultants or leave a comment below.