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Tibet Travel Permit without Tour: Is It Possible?

Last Update: April 30, 2022

Without Tibet Travel Permit, also called Tibet Visa or Tibet Entry Permit, any non-Chinese passport holders, including foreign passport holders and Taiwan citizens, have no way to enter Tibet. The permit will be checked when you take the flight or train to Tibet.

The importance of the Tibet Travel Permit can be seen. So how to obtain the Tibet Travel Permit? Is it possible for those who prefer to travel alone to get the Tibet Travel Permit without joining in a tour?

We are sorry to tell you that the answer is a NO. You can only apply for the Tibet Travel Permit through an authorized travel agency in Lhasa. That is, you have to travel in a group and during your whole trip in Tibet, you must be accompanied by a local tour guide. For more details, keep reading.

Why Can’t You Get the Tibet Travel Permit without Joining in a Tour?

The following three reasons should explain why you can’t get the Tibet Travel Permit without joining in a tour.

TTP Can Only be Applied through an Authorized Travel Agency in Lhasa

For foreign visitors, independent travel in Tibet is not allowed. You have to visit Tibet through a travel agency that is authorized by the Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa. On behalf of you, the agency shoulders the responsibility to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit. The Tibet Travel Permit is issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa.

Tibet Travel Permit SampleTibet Travel Permit can only be applied through an authorized travel agency.

Before starting the application for the Tibet Travel Permit, you need to have your Tibet tour booked. The information including your confirmed itinerary, travel time, number of visitors, tour agency, hotel reservation, etc., will be required for the application. Once the permit is issued, you can see that all of the information mentioned earlier on your permit.

You Must be Accompanied by a Local Tour Guide during the Whole Trip

During the whole trip to Tibet, you must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide who is provided by the local travel agency.

In Lhasa, you can stroll around the city and visit restaurants and tea houses without your guide present, but can't visit any tourist attraction.

Outside Lhasa, without your guide by side, we recommend you not to go anywhere, including a restaurant or tea house. And all attractions and public transport are not available for foreign travelers unless you ask your guide to take you there.

The Whole Environment is not Friendly to Independent Foreign Travelers

Tibet’s scenery is gorgeous, but the whole environment is actually not friendly to independent foreign visitors. In order to have a better travel experience, every non-Chinese passport holders, excluding Hong Kong and Macau citizens, should visit Tibet by joining in a tour. Here come the main reasons.

Tibet is featured with extreme weather that changes quite often and intense in some highland areas. With enough experience living in the plateau section, your guide can be a savior when you are not feeling very well.

Unlike the other big cities in China, Tibet has a vast territory with a sparse population, while the public transportation conditions are still under development. Traveling with a tour operator can ensure you have your private car to get around Tibet.

Also, the language barrier between Tibetans and foreign visitors causes a lot of inconveniences. You need a professional guide to help you connect with the locals and explain the stories behind every monastery.

Tibetan PeopleThe language barrier between you and the Tibetan people is a problem.

Simple Way to Get your Tibet Travel Permit with Us

We have simplified the application for Tibet Travel Permit to 4 steps. Once the application made, the approval process normally takes 8 to 10 days, while the peak season sees a longer time.

Step 1. Confirm your travel itinerary and book your Tibet tour with us

Contact our travel consultant and book your Tibet tour. The application for the Tibet Travel Permit will only start after you have your trip booked. You need to submit your tour schedule, the date of arrival and departure from Tibet, tour agency, number of travelers, hotel information, etc., to the Tibet Tourism Bureau for approval.

Step 2. Send us the copy of your passport and Chinese Visa

Send us the scanned color copy of your passport and Chinese Visa to make the application for the Tibet Travel Permit. Your passport must be valid for more than 6 months. Chinese Visa is applied on your own from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in your home country or a third country.

Required Passport and VisaA copy of your passport and visa are required to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit.

Just in case of any potential risks happening to break your tour plan, it is more recommended to send us copies of your documents 20 days before your departure.

Step 3. We help to submit the Tibet Travel Permit application

We help you to submit your documents to the Tibet Tourism Bureau for the Tibet Travel Permit application. Once the application submitted, the approval process will start and usually takes about 8 to 10 days. While in the peak season, it takes longer.

Step 4. Get your Tibet Travel Permit before heading to Tibet

Once getting your Tibet Travel Permit, we will deliver it by express to your hotel in mainland China. The permit will be checked before you board the flight or train to Tibet.

Join in a Private Tour if You Prefer to Travel Alone

For those who prefer solo travel, the best solution to travel in Tibet is to join in a private trip, with only your private tour guide accompanied.

A private tour can make sure you have a more flexible trip. You can customize your itinerary and make the last-minute change to your itinerary if you want. You decide where to go and what to see. You choose your destinations, the preferred attractions to visit, and the travel time to spend.

Based on your travel preference, we help you to schedule your own journey plan. Services including hotel booking, ticket purchasing, private car and driver, as well as Tibet Travel Permit application, etc., are also our responsibilities. Contact us to start making the travel plan for your coming Tibet tour now.

Tibet Private TourJoin in a private tour, and you will be accompanied only by your guide.

Alternatively, you can choose your private tour from the ready trip that has been well designed in advance. For example, you can choose to spend 4 days exploring the holy city of Lhasa, or enjoy a 9-day trek from Ganden to Samye monastery, or make a 14-day pilgrimage for Mt. Kailash during the Saga Dawa Festival.

Note that private tours require a higher budget. Because no one will share your expenses, and you will pay for all costs of the trip, covering the cost to hire a guide, driver and vehicle, as well as all single-room supplements.


To travel to Tibet, all foreign visitors are required to obtain the Tibet Travel Permit.

You can’t obtain it without joining in a tour as before applying for the permit, you must have your itinerary booked. The travel agency you choose will help you to work it out. And during the whole trip, you must be accompanied by a registered local guide, which is another reason you need to join in a tour.

If you want to travel alone in Tibet, join in a private tour is the best option. With only your guide and driver in the group, you are the tailor of your trip. You determine where to go and what to see in Tibet.

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