While there are best times to visit Tibet, the plateau region at the roof of the world is one place which can be visited throughout the year. For most tourists to Tibet, the summer peak period is the best time to visit, when the weather is warmer, but mostly, the best time to travel to the region depends on when you want to visit and what you want to do while you are here. Tibet has certain season when it can be beneficial to travel for certain activities or requirements, and each is ideal for the chosen activity or personal need. So, for the best times to visit Tibet for specific things, read on.
Best Time to Visit Tibet for Good Weather
Obviously, everyone wants to visit Tibet when the weather is best, though not all the things you can do are done when the weather is at its best. The best period for weather in Tibet is from April to October, and actually includes the monsoon season on the plateau. Tibet has a typical sub-tropical plateau temperate climate, which means that it can be warm in the summer and cold in the winter. However, the different areas and altitudes also play a part in the weather conditions across the region.
Best Time to Visit Lhasa and Shigatse
Normally, the best time to travel to Lhasa and Shigatse, Tibet’s capital and second city, is from June to October, throughout the summer and autumn seasons. While summer is the monsoon season, there is not as much rain in Lhasa and Shigatse as in other monsoon regions. And most rainfall comes in the late afternoon and evening, making the days clear for sightseeing. Autumn is even drier, with stunning colors and lush grasslands, which makes the trip from Lhasa to Shigatse one of beautiful scenery and golden fields.
Visit Lhasa in Summer
Best Time to Visit Everest Base Camp
For those planning a trip to Everest Base Camp (EBC) in western Tibet, the best times to travel are in the spring and autumn, from April to May and September to November. While the summer is one of the best times to visit Tibet, it is not the best time to travel to EBC, as the rains can leave the summit of the world’s highest mountain covered in clouds. During the spring and autumn seasons, the skies are clear and bright, the peak of the mountain is clearly visible, and the weather is warm enough to travel comfortably. And an Everest Base Camp tour in the spring and autumn will give you the best experience possible.
Visit EBC in Spring
Best Time to Visit Lake Namtso
Lying to the north of Lhasa, on the boundary with Nagqu Prefecture, in Damxung County, Lake Namtso is one of the most beautiful lakes on the plateau. As with most high-altitude areas that are a little remote, the best time to visit is from June to September, during the peak summer months, when the weather is warm enough for you to travel comfortably. The road to Lake Namtso crosses the high Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains, and can be covered with snow in the winter months from December to March. It can also be a lot colder there in spring and autumn, than in Lhasa.
Visit Lake Namtso in Spring
Best Time to Visit Mount Kailash
Just like traveling to EBC, taking the long road trip to Mount Kailash for the stunning three-day trek is best done in spring and autumn, from April to May and September to November. Mount Kailash lies in the far northwest of Tibet, in Ngari Prefecture, and the climate is a lot colder than most other places in Tibet. Spring and autumn bring clear skies and dry conditions to the mountain kora trail, which can be rough and arduous for inexperienced trekkers. Summer rains can leave the valleys and passes washed out, and make the trek uncomfortable and a lot harder.
Visit Mount Kailash in Spring
Best Time to Visit Nyingchi
Nyingchi is the easternmost prefecture in Tibet, and is subsequently the lowest in altitude. This gives it a much warmer, alpine temperate climate, which makes traveling there much more enticing. The best time to visit Nyingchi for the stunning alpine views and beautiful low deep valleys, is from April to October. The region is also famous for its beautiful forest landscapes, and the spring brings the stunning peach blossoms all across the area.
Visit Nyingchi in Spring
As summer comes in, the rains come to the area, which sees higher rainfall than most other places in Tibet in the monsoon season. The higher rainfall can make it harder for traveling to some of the more remote places. But since the rain mostly falls in the evening and overnight, so it is not too much of a problem for sightseeing.
Autumn in Nyingchi is a beautiful time of year when the weather begins to cool down after the summer is over, and the rains die off, leaving the landscape verdant green, and ideal for trekking and sightseeing. As autumn progresses, the leaves on the trees turn to red and gold and brown, and begin to fall to the ground, covering the area with a multicolored carpet.
Best Time to Visit Tibet for Trekking
In general, the best time for trekking in Tibet is from April to May and September to November, during the spring and autumn seasons. At this time, the weather is dry and the air is clear, with almost no rain at all across the plateau. Temperatures are not too cold as spring rolls around, and are warming up for summer, making trekking more comfortable than when it is hotter. Similarly, in the autumn, the temperatures are already cooling down, and the dry period after the rains leaves the countryside lush and green, as the leaves fall from the trees.
Best Time to Visit Tibet for Photographing
For those with a love of photography and the desire to get some of the best photos on the plateau, July and August is the best time of year. While you get clear skies in spring and autumn, the air is clearer and crisper, and much better for photography, in the summer months of July and August. Clear skies with light clouds is something that is common in Tibet throughout the year, but July and August are months when the characteristic clear skies of the rest of the year change dramatically. Before and after the rains come, the skies are different, often deeper with clouds and with a variety of colors, and rainbows across the plateau are commonplace after the end of the rain showers.
Take a beautiful photo of Tibet's mighty mountains from Gawula Pass
July and August may be the rainiest months in Tibet, in general, but the plateau still sees plenty of strong sunshine during these months, with plenty of clear days of sunshine for the best photographic opportunities. Everything on the plateau becomes even more beautiful in the monsoon season, as the rains fill the lakes, making the waters more shimmering than usual, with the haze after the rain painting the mountains different colors. And the sight of heavy rain clouds floating gracefully over the highest capital city in the world is one of the most spectacular sights on the plateau.
Best Time to Visit Tibet for Festival Events and Culture Experience
While festivals are held in Tibet throughout the year, there are a couple of periods of the year when it is better to visit for those that love the festivities of traditional Buddhist ceremonies and celebrations. Summer is the time of many of the major festivals of Tibet including the Shoton Festival, the Nagqu Horse Racing Festival, and the awesome Ganden Thangka Festival. These three festivals are normally all held in August each year, depending on the dates of the Tibetan calendar, and offer some of the best in traditional festival atmospheres and culture.
Another great time for traveling for the best festivals is in February or March, depending on the date of the Tibetan New Year. Known as Losar, the New Year is the biggest festival of the year in Tibet, and is one of the best times to visit for the most spectacular sights on the plateau. The festival lasts for around two weeks from the start of the New Year, which changes dates every year, depending on the Tibetan calendar. Whatever time of year you decide to come, in February or August, you can expect to see lots of travelers on the plateau, since these festival periods are hugely popular with tourists, both international and domestic.
Best Time to Visit Tibet for Lower Cost
If you are looking for a budget tour of Tibet, and want to save money on the cost of the tour, then the best time to visit is in the winter months, from December to March. Winter is the low season for tourism in Tibet, and sees fewer tourists traveling to the plateau region. This means that you can often get discounts on the cost of the tour, on hotel accommodation, and even on flights and train tickets to get to the plateau.
Travelling to Tibet in low seasons can save your cost.
A winter tour is also a lot more interesting, as the fewer tourists means that the attractions are not so crowded, and you can get a better and more authentic local traditional experience in Tibet. You can also find that weather is dry and clear for the winter months, with almost no rain at all, which makes traveling much nicer and more pleasant. A winter tour of Tibet is not just a great way to save money, but is an ideal opportunity to spend some time in Tibet without all of the tourists that crowd the City of Sunshine throughout the rest of the year.
If you are planning a trip to Tibet, but are not sure when is the best time to travel, then the logical conclusion is to decide what it is you want to see and what you want out of your tour, and match it to the perfect time of year for the different activities and availability of your own personal requirements. Making the most of Tibet need not be only in the high season for tourism, you can also visit at any time of year, and still enjoy the stunning beauty on the Roof of the World.