When planning a tour, the first thing you may think about is the best travel time. So, when is the best time to go to Tibet? Most tourists believe that April to October is the prime time to visit Tibet because the weather is warmer and more comfortable for tour. During this period of every year, plenty of travelers from all over the world gather in Tibet. And most travelers think winter (Nov. to Feb) in Tibet is not suitable for tourism, because they feel that Tibet's winter may be unbearably cold. Actually, Tibet is not that cold in winter, and winter is a good season for Tibet Travel.
Rumors Prevails: Don't Go to Tibet in Winter
Due to the outdated and inaccurate info on the internet, travelers mistaking the winter is a bad time to tour Tibet. Speaking of the winter in Tibet, a picture flashed upon most people’s minds: snow-capped mountains, frozen lakes, and chilly wind. Besides, many people may think the oxygen content in winter is less than summer. But is this true? Of course, not! In fact, Tibet in winter is not that terrible as you imagine. Tibet in winter is really worth visiting.
Winter is in Fact a Good Season to Tour Tibet
There are top 6 good reasons for taking a Tibet winter tour.
a. Tibet is Not That Cold in Winter
A larger number of visitors prefer to get to Tibet in summer. They consider Tibet is extremely cold in winter due to the high altitude. Actually, the winter in Tibet is not as cold as many imagine, especially in Lhasa.
Tibet is not that cold in winter.
Lhasa is the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, at the latitude of 29° north. It is warmer than many northern cities of China in the winter months, such as Beijing. In winter( from December to February), though the temperature of Lhasa will get as low as about -10℃ at night, the average temperature range from 7℃ to 9℃ during the daytime.
Besides, it seldom rains or snows in winter in Tibet, approximately 90% of the days are sunny. Therefore, Tibet is sunnier than many of the areas of China in the winter months. The blazing sunshine along with the clear sky provides good conditions for photography. The average duration of sunshine in Tibet is also relatively longer. Lhasa still can get 10- or 11-hours sunlight every day in winter. All this makes the Tibet winter is not as intimidating as many thinks.
b. The Oxygen Content in Winter is Not Less Than Summer
Tibet is located at a high-altitude zone, and its oxygen content is lower than mainland China. Many people may mistakenly think the oxygen content will fall off during the winter. But truly speaking, it is not so. The lack of oxygen in Tibet in winter is just a matter of feeling. Since winter is colder than summer, people feel less comfortable, it is not relevant to oxygen content. The oxygen content basically remains the same throughout the year.
Take Lhasa as an example, with an altitude of 3650 meters, there is a little difference in oxygen content between winter and summer. The Lhasa Meteorological Bureau data show that the oxygen content of Lhasa is about 66% oxygen in summer and about 63% in winter.
c. Tibet in Winter Has Great Deals!
Price is one of the biggest concerns for most tourists. No matter they are rich or poor, they all want to reduce expenses as much as possible during the trip. Summer is the high season for Tibet tourism, so it is also the most expensive time of year to travel to Tibet. While, winter is the most economical season for Tibet tour, as winter is the off-season of Tibet travel. In order to attract more travelers, the prices of every aspect related to tourism are going down in winter.
Airlines will provide a considerable discount from 20% to 50% in winter. Train ticket prices remain basically the same throughout the year, but it is not expensive, even lower than the discounted air ticket. Thus, whether you get to Tibet by train or by flight in winter, you can save a lot of money. And tourist vehicle price is 2/3 of its price in summer.
Due to the lack of visitors, the hotels in Tibet will also offer their lowest possible prices. Meanwhile, you are likely to get better services from them.
The entry fee of Potala Palace in winter is only half of that in summer.
The entry fee of many scenic spots will provide big discounts in winter. The entry fee of Potala Palace in winter is only half of that in peak travel season. Other places like Tashilhunpo monastery, Yamdrok Lake, Namtso Lake, Gyantse Pelkor will normally reduce their entry fees during winter season.
Besides, travel agencies also offer a discount to attract tourists in winter. In a word, your cost on Tibet tour in winter is much lower than that in summer.
d. It’s Easier to Get Permits, Tickets, and Accommodation in Winter
In winter, fewer tourists travel to Tibet, which means you can book train tickets, air tickets, and hotels more easily. There are many planes and trains going to Tibet every day, but it is still difficult to book tickets during the high season. You still need to reserve at least one month in advance. The hotels also need to book beforehand. However, this kind of problem is rarely encountered in winter.
Moreover, for foreigner tourists, if you plan to travel to Tibet, you need to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit before you get to Tibet. Because you will be asked to show the Tibet Travel Permit when you take a train or plane to go to Tibet. You should give your travel consultant the required document and information one month in advance in peak season. In the winter, because there are a small number of permits handling in the office of the Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa at a time, so the application time of the Tibet permit will probably be shortened.
e. Experience Traditional Tibetan Festivals in Winter
Taking part in festivals is one of the good ways to experience the local cultures and customs. Winter is a great season to enjoy traditional Tibetan festivals.
In Tibet, Tibet New Year is the liveliest festival except for Shoton Festival. It is the most important festival of the Tibetan people, and is held on the 29th of December on the Tibetan calendar.
Tibet New Year is the most important festival of the Tibetan people.
At the beginning of December in the Tibetan calendar, people began to prepare New Year's products. On the evening of the 29th, Tibetan people will eat "nine porridge" and do exorcism activities that generally symbolizes sweeping out the old in preparation for the coming year, and warding off of all disasters. In the New Year’s morning, men and women in festive costumes and greet each other with the word "Tashidler". In the next few days, or singing and dancing, or visiting the homes of relatives and friends to have a drink, or worshiping in temples, everyone is immersed in a festive atmosphere.
Besides, there are other famous Tibetan festivals in winter, including Lamp Lighting Festival. It is held on the 25th day of the 10th month of the Tibetan calendar, which commemorates the Parinirvana of the founder of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism. On this day, every family light butter lamp on the roof and windowsill.
f. Receive the Gift of Wild Birds Photography in Tibet Winter
When the cold winter comes, thousands of migratory birds move down from Northern Asia to spend a warm winter in Tibet. They mainly gather in and around Lhasa, such as the Lhasa River, the Lalu Wetlands, Zongjiao Lukang Park and the Hutoushan Reservoir in Lhünzhub County. They are also can be seen along the route from Lhasa to Shigatse. You can see the birds flying and foraging freely. Since most locals believe in Tibetan Buddhism and will not harm animals, birds in Tibet are easy to get close to humans.
You can snap the wild birds’ beauty in Tibet winter.
So, for those who love photography, it is a super-excellent opportunity for you to snap these bird’s beauty. And it is also easier to take photos thanks to the fewer tourists in winter.
In short, it is a great idea to travel to Tibet in winter. Besides the moderate temperature, you can save a lot of money, get your ticket, hotel and permit conveniently and quickly, celebrate Tibetan traditional festivals, enjoy the stunning scenery leisurely, and take pictures for beautiful wild birds.
As a Tibet tour expert with over 10 years of Tibet tour running experience, we will customize a Tibet winter trip to your wish. If you have any questions about the Tibet winter tour, you can just feel free to contact us.