Tibet Autonomous Region is located in the southwest of China, having an area of 1.22 million square kilometers (the second largest province-level division of China). The mystical land, Tibet is behind the world's highest mountain range. The word ‘Tibet' is derived from the Sanskrit word‘Trivistapa' as heaven. Tibet is crowned as the ‘Roof of the World' due to the World’s Highest Plateau having a height of over 4000 m.
Tibet is home to some of the World's tallest Mountains and the Monasteries.Tibetan plateau is the source of water for major rivers.Lhasa, the capital city is a unique and spiritual city in a snow plateau. Potala Palace, Barkhor shopping center, Chakpori Hill and the three great monasteries of Tibet which is known as the City of Sunlight are the main attractions of Tibet.
You will require a Chinese visa and a Tibet Travel Permit which can be obtained in Kathmandu with the help of a travel company (Tibet via Nepal). The Tibet Travel Permit is different from a valid visa for China. The Tibet Travel Permit is required for all the travelers traveling to Tibet.It is required to book a guide for your entire trip and pre-arrange private transport for trips outside Lhasa. You will also require the additional permit to make your trip outside the Lhasa.
By Road: There are five main highways in Tibet, namely:
Sichuan-Tibet Highway – it runs between Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province, and Lhasa.
Qinghai-Tibet Highway – it runs between Xining, the capital city of Qinghai, to Lhasa.
Yunnan-Tibet Highway – it runs between Yunnan province and Tibet.
Xinjiang-Tibet Highway – it runs across boundless deserts, lofty and steep peaks.
The China-Nepal Highway – it is the only international highway in Tibet
By Air: A flight to Lhasa always requires a stopover in either China or Nepal. Lhasa Gonggar Airport is located about 98 kilometers (about 61 miles) to the south of Lhasa City. Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal is the only international airport operating the flight to Lhasa.
By Rail: The Gormo to Lhasa railway 1,142 kilometers (710 miles) serves as a link between mainland China and Tibet.
Unfortunately, it is not possible for you to get a visa and travel on your own due to China’s policy over Tibet tourism. Great Nepal Treks as an authorized travel company arrange all the permits, documents and the paper works for your travel to Tibet.
The ideal time is August and September, favorable time is from April to the beginning of November for the travel of Tibet. Due to the temperate climate of Lhasa, it is suitable to travel throughout the year. The sun radiation in Tibet is extremely strong. May, June and September are the primary tourist season in eastern Tibet.
The unit of currency is Chinese Yuan. The currencies of all nations are exchanged by The Bank of China which gets closed on the day of Saturday and Sunday. Travelers Cheque and Credit cards are difficult to be cashed outside Lhasa and banks.
Lhasa and Shigatse are facilitated with ATM counters but in small towns and remote places, it is difficult to find these facilities.
There are taxis, buses, minibuses, Pedicabs and jeeps to get around in Lhasa. You will also find cars and bikes on rent. The roads are not well developed in the remote areas which have made the taxis and buses travel impossible. But, the traveling is only possible by minibuses and jeeps.
Winter falls in November to March but not with much snow. In Summer(May to September) the days are warm with strong sunshine and cool nights.In summer, the days can be chilly at the higher elevation above 4000m. During spring and autumn you might get chance to experience the weather of all season within a single day including the probability of snowfall.
The average, highest and lowest annual temperature along with the maximum elevation of the major cities/towns in Tibet (in Celsius) is provided below:
Tibet (around 4500m) being one of the highest places on earth. Most travelers traveling from the lower altitude origin suffer from minor effects of altitude sickness.The symptoms like a headache, loss of appetite, and a tendency of having no energy in their bodies are seen as an inability to adjust to the high terrain. It is better to talk to your local physician about AMS pills like as Ibuprophen, Paracetamol, Acetazolamide (Diamox) will help combat altitude sickness. After arriving in Tibet you will walk slowly and take deep breaths. Your tour guide will be there to offer help and suggestions.
Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B are some of the recommended vaccines to all travelers who are visiting to Tibet. Visitors coming from the Yellow fever infected country like Africa or the Americas are recommended to vaccinate the Yellow-fever. The best solution is to have a physical checkup to the prescribed doctors.
As the visitors have to book the guide while taking the permit. So, the language variation is no problem at all and the front desk staff of the big hotels can communicate in English. The languages used in Tibet are Chinese, Tibetan, English and Nepali.
The voltage of 220V, 50HZelectricity is supplied in Tibet. The first thing to keep along with you is the transformer if you have electronic devices. Tibet hotels bathrooms have the access of the voltage of 220V and 110V is supplied in the hotel’s bathroom. Meanwhile, the voltage of 220V is supplied in the guest house.
The internet is accessible in limited areas like Lhasa, Shigatse, Gyantse and Tsedang where some café provides internet facilities. While the hotels in some city like Lhasa and Shigatse also provide internet facility to their customers.
Most of the cities and towns are accommodated with the hotels and guest houses. You will find accommodation ranging from the simple guest houses to five-star hotels in Lhasa.Lhasa accommodation ranges from the simple guest houses to five-star hotels. Shigatse, Gyantse and Tsedangare facilitated with three-star hotels. Moreover, now few government alliance classical grand hotels are also being operated in the big cities. Meanwhile, the guest houses are found in the remote areas.
Drinking water is the subject of matter to get concerned with. “Precaution is better than cure” so, it’s better to go with waterbottle of authorized brands on your hand. And if you wish to drink boiled water then remember to instruct the serviceman to boil it for 15-20minutes.
Yes, it is quiet safe in Tibet as most of the Tibetans are devout Buddhists.But the dogs are set free for which you should pay attention while traveling. We strongly recommend not to talk while walking at the night time.
It is better not to travel as the Chinese-Nepal Highway is often blocked by the heavy snow during the winter season.
The time zone of all the state of China is measured from Beijing, which is 8 hours ahead of GMT standard time zone. So, the Tibetan time is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), 2 hours and 15 minutes ahead of Nepalese standard time and 2 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Indian standard time.