Tibet Travel Information

Getting There –

Our tours and treks are based on entry and exit from Kathmandu. However, you can also enter from parts of Mainland China, i.e. Beijing, Chengdu etc.

Air China flies between Kathmandu and Lhasa across the mighty Himalayas. This flight offers spectacular views of Mt. Everest, Makalu and many other Himalayan giants. All our trips, which begin by flying into Lhasa, can be joined from Kathmandu, Beijing, Hong Kong, Chengdu or Bangkok (via Chengdu). In the cities above you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. You will then have he chance to see the sights before being transferred to the airport the next day for your flight to Lhasa. Additional accommodation in Kathmandu, Beijing, Hong Kong, Bangkok or Chengdu can be arranged, please ask us for more detail.

Visa –

Travelers to Tibet require obtaining special Visa/Permit as well as a Chinese visa. Individual visa is not issued for the Tibet by the Chinese authorities. Those who arrive with a Chinese visa in Nepal, issued by the Chinese Embassy in their country, will not find it valid for entry into Tibet. The visa processing is initiated through authorized travel agency on individual passport or on a sheet of paper listing the members of the group depending on each group size. Original passport has to be submitted along with the Visa Application Letter (Invitation Letter) of Tibetan Tourism Authority to the Chinese Embassy in Nepal or abroad. The Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal issues Tibet visas only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (except Chinese holidays). In order to submit application to obtain the Tibet Visa, the Visa Approval document (issued by Tibet Travel Bureau) is essential. Therefore one must go through registered Travel Agency as the individulas can not apply or obtain the group visa themselves.

How to apply for a Tibet Entry Permit?
To get Tibet travel permit you need to have the following passport information and should apply at least 2 weeks before trip departure for visa procedure.

  1. Name in full ( as in passport)
  2. Sex/gender
  3. Nationality
  4. Passport number
  5. Date of birth
  6. Occupation

Altitude Sickness –

Those with chronic health problems should consult a doctor before making travel plans. Most people visiting Tibet rarely suffer more than mild discomfort before getting acclimatized. Suggested remedial measures:

a. Take plenty of rest
b. Refrain from physically exhausting activities
c. Drink plenty of water
d. Do not expose yourself to direct strong winds particularly your head when atop a pass
e. Take diamox against altitude sickness

Insurance –

All travellers’ visiting Tibet are strongly recommended to provide for their own trip insurance at home that adequately covers for medical, emergency rescue expenses, trip cancellations or any other eventual mishaps.

All of our staffs on field trips are adequately insured by the company that covers for medical assistance, accidents or deaths.

Clothing & Accessories –

Warm clothing is required throughout but more specifically from October to April. In general dressing in layers is recommended. Few change of clothes such as shirt, sweater, jacket & cotton inner linings with tops & bottoms, comfortable walking shoes, pair of pants should suffix. During the month of October to April more heavy woollen or down clothing & boots will be required.

Other recommended accessories – water bottle, water purification tabs, chapstick, suntan lotion, utility knife, flash light, battery operated shavers, dusk mask or bandana, medicine for common colds, headache, fever, stomach disorders & diamox for altitude sickness. A good Tibet guidebook by Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide & a route map is strongly recommended.

Customs –

There is no prohibition on still & video cameras, tape recorders or any other electronic equipment for personal use as long as they are declared in the customs declaration form at the point of entry. Export of art objects dating back prior to 1959 are prohibited & may be seized.

Tibet Accomodation –

Tibet does not have any international standard deluxe hotels except for the Lhasa Hotel (formerly Holiday Inn Hotel). However, in the last 3-5 years many tourist class hotels have sprung up in bigger cities such as Lhasa, Gyangtse & Shigatse that offer quality accommodations. In the smaller towns, accommodation facilities are still quite basic. And during the peak holiday seasons in July & August there is often difficulty in getting rooms. We categorize our tours into 3 groups – deluxe, standard & budget based on the available hotels.

Best Time to Visit Tibet –

Despite the high altitude of the Tibetan Plateau, the daytime temperatures are actually quite mild. Between April and November the average temperature ranges form 15-25 degrees Celsius and the skies are generally clear and blue. From July to August though there can be the odd shower during the day. The nights, however, can be very cold and temperatures can drop below 0 degrees Celsius. During the day a light shirt or jumper and lightweight pants will be suitable, but a warm fleece or down jacket is recommended for the evenings.

The best time of year for overland tours in Tibet is from April to November and for treks and Mt. Kailash tour from April to the beginning of October.

Food & Drinks –

Tibet has only a handful of towns, and Tibetan cuisine is not exactly the most varied in the world. It is handy to carry, anything that can be brewed with hot water. Instant coffee, drinking chocolate, tea (bags), soup cubes, drink power and powered milk, salami, fruits, breads, instant noodles, vgemite, nuts and raisins, chocolate, dry foods and biscuits.

Currency –

Renmbi, the people’s money used by millions of Chinese everyday, circulates in notes of 1,2,5 10 and 50 Yuan; 1,2 and 5 jiao; 1,2 and 5 fen. There are also coins for 1,2 and 5 fen. With the Chinese Currency, Renminbi; one Yuan is divided into 10 Jiao; into 10 fen.

Weather –

Tibet above lies 3,000m. it not surprisingly has a harsh climate. However, there are at least two distinct climatic regions. One of which compromises the high plateau North and West of the Yarlung Tsang Po valley and South of the Kun Lun and Altun Shan mountain ( some 75% of the land area of Tibet) & other, the Yarlung Tsang Po & associated valleys (including Lhasa), Which are considerably lower, & contain all of Tibet’s main population centers.

The first region is largely uninhabited and in winter is dry unbelievably cold. In summer, rain and snowstorms are common. Especially in the wild central section. The second region, has a rather different climate. Tibet region in summer (from June to September) there is plenty of sunshine & blue skies, but the monsoon often makes its way across the Himalayas (Particularly in the south-east & some rain & cold must be expected. The day time temperature comfortable (about 20 to 25 C. in Lhasa and 18 C. in Mt. Kailash and the night are rather cold. In spring and Autumn (April/May, October ) the weather is generally dry and clear, maximum temperatures around 17-22 in Lhasa and 10-16 C. in Kailash.

Cancellation –

50% of the tour cost will be charged as cancellation the tour within 7 days prior to the start of the tour (for booking from outside of Kathmandu.) & USD 100.00 will be charged ( for booking within Kathmandu). No refund, thereafter, also for no-shows, Delay arrivals or whatsoever reasons.

Risk & Liability –

Mountain Tribes Shall always put its all efforts in making your journey smooth and pleasant. However, as be responsible for any charge of cancellation of programmes due to any unavoidable circumstances such as road blockade, flood, snow, unrest, cancellation of flight, delay arrivals, sickness or accidents. Any extra cost incurring there shall be borne by the clients. So, it is most advisable that clients to have full insurance against medical and personal accident risks, a cancellation insurance is also most advise from your home country.

Do’s and Don’ts when you are travelling in Tibet

  1. Unless you are invited as a guest to a tent or house, you are to remember not to step on the threshold of the door. When calling someone, you will add “La” behind his or her name to show respect. When you are asked by the host to take a seat, you should sit cross-legged and don’t stretch your legs with your feet pointing to the other. If someone gives you gifts, you should receive with both hands. When presenting gifts to someone, you’ll bend your waist and lift up the gifts in both hands over your head to show respect. When you are offering tea, wine and cigarettes to someone, you are to offer them with both hands and don’t let your finger into the cup.
  2. When the host proposes a toast, the guest should use the tip of his ring finger to dip a little to sprinkle in the air, mid-air and to the ground for three times as a sign of offer to heaven, earth and ancestors. After that, you should take a sip of wine, the host will refill it, you take another sip and your host will refill it the second time. A succession of this action will be repeated for three times till you are asked to bottom up the whole glass.
  3. Tibetans don’t eat horse, dog and donkey, in some areas not even fish. We should respect their tradition.
  4. Don’t clap your hand or spit behind Tibetans, for these behaviors will be considered extremely impolite.
  5. Drawing out tongues and both palms cupping together are signs of respect.
  6. When paying a visit to a temple or a monastery don’t smoke inside or touch the images and the religious equipments and don’t take pictures inside a temple or monastery. Remember to walk around a temple in clockwise with the exception of Bon monasteries.
  7. At encounters of wayside stupas, temples, Mani stone piles etc, you must walk around them in clockwise with the exception of the Bon followers who go anti-clockwise.
  8. Vultures are considered holy birds in Tibetan people’s hearts, so don’t drive them away and hurt them. If you see certain yaks or sheep with red, green or yellow ribbons, don’t disturb them.

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