Tibet Tours - FAQ

[01] How to get into Tibet?

By air, there are several routes are available now: Beijing-Lhasa, Shanghai-Lhasa, Chengdu -Lhasa, Xi'an-Lhasa, Xining-Lhasa, Guangzhou-Lhasa, Chongqing-Lhasa, Kathmandu-Lhasa. By land, the possible routes are Qinghai-Lhasa, Sichuan-Lhasa, Yunnan-Lhasa, and Kathmandu-Lhasa. However, land transportation takes much longer time, and can be very tough especially the Sichuan-Lhasa route.

[02] Are independent tours allowed in Tibet?

Independent tour is prohibited in Tibet. You should take part in an organized group or have the local travel operator arrange it for you.

[03] What do you suggest we bring things while traveling in Tibet?

There are many items that visitors are recommended to take with them when they travel to Tibet. A personal medical kit, water bottle, sunglasses, sunblock, and a scarf or mask for blocking dust. If you are a photography lover, do not forget your camera, film, and batteries, or you will never forgive yourself. For clothing, we suggest casual attire style and layered clothing. In day time you may need only a T-shirt or at most a jacket, but at night you may need a coat. Down coats are necessary if you go beyond Lhasa and Shigatse to remote areas, the Everest Camp, or further to Mt. Kailash.

[04] If I travel via Nepal to Tibet, are there any special requirements for a China visa?

Before coming to Lhasa from Katmandu, you must get a Chinese visa from Katmandu because whether or not you've already got the visa in your country, you must get a visa in Katmandu, which is regulated in an official memo between China and Nepal. The fastest way is that we send the Invitation Letter to Katmandu at least one day prior to your arrival in Katmandu, then you can apply for China Visa on the second day easily, which will take around 1-2 days. Chinese Visa fees: US$ 50.00 payable in cash upon arrival in Katmandu [US$ 70.00 for US Citizens]. The Chinese embassy in Katmandu only opens for visa applications on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00 am to 11:30 am. The application will take at least one working day, please confirm your schedule to fit the visa application.

[05] What’s the procedure to get a China visa in Katmandu?

Step 1: After you book the tour with us, provide us with a copy of your passport information and copies of your passport.
Step 2: We will apply for the ‘Visa Invitation Letter’ from the Tibet Tourism Bureau, after we get it, we will fax it to our Nepal business partner before you arrive in Katmandu.
Step 3: After your arrival in Katmandu, our Nepal business partners pick you up at your hotel, and then go to the Chinese Embassy together to apply for a Chinese Visa. With the ‘Visa Invitation Letter’, you can get your Chinese Visa easily.

[06] What is Tibet Travel Permit?

Tibet Travel Permit is the official document that allows foreign travelers to enter Tibet. It is granted by the Tibet Tourism Bureau. A Tibet Travel Permit is also called Tibet Entry Permit or TTB permit.

[07] What do I need to do to obtain the Tibet Travel Permit?

You will need to provide us with high-quality scanned copies of your passport and China visa, and the following information as well. Then we can help you get the Tibet Travel Permit.

  • Full name
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Passport number
  • Nationality

[08] Can I get the Tibet Travel Permit easily?

Travelers can get the Tibet Travel Permit easily through a travel agency. This does not apply to diplomats, journalists, and government officials who should travel to Tibet under the arrangement by the Foreign Affairs Office of the Tibet Government.

[09] When do I need to apply for the Tibet travel Permit?

You need to apply for the travel permit at least 10 days prior to your entry date, which means you should prepare all the information and documents in hand before this period of time.

[10] How can you send the permit to me, or how can I receive it?

a. If your last stop before entering Tibet is in China mainland, we can mail express the travel permit to the place you will be staying, e.g. your home address, postal code if you work and live in China, or the hotel name, address, postal code if you are traveling in China. You will receive an EMS (Express Mail Service) envelope in which the permit is put.
b. If you only have a flight connection in one certain city, we have someone come to the airport to pass you the permit in person.

[11] What other currency is acceptable in Tibet rather than Chinese currency?

The legal tender in Tibet is Renminbi (RMB). Foreign currencies cannot be used directly. Foreign currencies may be converted into RMB at all banks, bank branches, or hotels at the exchange rate quoted on the foreign exchange market on the day. The Bank of China in Tibet is the bank that specializes in handling money exchange.

[12] Can I draw cash from the local banks in Tibet?

Yes, but only the Bank of China in Lhasa has this function. However, the ATM there doesn't always work properly. So we suggest you bring some cash with you.

[13] Is it easy to find an ATM in Tibet?

You won't have any problems finding an ATM in Lhasa and Shigatse, although you probably won't be able to find one in remote areas or smaller towns. However, this situation is changing, and ATMs are gradually becoming more widespread.

[14] What credit cards are accepted in Tibet?

Most of the internationally accepted credit cards are usable in Lhasa. They include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diner's Club, and the JCB card of Japan. Credit cards are accepted only in large shopping stores. Credit card symbols are displayed in the visible place in shops and hotels indicating credit cards are accepted.

[15] What should I keep in mind when I contact the Tibetans?

Tibetan people are very kind and hospitable; you can feel free to talk with them. But there are some rulers you should go by:
    * Do not photo them without permission, please show respect to them!
    * Do not talk about sensitive topics like politics or religious matters!
    * Do not eat dogs, donkeys, or horses in Tibet!

[16] How bad is Altitude Sickness in Tibet, and what can I do to avoid, or treat it?

Known as the Roof of the World, Tibet is one of the highest places on earth. Due to Tibet's high altitudes, many visitors from low-altitude areas suffer from altitude sickness. Most people only suffer minor effects of altitude sickness, which include headaches, loss of appetite, and a tendency to have no energy until their bodies adjust to the high terrain. This adjustment can take anywhere from a few hours, and in rare cases, a few days. If visitors do some simple preparations before going to Tibet, most of the symptoms of altitude sickness can be avoided. Being healthy and in good shape before you arrive in Tibet will help greatly. It is also recommended that you talk to your local physician about AMS pills to help combat altitude sickness. Once arriving in Tibet, walk slowly and take deep breaths. Your tour guide will be there to offer help and suggestions.

[17] What medicines should I bring for the high altitude problem in case?

Try to bring the following medicines that will be very useful during your travel: cold and flu tablets, throat lozenges, nasal decongestants, Aspirin, and Multivitamins. Or you can ask your local doctor for suggestions.

[18] What kind of vehicles is available for getting around Tibet?

In Lhasa, there are many options for getting around, such as taxis, buses, minibusses, pedicabs, and jeeps. There are also cars and bikes for rent. In more remote areas, the road conditions are not very well developed, making traveling by taxi and bus impossible. In this instance, minibusses and jeeps are the only options.

[19] What cuisine options are there in Tibet? Are there other options besides only local foods?

Due to the harsh living environment of Tibet, the traditional Tibetan food is quite different from the cuisine found in other parts of the world, and many visitors do not like it when they try it for the first time. Due to its uniqueness, it is highly recommended that visitors at least sample the local foods. There are many kinds of foods available in Tibet's cities. Chinese food, western food, and Nepali foods can be found. In remote towns and areas, choices are limited. Chinese food or Sichuan cuisine is probably the best choice.

[20] Will there be problems with the language barrier?

Visitors to Tibet do not need to worry about the language barrier at all. Each visitor will have an English-speaking tour guide, and most of the desk staff in the larger hotels can speak some English. The three main languages used in Tibet are Chinese, Tibetan, and English. If you are an individual traveler, you will find many people who can speak these three languages in Tibet's most popular tourist places.

[21] What’s the weather like in Tibet?

Lhasa - Shigatse - Lhatse - Tingri - Nylam: the Friendship highway is basically in good condition year around. But from December to February, the thawed road could make some trouble. Try to avoid August - landslides could happen in the rainy season.
Mt. Everest Area: Early May and early October are the best time to visit Mt. Everest. Due to the clear weather, you have a great chance to see Mt. Everest's true face (if you are lucky). From December to February, you'd better not go to this area because it is too cold - except for real adventurous people.
Ali (Mt. Kailash): Even without climate restrictions, this area is already inhospitable. Big rain and snow could make the journey worse. However, for those determined tourists, the appropriate time is May, June, July, September, and October.
Eastern Tibet: Don't go to this area in July or August (the rainy season) because the rain could ruin the road, and make terrible landslides. In winter, the road could be frozen.
Northern Tibet: With an average altitude of 4,500m, this area offers very limited time for tourists. Summer (July to August) is the prime time to enjoy the great plain in northern Tibet.

[23] Do I need a double/multi-entry visa if I come to Tibet from China mainland and return to China mainland after the trip?

No, because Tibet is a part of China, if enter Tibet from other cities in China mainland and after the trip in Tibet, get back to China mainland again, only a single entry visa is required.
For example:
Beijing - Tibet - Shanghai
For this, a single entry visa is okay.

[24] What are accommodations like in Tibet?

There are many hotels in the major cities or towns of Tibet, though four and five-star hotels are quite limited. These hotels have central heating which is used in winter but no cooling is available in summer. The facilities and service standards may not be as you would expect from a hotel with this grade in other parts of the world. In the smaller towns in Tibet, star-graded hotels are not available, and in many places only budget guesthouses are available.

[25] Can you explain what the budget guesthouse, comfortable hotel, and best available hotel are?

One thing you should take to mind is that hotels in Tibet concerning its facility and service are not what you imagine. That is, not unlike hotels in big cities in China and other cities abroad. The budget guesthouse has a few kinds. One is the twin room with or without an attached bathroom. The other is triple, four-bed rooms, and more beds rooms which all have no private bathrooms in them. The Former can be easily found in Lhasa and Shigatse, while the later one is often a choice in remote areas in Tibet. Comfortable hotels on our website refer to middle-class hotels, or standard hotels regarding their location, price, or comprehensive service ability. They are usually three-star hotels or comparatively good 2-star hotels. The best available hotels are the 4-star hotels. 4-star hotels can only be reached in Lhasa. The best available hotels in the region out of Lhasa are generally 3-star hotels and in some places hotels with no stars, but comparatively in good condition.

[26] What are the hotel rooms like in hotels in Tibet?

Often, in a single room, there are two beds which we call a twin-sharing room. Some hotels have queen bedrooms and some even have triple rooms. But the number of queen bed rooms and triple is very limited. Twin-sharing room with two beds inside is commonly used in Tibet.

[27] Does the hotel room have access to the Internet?

Some hotel rooms, though not all, in Lhasa, have access to the internet, so you should inquiry your travel advisor for accurate information before making a decision. But some hotel has a business center where you can use internet service.

[28] Is there 24-hour hot water running?

Due to basic conditions in Tibet, sometimes with poor pressure, the water pressure may be weak and water sometimes is not hot but just warm. In remote areas, the condition can be even worse.

[29] Can you buy an e-ticket for me?

Yes. Right now, many air companies in China are selling e-tickets for travelers. It is very convenient to use. Your travel agent should help you to buy the ticket from the ticket office, but you do not need to hold the paper ticket. All you have to do is to carry your passport and remember the flight number which will be told after your travel advisor bought the e-ticket.
[30] Do I need a health report when I travel by train to Tibet?
All travelers are required to complete a health report on the train to Tibet.

[31] Are all Tibetans Buddhists?

Although Tibetan Buddhism has become the main religious belief of local Tibetans, not all Tibetans believe in Buddhism. The Tibetan Buddhist followers explore and try to connect the relationship between humankind and Buddha, and all issues concerning human life and society, with the eventual attainment of enlightenment. This is the mode of thinking that guides their behavior and actions and bears the inevitable stamp of Tibetan Buddhism. Some scholars note that the Bon religion also occupies an important position within the religious beliefs of the masses. On the one hand, Tibetan Buddhism has been formed through long-term struggle and blending of Buddhism and Bon; on the other, Bon still has great influence in some remote areas of Tibet.

[32] How to book a Tibet tour?

If you have decided to take the Tibet tour, you should pay us 10-20% of the tour costs as a deposit, the rest can be transferred to us before your start or paid once your arrival in China. You will get a detailed tour confirmation from us.