Tibet Native Tours & Travels

Travel with Native Tibetan

Tibet Travel General FAQs

General FAQs

Can I travel to Tibet by myself?

Independent travel to Tibet has been prohibited since 2008. However, Tibet is able to welcome tour groups who travel under the supervision of local tour guides. To visit Tibet, you need a Tibet Travel Permit which can be arranged through your tour operator.

How do I get a Tibet Travel Permit?

Although we do not issue travel permits, we apply for permits on behalf of your group. Thus, your first step towards a Tibet Travel Permit (TTP) is to contact us

When is the best time to visit Tibet?

Broadly speaking, the weather is at its most clement from April to October. Everest tours are best in May, June, September and the first week or two of October. The clear skies during these months offer the best chance to obtain a clear view of the mountain from Everest Base Camp.

Mount Kailash trekking is also popular, and for this expedition, May to July and September offers the best weather.

To see local festivals, August is the month with the most interesting opportunities.

However, the winter season is quieter and rates are lower; there is also much activity around the monasteries and temples during the winter months, so it is a great time to experience local culture.

What is the peak tourist season?

The clement weather during the months of May to September draws the greatest number of tourists hoping to experience Tibet travel. July and August are rainy, but most rain falls overnight. August has the greatest number of festivals and traditional cultural activities.

High season begins on the 1st of June and continues till the end of October. There is a slightly quieter tourist season from the beginning of March to the end of May with a final flurry of activity in November. The winter months spanning the period from the beginning of November to the end of February is regarded as off-peak season.

If you hope to avoid crowds, you should time your holiday to avoid early May and early October as well as the last week of January and the first week of February. That’s because Tibet travel is popular with tourists from China at these times. Securing travel and accommodation during these peak times can be difficult, and rates will be at their highest.

Air, road or rail: which is the best way to enter Tibet?

Tibet flights: You can fly from Kathmandu in Nepal, but this is an expensive option. Flights from China are cheaper and are available from most major cities. We can help you to structure your itinerary to get the cheapest flights.

Tibet trains: A train journey from China into Tibet is cost-effective and exciting. The shortest train journey is from Xining to Lhasa. We highly recommend this mode of travel for budget travellers and for those who want to enjoy the route into Tibet.

Tibet road travel: This option is not highly recommended since mountain passes are often closed and there are limited routes you can use. However, if you would like to explore this option, we can advise you as to the routes and how reliably they will be passable at the time of your visit.

What are the best gateway cities from which to begin my Tibet expedition?

Kathmandu is an easy option, but it is also the costliest. From China, you have both rail and air travel options. The most economical option is to take a 24-hour train journey from Xining. The journey is an experience in itself, and you will have travelled the highest railway in all the world with magnificent views of the Thangula mountain range.

How do I go about booking a Tibet tour?

We would love to help you plan your Tibet tour, so you are welcome to contact us for options that will match your expectations. However, we do offer several tour group options:

  • Small group tours of ten people or less allow for a very personal experience at extremely affordable rates.
  • Customized Tibet tours for groups can be arranged on request. This option is best for those who have clear ideas as to what they want to do and see in Tibet.
  • Private Package Tours are also customized to your needs, but are generally for smaller groups seeking a highly luxurious experience.

Can I go exploring on my own?

Regretfully, you are not permitted to travel in Tibet on your own. Your tour guide must accompany you. However, you will find that having a local Tibetan guide adds to your experience.

What currencies and cards can I use in Tibet?

The Chinese Yuan, also known as the RengMingBi (RMB) is the currency to use in Tibet. You can cash travellers’ cheques or draw money from your credit card at branches of the Bank of China.

You can also use the China Constructional Bank, but banking charges are higher and are levied per transaction rather than being based on the value of the transaction.

ATMs are easy to find in the largest cities, and you can use your cards there provided you have made the appropriate arrangements with your bank prior to travelling.

Although mainstream hotels and resorts accept international credit cards, there are no ATMS or credit card facilities in smaller villages and rural areas, so you will need to draw cash before leaving Lhasa or other major cities like Tsedang and Shigatse.

What is the local custom regarding beggars?

Religious beggars are common, but they will not importune you. However, giving them a small sum (one Yuan is average) is considered to be meritorious. If, on the other hand, you are accosted by regular street beggars, you should wave them away. Professional begging is frowned upon by locals.

What should I bring along?

Because of the altitude, sunburn is a very real danger. You should therefore pack a high SPF sunscreen. The light intensity is high, and you will need sunglasses, or at the very least, a hat with a wide brim to shade your eyes.

The dry air also causes skin to dry out quite quickly, so a good moisturizer will protect you from dry, chapped skin.

Because we realize that preparing for Tibet’s unique conditions can be difficult for those who are unfamiliar with the region, we assist our clients by providing a packing list detailing all the essentials for your trip.

What local manners and customs should I be aware of?

Although basic good manners go a long way, you should be cautious not to offend locals. Special concerns you should be aware of include:

  • Never photograph people without asking them if you may do so.
  • Avoid political discussions.
  • Dress neatly and remove any headgear before entering temples.
  • Never touch ritual offerings or Buddha statues at religious sites.
  • Avoid public demonstrations of affection such as kissing or hugging.
  • Never step over a person’s feet, cooking gear or drinking cup.

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