Tibet Tour FAQ

 

We love questions, and have gotten all kinds over the past 10 years that we have been organizing tour to Tibet. Here is a list of some of the best and most popular questions clients often ask us. We update questions and answers very frequently with the latest information.

To help you the questions have been broken into 6 categories. If your questions is not answered below, drop us a quick note to get a fast response.

Tibet Health and Safety FAQ

  1. Yes. Traveling in Tibet is safe.

    Tibetans treat international travelers as guests in their home. Within Lhasa city there is a strong police presence that has been in effect since the 2008 unrest. Once outside the city it is more relaxed. 

  2. The answer varies for everyone. 

    It's common to have some symptoms of the high altitude sickness the first few days. Most of the symptoms will generally disappear through acclimatization in several hours to several days. You can find more information about high altitude sickness and its precautions on our website.

    However, we suggest people who suffered from high blood pressure and severe heart disease not travel to Tibet.

  3. Yes. In general, traveling with kids in Tibet will not be a problem. But please pay special attention to your kids, as you are at high altitude. 

  4. High altitude sickness is generally caused by acute exposure to low air pressure. It usually occurs around 3,000 m. (9,843 ft.) above sea level. Most regions in Tibet are at an altitude of over 3,000 m.  (9,843 ft.)

    Cold temperatures, high fever and extreme fatigue can all lead to altitude sickness. Find more information about the high altitude sickness

  5. First, listen to your body. A gradual ascent will allow your body to acclimatize to higher altitudes and the decreased oxygen supply. Do not take too much exercise per day and have more rest. 

    Medication can also help to prevent high altitude sickness. Mild symptoms can be treated with proper medication, including Diamox (Acetazolamide) and Honjingtian (Rhodiola Eoccinea).

  6. We advise the people with a serious cold, a high fever, acute or chronic pulmonary diseases, severe cardiovascular diseases, women with an advanced pregnancy and children under three years of age not travel to Tibet.

    If you are not sure about your health condition, ask your doctors before traveling to Tibet.

  7. First be talking with your guide. Getting adequate rest and administering oxygen can help alleviate some of the symptoms of altitude sickness. If this way does not relieve the symptoms, please evacuate immediately to a lower and safe altitude. Check the Tibet High Altitude Sickness Tips for more information. 

Tibet Food and Accommodation FAQ

  1. The cost is about RMB 50-90 or USD 10-15 per day for lunch and dinner in the major cities such as Lhasa, Shigatse or Nyingchi. In the remote areas of Tibet, the cost should be a little lower, which is about RMB 30-60 or USD 5-10 per day.

  2. Tent guesthouses are available at EBC (Everest Base Camp) and Namtso Lake.

    The tent guesthouses in EBC are rectangular, black tents made of Yak wool with a few beds and small tables inside. All beds are covered with Tibetan carpets and can be used as bench seating during the day. Solar cells are the only source of electricity, so it might be hard to find a place to charge your electronic devices. 

    At Namtso Tashi Do Peninsula, there are both tent guesthouses and cardboard guesthouses are available for your option, so far both are clean but cardboard guesthouse is recommended as it is much silent at the windy night.

  3. Yes. The hotels offered in the major cities such as Lhasa and Shigatse provide hot water for showers all the time. But in the remote areas such as EBC, some guesthouses have no hot showers and even no running water (especially in winter.).

  4. No. Your guide will help you find good vegetarian restaurants in cities like Lhasa and Shigatse. In small towns and villages, you can order vegetable noodles or dishes at local restaurants.

  5. Yes. All the guides we offered are local Tibetans. They will be very pleasant to offer suggestions on where to eat.

  6. Hotels are available in the major cities such as Lhasa, Shigatse. They are generally cleaner, have better service, private bathrooms and comfortable beds. Some of them offer breakfast and free internet or WIFI access.

    In the remote areas of Tibet, there are only guesthouses which are still under western standard, such as no private bathrooms or hot waters. We will always use selected hotels and guesthouses that have better conditions and services in your trip. 

    For more information you can check the Tibet Hotels we selected.

  7. You can ask for a private cook to make dishes for you during the trekking days. (Fee is excluded.) Please let us know if you have any requirements on food. So we can prepare the materials in advance.

    We advise you to bring some food such as cookies, chocolate and beef jerky. Your guide will also prepare some instant food for you during the trek.

  8. No. All the meals and lodging fees for your guides and drivers are included in your traveling fees.

  9. Noodles, fried rice and some other simple dishes can be bought in the small restaurants of some local tent guesthouses.

    We advise you to prepare some food, such as chocolate, beef jerky and cookies before traveling to EBC. 

  10. You can easily find clean restaurants offering Tibetan, Sichuan, Indian and western cuisines in the major cities of Tibet, such as Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, Nyintri, Tsedang and Zhangmu. We advise you to try some Tibet food in a local restaurant. The food choices in some remote areas of Tibet will be limited.

Tibet Train Travel FAQ

  1. The luggage limitation on Chinese trains is 20 kg. (44 lb.) for adults, 10 kg. (22 lb.) for children, and the maximum dimension of any item should not exceed 160 cm. (63 inch.).  

    You can also pay for a baggage ticket for the bags in excess of the official limits.

  2. Trains to Tibet are specially equipped for highland traveling. Each car is equipped with an oxygen-supply system to maintain the air pressure at a suitable level. Each seat is equipped with an oxygen mask which can be used by individual passengers if needed.

    All railway cars are equipped with double-layer glass which is covered with anti-ultraviolet radiation film.

    The staff on the trains to Tibet can all speak some English. Simple communication is ok.

  3. No. The train is pressurized, and oxygen is available in the cabins if needed. Therefore it is like traveling at a lower altitude. You will only begin to feel the affect of altitude after you arrive in Lhasa. So we advice all clients to stay in Lhasa city for 2 to 3 days.

    More information about the high altitude sickness.

  4. No. There is no shower facilities on the train.

    We suggest you wash before boarding on the train. We advise you bring wet wipes, tooth brush and bottled water. Hot water are offered on the train, and at the end of every car there are a few sinks for you to wash your face.

  5. Most of the beautiful landscapes along the route are in the North Tibet from Thangla Mountains to Lhasa. In the north plateau of Tibet, you will see the beautiful Tibetan plateau with the nomads groups, Kekexili Ntature Reserve, etc. Every train in / out of Lhasa will travel through this area.

    There are also 9 scenery view stations along the route for you to capture the landscape and take photos.

  6. We will express mail or deliver the train tickets to your hotel.  If you board the train in Chengdu, you can also stop by our office.

  7. Yes. Next to the soft sleeper car. They sell 3 meals a day for passengers. 

    Beyond meal time, you are required at least to buy a beer or a cup of tea to seat there. Food on the train is more than twice the cost in common cities. Also the quality is not equal to the price.

  8. 20 days. We advise travelers to purchase their tickets as soon as reservations open.

    Please note foreigners require a "Tibet Travel Permit" to board the train.

  9. Lhasa Train Station is located 15 km. (9 mi.) south of Lhasa. Usually it only takes around 20 minutes to get to the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple in downtown area. 

  10. Currently 20% of the total ticket fee will be lost if you cancel your train ticket.

  11. Yes. There are electric outlets in the corridors of each car.

    You need to buy adapters to match the sockets and plugs in China before boarding the train. Find more information about the plugs in China.

  12. We advise you to arrive at the train station 2 hours before your departure time. It usually will take some time waiting to fill out a health record form berfore boarding the train to Tibet.

  13. There are three types of seats on the trains to Tibet:

    • Soft Sleeper: The most deluxe seat on the train with 4 berths in each cabin equipped with its own TV. Soft sleeper is about $65 USD per ticket.
       
    • Hard Sleeper: There are 6 berths in each cabin where you will have your own bed.
       
    • Hard Seat: We advise this class of service as it is just a metal seat and not comfortable.

    There are no private baths on the train. There is a shared toilet. You can find them at the end of each carriage.

  14. During peak seasons, tickets to Tibet are difficult to acquire. It is not always possible to be purchased directly from the train station and often require paying a commission to a booking agent.

    This fee is included in the ticket with no profit added.

  15. Yes. There are 2 main oxygen supplying systems on the train to Tibet.

    • The whole cabin is equipped with a ‘dispersion-mode’ oxygen supply system, which spreading oxygen in the cars through the air-con system.
    • Private Oxygen masks are provided to every passenger on the train. You can find oxygen supply tude and mask on each cabin for emergency.

Tibet Transportation FAQ

  1. There're three major ways of getting into Tibet.
    1. By air: You can enter Tibet from Kathmandu of Nepal (international flight); or take a domestic flight from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xi'an, Chongqing, and Guangzhou.
    2. By train: You can choose to take the train from Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Xining or even Shanghai. Tibet Train ride will give you a very unique experience of traveling on the roof of the world and enjoying the wonderful landscapes.
    3. By Land cruiser: After 2008, the overland route from mainland China to Tibet is blocked, but you can still drive to Tibet through the Friendship Highway from Nepal. In addition, foreigners are not allowed to take public buses outside Lhasa City.
  2. Yes. It's quite easy to take a taxi in Lhasa city, it will charge about 10RMB within the city and more for the distant area. (The price is charged based on kilometers.)

    If you want to go out of the town, your guide will help bargain the price with the taxi drivers. 

  3. Toyota Land Cruiser, minivan or minibus are provided in your trip, depending on your group size and the road condition.

    If you only go to some popular destinations such as Namtso Lake, Shigatse and Nyingchi, we will suggest you use minivan because of the good road condition. It will cost less than the other two vehicles. 

    If your tour covers some places with bad road condition and long distance to reach, such as Mount Everest and Mount Kailash,  we will provide Toyota Land cruiser for your tour.

  4. There are 9 cities now have flights to/from Lhasa, including Chengdu, Beijing, Xi'an, Chongqing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Kunming, Diqing (Shangari-la) in China, and Kathmandu in Nepal. Please check our flight schedules page to find more information.

  5. Lhasa airport is located 68 km. (42 mi.) southwest of Lhasa. It is less than a 1 hour drive, on an expressway from Lhasa.

  6. There are five airports in different regions of Tibet, including Lhasa Gonga Airport, Chamdo Bangda Airport, Nyingchi Airport, Shigatse Airport and Ali Airport. 

    Shigatse and Nyingchi only have flights available from Chengdu. Chamdo and Ali Airports are generally for military use. 

  7. From November to March.

    Discounted flight to Tibet are usually available from many different airlines during the low season. You can double check with us when confirming your tour.

  8. Generally, there are two ways for you to get into Tibet from Nepal:

    • A direct flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa (normally available on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday). The price of the ticket is about $450 US.
    • The overland drive to Tibet, which generally will take 3 days on the road (from Kathmandu to Lhasa.). The overland drive poses a greater risk of getting Altitude sickness due to the extreme increase in elevation along the way.
  9. All the flight tickets we book are E- tickets. We will send you a PDF with flight information, along with your passport is all you need to check in.

  10. Luggage Type First Class Business Class Economy Class Baggage Size
    Carry-on Baggage 5 kg. (11 lb.)*2 pieces 5 kg. (11 lb.) 5 kg. (11 lb.)

    55 cm./20 cm./40 cm.(L/B/H)

    Checked-in Baggage 40 kg. (88 lb.) 30 kg. (66 lb.) 20 kg. (44 lb.) 100 cm./60 cm./40 cm.(L/B/H)
    • Passengers traveling with infants are allowed to check an additional 10 kg. (22 lb.)
    • Groups can share their baggage allowances if they check their baggage on the same flight.
    • For domestic flights in China: kids from ages 2 to 12 (exclude 12) cost 50% of the adult flight fare.
    • For International flights: kids tickets cost 75% of the adult fare.
    • Infants under 2 years cost 10% of the adult fare but are not allowed to occupy a separate seat.

Planning a Tibet Trip FAQ

  1. Tibet can be visited all year around!

    In fact, the Tibetan climate is not as harsh as many people imagine it to be. In general the most popular time to travel to Tibet is from April to the beginning of November, but different places have their best time to vist. You can find more information on when to visit Tibet

  2. No. Sorry this is not allowed by current Chinese policy.

    Foreigners who choose to travel to Tibet must go with an agency. They will help arrange your Tibet permits, local guide, hotels and more. This policy has been in place for some time. However after the political unrest of 2008, enforcement has been increased.

  3. Yes, definitely. All the guides offered are local Tibetans and licensed. They are knowledgeable and professional.

  4. Yes. Bicycle trips are available in Tibet. This activity is suited for groups, cycling clubs, and outdoor lovers etc. 

    The sample itinerary of a bicycle trip in Tibet ranges from Lhasa to Nepal, lasting 21 day. You can bring your own bicycle or we can provide it for you. 

  5. Highlights in Lhasa include the World Heritage Sites of the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Pilgrimage circuit Barkhor. Two largest Gelupa Monasteries, Drepung and Sera are located on the edge of the city.

  6. Yes, definitely.

    To book a trip to Tibet is very easy. All you need to do is to complete this inquiry, A Travel Advisor will reply to you within 24 hours and assist with your personalized itinerary. 

  7. Yes. Several ATMs in Lhasa and Shigatse accept foreign cards. The Bank of China accepts Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, American Express and Plus. The Agricultural Bank accepts Visa, Plus and Electron. 

    The maximum amount you can withdraw per transaction is Y 2,000 with the Bank of China and Y 1,000 with the Agricultural Bank.

    There with be no ATMs or banks in many remote areas of Tibet, so please carry some cash with you when visiting these places. Check the Money and Credit Card in Tibet for more information. 

  8. No.

    There is only one international flight in Lhasa, which is from Kathmandu, Nepal. Check Tibet flight schedule to see which major city in Mainland China has the flights to your country. You can fly to that city first and then transfer to the flight to Tibet. 

  9. Giving money or food to a pilgrim is considered an act of merit in Tibet. Donations of one Yuan or more are appropriate.

    However, we advice you not to give money to any young beggars in the street. They are professional beggars and you should wave them off as the Tibetan locals do. 

  10. Things that need to be on your packing list include:

    • A large packbag and a small bag.that can be used for daily activities.
    • Down garments (those with hats will better), woolen sweaters, warm gloves, wind-proof shoes and socks.
    • Sunglasses, sun hat and suntan lotion etc. Ladies should take the high SPF sun-cream.

    ​For more information, you can visit the detailed packing list in a trip to Tibet

  11. Yes. We can arrange 1 to 3 free days in your Tibet itinerary. But be aware that you cannot visit any attractions without a guide.

    If you want more than 3 free days in Tibet, that will be very difficult for you to get a Tibet Permit, since generally foreign travelers are not allowed to travel to Tibet without a licensed guide, transportation and hotel reservation.

  12. Yes, definitely. 

    All the licensed guides in your trip can speak fluent English. If you are not a native English speaker, you can also ask us to arrange the guide who can speak your native language for you. 

Tibet Travel Documents FAQ

  1. Only the copies of your passport are required to arrange the Tibet Permit and China visa invitation letter at Tibet Tourism Bureau office.

    The Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu issues a different type of visa called “Tibet group visa” which is valid in Tibet. Upon your arrival at Nepal, our Nepal travel partner will assist you to get the Group China visa along with your original passports. So please do not apply for any individual China visa in advance if you decide to enter Tibet from Nepal Side. 

  2. This answer changes frienquently and we advise you to Check our Tibet Permit Status Page.

    As of summer of 2013 it takes about (2) weeks or 17 days to apply for a permit.

  3. To apply for the Tibet Permit, your general personal information is required for TTB Permit, including your name, nationality, passport number, sex, date of birth and occupation (The copies of your passport and china visa):

    For different types of visa, additional documents may be required.

    1. Tourist (L) visa - no additional documents are required.
    2. Business (F) visa - a letter of recommendation from your company (with the official company seal).
    3. Employment/Work (Z) visa - a letter of recommendation from your company (with the official company seal) and a scanned copy of your work permit (issued by the government).
    4. Student (X) visa - a letter of recommendation from your school or university, with the school stamp (seal) and a scanned copy of the student ID card.
  4. Yes. You need a Tibet Permit and organized tour.

    A copy of your 'Home Return Permit'(回乡证) is required to arrange the permit. The application process takes about 3 weeks.

  5. It depends on the transportation you choose to enter Tibet.

    If you take the train into Lhasa, we will send you the copies of the Tibet permit and group list by email, You need print them out before boarding the train with your passports and train tickets.

    If you take the flight into Lhasa, you need provide us your hotel or home detailed address and contact phone number, we will mail or deliver the Tibet Permit to you.

  6. No. Tibet is a part of China, you only need a single entry visa if you enter Tibet from other mainland cities in China and return to China after the trip in Tibet.

  7. No. For any citizen of Hong Kong and Macau, you can travel to Tibet without a Tibet Permit.

  8. Almost. There are a few limitations on who can apply for the Tibet Permit.

    People with tourist (L), business (F), employment/work (Z) visa and student (X) visa have no issues to get the permit. Diplomats, journalists and government officials require arrangement by Foreign Affairs Office of Tibet Government. 

  9. Tibet Permits are issued for each and are only valid during these days.

  10. Yes.

    You need the double or multi-entry China visa. Nepal and China are two different countries.

    You may also choose to apply for a new individual China visa if your retun to China other than Tibet.

  11.   Cost for US Citizens  Cost for Other Citizens  Processing Time
    Ordinary $ 140 $ 50 5 Days
    Urgent $ 155 $ 65 3 Days
    Extreme Urgent $ 175 $ 85 1 Days
    Agency Processcing Fee:  $ 10

    Additional Information.

  12. Your passport and a copy of your Tibet Permit are required when boarding a train to Tibet. 

    • Military and PSB (Public Security Bureau) Permits are only needed for those trips going through sensitive areas or a border region; such as the trips to Mount. Kailash and Tibet Kashgar Overland Tour.
    • Alien's Travel Permits are required if you are going to Mount Everest Base Camp, Samye Monastery (southern part of Tibet), Nyinchi (Eastern part of Tibet) and Mount. Kailash, but these can be issued from the local PSB before you enter the region.