Tibet Travel FAQ
Here are some of the most prominent FAQs on travel in Tibet. With years of expertise in arranging Tibet tours in Tibet autonomous region of China. We can clearly tell there are lots of conflicting and outdated Tibet travel information out there in the virtual world. Many are created by the non-local Web owner, who does not ha a direct experience in co-ordinate or hosting a travelers in it Tibet.
This is why we have create this FAQs on travel in Tibet for travelers to have safe travel in Tibet. We have try to answer most of the Tibet travel questions base on the regulations by Tibet Tourism Bureau.
There are two main gateways to Tibet; Nepal or from other parts of China.
Coming from Nepal. At the time of writing this Sino-Nepal border has been closed since the Nepal Earthquake. As of now the only possible means for coming to Tibet by flight from Nepal. Remember you must do the group visa from Chinese Embassy in Nepal. Please read more about coming to Tibet from Nepal here
If you are coming in from other parts of China. you can either choose to take a flight or take a train to Tibet. There are flights to Tibet from all the major cities in China. But remember this, You will need an original Tibet travel permit in hand while boarding the plane. So you must stay a night in a hotel your Tibet travel agency can send you to permit to or if you are taking layover flight, we can send someone in Chengdu Airport to deliver you your permit. Please read more about coming to Tibet from China.
For all the international Visitors, it is mandatory to have Tibet Travel Permit to visit Tibet. Only local Tibet travel agency can obtain all the different permits from Tibet tourism Bureau and Other related Government Agency.
If you are taking the flight to Lhasa. Chengdu is the easiest gateway as you will need an original Tibet travel permit to broad into flight and most travel agency can send some one in Chengdu Airport to deliver the permit at the airport. If you are stay an over night else where in china it would not ba e a problem. Chengdu also has most number of flight to Lhasa per day.
If you are taking train to Lhasa. Xining is the easiest gate way to Lhasa. We would recommend you taking a night or two in Xining to acclimatize and then taking train to Lhasa. In Xining all the train to Main land to Tibet merge into Qinghai-Tibet railway. So the city also has most number of train to Lhasa each day.
During your stay in Lhasa, you can take a public transportation. During all our budget tour, we don’t usually use private vehicle in Lhasa. You can use the Lhasa city transportation and the Lhasa Airport shutter bus service. Beside this you will have to travel in the private vehicle.
Yes, there are many website and travelogue writing about the overland journey from Qinghai to Lhasa in the public bus. but those are gone by era. now you must have a private vehicle hired.
The only option for the budget travelers is to join a group tour. please check our Tibet group tour for budget travelers here
Booking Tibet tour with us is relatively easy. following are you book with us:
- Finalize the tour plans and itineraries.
- Finalize the price
- Sign tour contact after reading our booking terms and condition
- Sending us a scan copy of you Permit and Visa
No. in fact it is very easy. We understand they are lot of outdated and fictitious information online. All you will need to do is to find a good travel agency, have some mail exchange with them deciding on the price and tour route.
It all take a good travel agency to make the tour arrangement very easy. We are a local Tibetan travel agency and we arrange all the service for an international travel visiting Tibet.
Tibet is a part of China, like else where in other part of Poeple’s Republic of China. We use RMB in Tibet. You can exchange foreign currency with the local banks and all the major travel agency can exchange it for you.
Yes, You can withdraw money locals banks and ATM machines. Please ask your guide for an convenient location when ever you will need to. In the cities of Lhasa, Shigatse, and Tsedang, ATMs can be found easily. But in remote villages and Towns, they might be less frequent and most of time machines would not be functioning.
Yet. majority of business in Tibet do Accept all the major credit cards.
In Tibet Religious beggars like people prostrating around the Bakhor street are accepted by society in Tibet. Donating money or food to pilgrim brings you great merit. But they are many child beggars. Please do not give them any dime. Our Government provide free and compulsory educations and annua rations for children attending the school. Many of their do not see the prospect education over the small income made by their children begging in street. Giving money to these young beggars discourages their own self-reliance.
Tibet’s altitude and atmosphere give clear passage for solar radiation strike with intense radiation. It’s very frequent to get sun burnt, so bring sunscreen with a high SPF value, a good quality pair of sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. Calamine lotion is great for a mild sunburn. Having a good moisturizer is also helpful as the dry air may cause your lips and the tissue in your nostrils to crack.
Detailed Packing List can be found in the logistic guideline that we will send you before your trip.
Local Tibetan are very kind and friendly, but there are some things that you need to be aware of:
· Please do not take photos of anyone without their permission; always ask permission first!
· Please do not discuss sensitive topics like political matters!
· Please do not wear hats or caps when you enter a chapel!
· Please do wear decend clothes during your visit to monastery, chapel and other holy places!
· Please do not touch Buddha statues or ritual offerings inside of a monastery!
· Please do not kiss or hug in public places, especially in monasteries!
· Please do not step across someone’s feet, cups or cooking gears!
No. Taking train to Tibet does not really help you to get proper acclimatization along the journey, as the train compartments are build high altitude travel. The build in pressurizer and oxygen supply systems.
More over, if passenger were not able to get sleep in the train, there would be tried on arrival and this increase in risk of high altitude sickness.
Many travel website does suggest travelers to take the flight in to Tibet and take the train for way out.
We suggest our every travelers to at least spend two days in Lhasa, before heading to highers altitude.
Staying in Xining for a night or two would be a good move to acclimtization. Xining is situated at 2250m and Lhasa is at 3600m.
For all the train ticket we book for the Client. We cannot refund Tibet travel ticket within two hours of departure or after issuing the paper ticket . Client’s are responsible for going to the Train station to have it canceled.
following are the China Train Cancellation fees.
Cancel before more then 15 days: Non
15 days to 48 hrs: 5% of the total train price
48hrs to 24 hrs: 10% of the total train price
Within 24hrs: 20% of the total train price
Yes, you cant book your flight ticket to Tibet from your home country. Tibet flight can only be purchase with domestic jurisdiction of China. When you will try, you will be ask to submit the copy of your Tibet travel permit, which we will be only able to get at the last week before your arrival in Tibet.
Any travel agency in China, including us can help booking your flight ticket.
If you fly to Tibet from China, then you should have original copy of your Tibet Travel permit. We will post the permit to your hotel in China, if you are staying any way in China before coming to Tibet. If you are taking transits any where, we would have some one deliver your permit to the Airport.
If you are flying to Tibet from Kathmandu, you will board flight with out permit and your guide will have permit in Hand waiting for your arrival at the Airport in Lhasa.
We do E-ticket. we will send you the copy of e ticket and you will get your boarding pass from the Airport. providing your passport to them
During the low season we might can find you discount for your flight to Tibet. The low season is from November to March. But only if your would give us confirmation to book your ticket two months prior to the travel date.
During the high season which is from April to October, there is a little changes for us to find you the discount as it is a peak season and there are millions of domestic tourist making it to Tibet.
Above stated points are base on the our experiences, but we will know for sure when we book your ticket.
The only International flight to Lhasa, Tibet is from Kathamandu in Nepal. beside this all the flight to Tibet are domestic flight in China. So it is either you fly to Kathmandu and flight to Lhasa or Fly any where in China and then take flight to Tibet.
The permit policy is different in both case. please read for detail about Tibet entry permit.
|Luggage type||First Class||Business Class||Economic Class||Baggage size|
|Carry-on baggage||5kg * 2 pieces||5kg||5kg||55cm/20cm/40cm(L/B/H)|
The Maximum Weight for carry in baggage is 5Kg, first class passengers can have 2 carry bag but the passengers in other class can have on one. there will be the extra charge for access weight.
The maximum weight for check in baggage is 40 Kg for the passenger in first class, 30 Kg for passengers in business class, and 20 Kg for passenger in Economic Class. Passenger traveling with infant are allowed with extra 10 Kg.
Yes, there are increasing number of international tourist flying to Nyintri first and then proceed with the other places.
Currently there are five airports in Tibet Autonomous region. following are;
- Lhasa Gonga Airport
- Nyintri (Linzhi) Airport
- Shigatse airport
- Chamdo Bangda Airport
- Ali Airport ( Near mount Kailash)
Chamdo, Nyintri and Lhasa Airport has regular flights from Chengdu. For flight to other airports, you will need to take a flight from Lhasa.
please write to us to check if there is any changes in the above information
For the domestic flights, the fare for children is half for children from two years of age to twelve years of age. For international flights, the cost for children’s flight fare is seventy five percentage of that is for the adult. For infant child the cost for the flight fare is ten percentage of the adult fare, but child is not allow to occupy a seat.
The high altitude sickness is a symptoms cause by the lesser amount of oxygen in High Altitude.
Remember this, the law of gravity pulls every compound to the surface of earth, including air. That is why the density of air (thickness of air ) is at maximum at the sea level. At which majority of humans are accustom to. So if you go to the highers places like in Tibetan plateau.
The main course of high altitude is our body demand equal amounts of oxygen as it is accustom to. due to lack of it in atmosphere, body response which is the main cause of high altitude sickness.
Following are symptoms of high altitude sickness, categories into two; mild and severe
In most case symptoms are mild, followings are the symptoms of mild to moderate high altitude sickness.
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- head ache
- Difficulty in Sleeping
- loss in appetite
- Rapid pulse
- shortness in breath with exertion
Following are the symptoms which may occur with more severe altitude sickness
- Blue color of skin
- chest tightness or congestion
- cough or coughing out blood
- Decrease consciousness or withdrawal from social interaction
- Gray or pale complexion
- Can not walk in a straight
- line or walk at all
- shortness of breath at rest
Read more at Medline Plus
Followings are the prevention you can do before coming to Tibet;
- Avoid heavy physical activities
- Take a good rest
- Nifedipinum, Nuodikang Capsules and Suoluomabao Capsules (known as Hongjingtian Capsules in Chinese) helps people prevent the occurrence of High altitude sickness, if they were taken three days prior to your arrival in Lhasa
- Start consuming high Carbohydrate diet
Following are the perventing you can consider after arriving in Lhasa;
- Upon touching down in Lhasa, avoid carrying heavy things, running, avoid out door activities at least for a day.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages
- Consume a high Carbohydrate diet
- Avoid physical exertion for the first 24 hours.
- Drinking Salty black tea does helps
- Increase salt intake
- Drink plenty of water, add some salt
- Each and every car of ours for the tour uses are equipped with oxygen cylinder. For emergency.
- All our guides are trained with First Aids
- We are on 24*7 alert to receive your calls with stand by emergency car
- All our hotels has in house doctors or medical personal
- we provide all our group with a mobile phone for easy communication.
Following are categories of people who should avoid visiting Places of higher altitude;
- Women with an advance pregnancy,
- children under three years of age,
- Traveler with severe fever, cold
- patient with Acute pulmonary diseases
- travelers with acute cardiovascular diseases
please consult your doctors and read more at www.altitude.org
Get adequate rest and drink lots of water, Administrating oxygen can help if the symptoms are worsening. The real treatment for acute high altitude sickness is descending down to lower altitude as soon as possible. If the patient doesn’t show any improvement in 3 to 4 hours. patient should go to hospital for proper treatment. High altitude sickness can be deadly if it is not treated accordingly.
Lhasa Airport is located 65 Kms south west of Lhasa city. the journey from Lhasa Airport to Lhasa could take one and half hours
Tibet train journey is not a short journey, it is between 25 hours to 50 hours journey So when you pack your language you will need to keep in mind what you might need in the train and you would want to make your window clear to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Ideally, pack required items in a smaller bag for easy access. following are the thing you might need in the train:
- Flashlight (train cabin light goes off after 10 pm)
- Ear plugs and eye mask
- Charger for electrical gadgets
- Mugs and cups for hot water
Tibetans are generally very friendly and Kind. But these are things you must keep in mind;
- Do not make any conversation base on sensitive topics like politics.
- Do not touch anything on alter inside monasteries.
- Seek permission before taking picture, in the attractions and monasteries or of the persons.
- Do not display act of love in public places and monasteries.
- Remove you hat in Monasteries and temples, and please wear decent clothes.
- Do not step over the Tables, cup or cooking gears.
First, we recommend every travelers to consult their personal doctor three months prior to coming to Tibet. Your Doctor knows you the best and can recommend you, the things you will need to do before coming to Tibet and could also recommend you some medicines too.
Here are the list of medicine, We find commonly with our travelers; Aspirin, flu tablets, throat lozenges, and nasal decongestants. Diamox is the most common medicine for the high altitude sickness.
Here is wisdom from 14 century years old Tibetan medical science; Water is the best medicine, please drink plenty.
High Altitude sickness or AMS common for almost every tourist during the initial stage of the Tibet tours. Its effect differ base on the health status of individual. We really suggest every travelers to take atleast three to four days in Lhasa to get proper acclimatization to Tibetan High altitude.
All our Tibet tour itineraries are made with this knowledge in mind.
We suggest every travelers to drink plenty of water, especially during the day time. immediately after waking up, before taking bath. Do the little physical activities as much as possible. Majority of traveler gets proper acclimatize after first couple of days.
In Case of emergency, all our travel cabs are equipped with emergency oxygen supply kit. but remember, its only for emergency and give your body a change to get adapt.
First, the majority of Tibetans are Buddhist. Traditionally, meet is one of the most staple food as we live in very very high altitude. We don’t have much choice of another source for nutrition. But now a day due to scientific improvement and rapid development of Tibet infrastructure and the market, We now have large options for vegetables and fruits to substitute our consumption of meat.
Many Tibetans are now converting in vegetarianism, Veg only restaurant in Tibet are booming in business. Especially urban cities, their wide range of choice. but in the remote places, you can order for veg food, like fried rice, fried noodles.
Tibet can be categories into two, one urban and rural. In urban centers in Tibet, like Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, Nyintri, Tsedang, and Zangmu. You can easily find a good restaurant and we will have good number cuisine you can choose from. Like Chinese, Continentail, Indian, Nepalese, western, and Tibetan Dishes.
In the remote areas, You can easily find a noodle place and the Chinese restaurant.
At Everest Base camp in Tibet, the only available place to buy food is in those Tent guest house. All the tent guest house has they own kitchen. they serve relatively good food. From Noodle, Fried rice, and other simple dishes. If you stay at the Everest Base Camp, they will serve Breakfast. they can make pancake and omelet and instant coffee.
With us, the breakfast is always included.
On average, the cost of meals per person in cities like Lhasa, Gyantse, and Shigatse would be about 10 to 15 $ USD. but in the restaurent along the road, and in the remote places, the average cost for meal would be 5 – 10 $ USD. but in the kailash region the avarage cost per meals would be more expensive than in any town. The average cost for a meal in kailash region would be about 15-20 $ USD.
But the above state price could differ base on the region of your visit and your travel time.
Yes. All our tour guide are locals and they know well. They are the reservoir of local knowledge. Since there has been guiding and traveling to every part of Tibet. they know which is the best restaurant for you. You can ask for their recommendation.
No, you do not have to pay for any expense of your guide and driver. Normally in Shigatse city, Gyantse town, Shelkar town and at Everest base camp, Our guide and drivers are provided with complimentary lodging and breakfast from the local hotels or guest house.
Other than that if you would like to invite your guide and driver for lunch and dinner. You are welcome to do so. but we do encourage you to tip them a gratitude before you leave. It will help them a lot.
During your trekking in Tibet, We will arrange you Tibetan private cook for you. he will make Tibetan, Chinese, Nepalese dishes like Dal and veggies, Pancakes, fruit salad, and fried rice. If you have any special request, we can make all the arrangements for you. Cook will learn to make your special request dish if he is new to it.
Due to the rapid development of Tourism industry in Tibet, the number of hotels and quality of services has rapidly improved. We have an increasing number of international star hotels coming into play, and increasing number of local Tibetan families are starting their own guest house and hostel.
I would rather encourage you to the Tibetan-run Tibetan style hotels. the popular choices are Shambala palace, House of Shambala, Kyichu hotel and Yak hotel. those hotels are centrally located and have a very good friendly staff. Those hotels are like small and warm family. I would rather suggest you to the small and warm family rather than living in the big and cold structure.
The differences are Cleanliness, Service quality, Private bathrooms, comfortable beds, furnish, and Availability of Breakfast. All the accommodations in Tibet, especially in all the major cities, Namtso, Shelkar has WiFi facilities. but in generally WiFi are very week in most of the hotels in Tibet.
But out of all the hotels in Tibet, our favorite hotel is a Tibetan boutique hotel called the House of Shambhala and Shambhala Palace.
All the hotels in Tibet has hot running water for 24 hours. Some hotel may have take some time to get hot water in shower due to poorer infrastructure and the water pressure. But in the winter time, you might find it harder to get the hot water in shower due to cold climate and also due to less tourist.
But the guest house in Shelkar , Everest Base camp tent guest house, guest house in Namtso and Western Tibet towards Kailash region, In most case does not have running water and even toilet in room. You will have to use public toilets.
Tent guesthouse is an only accommodation available for you, during your stay at Mount Everest Base Camp. You might have heard lots of about it in Tibet travel sites. but here is the latest update.
It is a rectangular, black tent made from Yak wool. It would have few beds, which is used as a bench during the day time. They would some small tables, There would be a Tibetan stove in the middle of the tent, which is the source of heat for the tent burned with Dried Yak dung.
Until recently the solar is the only source of electricity. But the region is connected with state grid in recent years. So don’t worry about charging your cell phone.
There was tent guesthouse in Namtso Lake Tashi Do Peninsula too. But recently every guest house has upgraded to cardboard guest house. It is warmer and more silent in the windy night.
I-Tibet travel and Tours is fully committed to responsible and Sustainable tourism practice in Tibet. Our privilege to be able to host you in Tibet also makes our responsibility in protecting nature and contributing back communities.
As a Local Tibetan travel agency in Lhasa. Our staffs are 100% local Tibetan tourism professionals. Additionally, We only use local Tibetan guides, other tours crews, and local business. 100% of the travel money goes to locals. Besides, We use 3% of the net profit into Environmental and social initiatives.
Being Tibetan, We know how vital the Tibetan environment is for the entire world. Mountains, glacier, and rivers are all cherished in our culture. We do our best to reduce the environmental impact of your tours in Tibet.
Following are Our ways:
a) No Small plastic bottles in the tour
All the drinking water are provided in the bigger container. So all visitors are asked to bring his/her own water bottle. In this way, we reduce hundreds and thousands of small plastic bottles. All the bigger containers are provided back to the manufacturer for reuse.
b) Incentives for practice
Incentives are given to guide and drivers. Who follow our strict directories on ethical practice towards sustainable and responsible tourism practice.
c) Staff Training every winter
Winter is a low season in Tibet tourism. We provide skill training required for the practice of Responsible and Sustainable tourism practice, first Aids and emergency first responder training. One of our managers is certified Humanity Supply Chain management by fritz institute. We work closely with individuals from institute like Tibet Eco Travel initiatives and Local Tibet Red Cross society and other NGOs.
d) Tree Plantation
Some portion of the tour money are save for our 1000 Tree plantation project. We will plant trees when we will have enough funds.
e) Smaller group size
All our tours are a small group to reduce environmental Impact. Since traveling in a smaller group has less impact on committed in an area than a big group. Therefore all our tour groups are small.
f) Trekking tours and environmental care in the wilderness of Tibet
During your trekking Tours, you will be walking across a very fragile ecosystem. We do take extra care in our trekking tours preventing environmental effects. Following are how are take care of our environment our trekking tours.
1: We nothing leave mother behind.
We make sure we take all our rubbish and leave nothing behind.
2: We protect the grassland
A little destruction of Tibet’s fragile environment is irreversible. So, in the trekking tours, we will not make drainage surrounding your tent. Instead, we will provide trekkers with a better tent with bathtub style floors which prevent water from getting into the tent. We don’t put a small tent toilet. Even if we try to put the grass back, it is not the same. So when you are answering your nature called please enjoy the view.
3: Collecting the garbage along the way.
We have a saying in Tibet, “if you can’t help, don’t harm.” Here is our helping part. We always have extra yaks carrying the Garbages, our yak men will be collecting while waiting for the clients at the campsite. Yak man walks faster than all, and they have free time at the camp. While cook prepares for meals and drinks, We pay yaks men’s incentives in collecting the rubbish around the camp.
I-Tibet travel and tours, identify its self as a social enterprise. For this, we dedicate 3% of our annual net profit to Social and environmental projects. Every winter we buy winter clothes for small children and donate to schools. In this way, besides donating winter cloth, we are also encouraging them to go to school.
It is important to make our guest understand Local Culture, Beliefs, and Ethics. Hence it will make it more comfortable during Our special tour arrangements. Like, your home visit, culture programs, and our others.