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Tibet Travel FAQ

Please note that the questions listed here, and their respective answers are just meant only as a general guide to assist in planning and organizing your trip before you actually hit the road. They are not meant to be detailed out information on the road guide.

  • Where is Tibet

    Tibet Autonomous Region is located in the southwest of China, with a land area of 1.22 million square kilometers (the second largest region of China). Behind the world's highest mountain range is the mystical land, Tibet. The word ‘Tibet' means heaven, which is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Trivistapa'. Tibet's average heights of over 4,000 m, makes it the world's highest plateau, crowning it as the ‘Roof of the World'.

  • What is Tibet known for?

    Tibet is home to some of the world's tallest mountains, several of them making it to the top ten lists. Furthermore, some of the major rivers of Asia have their source in the Tibetan plateau. With its vast grasslands, high mountains and alpine lakes, Tibet is surely a dream destination for tourists, climbers, trekkers and for adventure travelers.

  • How can I get Tibet Visa?

    We at Himalayan Glacier would like to assist you in making your Tibet tour an adventure of a lifetime as well as trouble free. Therefore, please visit this page for information on Tibet entry procedures and other things you should know about before travelling to Tibet.

  • How to enter Tibet?

    By Road: There are five main highways in Tibet, namely:
    • Sichuan-Tibet Highway – it runs between Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province, and Lhasa.
    • Qinghai-Tibet Highway – it runs between Xining, the capital city of Qinghai, to Lhasa.
    • Yunnan-Tibet Highway – it runs between Yunnan province and Tibet.
    • Xinjiang-Tibet Highway – it runs across boundless deserts, lofty and steep peaks.
    • The China-Nepal Highway – it is the only international highway in Tibet

    By Air: Flying to Lhasa always requires a stopover in either China or Nepal. Lhasa Gonggar Airport is located about 98 kilometers (about 61 miles) to the south of Lhasa City. The only international flight to and from Tibet is between Lhasa and Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.

    By Rail: The Gormo to Lhasa railway stretches for 1,142 kilometers (710 miles) and serves as a link between mainland China and Tibet.

  • Do you have Airport pickup facilities?

    Definitely! Himalayan Glacier provides airport pick up facilities for those customers who have booked private tour for any of our packages. We don't charge any money for the service. But, we won't be able to provide the service for those who wish to join a group. They have to pay extra charge if they want us to arrange the pick-up and drop services.

  • Can I organize a Tibet visa myself? Can I travel alone in Tibet?

    Unfortunately, due to China's very strict tourism policy for Tibet, it is not possible for you to get a visa by yourself and it is not possible to travel Tibet on your own. As an authorized travel company, Himalayan Glacier can organize everything; visa, permit to enter and all other paperwork.

  • So, what red tape do I need to wade through for a Tibet trip?

    The red tape for Tibet trips is a pain, no doubt about that. But, it's a pain that we're very used to dealing with. Just get a photocopy of your passport to us three weeks before your arrival and we can sort out the rest.

  • When is the best time to visit Tibet?

    The Tibetan climate is not as harsh as many people imagine it to be. Tibet's climate is favorable to travel from April to the beginning of November, and most ideal in August and September. However, Lhasa's climate is more clement than the rest of Tibet, and is suitable to travel year-round. The sun radiation in Tibet is extremely strong. It's not for nothing that Lhasa is called the Sunlight City. The months of May, June and September are the primary tourist season in eastern Tibet.

  • What do you suggest to include in clothing list if we travel to Tibet?

    We suggest traveler to include casual attire and layered clothing in their packing list. In the day time you may need just T-shirt or cotton shirt (short and long sleeved). Usually a jacket also, but at night you may need a coat because temperature decreases dramatically. Down coat will be very effective if you wish to go further than Lhasa and Shigatse to the remote areas like the Mount Everest Camp or further to Mt.Kailash. Sun glasses, sun blocking cream and lip protector, moisture cream, warm cotton trousers, thermal underwear (top and bottom), warm woolen hat and gloves , sandals , towel , sleeping bag (for camping/trekking) , rain jacket , camera will be very helpful if you include them in your packing list.

  • What currency do I have to use in Tibet?

    The unit of currency is Chinese Yuan. The Bank of China can exchange all foreign currencies. The banks in Tibet/China are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Travelers Cheques and credit cards are very difficult to be cashed outside the banks especially outside Lhasa.

  • Are there ATMs counters in Tibet?

    ATM facilities are easily available in Lhasa and Shigatse; however, it may be difficult to find one in other smaller towns or in remote places.

  • What kinds of vehicles are available for getting around Tibet?

    In Lhasa, there are many options for getting around, such as taxis, busses, minibuses, 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 difficult if not impossible. In such cases, minibuses and jeeps are the only option.

  • What kind of weather (how cold does it get) can we expect while in Tibet?

    Winters (November to March) are cold but there isn’t all that much snow. Summers (May to September) have warm days with strong sunshine and cool nights. At higher elevations (i.e. above 4000m) even summer days can be chilly. During spring and autumn you need to be prepared for four seasons in one day, including the possibility of snowfall.

    The average, highest and lowest annual temperature along with the maximum elevation of the major cities/towns in Tibet (in Celsius) is provided below:

    Height 3658m(12001 ft) 3836m(12585 ft) 3500m(11483 ft) 3000m(9843 ft) 5200m(17061 ft)
    Month highest lowest highest lowest highest lowest highest -5.3 highest highest
    Jan 6.8 -10.2 5.7 -13.1 7.6 -9 7.9 -5.3 4 -17
    Feb 9.2 -3.9 8 -9.5 9.9 -5.9 9.8 -2.7 -4 -15
    Mar 12 -3.2 11 -5.4 12.9 -2.4 13 -0.1 7 -12
    Apr 15.7 0.9 15.5 -0.7 16.9 1.3 16.5 3.2 10 -5
    May 19.7 5.1 19.5 3.4 20.4 5.2 18.8 6.8 15 0
    Jun 22.5 9.2 22.1 7.6 22.9 8.9 20.9 10 17 5
    July 21.7 9.9 21 8.7 22.5 10.1 22.1 11.2 16 8
    Aug 20.7 9.4 19.6 8.1 21.5 9.5 22.1 10.7 16 6
    Sep 19.6 7.6 18.7 5.8 20.5 7.6 20.3 9.2 17 2
    Oct 16.4 1.4 15.2 -1.2 17.1 1.8 17.2 4.9 12 -7
    Nov 11.6 -5 10.7 -8 12.4 -4.1 12.9 -0.7 7 -12
    Dec 7.7 -9.1 7 -12.3 8.7 -7.9 9.6 -4.5 4 -15
    Average Temp. 15.3 0.8 14.5 -1.4 15.5 1.3 15.9 3.6 10 -5
  • 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 may suffer from altitude sickness. Most people suffer minor effects of altitude sickness only, which include headache, 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.

  • What vaccination is recommended to Tibet traveler?

    Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B are some of the vaccines advised to all travelers who are planning to visit Tibet. Yellow fever vaccines are recommended for those who are coming from Yellow-fever-infected country like Africa or the Americas otherwise it isn’t required or recommended. But the best would be if you consult your doctor or physician prior planning your tour. To get up to date information you can visit: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/index.htm or http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/vaccinations.htm

  • 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 front desk staffs in the big hotels can communicate in English. The main languages used in Tibet are Chinese, Tibetan, English and Nepali. If you are a solo traveler, you will get pretty more people who can speak these languages in Tibet's most popular tourist spots.

  • What is the electricity supply in Tibet and what plugs are used?

    Generally, the electricity supply in Tibet is 220V, 50HZ. If you have a plan in future to travel in Tibet and wish to bring some electrical devices with you for basic use then keep in mind that transformer is very essential. Tibet hotels bathrooms have the access of 220V and 110V electrical devices power. But, in the guest room normally only 220V electrical sockets are available.

  • Is there internet access in Tibet for foreign traveler?

    Definitely there is internet access for foreign traveler in Tibet but only on limited areas like Lhasa, Shigatse, Gyantse and Tsedang where some café provides internet facilities. In addition, hotels in some city like Lhasa and Shigatse also provide internet facility to their customers.

  • What type and standard of accommodation will I encounter?

    In most of the cities and towns, hotels and guest houses are available. Lhasa accommodation ranges from the simple guest houses to five star hotels. Shigatse, Gyantse and Tsedang offers up to three star hotels. Moreover, now few government alliance classical grand hotels are also being operated in the big cities. While in other smaller or remote areas, accommodation is available mainly in guest houses and they are very simple.

  • Is tap water safe to drink in Tibet?

    Drinking tap water is to put on a risk while you are travelling to any foreign location. There is a well said thought that “Precautions is better than cure”. Thus we need to follow this safety measures in Tibet also. So, you are recommended to go with bottle water (don’t forget to check the seal) and follow well established and authorized brands. Besides, if you wish to drink boiled water than remember to instruct the service -man to boil it for 15-20minutes.

  • Are the streets in Tibet safe?

    Generally, it is quiet safe in Tibet. Almost all Tibetans are devout Buddhists who believe that good deeds will gain advantages in their next lives and crimes are also very rare in this region. But tourists need pay attention to dogs that are free to move everywhere. So you need to take care while you are travelling alone in the night time. We strongly recommend foreign traveler not to walk in the night time.

  • Is it safe to travel in winter time, especially from Tibet to Kathmandu?

    The Chinese-Nepal Highway is often blocked by the heavy snow during the winter season. Therefore, it is better not to travel along this route from safety measures also.

  • What is the time Zone of Tibet?

    Despite being the large landscape time zone of all the state of china is measured from Beijing, which is 8 hours ahead of GMT standard time zone. Now, we are clear that Tibetan time is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). And it is 2 hours and 15 minute ahead of Nepalese standard time and 2 hour and 30 minute ahead of Indian standard time.

We hope the above mentioned information on Tibet are good enough prior planning your visit to the Roof of the World in the Himalayas, Tibet. But if your inquiries don’t end here than you can visit our travel guide page at: Tibet Travel Guide. Moreover you can also send your queries to: mail@himalayanglacier.com

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