Tibet Travel Guide

Where is Tibet?

It is the gateway of southwest China. Its land mass is about 1/8 of the territories of the country. The history of Tibet began about 4,000 years ago, when living was simpler.

People & Life

The people living in this vast land are mainly Tibetan, an ethnic group with bold and uninhibited characteristics. They take beef, mutton and dairy products as staple food, which protect them from severe cold. The locals grow crops under harsh climatic conditions. The main grain crop grown here is the barley. Hada, a ceremonial scarf, is highly regarded. People here usually present Hada as a mark of esteem when holding celebration parties, welcoming visitors. This land is reputed as the 'Sea of Dances and Songs', where people enjoy these pursuits. People here also engages in wrestling, horse racing and archery on Tibetan festivals.

How to Get in

Transportation condition in Tibet has changed a lot, now highways and airlines are connecting it to other regions of China.

Flights connect Tibet with Chengdu, Xi'an, Beijing and Chongqing.

There are four highways stretching into Tibet. Sichuan-Tibet Highway, Qinghai-Tibet Highway, Xinjiang-Tibet Highway and Yunnan-Tibet Highway.

Tibet Railway has already been open to traffic since July 1, 2006. Passengers can make convenient access to Tibet by direct trains from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xian, Chongqing, Taiyuan...

Tibet Tour Planning

Get a Tibet Travel Permit

You must have a suitable and fixed Tibet travel plan at least a month before you come to China to apply for the permits required. Your travel plan should only include what is permitted by the Tibet Entry Permit. Tibet Entry Permit is not available by independent travelers at the moment.

The following documents should be provided at least one month in advance:

  1. A copy of your passport
  2. A copy of your China visa (tourist visa)
  3. A completed form with full name, gender, date of birth, passport number, nationality, occupation, dates of entry and exit of Tibet, and cities of entry and exit for Tibet.

Preparing to Go

The most suitable time to visit Tibet is from May to October. The weather is uncomfortably cold to dangerously frigid otherwise.

Be prepared for altitude sickness. If you are not sure you can cope with the high altitude, limit your sightseeing to Lhasa.

Tibet may be close to foreign travelers at times. Book as soon as possible if notified it is open.

Travelers need to go through a travel agent like China Highlights to get a Tibet Entry Permit. Tourists are permitted to book their own accommodation and flight/train tickets, however tours of Tibet must be organized by and accompanied by an authorized travel agency.

Top Things to Do in Tibet

Potala Palace

Photo © Yin Jianxin

The Potala Palace in Lhasa was the primary residence of the Dalai Lama until 1959, when the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala after a failed uprising.

Today the Potala Palace is a state museum, a popular tourist attraction, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was also recently named one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World" by the television show Good Morning America and the newspaper USA Today.

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Jokhang Temple

Photo © Yin Jianxin

Jokhang Temple (or Jokhang Monastery), the spiritual center of Tibet, is situated at the heart of the old town of Lhasa. This 4 storeyed building, with roofs covered with gilded bronze tiles, demonstrates a combination of the architectural style of Han, Tibetan, India and Nepal, as well as a Mandala world outlook of Buddhism.

The highlights of the Jokhang Temple is the Golden Roof, this is a way back to the real world from the inner temple. Here, you can have a wonderful view of Lhasa city to have an overall view of the locals.

Mt. Everest Base Camp

Photo © Flickr

Today, the trek to Everest Base Camp has become an achievable goal for people from all walks of life who want a glimpse of the world’s highest peak. In 2012, between 35,000 and 37,000 people trekked in the Everest region.

Aside from breathtaking scenery, travellers to the region can experience unique Sherpa culture by visiting monasteries and museums along the way.