Tibet Travel FAQs

Preparing for Your Tibet Travel

When traveling at an altitude of higher than 3000m above sea level, 75% people will have mild symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS) or “soroche”. The symptom usually starts 12 to 24 hours after your arrival at high altitude and begins to decrease in severity around the third day.

Following are some tips to prevent AMS: 

1. Drink plenty of water. There might be dehydration caused by the higher rate of water vapor lost from the lungs at higher altitude, and symptom is similar to AMS. 

2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as these can increase the likelihood of dehydration.

3. Take good rest and relax yourself, especially on the first day.

4. Avoid catching cold before traveling to a high altitude place. 

5. Prepare an oxygen bag if you don’t feel well on the first day. 

6. Try to follow the "golden rule" - climb high, sleep low. When staying in a place over 3,000 meters above sea level, you can go as high as you want, but try to sleep at a place no more than 300 meter higher than your previous night's sleeping elevation. 

Foreigners are not allowed to travel independently in Tibet. The international travelers/tourists can only access Tibet by booking a guided tour with a local travel agency.

Weather is usually one of the main factors for tourists to choose their travel season and destination. Generally speaking, Easy Tour China recommends our clients to come to Tibet from April to November, and most ideally in August and September. May, June and September are the tourism season in east Tibet. The rainy season starts from June to late September, and the rain usually falls in the evening. 

As a high-altitude area with thin air, the solar radiation in Tibet is extremely strong. And the temperature varies greatly in a whole day. It is suggested to take warm clothes, even in the summer, because it is quite chilly during the night and early morning.


Travel Documents

Foreign passport holders have to apply for Tibet Entry Permit before taking the flight to Lhasa, no matter from mainland China or from Nepal. You’re required to show the permit when checking-in at the airport.

Yes, Travel Permit is required for international tourists to visit Tibet. There are two types of permits: one is the Tibet Entry Permit issued by Tibet Tourism Administration; the other is the Alien Travel Permit, which is issued by Public Security Bureau of Tibet.  

Most tourists need Tibet Entry Permit only to visit the regular popular destinations like Lhasa, Shigatse, etc. If you will go to some restricted areas like Mt Everest, an Alien Travel Permit is required. Easy Tour China doesn’t sell a permit. We only help you obtain a permit when you book a tour to Tibet. The relevant cost will be included in the package quotation.

According to the government rule, Hong Kong, Macau residents holding Chinese/Hong Kong SAR passports or Home Return Permit do not need to apply for the permit before entering Tibet. Currently, Taiwanese still need to do it.

Transportation and Train Travel

There are three ways to reach Tibet from Nepal and other cities in China. 

1. By overland to Lhasa: There are five highways connecting Lhasa with other cities. Four domestic routes are Qinghai-Tibet Highway, Xinjiang-Tibet Highway, Sichuan-Tibet Highway, Yunnan-Tibet Highway. Among them, only the route Qinghai Tibet Highway is officially allowed for foreign travelers. It is 1937km from Xining, capital of Xining, to Lhasa with an average altitude over 4000m. Due to the long distance and difficulties, travellers are not suggested to go this route. The rest three routes begin from Kashiga, Chengdu and Kunming which require a series of complicated permissions issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, Military Administration and Foreign Affairs Administration.  

The international route, which is called Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway connecting Kathmandu and Lhasa, is now the most popular overland route to Tibet with the duration of 3-4 days. The 920km trip is spectacular because there are a great number of attractions worth visiting on the way, including the Everest Base Camp. 

2. By Flight to Lhasa: Quite a few domestic cities in China like Chengdu, Chongqing, Xian, Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming and Shenzhen have direct flights to Lhasa. Easy Tour China recommends our clients to fly from Chengdu, Chongqing or Xian to or from Lhasa as there are more flights available between the cities every day, and the flight time is relatively shorter. There is only one international flight connecting Kathmandu and Lhasa, 2 or 3 flights a week in the summer/autumn season. Please check with our travel specialist for more accurate info.  

3. By train to Lhasa: Since the operation of the Qinghai-Tibet railway in 2006, the train travel to Lhasa has become one of the most popular means of transportation of entering Tibet. The train journey takes more than 43hrs (2 overnights on the train) from Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou. For shorter journey, you can take the train from Lanzhou or Xining, spend 24hrs (1 overnight on the train) only and view the highlights of the views to Tibet. There are also trains departing from Chengdu and Chongqing. It is very difficult to get a ticket, but much easier to buy train tickets going out of Lhasa. 

Most flights to Lhasa are from Chengdu, Chongqing and Xian. There are at least two or more direct flights daily from these three cities, while the flights from other cities usually have stopovers at the above three cities before heading for Lhasa, therefore, there will more flight time on the way. There is only one international flight between Kathmandu of Nepal and Lhasa.