Tibet Travel Information
If you are entering Tibet from Kathmandu, you should get your Chinese visa from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu (regardless of whether you already have a Chinese visa issued in your country). Please note that if you have already got a Chinese visa at your home country, it will be cancelled and fresh visa will be issued in Kathmandu. So do not apply for a Chinese visa until you reach to Kathmandu and avoid waste of money (in the case you enter Tibet from Nepal).
However if you are entering Tibet form mainland China or Honking, get your Chinese visa in advance. You are required to hold a valid Chinese visa (issued by a Chinese Embassy and stamped in your individual passport), as well as a valid passport to enter Tibet (at least six months valid). When applying for a Chinese visa at your home country, it is better not mentioning that you intend to visit Tibet.
In order to get Chinese visa in Kathmandu, please send us your clear passport copy and other details like your profession to us at least 15 days in advance. We will get Tibet Travel Permit (TTB permit or commonly called Invitation letter to travel to Tibet from the Tibet Travel Bureau - TTB). Once you arrive to Kathmandu, we apply for your Chinese visa along with your original passport and TTB permit. You will get a group visa (it will be not stamped in your individual passport but will be in a sheet of paper).
Very important: The visa days in the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu is Monday, Wednesday and Friday ( and visa can be collected the same day upon payment of urgent fees – USD 114 for European passports and USD 198 for US passports ) . In order not to waste your time in Kathmandu, make it such that you arrive to Kathmandu either Sunday or Tuesday or Thursday so that you can get visa the next day and fly to Tibet the day after. (Except in main season, the flights to Lhasa from Kathmandu are generally operated on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings and almost always get packed)
Tibet Travel Permits
Tibet Travel Permit
There are two different permits required to travel to Tibet
The entry permit (TTB permit, equivalent of a visa for Tibet, required to enter Tibet region of China . A Chinese visa and Tibet entry permit are both required to enter Tibet ) . You need to show this to the authorities in airport or surface entry points .
The Alien travel permit (PSB permit) which is required to travel restricted areas in Tibet . In practice you need PSB permit to travel any regions outside Lhasa . Different PSB permits are required to travel to different parts of Tibet . PSB permits are issued by local police authorities called Public Security Bureau ( PSB ) .
How to get the travel permits?
You send us the following details exactly as in your passport at least 15 days before the trip date .
1) Your full name;
2) Your gender;
3) Your date of birth;
4) Your passport number;
5) Your nationality
6) Your profession
Or simply send us a clear scan copy of your passport .
Tibet Travel Permit Please note that mentioning your true profession is important as journalists , government officials, political personnel and diplomats may require more complicated procedures in order to be issued a permit. We do not process for them nor we would be liable if travel permits are not issued at the last moment because you belong to this category of profession but do not inform us in time . Please note that neither we nor any travel agency will / can sell "permit-only" service. One must buy the tour package to obtain it .
Important points to be noted:
Tibet travel permits may be acquired through a travel agency, except by the following groups of people: diplomats, journalists, and government officials; who should contact the Foreign Affairs Office of the Tibetan Government in order to arrange a permit.
Tibet travel permit is required to buy the air tickets, at the airport check-in counter while checking in for the flights and at the Lhasa airport or surface entry point .
Once in Tibet, your tour guide is supposed to retain your permit. You may not carry it on your person, or travel within Tibet with it in your possession. The Alien Travel Permit is required for travel outside of Lhasa.
Entry routes / Tibet tours from Kathmandu
All our itineraries are based on entry from Kathmandu. Even now , Kathmandu is the easiest place to organize Tibet visa / travel permits and flight tickets to Lhasa .
Air China flies Kathmandu to Lhasa three times a week ( more flights operated during main tourist season ).
One way fare Kathmandu – Lhasa is USD 379 at present ( flight costs are subject to change without prior notice , please check with us before booking ) .
Other places to enter Tibet by flight is from Chhengdu or Beijing and from Hongkong. Lhasa is now linked with train from the main land China.We also offer our tours for those entering Tibet from other places than kathmandu.
Throughout your time in Tibet you will be accompanied by a English speaking Tibetan guide who will not only act as an interpreter but will also provide a valuable insight into the Tibetan way of life.
Hotels and accommodation
There are good hotels now in Lhasa . There are three star level hotels in Shigatse and Gyantse to. The hotel facilities along Nepal Tibet highway , specially on Zangmu and Tingri / Shegar is only basic .
The facilities and services on the highways are still not of the standard found elsewhere.. So do not expect much in term of hotels.
Lhasa is now connected with train network with main land China. Roads in Tibet are not very good but much has improved recently. Generally 4WD Japanese jeeps are used to carry tourists and trucks for supplies and equipments.
Best Time to visit Tibet
The best time of the year for overland tours in Tibet is from April to November and for treks and Mt. Kailash tour from April to the beginning of October. During this time there will be no snow and weather is relatively mild.
Tibetan food You can get good food in cities but along the highways the food on the lunch stops are not very good and not much varieties. It is advised to carry some dry food of your own all the time . Due to high altitude you won’t feel hungry at many places. Many tourists suffer from diarrhoea in Tibet, it is a real problem . The best solution for this is not eating raw salads ( which are not cleaned with treated water ) , eating only cooked food and drinking only bottled water or purifying water with purifying tablets .
Clothing and equipment
Here are the items suggested to bring. You may of course add what you bring for regular trip .
• Down jacket or warm fleece top
• Thermal underwear (top and bottom)
• Cotton shirts (short and long sleeved)
• Warm cotton trousers
• warm woollen hat and gloves
• Sandals (flip-flops)
• Sleeping bag (for camping/trekking)
• Rain jacket
• Strong sun cream and lip protector
• Water bottle
The main health consideration in Tibet is altitude related illness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty in sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. A supply of bottled oxygen is carried in the vehicle at all times should it be required. A Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC) is also carried on all our Tibet treks and Mt. kailash tours in case of altitude sickness.
Hotels in Lhasa are equipped with oxygen. Doctors will also be available on call. A supply of bottled oxygen is carried in the vehicle at all times. If you have ever suffered from altitude sickness, or have a heart or breathing complaint, we highly recommend you consult your doctor about your suitability for traveling to Tibet before booking.
A good briefing is given to all the tourists about altitude sickness before they depart for the trip. Our staff constantly check if someone is having some symptoms during trip days. Altitude sickness can be overcome if informed in time and if taken proper precaution.
If there arises a condition for a rescue to arrange, you shall be driven by a land cruiser to nearest Nepal – Tibet border as helicopter is not allowed to fly in Tibet. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own after getting back in Kathmandu.