Tibet Travel FAQ
1. When is the best time to visit Tibet?
The most suitable time to visit Tibet is from April to October as in these months the temperature is warm and you can view beautiful sceneries. However, if you are interested to learn about the Tibetan Culture and experience the local activities you can schedule your Tibetan trip from November to February as many Tibetan festivals are between these months.
2. Is an independent tour allowed in Tibet?
Independent tours have been restricted in Tibet since 2008. Instead, you should have either a private tour or an organized tour group from a local Tibet based agency. There are lots of check-points and you must have a tour guide to help you to go through the legal formalities.
3. Do you sell Tibet permits separately?
No, the travel agency is not allowed to sell Tibet Travel permit separately, because it is against the local tourism policy. However, if you book your tour with My Everest Trip we will arrange all the travel permits for your group.
4. What currency do I have to use in Tibet?
The unit of currency is the Chinese Yuan (CNY). The Bank of China can exchange all foreign currencies. The banks in Tibet/China are closed on Saturday and Sunday.
5. Are credit cards accepted in Tibet?
Credit cards are not recommended as a way of payment in Tibet because they are not accepted in most places.
6. What documents do I need to travel to Tibet?
There are various kinds of travel documents required to travel in Tibet. You will need a TTB (Tibet Tourism Bureau) permit if you just want to have a few days in Lhasa city or somewhere near Lhasa. However, if you want to travel beyond Lhasa city you will require a PSB permit and an ATP permit. My Everest Trip will take care of all the permit hassles when you book your tour with us.
7. If I travel via Nepal to Tibet, are there any special requirements on a Chinese visa?
If you want to enter Tibet via Kathmandu, you’d better get a Chinese visa from Kathmandu as regardless of whether you have already got the visa in your country or not, you must get a Group Visa in Kathmandu, which is an official agreement between China and Nepal.
8. What are the transportation facilities in Tibet?
Non-Chinese tourists are not allowed to ride on the public busses and hiring a private vehicle is quite expensive. Normally, Lhasa city is really small so it would be better if you travel on walking. If you want to travel to certain monasteries outside Lhasa city you could hire a taxi.
9. What kinds of hotels are available in Tibet?
Tourism in Tibet is in its early stages. The number of luxury hotels is quite limited. The new hotels have been built away from the city center in order to protect the city’s history and environment. These hotels have central heating which is used in winter but no cooling is available in summer. It is better you do not expect luxury service while you are in Tibet. However, in Lhasa, some hotel rooms have internet access. The level of services and facilities are quite basic. The hotel staff rarely speak English.
10. What can I eat in Tibet?
In Lhasa, you can choose Chinese food, Western food, Nepali food, and Tibetan food. However, in remote areas, only Chinese food and Sichuan cuisine are on the menu.
11. What clothes and equipment should I bring when traveling to Tibet?
- Down jacket or warm fleece top
- Thermal underwear (top and bottom)
- Cotton shirts (short and long-sleeved)
- Warm and cotton trousers
- Polarized sunglasses
- Beanie or warm woolen hat and gloves
- Scarf (to keep out dust as well as cold)
- Sleeping bag (for camping/trekking)
12. How bad is Altitude sickness in Tibet, and what can I do to avoid, or treat it?
With an average altitude of 4500m, Tibet is one of the highest living places on the earth. The air is quite thin in Tibet and many visitors from low altitude areas may suffer from altitude sickness. Most people suffer minor effects like headaches, loss of appetite, and a tendency to have no energy until their bodies adjust to the high terrain. It will take a few hours or days to get acclimatized. So the traveler should pre-plan about the symptoms and preventions of altitude sickness before traveling to Tibet. It is better to carry altitude sickness pills to help overcome altitude sickness. You are highly recommended to walk slowly and take deep breaths.
13. What vaccinations are recommended for travel in Tibet?
Hepatitis A + B and Typhoid are some of the vaccines advised to all travelers who are planning to travel Tibet. Yellow Fever vaccines are recommended for those who are coming from Yellow-fever-infected countries like Africa or the Americas otherwise it isn’t required or recommended.
14. Will there be problems with the language barrier?
The main languages used in Tibet are Chinese, Tibetan, English, and Nepali. Very few people speak English well so your tour guide will assist you in the communication.
15. What are the do’s and don’ts when visiting religious sites in Tibet?
- All Tibetans are religious Buddhists so show respect for their beliefs.
- You need to walk clockwise in or outside while visiting temples, monasteries, pagodas, and Mani stones.
- You are not allowed to touch Buddhist statues, sutras, or take pictures of them inside temples or monasteries.
- Prayer wheels must not be rotated contrarily
- Do not touch the head of anyone.
- Eating horse, dog, and donkey meat are strictly prohibited.
- Smoking is strictly prohibited.