How to Visit Tibet: update July 19, 2023
Great news! Tibet travel is now open to everyone! After 3 years of closures, Tibet travel permits are now being processed for all international travelers.
New Visa Rule to enter Tibet
A China Group Visa and a Tibet Entry Permit are required if you enter Tibet from Nepal. This China Group Visa is compulsory even if you have a valid China visa issued in another country (which would be automatically canceled unfortunately when the Tibet Group Visa was issued). China Group Visas are issued in Kathmandu, and are valid for 30 days. They are single entry and cannot be extended, but you can also visit other cities in mainland China like Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai with a China Group Visa. A China Group Visa is usually not affixed in a passport but is a sheet of paper that lists all the names of the people in your group along with their nationalities, birth dates, and passport numbers. On a China Group Visa, members of your travel group must enter and exit China at the same time and the same place.
Step 1: Confirm Your Tibet Itinerary with a Travel Agency
As it takes time to apply for the documents and book hotels/tickets, you are advised to confirm your tour booking at least 1 month (or as early as possible) before your departure to Tibet.
Step 2: E-mail Your Passport Info
Scan your passport ID pages and those of your fellow travelers and email us the scanned copies. We will then use the copies to apply for your Tibet Entry Permit and to get a Visa Invitation Letter from the Tibet Tourism Bureau. This may take 10 to 15 working days.
Step 3: Go to Visa Center offices in Kathmandu.
China Group Visas can only be applied for at the Visa center in Kathmandu. We will assist you with filling in the application form and collecting your passports and photos. Each person is required to submit his or her original passport and a “2-inch” (45x35 mm) passport-type photo that's been taken with a white background. Generally, a group visa will be issued in 5 days for a regular application. You also need to visit Kathmandu Chinese Visa Application Service Center for an entry fingerprint in person. After the fingerprint process, you are permitted to travel around Nepal with your passport photocopy.
By road: A road transfer from Kathmandu to Tibet is an adventure in itself, because of the long journey on bumpy roads in Nepal. Kyrong Port is a border control point where you must transit to another vehicle to continue to your Tibet destination. From Kathmandu to Kyrong Port, it takes about 7/ 8 Hrs drive
By air: . Direct flight Kathmandu to Lhasa Currently, it's not available due to COVID-19 restrictions. We'll keep updating this
Can you travel independently in Tibet?
The short answer is no; you can’t travel to Tibet on your own. You must be part of an organized tour to visit the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and you must take this tour with a certified Tibet travel agency.
When is the best time to visit Tibet?
Tibet Weather - Best Time to Visit Tibet
Tibet is now open for traveling. It is a high altitude plateau set amid tall mountain ranges. The mountain ranges catch the rainfall before it reaches the plateau, so most of Tibet, except for the southeast, is desert steppe, tundra, or permafrost. Most of Tibet experiences frost at least six months of the year, and The Highest Lakes have ice from October to March. The weather varies a lot from region to region. The best time to enjoy the scenery in Tibet is from May to October.
The Best Times for Trekking
If you plan to trek, April, May, September, or October, are the best months when you are more likely to see them clearly. It is more likely to be hidden behind thick clouds the rest of the year. The best time for a Mount Kailash yatra is in summer (June to September). This is due to the warmer temperature and higher oxygen content.
The Best Time to Enjoy Tibetan Festivals
Travelers who are interested in Tibetan festivals are recommended to visit Tibet in August when the Shoton Festival, Nagqu Horse Racing Festival, and Ganden Thangka Festival are held.
Tibet Weather and Tourism Seasons
Due to the high evaluation Tibet has quite different seasons from other places with a long winter.
Temperature: 5-19°C (41-66°F)
Risk of altitude sickness: relatively low
The ice melts and the weather warms during spring, opening blocked remote roads and making travel outside Lhasa more pleasant. Tibet reopens to tourism in early April (as it is usually closed to visitors in February and March for Tibetan New Year
Clothing: Prepare a thicker or double-layered jacket, sportswear, sweaters, trousers, and other warm clothes. If you are going to visit Mount Everest and the remote western Tibet, prepare hard-sole outdoor shoes or sneakers.