History: Pilgrims have been traveling over the high passes from India and other parts of Asia to Mount Kailas for probably over 5,000 years. It is claimed to be the apex of the Hindu religious axis. It is also one of the highest Mountains in Tibet at over 22,022 ft and Lake Manasarovar, at 14,950 ft is said to be the highest freshwater lake in the world. Certainly this is a difficult region to reach with the variable and extreme weather conditions. The distance from Lhasa for example is approx 2,000 km.
Topography: The trip to Tibet is in high altitude region. Most of Tibet, including Lhasa, is at an elevation of more than 3658 meter (12000 feet). The road is at elevation above 3600 meter (12000 ft.) above sea level most of the time and goes as high as 5300 meter if you go to base camp of Everest or Kailash in a short period.
Culture: The land on the roof of the world is a fascinating land with rich cultural heritage which can be termed as a living museum. Present day China is combined with past legend and mystique of Tibet. Trip to Tibet is a fantastic and special experience. It is adventurous. It is ancient Tibet and modern China in the process of blending together. You travel for days on this remote plateau with chance encounters of nomads herding their sheep or yaks. You may see and become part of a devout pilgrimage as shown by pilgrims around Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailas.. You should do some background reading about the holy mountain and Tibet in general before you travel. Lhasa is the cultural center of Tibet.
When Tibet was widely opened for outsiders in 1980, it brought a tremendous boost in its economic development and phase of modernization; naturally the cultural degradation lead to a long gap between the old people and youngsters within the country, in the way of their speaking, attitude, clothing, belief, manner and so on, but the Buddhism philosophy and practice has deeply rooted in their day to day life of all Tibetans, intensively celebrate religious festivals and making pilgrimages to distant monasteries, holy mountains and lakes are becoming indispensable part of their life.
Travel to Tibet: Lhasa is connected by road and air with Kathmandu. You can fly to Lhasa direct from Kathmandu which only International fligfht. You also can arrive Lhasa either from Hongkong, Chengdu, Xi’an, Xining, Kunming, Guangzhou, Chongqing. From the north you can travel overland from Golmud. Check with us for flight availability.
Train in Tibet: The highest point on the line is 5,072 meters above sea level. The railway covers 960-kilometer at an altitude of more than 4000 meters and over 550 kilometers within the "frozen earth" area. The 1956-kilometer railway link begins in Xining, the capital city of Qinghai Province and goes to Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region. The 814 kilometer-long stretch from Xining to Golmud was built in 1979 and started operation in 1984. The 1142 kilometer stretch between Golmud and Lhasa runs south along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway and was constructed by rebuilding the original 32-kilometer-long line from Golmud to Nanshankou and laying 1110 kilometers of new track. Upon its completion, the maximum train speed is designed to reach 100 kilometers per hour in the frozen earth areas and 120 kilometers per hour on non-frozen earth.There are three main types of seats on the train: hard seat, hard sleeper and soft sleeper. Hard seat is just a metal seat where all passengers sit next to each other; it is rarely used by westerners, especially for long train rides. In hard sleeper, there are about 6 berths to a cabin where you will have your own bed. Soft sleeper is the most deluxe seat on the train with 4 berths in each cabin equipped with its own TV. Toilets on the train are shared and are located at the end of each carriage.
Tibet Visa or Tibet Group Visa: A valid passport with a standard Chinese entry visa is essential for all foreign travelers. China visa is generally obtainable from most Chinese embassies and consulates in your locality and you must be obtained in advance.
Tips when you apply for Chinese visa: It’s best not to mention Tibet or any places in Tibet as your travel destination when you are applying for Chinese visa (the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu is the only exception). Since Tibet is politically sensitive in China and sometimes it may refuse your visa application if you mention about Tibet in the application form, so please keep this in mind when applying and you can mention any city of mainland China such as Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Chengdu-Sichuan, Yunnan, etc. as your travel destinations.
Tibet Travel Permits : Tibet Travel Permits is necessary for foreigners to get into Tibetan Autonomous Region, required clear scan copies of your passports and Chinese visa at least 20 days in advance by email attachment for processing, when it is issued we will send either a copy of original of the permit to your hotel in China to your travel agency. If you will fly into Tibet then we will send the original permit to your hotel in China as you need it to board the flight, if you will take the train into Tibet, then we will send a copy of the permit by email and you can bring a copy to board the train.
Entering Tibet from Nepal eitehr by land or air: Normal Chinese visa does not work / valid to visit Tibet from Nepal, you must have group visa that is issued from the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu, Tibet group visa is compulsory for all tourist to enter Tibet from Nepal. The Tibet Group Visa is given in a A4 size sheet of paper, with the name, sex, nationality, passport number, date of birth and occupation of each member of your group listed. The dates of entry and exit are recorded. Usually, the visa is valid only for the length of the trip you have booked but it's possible to extend the visa for few additional days, but only for staying in Lhasa. There will be two original copies of the Tibet Group Visa, one for immigration at the entry and another for the exit. We suggest not to bring individual Chinese visa from your country if you decided to enter Tibet from Nepal, as you again required to apply for the group visa to enter Tibet, the Chinese embassy will definitely cancel your individual Chinese visa.
Food in Tibet: Traditional Tibetan food is pretty basic, and stems from the staples of barley and yak products. The most common main dishes are Tsampa (roasted barley flour, yak butter and tea mixed into a dough), momos (steamed dumplings filled with meat or vegetables), and thugpa (a noodle stew with meat and/or vegetables). There are some good restaurants in and around Lhasa that serves international cousine.
Attraction: In Lhasa visit Potala palace. It is built in 1645 and completed in 1693. It dominates the landscape. Potala palace is the former winter residence of the Dalai Lama. It used to be the official residence of 13 Dalai Lamas. The Potala is a magnificent building of over 1000 rooms. Inside the many chambers you will see brilliant frescoes paintings and great view of Lhasa. Jokhang temple has valuable relics of Buddha and magnificent statues related to Tibet Buddhism. Often you will see devotees who have come from far flung of Tibet prostrating in and around; it is something you can never see elsewhere. It is the spiritual center of Tibet. Around Jokhang is Barkhor bazar; it is a lively place to shop and bargain. It is also a meeting place for nomads passing though Lhasa in the summer on their way to the high pasture meet each other for pilgrimage.
The sight of pilgrims prostrating themselves in front of Jhokang must be seen to be comprehended. Tibetans from remote part of the country makes their pilgrimage to Lhasa. It is pilgrimage of their lifetime. As you go around Jokhang temple, Lhasa’s cathedral, you come across with pilgrims prostrating themselves, tall Khampas with red braids in their hair, Chinese tourists, and traders selling goods that you cannot imagine.
Sera monastery is one of the three important monasteries. It was built in 15th century. Once upon a time it used to have 5000 monks. It belongs to Gelugpa order known as Yellow Hat. The other important monastery around Lhasa is Drepung monastery. It used to have 8000 monks. They are thought in the tradition of Vajrayana, Tantra and Sutra. Beside the monasteries extension of the tour would allow you to visit Tibetan Institute of Medicine and Astrology to see painting on silk about the history of Tibetan medicine. There are local arts and crafts centers where carpets are made in traditional methods. You may also include visit historical place of Zedang. It is 190km to the east of Lhasa. It is linked with the birth of Tibet's history. On the way there is the oldest monastery of Tibet - Samye monastery. The monastery is simply breath taking and inspiring.
Overland tour to Tibet from Kathamndu, North Everest Base camp, climbing Mt. Everest (8848m) or climbing upto Advance Everest Base camp, Climbing Mt. Cho Oyu 8201m, Mt. Shisapangma 8013m, Mt. Lhakpa Ri 7045m or mountain bike tour are other attractions and we can be of help in organzing all these.
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