Best time visit: Best time to travel is in summer and autumn - from March to October. Overland journey is best from early May to middle of October. The snow condition in high Himalayan pass in winter and flight schedule that normally stops at the end of October and starts in the end of March most tour to Tibet are conducted during this period. However you should note that during monsoon season (July to August) heavy rain during that time can often disrupt the road to Kodari border.
Safety Situation: Normally travel to Tibet is safe. Since Tibetans are still fighting for their independent homeland so from time to time Chinese authorities maintain strict rules for travel. See our latest E-Newsletter or email us for update. Normally during Februay and March Tibet remain closed due to tighten the security
Travel documents: Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu opens for visa from Monday to Friday betwnn 9 to 12am. Normal visa process takes 3 days; if given of Monday passport would be returned on Wednesday. However for those who have short days, visa can be obtain in two days too. If given Monday, visa will be availabe on Tuesday for this extra urgent charges are applicable.
VISA/ Passports: You must have a valid passport, valid for 6 months and with spare pages. Spare photographs should also be carries, plus a photocopy of your passport main information pages.
Visa For Nepal - double entry tourist visa easily available at any entry points in Nepal. You need travel permit / Visa to enter Tibet. Standard tourist Chinese visa China does not work to enter Tibet. Prior tour arrangement has to be made so as to get travel permit/Tibet visa from the embassy in Kathmandu. It is also possible to send such visa instruction to your home country. Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) authorizes your travel request.
Immunization: We recommend the following but you must consult your own doctor or medical authority: Typhoid, Tetanus, Poliomyelitus, Gamma Globulin (anti Hepatitus A &B), Malaria, Meningitus, Rabies, and of course-anti dysentery precautions such as Imodium, plus anything that your doctor recommends.
Customs Regulation: Camera and vedio camera and resonable quantity of camera films and personal effects are allowed.
Tourist Entry points from Kathmandu are: Gongar airport near Lhasa and Purang from Simikot
Money Matter: Credit Card: Best not to rely on it. Take with you enough convertable Foreign currency notes with you. You do not get money in foreign currency against charge credit card. Visa card, Thomas Cook or American Express are recognized and are acceptable. Some cash in sterling or dollars in various denominations would be helpful. In Nepal the currency is the Rupee and you can change this on entry at Zhangmu. You need small denominations for local tea and meals etc. Once you are in Lhasa you can change more money. Keep some cash dollars or a few larger banknotes in Rembini handy to trade for some Tibetan artifacts like turquoise.
Local people uses Renmnbi in their daily life. Its denomination are 1,2,5,10 and 50 yuan; 1,2,and 5 Jiao, 1,2,and 5 fen. 1 yuan = 10 Jiao = 10 fen. The other officially used currency is FEC. Standard exchange rate: US$1 = 8.29 yuan (RMB) and 1 Yuan(RMB) = Rs 9.39 (Nepalese). Check for current exchange rate.
Shopping: The only limiting factors are your purse and ability to carry the objects. Nepal probably has more Tibetan artifacts available than anywhere else, including Tibet. Carpets, copper, brass, masks, idols and interesting things abound. Many being made in Kathmandu factories as we write. Historical objects and anything of gold and silver officially needs a permit to be exported.
In Tibet you will need cash local money or dollars. Xigatse has an interesting market and so does Lhasa, particularly around the Jokhang Temple. Carpets are available but usually much better in Kathmandu. However Coral, Turquoise and silver jewellery can often be purchased from the local tribes people. Be aware that on leaving Tibet for Nepal you are not allowed to take out historical objects.
Local Time: Beijing time is used all over Lhasa. It is 8 hours ahead of GMT. And Kathmandu is 5 hr 45 minutes of GMT. So after you leave Kathmandu at 10 am the arrival time at Lhasa is 2 pm. The flight duration is just one hour. Similarly when you leave Lhasa the local time would be 10am and arrival time at Kathmandu 9 am. 9.
Communication and mail: Now most of the area has interenet. You can post letter and cards easily from Xigatse and Lhasa and of course take your chances at any hotel. Cards and stamps can be bought at any of the hotels. Modern communication facilities are available in Lhasa and other major cities. Local mobile net works is all throughout Tibet.
What to wear: Always take warm clothing with you and a sleeping bag. Other suggested items are - flashlight with battery, water bottle, dust mask, water purification tablet, toilet paper, walking shoe, sun-hat, sun-cream, and sun-glass.
The list depends on the time of the year that you will be traveling. The weather in Sept./Oct gets colder so for this you will need the very best sleeping bags, the best down jackets, gloves, scarves, thermal underwear and thermal socks.
Many cold weather items can be purchased, hired or rented in Kathmandu for very inexpensive prices. Early summer (July to August) does not have extreme wear but it is still cold at night and sometimes it can be wet.
Suggested items are:
2 pairs comfortable trousers or long heavy skirts.
2 comfortable long sleeve shirts/blouses
1 light woolen sweater
1 warm woolen sweater
1 warm mountain jacket
1 waterproof trouser
1 pair comfortable walking shoes or boots (waterproofed)
1 pair sandals/ light shoes
Warm hat or balaclava
Ruck sack or duffle bag, daypack, good quality sleeping bag plus cotton inner sheet, Money belt, towels, washing kit/toiletries.Personal first aid kit, 1 liter water bottle with purification tablets, universal sink plug, padlock, powerful torch and spare batteries, short wax candles and matches, extra plastic bags, toilet paper, camping knives/can /bottle opener/Fork/ spoon /chop sticks, spare optical if worn.
Food and drinks: You are on bed and breakfast throughout the tour unless it is specifically mentioned in the programme. Food available in Tibet are primarily Chinese, but it is unremarkable since most vegetables are only available in season or have to be imported from other parts of China. Food is limited in variety due to lack of fresh supply. Leave your gourmet taste at home or wait until you arrive Kathmandu. Take instant food and drink, biscuits, chocolates, dry fruits and food.Own supply of what ever excites Soups/coffee, chocolate, oxe cubes etc.,
Note. Several of the above items can be purchased in Kathmandu
Airport tax: At persent there is no airport tax to be paid separately, most of the airlines they charge in the tickets. Please check with us before you fly.
Tour Guide: English speaking guide would accompany you throughout your tour in Tibet. Tour guide are mandatory to accompany tourist in Tibet. The guides are appointed by local agents. The tour guide does not go above base camp. They are usually a link between the group and the operator only. The cost of the guides and drivers are covered in the tour cost so no additional payment is required.
Health: Good health and physical fitness is required. If you have respiratory or heart problem you should not travel. During monsoon (rainly) season the road from Kathmandu to the Chinese border (Kodari Highway) is prone to landslide and in winter season part of the road from Zangmu to Lhasa can be closed due to heavy snow. In such situation you should be prepared to walk. If you are over 50 years we require a letter from the doctor or clinic stating that you are fit to travel on this tour. If the tour is to remote places ensure that your dental work is up to date. Bring your own medicines for head and chest remedies, plus sun cream and lip balm as the sun is often every severe at these high altitudes.
In case of altitude problem with a member of the group it is always priority of the group to attend the sick person for his safety. There are medical facilities at Zangmu, Xigar, Xigaze, and Lhasa but not other places. Medical facilities are limited and possibility of medical evacuation is negligible.
To maintain personal cleanliness is a problem in Tibet specially when you travel for some time without being able to have a proper wash. Wet wipes are a must, flat toilet paper ideal for your baggage.
Altitude Sickness: While travelling straight from Zangmu to the Plateau at Xigar or Xigatse there is chances that you may feel the sympton of altitude sickness. You may also feel the problem after arriving by flight at Lhasa from Kathmandu. In most cases the altitude sickness would go away after 2 or 3 night stay in Lhasa. Headache pills can help to some extent. Diamox if taken a day before the journey can reduce the risk. But you should consult your medical doctor or medical authorities.
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.
Safety Situation: Normally travel to Tibet is safe. Since Tibetans are still fighting for their independent homeland so from time to time Chinese authorities maintain strict rules for travel. Normally during Februay and March Tibet remain closed due to tighten the security.
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