When is the best time to go to Tibet?
It is recommended that one visits Tibet around May to July, and September to October. Lhasa, Tsetang and Shigatse are suitable for sightseeing tours all-year round. The harsh climate makes it unsuitable to visit the Everest Base Camp area from October to April. During winter, roads might be blocked by heavy snow in east Tibet and Ngari. While in August, heavy rainfall makes travel in those areas very difficult.
What should I bring when traveling to Tibet?
Besides the detailed information given on what to pack, we suggest you bring some fresh fruit for your consumption, as upon arrival you might lose your appetite and this might be the only food you would like to eat.
What things should I know about their culture or customs and be careful about in order not to offend them?
Tibet people are religious people and visitors may find their customs and practices are very different from that in the countries they come from. Although Tibet people are among the easiest to get along with in China but there are still some points you should be sensitive about when you travel there.
1. Do not photograph them without permission.
2. Do not talk the sensitive issues like politics &, religion.
3. Take your hat off when entering a chapel.
4. Do not take photos during a prayer meeting and in some larger monastery, you may need to pay a small fee for the privilege of taking a photo.
5. Do not touch or remove anything on an altar.
6. Do not wear shorts or short shirts in a monastery and do not smoke in a monastery.
7. Do not eat horse, donkey and dog when in Tibet.
8. Always walk around monasteries, piles of Mani stones, pagodas and other religious structures in a clockwise direction.
9. Never touch Tibetan People on the head.
What currencies other than Chinese currency, can be used in Tibet? Can I use my credit card and ATM card?
Chinese Yuan and US dollar are accepted in Tibet. However, the places which accept US dollars are very few. Visitors can change US dollars into Chinese currency in the Lhasa Central Branch Bank of China or at major hotels. Credit cards are not a recommended mean of payment in Tibet as the acceptance is very limited. Flights and hotels can not be paid using credit cards and they are also accepted at the Lhasa Central Branch Bank of China.
Can you tell me how frequent are your tours in Tibet?
You may start anytime at your convenience if you choose our private tours as long as the flight schedule matches your plan. Please contact us if you want to join our group tours.
What is the best way to visit Tibet? Join a pre-packaged tour or do-it-yourself?
Independent travel is prohibited in Tibet. To travel in Tibet you have to join an organized group or have a private tour arranged by a travel agency.
Can you arrange a Tibet permit for us before the tour begins?
Yes. For those who book our tours, we will arrange for the Tibet Travel Permit. The travel permit is checked and issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) and is usually issued two weeks prior to your entry to Tibet.
Do I need to bring photos when applying for a Tibet travel permit? If yes, in what size?
Your photos are not necessary when applying for a travel permit. However, you must provide us some of your pertinent information and documents prior to your applications for a permit. You must give us your name (as appears on your passport), nationality, age, sex, occupation passport number as well as the photocopies of your passport and visa.
Can we fly freely to Lhasa without a Tibet Permit?
No, you cannot. Without the Tibet Travel Permit, your flight tickets cannot be issued.
I'm a resident of Hong Kong and I have a Chinese passport. Do I need Tibet Permit to travel to Tibet?
Chinese passport holders do not need Tibet Permit to go/travel to Tibet. But according to the rules and regulations of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), foreign passport holders (including the Taiwanese and Non-Chinese ID card holders) need to have Tibet Travel Permit to visit Tibet. People who hold Hong Kong SAR passports and Macao SAR passports do not need Tibet Travel Permits.
Is it advisable for me to bring a sleeping bag because the sheets/blankets in the hotels may not be clean?
In 3 or 4-star hotels in cities and towns like Lhasa, Tsetang, Shigatse and Gyangtse, you do not need to worry about sanitation. Though, it is a fact that the travel to Tibet is a bit hard. But if you are going to remote areas like the Everest, it is best to bring a sleeping bag to ensure that you have a nice sleep en route. Tour operators could provide it for the tourists under requirement in advance.
Are the streets in Tibet safe?
Generally, it is quiet safe in Tibet. Almost all Tibetans are devout Buddhists who believe good deeds will accumulate merit in their next lives; crimes are rare. But tourists need pay attention to dogs that are free to move everywhere.
What medicines should I bring for Tour to Tibet?
Medicine is a must for travelers to Tibet. We suggest that you take some pain-killer pills with you and enough medicine for colds, diarrhea, nausea and fever. Some nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills will greatly be of help for those who are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions. Please consult your doctor prior to your travel to Tibet.
I have a cold, but my trip to Lhasa starts tomorrow. Can I join the trip as scheduled?
We suggest that you postpone your trip and not take such a risk. People with respiratory problems will have great difficulties to recover from cold. The chilly weather might cause pulmonary edema or even death. People who are suffering from colds, heart/cardiac illnesses, severe respiratory problems, hypertension, liver or kidney problems, anemia and other serious health problems are advised not to travel to Tibetan plateaus. The traveler suffering from such illness might have a hard time to adapt to the Tibetan environment, which might cause the worsening of their illness.
What could I do to avoid altitude sickness?
Some travelers will get altitude sickness on the Tibetan plateau. We have some tips for you:
Before you go to Tibet，seek advice from people who have similar experiences. The most important thing is that you should never be nervous or worried about your trip. Regard the trip to Tibet as a trip to any other cities. You should always be optimistic.
If you have respiratory problems, we advise you to postpone your trip till you are fully recovered.
A thorough physical examination is necessary. If you have problems like anemia or hypertension, or suffer from heart problems and other illness of lungs, liver or kidney, you should not go to Tibet.
You need to bring enough water or drinks and fruits. Snacks with high caloric content, like chocolate, will come in handy.
Since we are traveling with kids (around 2-3 years old) and we have been hearing a lot about the high altitude adjustment problems for travelers to Lhasa, do you think we would have any difficulty? If
Age has nothing to do with the occurrence of altitude sickness. Anxiety is the common cause of altitude sickness. Always remember that if you have any problems or feel uncomfortable, you need to tell the guide about this immediately.
Do guides speak English? What is their experience/education attainment? Are they Tibetan or Chinese?
Yes, our guides are all English speaking. Though Tibetan guides know more about their culture, they are less proficient in English than their Chinese peers. Most of them are well-educated professionals. The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) conducts annual tests to maintain the quality of their services.
Do you provide vegetarian meals?
Yes. The meals can be arranged as per our clients' requests.
Should I tip?
Tipping is not customary in China. However as the tourism develops, tour guides, drivers, and the hotel staff do expect tips. If the service is satisfactory, a few dollars to the guide and the driver will be appreciated. However, in restaurants and on taxis, tips are not necessary.
Can I wear my contact lens in Tibet?
Wearing contact lens might make you very uncomfortable because Tibet’s climate is usually dry and sandy.
Can you give us the information of the transportation to Tibet?
Tibet is used to be an inhospitable region, but lots of the people want to travel there. With the transportation network built up, it is easier to get to Tibet with different access. Rail, road, air all are very convenient. The most popular way to enter Tibet now is taking the train-the sky train. On the way, you can enjoy the unique high land scenery that you will miss by taking the flights, and at the same time, adjust yourself to the altitude gradually; the flights is faster and convenient, but see less; hitchhiking the road, it will take a longer time to get to Tibet and pretty tough. The biggest benefit is that you can spend more time at the wonderful sceneries and enjoy them all the way to Tibet.
What is the condition of the accommodation in Tibet?
In most cities and counties in Tibet, there are hotels and guest houses for lodging, but the service may be inferior to those of the inner land of China. In Lhasa, lodging ranges from guest houses to four star hotels. In Shigatse, Gyangtse, Tsedang and Nyingchi, the highest standard is three stars. In Tingri, Zhangmu and Nakchu, the highest are two stars while in other smaller or remote areas, accommodation is mainly in guest houses.
Will I get used to Tibetan food? What if I can't?
Tibetan dishes are not simply a harmonizing of the strange food, but have been developed into a distinctive cuisine which is not only nutritious but also tantalizing in taste, color and class. These kinds of local dishes are very popular with the outside travelers, but if they are not to your liking, you can have buns, porridges, noodles, tea with milk and other dishes.
How about the shopping markets in Tibet? Are there many fakes? Can I bargain?
Shopping is centered mainly on Barkhor Street in Lhasa , and the free markets in Shigatse, where various kinds and grades of goods are available. Most of the goods in Barkhor Street can be bargained down to 1/3 of the asking price. As in other tourist cities, you may find some fakes there, but they can usually be differentiated by a close look. The exceptions are the Tibetan medicines and Thangkas. Authentic Tibetan medicines can be purchased in the Pharmaceutical Factory of Tibetan Medicine of Tibet, the Pharmaceutical Factory of Tibetan Medicine of Lhasa, and their respective retail departments, but they can't be bargained down. For Thangkas, you need an expert with you if you want to collect an authentic one.