FAQ About Tibet Travel Tours
What’s the best time to visit Tibet?
From April to October are good for visitor to enter Tibet. The best time to visit Tibet is May and September. Lots of flower will in full bloom in May, visitor can get amazing views of natural scenery. The weather will become cool in September; the sky is clear so that people will plan hike or trek in the season.
During July and August, the air has higher oxygen content than in other season. Summer is high season for travel because of several important festivals such as Shoton Festival and the Nagqu Horse Racing Festival, so the costs will higher than other season.
Could I travel to Tibet by myself?
The Chinese government requires that all travelers in Tibet be accompanied by a tour guide at all times so that travelers' safety can be maximized. Foreigner travel to Tibet need get Tibet entry permit which should apply through by travel agency. More details please see: Tibet Permit
How to Get a Tibet Permit
Applying for a Tibet permit is a different process from getting your China visa. Application from individuals is not accepted: it must be done through a travel agency.
Fortunately, it is easy for us to handle all the procedures and we can 99% guarantee your Tibet permit success. With our step-by-step guidance, applications are almost always successful. The procedure is as follows:
Step 1Get a China Tourist Visa
If you are from a Visa-free country, just disregard this step.
Step 2Confirm a tour package with a travel agent
No matter whether it is a group tour or a private tour.
Step 3Send us copies of your passport and China visa
If you are from Visa-free countries, just send your passport to us.
Step 4Send us copies of your passport and China visa
Normally it will be posted by express mail to your pre-Tibet stop.
Except for L (Visitor/Tourist) Visa holders, you are also required to provide proof of a place at your company/school.
China expats, you will need to provide a work/study certificate.
Don't worry: your travel agency (we) will give you guidance in preparing all the items.
What to Eat in Tibet
Tibet is not a foodie destination, but there are still some signature dishes and drinks from the country's cookbook that will certainly enhance your cultural experience. First, it's important to know that Tibet's mountainous terrain yields a very hearty diet. You won't find many vegetables or fruits here, as they have trouble growing in Tibet's dry, wintry environment. Instead, locals feast on meat, dairy, starches and stews. The most important dish in Tibet is momo. Momo are dumplings filled with everything from beef to yak's cheese and are loved by locals. Oftentimes, parties are thrown just to eat momo. Noodles and barley dishes are also a big staple in the Tibetan diet as well and, despite China's influence, you won't see a whole lot of rice here.
Yak is another big part of the Tibetan diet. Tibet is full of yaks, and along with providing photo ops for tourists, they are used to make cheese, butter and meat. Momo can also be stuffed with yak meat, and yak jerky is a popular snack. Another very popular snack is tsampa. Tsampa may be a bit strange to the western palette. Tsampa is roasted barley flour mixed with butter tea, dried dri cheese (dri is the name of a female yak) and often sugar. The ingredients are mixed into a dough but remain uncooked. The snack is known for being very powdery and as such, can cause a coughing fit. Be sure to not inhale before eating tsampa.
As for the signature drink of Tibet, that's butter tea. Butter tea is made with yak butter, barley powder and milk curds. The tea acts as fuel for nomads braving the cooler temps in the more remote regions of Tibet. But it's not just for the nomads, you can find butter tea all over. On Lhasa's Barkhor Street, you'll find tea houses and restaurants serving butter tea. Because of all its use of dairy and meat in its dishes, vegetarians and vegans may have a hard time eating in Tibet.
Getting Around Tibet
The best way to get around Tibet is with your tour group. Due to the provisions of Tibet's travel permits, all forms of transportation around Tibet must be prearranged through a tour group. If you want to venture outside of Lhasa, Tibet's main city and tourist hub, you have to apply for an additional permit through your tour company. You are not allowed to travel outside of Lhasa independently.
Within Lhasa, if transportation around isn't already provided for you with your tour (it usually is), the best way to get around is by taxi, as rates are fairly inexpensive. There are also pedicabs, but due to their reputation for overcharging tourists, they should be avoided. You can rely on your own two feet, but keep in mind that most top attractions in Lhasa are more than a mile apart. Buses are available but can be confusing for foreigners as route timetables are in Chinese.
Getting to Tibet is also organized by your tour company. Some tours include the price of transport to Tibet, while others only provide instructions for booking. All tourists come into Tibet through Lhasa, accessible via the Lhasa Gonggar Airport (LXA) and the Lhasa Railway Station. To get to either the airport or train station, you must first fly into mainland China. The Lhasa airport can be reached from a number of major cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, the latter of which is the closest major city to Tibet. If your tour operator doesn't already provide transportation to your hotel, you can take a taxi from the airport (about 40 miles south of the city) into Lhasa for between 130 and 300 yuan (around $20 to $45).
The Lhasa Railway station is closer to Lhasa, making taxi fares more affordable (it will cost you 30 yuan, or around $5 to get into town). However, your journey via train will be a lot longer (from Chengdu, it's more than a daylong trip). If you're willing to endure the long transit time, consider riding the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the highest railway in the world (more than 13,000 feet above sea level). This 20-hour journey (starting at Xining) is lauded for its scenic route, passing through snow-capped mountains, untouched valleys, and alpine lakes and rivers.
How to Save Money in Tibet
•Visit during fall or spring Summer is peak tourism season in Tibet, meaning you'll be subject to the highest travel rates. Visiting during shoulder seasons could save you as much as 20 percent off travel rates.
•Bargain When shopping, especially on Barkhor Street, bargain with vendors to get a lower price on goods.
•Stay in Lhasa Since wherever you want to visit in Tibet must be on your tour group's itinerary (under the standard travel permit you are not allowed to travel outside of Lhasa independently), going on a tour that includes other destinations in Tibet will cost extra.
What You Need to Know
Prepare for the altitude
Because Tibet sits high on a plateau, there is up to 40 percent less oxygen than at sea level. You will likely experience symptoms of altitude sickness for a couple days, including breathlessness and headaches. Because of this, you should save trips to the mountains and other remote areas until after you've acclimated to the altitude.
You have to visit on a tour
Travelers are not allowed to obtain Tibet entry permits independently, only tour operators can do that. When searching for a tour, make sure it covers all the places you want to visit in Tibet. Additional permits are required to travel outside of Lhasa (Tibet's capital city).
Don't talk politics
Tibet and China have a very troubled history with each another, and conflict between the two still go on to this day. The relationship is so bad that Tibetans merely possessing a photo of the Dalai Lama or the Tibetan flag could result in arrest.
Don't visit during winter
While you'll no doubt get the best travel rates during this time, you'll also experience serious drawbacks including lower oxygen content, bitter temperatures and highway closures to remote attractions. Not only that, but Tibet closes its borders to visitors from February to early April.
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