Tibetan politics is an extremely sensitive issue. Normal Chinese travel and tourism rules are absolutely not applicable in Tibet and getting a visa to Tibet is actually a big deal. Government rules and regulations are extremely strict and illiberal. However, Tibet is actually very safe to travel. No sorts of political movements take place which will impede people’s lives. Even if such movements occur, they instantly taken care of by the police or government officials. However, robbery and pickpocketing is often at time beyond the governments’ control. Hence, it is best to remain on the safe side and properly and carefully take care of your belongings.
In order to get a visa to travel to Lhasa, either individually or in a group, one needs to book their tour with a travel agency. Without booking your tour with a travel agency, it isn’t possible to get a travel visa to Lhasa. Other than citizens of Hong Kong and Macau, all other nationalities need to apply for a visa which includes Chinese citizens as well. Similarly, if you wish to explore places beyond Lhasa then you also need to apply for the ‘Aliens’ Travel Permit’. On the downside, if you are a diplomat, a journalist, a professional media photographer or a government official, you have to apply for your visa through the Tibet Foreign Affairs Office. So firstly one needs a Chinese visa and then a Tibet Travel Permit which is issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau which takes about 3 working days.
Travel insurance is highly recommended while traveling to Tibet. Especially travel insurances that cover ambulances and an emergency flight back home in certain cases of altitude sickness. Opt for a policy that will particularly cover you medical bills that will direct pay the hospital rather than you having to pay right there. Similarly, trip and flight cancellation insurance might also be necessary if you happen to be flying to Western or Eastern Tibet as flights to these regions often close.
Before going to Lhasa, you need to be aware of the weather conditions. Lhasa didn’t get the name of ‘The Roof of the World’ just like that. Lhasa lies at a whooping elevation of 3550m where the sunshine is very strong, the air of cold and dry and there’s a huge difference in the day to night temperatures. The air in Lhasa is very thin and has a low oxygen level which may lead to some people having breathing problems. Summer which ranges from the months of June to August, is the best time to travel to Lhasa as the air has a higher oxygen level and the weather is cool and please. Spring which ranges from April and May, as well as, autumn, which ranges from September to October are great times to travel to Tibet as well.
Flight cancelations to Tibet do happen sometimes. The main reason being that the Chinese air force using the Lhasa airport for military issues. There are less chances of early morning flight getting delayed which is why it is recommended to take early morning flights. Weather in the spring and autumn isn’t much of an issue while flying, so weather can be taken out of the spectrum. The most reliable airlines to Lhasa are Air China, Sichuan Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern airlines, which have similar services with similar price points.
At times packing is quite a headache, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back! In Lhasa, temperatures fluctuate quite a lot. Hence, even during summers you ought to carry a thin fleece jacket. Dress in layers which can be easily added or removed. Also throw in some slip-ons if you intend to visit monasteries and holy places. The sunrays in Lhasa are pretty strong, so carry a high SPF sunscreen and a pair of sunglasses and a hat. It is highly advisable to get some high altitude sickness medicines such as Diamox. Bank card services are available only in major places. Hence, carry enough cash. If necessary, you can also get oxygen canister which are easily available at Lhasa. While touring around Lhasa, your travel permit gets checked often, which is why a waist bag to store your passport and documents is recommended.
Altitude sickness is extremely common while traveling to Lhasa. Lhasa lies at a whooping altitude of 3300m, which is very high. Even running for ten seconds at Lhasa will make you out of breath. Hence, avoid running or jumping and taking alcohol for the first few days. It is important to stay hydrated and take in foods with high calories such as chocolate and energy bars. Other than that, Diamox really helps with altitude sickness and if needed you can get an oxygen canister easily. However, if it gets serious, talk to your guide and visit a hospital.
We are a leading Tibet tour operator and our expertise & experienced team & resources to make your trip to Tibet conventient, at Nepal Social Treks and Expedition would be beyond gratified to be your travel partner to the ‘Roof of the World’. Our services have been highly appreciated by our clients and we believe it is because of our dedication and enthusiasm to serve in the best way possible. We believe that our services will be a great experience for you as well. During your tour to Lhasa, you will be accompanied by one of our experienced guides who will surely enrich your overall experience in the mesmerizing city. Come join us, for memories of a lifetime!
Nepal Social Treks and Expedition has been organizing tours within Nepal, Bhutan and Lhasa, all of which have been enriching and fulfilling for our clients. We believe it will be equally enriching for you and we look forward to seeing and serving you as your tour operator to these amazing lands of wonders.