Rich with picturesque high-plateau landscapes, colourful Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, and world-famous historical sites, Tibet trip packs many kinds of element into one! Tibet is a place drastically different from where you come from. For a smooth and enjoyable experience, we suggest travelers to plan in advance. And take time to learn as much about Tibet as possible. To help travelers make informed travel decisions, the local Lhasa-based travel agency, Tibet Ctrip Travel Service-TCTS, share below things to know before your Tibet trip.
Tibet Travel Permit (TTP)
All foreign travellers need Tibet Travel Permit (TTP) to enter and travel Tibet. It will be checked at Lhasa-bound trains and planes before boarding. By law, only a local travel agency can apply and obtain TTP in Tibet on your behalf. Travellers must provide your travel agency in Tibet with a clear copy of your passport data page and your Chinese visa page. If arriving from mainland China by flight, we will mail TTP to your hotel prior Tibet; If arriving from mainland China by train, a copy of TTP is sufficient which you need to print them out after received by email from your travel agent; if arriving from Nepal, either by flight or by overland, your Tibetan guide will meet you at Lhasa Airport or Gyirong port with TTP.
Best Time for Tibet Trip
Most part of Tibet is hospitable all-year-around. However, the best time for Tibet trip varies based on your travel plan and itinerary in Tibet. While central Tibet is hospitable all-year-around, the best time of the year for Tibet trip is from April-June and September-October. July and August are the monsoon here in Tibet, also these two months are summer holiday for students in China so large tourist crowds will flow to Tibet. The best time to visit may vary based on where in Tibet you plan to visit. TCTS is always happy to advise travelers on when and where to go!
How to get there, around, and out
The quickest and easiest way of arriving in Tibet is by air, daily flights serve Lhasa from several major Chinese cities and there are multiple flights from Kathmandu every week. The most scenic routes are by train and overland (some routes may not be open to foreign visitors at this time). Within Tibet, travel groups must have their own driver and are not allowed to use public busses outside of Lhasa.
Most people who travel Tibet will, at some point, feel the effects of the altitude. Many times this is just a mild headache, shortness of breath, or fatigue. The best way to avoid altitude sickness is to stay well hydrated prior to arrival and during the tour. Over the first few days, avoid intense physical activity. TCTS arranges for a guided sightseeing tour of Lhasa at the beginning of every tour. This allows time for acclimatization to the altitude.
The local currency is the Chinese Yuan. As a general rule of thumb, travelers should expect to use cash for all purchases in Tibet (TCTS accept PayPal, West Union or wire transfer for tour related transactions). Reliable ATMs provided by major banks, such as Bank of China, are available in Lhasa. With the exception of a cash advance at a bank, credit cards are typically not accepted. We suggest travelers to withdrawal enough cash before leaving their home country.
These five things to know before going to Tibet are among travelers’ most common questions and concerns. Taking time to learn about Tibet and plan a Tibet trip in advance are the keys to a smooth and enjoyable experience. TCTS welcomes any and all Tibet travel related questions and is always happy to offer suggestions on tours. With the 2018 Tibet travel season coming into full swing, travelers are advised to start planning their trip now!