Frequently Asked Questions
- Except Chinese visas, the travelers (including those of Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and other countries) need to obtain the Travel Permits issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB)
- The Tibet Tour operators will provide the entire necessary assistant to obtain the travel permits.
- As per the current regulation introduced by TTB, the application procedure for Tibet travel permits must be applied 20 days before departure.
- May to October.
- However, Tibet is now operational throughout the year including visiting Everest base camp due to improved infrastructure and well experience Tour operator.
- High season means June to September.
- It is due to the weather, holiday periods or other reasons. Hotels, airlines, transport and others services comparatively expensive in high season.
- Popular hotels and Tour Guide are must be book in well advance.
- A passport valid for more than 6 months and a color passport size Photo
- A valid Chinese visa (if you are entering from China mainland) you need Tibet travel permit (this document is obtained from TTB by your Tour operator).
- Except those of Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR, Macau all visitors traveling to mainland China required visa.
- Chinese visa can be obtained from your home country as well as Hongkong or Macau or Kathmandu.
- When you apply for the Chinese visa, we advise not to mention Tibet or to write anything about Tibet on the application form.
- It is advisable to refer to other places in China like Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, etc. otherwise, visa officer may reject your application and won’t issue the visa for Tibet.
- No, because Tibet is a part of China. If you enter Tibet from other cities of mainland China and after the trip in Tibet get back to any other cities of mainland China again, you need only a single entry visa.
- For example: Beijing?Tibet?Shanghai. For this, a single entry visa is okay.
- You do not require Chinese Visa if you enter Tibet via gateway city of Kathmandu, Nepal.
- First your Tibet Operator will obtain visa approval document from TTB in Lhasa and submitting this document together with your passport, visa application and other supporting document in Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu your Tibet visa will be obtained.
- Tibet visa working days are categorized as follows: Urgent (2 days), semi Urgent (3 days) and normal (4 days)
- Visa fees are charged as per the working days
- What happened if Chinese Embassy is closed due to weekend or Chinese holidays?
- Chinese Embassy accepts and issues all visa formalities through their private consultant since few years.
- If travel date co-inside with holiday, visa authority accepts visa application before holiday time with all relevant documents and issue after verifying the original passport before departure.
- We need your passport valid for more than 6 months,
- Visa form duly fill up,
- Color passport size photo
- Hotel voucher and flight ticket or train ticket.
- Chinese visa working days are categorized as follows: Urgent (2 days ), semi Urgent (3 days ) and normal (4 days)
Any eligible Tourist with valid passport is entitled to receive Tibet Travel Permit through any registered Tibet Operator.
Yes, we can arrange Tibet permit provided you buy certain services and follow our security guideline as we will be liable for any eventuality.
The main language spoken in Tibet is the Tibetan language. Apart from the Tibetan language languages like English is also used in the tourism business and other languages like Hindi and Nepalese are spoken by the Indian and Nepalese merchants. Tibetan language is also spoken in Nepal (in the Nepal-Tibet border areas), Bhutan and India (mainly in Sikkim). This language is classified by the linguists as the member of Tibeto-Burman subgroup of the Sino-Tibetan languages but its origin goes back to the mother language Sanskrit.
Use Money in Tibet! By being aware of the situation in advance, travelers can avoid many of the most common last minute hassles. First and foremost, the local currency is the Chinese Yuan (RMB). With the exception of a few high-end hotels in Lhasa, travelers should not expect credit cards to be accepted. ATMs can be found easily in Lhasa and are, for the most part, reliable. At Bank of China it is possible to take out cash advances via Visa/MasterCard, although this may not be possible at other banks. To avoid problems, it is best to visit the bank before a group’s Tibet Tour leaves Lhasa.
Arrive Lhasa by train from China side or fly from Kathmandu. Welcome by our Tibetan Guide at train station or Lhasa Airport. Receive and welcome by BATE representative who will be holding Basanta Adventure sign or your name plate outside the airport, Transfer to hotel, free afternoon for acclimatization. Short briefing upon arrival about hotel facilities and safety. Please avoid changing money at the airport counter; you can always change money in city center or hotel for better exchange rates. If you think you need money just change small amounts.
The climate in highland Tibet belongs to the typical downy special climate. Climates are much different in different areas in Tibet and temperatures vary greatly within a single day. Climate in southeastern Tibet (e.g. Nyingchi) is gentle and temperate with the average temperature of eight degrees; In western Tibet (e.g. Nakqu), the average temperature is below zero degree; While in Lhasa and the central part of Tibet, the climate is normal and nice for traveling. Visitors would not feel cold in winter nor hot in summer, especially from March to October, the best seasons for traveling
Low Season (Dec–Feb)
Very few people visit Tibet in winter, so you’ll have the place largely to yourself. Hotel prices and many entry tickets are discounted by up to 50%, but some restaurants close.
Shoulder (Apr, Oct–Nov)
The slightly colder weather means fewer travelers and a better range of 4WDs. Prices are 20% cheaper than during the high season.
High Season (May–Sep)
The warmest weather makes travel, trekking and transport easiest. Prices are at their highest, peaking in July and August. Book ahead during the 1 May and 1 October national holidays.
Emergency Rescue Guidelines
Emergency rescue/evacuation takes place in the event of any life threatening situation i.e. serious injuries to vital organs, body parts (broken limbs), food poisoning or acute mountain sickness (AMS), and natural disasters or Political disturbances.
Use all emergency numbers (numbers updated every six (6) months)
- Police: 110
- Fire: 119
- Ambulance: 120
- Weather Forecast: 12121
- Local Phone Number Inquiry: 114
- Consumer Complain: 12315
Useful information and suggestions
Government holiday and Business hour
- Government offices, institutions and schoolsbegin at 8:00 or 8:30, and end at 17:00 or 17:30 with two-hour noon break, from Monday to Friday. They usually close on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
- Companiesusually start at 8:30 and close at 18:00, with one or two hours noon break. Though usually open from Monday to Friday, companies have some staff on duty at weekends.
- Banks and post officesopen daily from 9:00 till 17:00. During weekends and public holidays, their business hours are shortened by one or two hours. One can find self-service banks and ATM machines operate any time.
- Hotels and hospitalsoffer round-the-clock services every day. Community clinics are also open every day from 8:30 till past 22:00.
- Most tourist attractionscan be visited every day from 9:00 till 17:30, with some keeping open into the evening during summer time. Museums usually close for one day (mostly Monday) for every week, and extend opening hours by one or two hours on public holidays and summer/winter vacations.
China runs on 220 volts with a variety of plug types. Most common are the 2 prong straight plug (USA style) and 3 prong angled (Australia style).
Most consumer electronics will be rated at 100 to 220 volts, read the details on your appliance’s power supply. Generally cameras, phones and computers may need an adapter to fit in the plug but not a power converter.
Make sure you understand the difference between a plug adapter and a power converter. If your plug is not the right shape but rated for 110 to 220 volts, you just need an adapter to get your plug to physically fit in the wall. If your appliance is rated for 110 volts only and you want to plug it in, you will need a power converter which gives you the right voltage and amperage for your appliance.
raditional Tibetan food consist mainly barley, meat and dairy products. Vegetables are scarce in the high altitude. Tsampa is the staple food of Tibetan people, which is consumed daily. It is actually barley flour made from parched barley, unhusked and ground into fine flour. Put some flour with salted butter tea in a bowl, rotate the bowl with the left hand and mix the food with your fingers of your right hand, roll it into small lumps, then squeeze it into your mouth with your fingers. Other ingredients may also be added to add flavor. Tibetan people eat Tsampa at every meal and bring it as instant food in travel. The salted butter tea is an indispensable Tsampa pal. Boiled tea is poured into a long cylindrical churn along with salt and yak butter. Vigorous churning makes the ingredients well blended and ready to serve. The local people drink it throughout the whole day. Yak butter is very important local food and it is separated from yak milk by hard churning. After butter is separated from milk, the residue becomes sour and can be made into milk curd which is a nice thirst quenchable and can be made into milk curd pastry with barley flour.
In cities make sure you drink plenty of liquid, do not drink water from the tap as it is not treated. Make sure to buy bottle water from reputed companies like aqua 100 or bisleri. During a trek it is important to treat water with Iodine which kills Giardia or take your own water filters, but avoid buying bottled water for environmental purposes.
Local city transport only really operates in Lhasa and Shigatse. Buses run on set routes and charge a fixed fare of ¥1.
Pedicabs (pedal-operated tricycles transporting passengers) are available in Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse and Bāyī, but require extensive haggling and are often as expensive, if not more, than a taxi.
One result of China’s economic infusion into Tibet is the large number of taxis now available in most towns, even Ali in western Tibet. In Lhasa most fares are ¥10, more for a trip outside town to Drepung Monastery, for example. Fixed-route passenger taxis (which you can pay for by the seat) run between several cities, including Lhasa and Tsetang.
Tractors can be an option for short trips in rural areas, especially in the Yarlung Valley. For a few yuan, drivers are normally quite happy to have some passengers in the back. Rides of anything over 10 minutes quickly become seriously uncomfortable unless on a tarmac road.
Please make sure you have the following medications for personal use:
- All prescription and/or non-prescription medications you are currently taking.
- A broad-spectrum antibiotic prescribed by your doctor (this is required).
- Aspirin or Ibuprofen: The following high altitude medications are required, in conjunction with the general medications listed above, for all Treks that go above 15,000ft. (Mexico Volcanoes, Ecuador Volcanoes, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Nepal):
- Acetazolamide, also known as Diamox can be taken to help in the acclimatization process and/or to relieve the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS.
- Dexamethasone, also known as Decadron can be taken to relieve the symptoms of High Altitude Cerebral Edema or HACE.
Communication conditions are greatly improved in Tibet now and it makes communication much easier than before. A number of hotels provide IDD call and fax service as well as there are photocopy facilities in Lhasa. Cell phone connection works well in Lhasa and other cities in Tibet. Only in some remote mountainous regions, cell phones can not be connected. Thera are also many public phones in Lhasa.
International mail service is available at the post offices. Internet is another alternative which is accessible to travelers. Most hotels provide internnet service or free WIFI. Restaurants, cafes, and tea houses also have free WIFI. There are dozens of internet cafes in Lhasa. The internet service in the Makye Ame Restaurant and the Barkhor cafe are examples. In Chamdo, Ngari and Yadong there are also a number of other internet cafes but they are less reliable.
A small, lightweight, 35mm camera with three to ten rolls of film, depending on how much you like to shoot, is recommended. If you use a digital camera consider how many batteries and memory cards you will need to bring. Remember to keep the bulk and weight to a minimum.
Extra activities and shopping
Tibet is a “Cultural Shopping Paradise”. There are plenty of opportunities to shop while engaging with the rich Tibetan culture and local life. Some of the most famous local products are Tibetan carpet and Textiles, Tibetan Thangka, Tibetan medicine and other unique items such as wooden bowls, jewelry, jade, prayer wheels, knives, local boots and beads. Tibet Ctrip Travel Service encourages travelers to shop responsibly by doing business with Tibetan souvenir shops. Many Tibetans depend on money from tourism and this is, by far, the best way to give back to the Tibetan community.
Please be advised that you’d better buy some practical and necessary items in Lhasa, before you leave Lhasa for next travel destination. There are many department stores and supermarkets in Lhasa, mostly on Yuthok Lu (road), East and Middle Beijing Road that will supply your everyday needs. Lhasa Department Store which is the oldest supermarket in Lhasa, locates at the west end of Yuthok road which is quite close to Potala Palace. It is the largest and best known department store in Lhasa. It sells such practical items as sun lotion, cotton clothing, mugs, canned food, towels, and toothpaste, plus local handicrafts.
Sending package to your country
There are several good local and international courier agents. BATE will be more than happy to give you best advice. You can always use government postal services’ Express mail service (EMS).
Begging and Street Children
Like in any city, please be aware of pick pocketers and always keep valuables in safety lockers of your hotels.
Pick pocketing and Burglary
Like in any heavily populated city, please be aware of pick pocketers and always keep valuables in safety lockers of your hotels.
When travelling internationally special attention needs to be paid to local customs and laws. We Recommend reading up on the customs of the area that you are travelling prior to your departure. The Lonely Planet is an excellent resource. Please consult with your instructors for information regarding your location. Here are some helpful tips from us.
Dos and do nots
- Communication might be a little hard, but the people are welcoming enough for you enjoy your trip there.
- Beef is prohibited among both Hindus and Buddhists. No female animal is killed for food.
- Walking around temples or stupas is traditionally done clockwise.
- Generally temples, stupas and monuments are permitted to be photographed but it is better to ask authorized people for permission before using a camera.
- It is better to be decently dressed when visiting any place. Sun and beachwear is not proper when roaming around. Briefs, shorts and bare shoulder and back may not be appreciated. One need not be stiff and overdressed but comfortable and decently covered.
- Public display of affection between man and woman is frowned upon. Do not do something that is totally alien to our culture.
- We are hard on drug abuse; trafficking and possession of drugs are taken as serious offences.
- Cheap charity breeds beggars but does not solve their basic problem. Therefore, do not encourage beggary by being benevolent.
- Beware of touts who claim to be representing companies and offer to take you bargain hunting.
- Use hotel safety boxes for your valuables. Do not leave cash and other valuable things lying around in the room.
Dos and do nots
- Respect the law of the land.
- Respect local customs, religions and cultural norms and values.
- Always use authorized travel, trekking and rafting agencies.
- Don’t forget to use hotel locker for any valuables.
- Take care of your belongings properly. Never leave them unattended at any time and any place.
- In any case of loss, theft, cheating, robbery, immediately contact the tourist police or the nearest police station.
- Always notice the taxi and bus number before using those vehicles.
- Use authorized porters from your travel and trekking agency.
- Exchange foreign currency only at government authorized banks money exchange Keep receipt and beware of the pickpockets or BATE will be happy to recommend reliable money changers.
- Always carry the copies of your passport’s main page, visa and insurance policy.
- Give your international flight ticket to BATE to reconfirm.
- Medical and Travel Insurance
Please consult your physician before deciding your holiday. If you require any personal Medications, or, have any pre-existing medical problems, make certain to re-confirm with your Guide upon arrival.
- Furthermore, BATE requires that all Guest have their own travel insurance. Individuals are solely responsible for any medical costs including all associated rescue, evacuation, lost baggage, transportation costs, travel delays, and other costs. In these events you may need to cancel your trip.
Hotels in cities and Lodge during trek
Though Tibet tourism is developing rapidly and the international standard Tibet hotels like Saint Regis and Sheraton by Four Points now available in Lhasa, but in the small towns and remote area there is only limit choices are available. In smaller towns you may be limited to rooms with a shared bathroom, while in the remote areas electricity and shower are luxuries that cannot be relied on. But we always trying our best to arrange the most clean and safe accommodations by rating feedbacks from our past clients who had stayed.
We have been notified regarding the new Tibet Visa formalities with immediate effect:
1. Photo must be as per the attached specification provided by the Chinese Embassy
2. Chinese Embassy will require original passport for 2 full days for visa process.
3. Visa application will be accepted only in weekdays (Monday to Friday). Embassy will not accept visa
Application during weekend Saturday and Sunday.
4. Visa application must be submitted before 11am at the Embassy and visa will be issued next
day afternoon in any weekdays.
5. Visa fee to be paid along with application form.
Please create question no 2: Question: What are the Tibet visa formalities and required documents if I want to trave Tibet from Kathmandu?