Tibet travel tips - Lake Namtso

Tibet Travel Tips

It's location on the Tibetan Plateau makes Tibet a remote and interesting country to visit. Southern Tibet is blocked off by countless towering Himalayan mountain peaks, among which the world's highest mountain: Mount Everest or as the Tibetans call it, Qomolongma. The rugged landscape of snow-capped mountains and green valleys are only a part of what makes Tibet special, another part is the Tibet's devout practice of Buddhism. Everywhere you look you'll see prayer flags, monasteries and temples honouring the Buddhist Gods and during your trip you'll see many praying pilgrims on route to Lhasa. Despite Chinese influences, Tibet has been able to conserve its culture. You'll see examples of this in the colossal Potala Palace and the Sera and Drepung Monasteries. 

So, what are you waiting for? Start building your Tibet holiday today using our unique bite-sized trips to Tibet or take your pick from one of our suggested holidays in Tibet

Tibet Travel Tips - Additional Information

Time difference: Although Tibet has several different time zones, the Chinese government has decided that China, with Tibet as autonomous area, only has one time zone. The time difference with the UK is + 7. In the winter it's even an extra hour. 

Best time to travel: The best time to travel is from April to October. Tibet is not as pleasant during the rest of the year as it can get very cold. Keep in mind that it can snow in the spring and fall. 

Tips: It's customary to tip guides and drivers during your Tibet holiday. Tips make up the largest part of their income. During Tibet travel, tips of about £3 - £5 per person, per day are customary. If you wish to leave a tip in a restaurant, it's customary to leave less than 10%.

Internet: Although methods of communication are continuously evolving in Tibet, there are only Internet connections in Lhasa and Shigatse at the moment.

Tibet travel tips - Lhasa prayer

Tibet travel tips - Everest

Voltage: Tibet has the same voltage as China, 220V. There are often several different types of electrical sockets, such as a European, British and American wall sockets. Just to be on the safe side, you'll want to pack a universal electrical plug for your Tibet trip.

Phone calls: Mobile phone calls to the UK are only possible in Lhasa. Keep in mind that most other towns and cities are surrounded by mountains and you probably won't have reception. Most hotels will also let you make long-distance phone calls for a fee. The country code is the same as China's country code, +86.

Hygiene: Using a public bathroom during your Tibet trip will be quite a memorable experience. The good part is that at times you'll have an incredible view (such as at Yamdrok Lake or with a view of Mount Everest), the bad news is the hygiene is usually quite poor and there's no privacy. Even if there is a door on the toilet, Tibetans usually leave it open. One of our Tibet travel tips for all travellers is.... bring along your own toilet paper or tissues! It also doesn't hurt to have some anti-bacterial soap towels and disinfectant with you. 

Photographs: Tibetans are generally very honoured if you want to take their picture during your Tibet holiday. Make sure to ask their permission before taking their picture though (common courtesy is one of the most important Tibet travel tips, just imagine how you would feel if someone took your picture without asking). It's highly illegal to take any pictures or videos of military installations in Tibet (as a Chinese autonomous area). There are also a few museums, palaces and temples where you're not allowed to take pictures or only for a fee. At times you can only take pictures during your Tibet trip without using your flash. 

Guides: At the moment you're required by law to bring along a guide when visiting monasteries, temples and palaces during your holiday in Tibet. Your guide is included during your trip through Lhasa, except during a few days in Lhasa. If you need one during these few days, you can request one via our local agent. 

Tibet travel tips - smiling monks

Tibet travel tips - festival

Holidays and festivals: Tibet has many holidays and festivals that relate to Buddhism. Since the Tibetans have their own moon calendar, the holidays do not take place on the same day each year. Visiting one of these festivals is one of our Tibet travel tips.

The most important Tibetan festivals and holidays include: 
End of January/late February: New Moon Year, also known as Spring Fest. 
February: Tibetan New Year
February: The God Shiva's birthday. This holiday is called Maha Shivaratri.
February: Monlam festival; Monks from the 3 largest monasteries come together at the Jokhang Temple for rituals.
April: Chaitra Dasain 
May: Buddha Jayanti: Buddha's birthday 
September: Festival celebrating the end of the rain season
October: Celebration of Buddha's return from heaven. Countless pilgrims walk to Tibet's most important monasteries. 

Tibet Travel Tips - What to Pack

When thinking of Tibet, you probably envision a cold climate and snow. Because of the country's altitude, it's location on the Tibetan Plateau and in the Himalayas, it does cool off quite a bit in the evenings. Lhasa is one of the lowest laying areas on your itinerary at an altitude of 3600m. The Mount Everest Base Camp is located at an altitude of no less than 5200m! Naturally you'll want to bring along a nice, warm fleece sweater, but also bring along enough layers of clothing that you can take off or put on when necessary. The sun is generally quite bright and the air is thin this high up, so you'll definitely need sunscreen and a cap with visor. So what else should you bring along? Here are a few of our Tibet travel tips...

We believe the following items are a must when travelling through Tibet: Suitcase or backpack, visa (you'll need to have this before you head to Tibet; we'll supply you with your permits for Tibet while you're in China), valid passport (with an additional validity of 6 months after your intended return date to the UK), universal electrical plug, camera with several memory cards, rain poncho, comfortable, durable (worn-in) walking shoes, thick sweater or fleece, scarf, cap and gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen, cap with visor, First Aid kit, mobile phone charger, small torch, bug repellent, daypack for canteen, camera etc.

Tibet travel tips - holiday sunglasses

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