Tibet Travel FAQs

Tibet Travel Tips

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A. Preparation for a trip to Tibet

1. Could you give me some advice on clothing when traveling in Tibet?

Temperature differs dramatically between daytime and at night. Lhasa, the capital city, could have a temperature during daytime of around 10-25 Centigrade, but at night, temperature may plummet to 0 Centigrade or lower. You are advised to bring thick, warm coats when traveling Tibet. The roads are very dusty so you may wish to consider wearing dark colored clothing.

2. Can I travel Tibet with my child?

Tibet may not be an ideal destination for young Children. The climate and generally harsher conditions in Tibet may not be ideal for young children. The sights and attractions are not those which children like to visit and facilities will be very primitive. If you do decide to bring your young child to Tibet please ensure that you bring all your child's daily needs with you.

3. When is the best time to visit Tibet?

Tibet is one of the most dramatic climates places in china. Though cool in summer, it is extremely cold in the winter. The best time for your Tibet trip is from April to November, avoiding the cold and dry weather from December to February.

4. Are there any suggestions on what I should do or take to acclimatize the altitude in Tibet?

Almost every visitor is affected by the high altitude as Tibet is over 3000 meters above sea level and many areas are above 5000 meters. Most of the visitors get acclimatized to the high altitude by taking it easy for one or two days, while still paying to their health.

>We would like to make several suggestions to those contemplating going to Tibet.

People with serious heart diseases should not visit Tibet. Those with less serious heart problems need to consult a doctor before traveling.

> People with high or low blood pressure need to consult a doctor before traveling.

> Try to keep healthy and not to catch a cold before entering Tibet.

> The first day arriving in Tibet, suggest visitors not take a bath and smokers not smoke.

> Drink plenty of water while traveling in Tibet.

>Eat light, high-carbohydrate meals for more energy and avoid alcohol as it may increase the risk of dehydration.

> Tell your guide quickly if you don't feel well and follow guide's advice.

> It is advisable to use sunscreen, sunglasses lip creams to protect your eyes and skin, for Tibet's high altitude and the atmosphere allow the sun's solar radiation to strike the earth with unusual intensity.

> In addition to the normal medications for traveling it is advisable to bring high altitude medication. Ask your doctor for suggestions.

5. I have read that 2 dates; 27 september and 1 october are dates of anniversaries of difficult times in Tibet and that security may be tightened in these times. Could you please look into this for me?

No special date limit for the application for the permit to Tibet, and dates around of the October 1 are as usual as other times. But more personal information is needed to apply for the permit. The essential information is travellor's name, sex, age, nationality, occupation, passport number and Chinese visa number.

6. How to get Tibet Permits in Hong Kong?

Your travel advisor will take care of all formalities to obtain the permits to allow you to enter Tibet.

7. What should I bring for the Tibet plateau weather and high elevation?

Tibet's high altitude and the atmosphere allow the sun's solar radiation to strike the earth with unusual intensity. To protect your eyes and skin, the sunscreen, sunglasses or dark glasses and lip creams are advised.

In addition to the normal medications for traveling, just like the Aspirin and Ibuprofen etc, you should bring some high altitude medication. Better ask your doctor for suggestions.

8. How to get the Travel Permit to Tibet?

Travel permit to Tibet is issued by Tibet Tourism Administration. To apply for it, the copy of your passport and Chinese visa, together with other information such as your occupation should be provided. Journalists and people that could be involved in political matters could be revoked. Your local travel agency can help; or, you are welcome to contact us.

9. Can I travel to Tibet by myself?

No. According to China's regulation, individual travel to Tibet is not allowed. You have to join a group and we can help you find one at any time.

10. When will I get my Tibet Permit?

Your Tibet Permit will be issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau after our local Tibet agent presents the Permit application together with a copy of your passport and China Visa. The Tibet agency will fax the permit to our office or to our agent's office in the city where you will board the train or plane for Tibet. Your guide at this place will give you then Tibet permit which will be required to be presented when you arrive in Tibet. After your arrival in Tibet, the guide will collect the permit from you and he will return the permit to the Tibet Tourism Bureau. You will not need the permit again and the permit must be returned.

11. Do I need a guide when I go to Tibet?

The Chinese government requires that all travelers be acompanied by a tour guide at all times so that travelers' safty can be maximized.

12. What I should know before Tibet travel?

12.1. Exchanging money in Tibet

The best place to change foreign currency and travelers checks is the Bank of China. Some hotels may provide exchange service but this is uncertain. If you are travelling to remote areas of Tibet, try to take your cash in small denominations. RMB100 and RMB50 bills are sometimes difficult to change. Coins are not acceptable even for donations.

Credit Cards- they are not recommended as a method of payment in Tibet. They are only accepted in 5-star hotels or big department stores in Lhasa.

Banks- Bank of China, China Construction Bank and China Agriculture Bank have branches in Lhasa.

12. 2. Local transportation

Taxis are easy to find in Barkhor Street area. The taxi fare is by negotiation with the driver. It is a wise way to take a map to show the driver as they are unable to communicate in English. Remember that it is impossible to travel outside Lhasa except when accompanied by a tour guide in an authorized vehicle.

12.3. Oxygen

The average altitude is about 4000 meters. China Highlights provides 1 oxygen bag for each guest for free of charge. Additional bags can be purchased from the guide for RMB100 each. A bag lasts for about 1 hour if used continually.

12.4. Shopping

The local specialty are Tibetan Tangka, Tibetan silver ornaments, yak wool, Dzi beads, Aweto, milk products, Tibetan liquor and Lhasa sweet tea as well as various handicrafts and Tibetan medicines. The famous shopping places are Barkhor Street and shops around Jokhang Temple Square. Please be aware that Barkhor Street has many fake products. Don’t forget to bargain.

12.5. Food

Varying cuisines are available in Lhasa. Indian, Nepalese and Western food can all be found as well as Tibetan, Sichuan cuisine, Northwestern Chinese wheaten food and Northeastern Chinese cuisine are most typical.


B. When in Tibet

1. Could you give me some advice on how to avoid risking Cultural Shock when traveling Tibet?

Tibet people are religious people and visitor may find their customs and practices are very different to that in the countries they come from. Although Tibet people are among the easiest to get along with in China but there are still some points you should be sensitive about when you travel there. 1. Do not photograph them without permission. 2. Do not talk the sensitive issues like politics &, religion. 3. Take your hat off when entering a chapel. 4. Do not take photos during a prayer meeting and in some larger monastery, you may need to pay a small fee for the privilege of taking a photo. 5. Do not touch or remove anything on an altar. 6. Do not wear shorts or short shirts in a monastery and do not smoke in a monastery. 7. Do not eat horse, donkey and dog when in Tibet. 8. Always walk around monasteries, piles of Mani stones, pagodas and other religious structures in a clockwise direction. 9. Never touch Tibetan People on the head.

2. What currencies Other than Chinese currency, can be used in Tibet? Can I use my credit card and ATM card?

Chinese Yuan and US dollar are accepted in Tibet however the places which accept US dollars are very few. Visitors can change US dollars into Chinese currency in the Lhasa Central Branch Bank of China or at major hotels. Credit cards are not a recommended mean of payment in Tibet as the acceptance is very limited. Flights and hotels can not be paid using credit cards and they are also accepted at the Lhasa Central Branch Bank of China.


C. About Train Travel to Tibet

1. Could you please give me some information on train conditions?

Trains to Tibet are specially equipped for highland traveling. Each car is equipped with an oxygen-supply system to maintain the air pressure at a suitable level. Each seat will be equipped with an oxygen mask which can be used by individual passengers if needed.

All railway cars are equipped with double-layer glass which is covered with anti-ultraviolet radiation film.

Trains from all destinations including Beijing, Chengdu and elsewhere will be fitted with the equipment to ensure oxygen supply in Golmud.

2. Can the staffs on the train speak some English?

Yes, unlike staffs on trains on other routes, whose English is very limited, staff on trains running on the Qinghai-Tibet railway can all speak some English. Simple communication is ok.

3 .Where can I take a train to Lhasa?

There are currently five train services to Lhasa from Beijing, Xining/Lanzhou and Chongqing/Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

4 .Where the train will depart from in Beijing? How long is the train journey from Beijing to Lhasa?

The train will depart from the Beijing West Railway Station and the journey takes about 48 hours.

5 .What are the prices for train travel to Tibet?

Train Line


Ticket Prices(USD,1USD=8yuan)

Hard  Seat

Hard Sleeper

Soft Sleeper

Beijing West-Lhasa















Note: Ticket price Do Not include service charge.

6 .How long it will take to travel to Lhasa by train?

Beijing West-Lhasa: around 48 hours

Xining-Lhasa: about 27 hours

Lanzhou-Lhasa: 30 hours

Chongqing-Lhasa: 47 hours

Chengdu-Lhasa: 50 hours

7 .How many tickets can I buy one time?

Every passenger can only purchase at most two berth tickets or three seat tickets once.

8 .Is it easy to purchase a train ticket to Lhasa now?

The popularity of train travel to Tibet has resulted in the huge demand for train tickets among visitors. It’s very difficult for individual travelers to get a ticket on their own. Reliable travel agencies can not guarantee successful booking.

9 .How long in advance can I purchase train ticket to Lhasa?

Train tickets to Lhasa begin to sell 10 days in advance.

10 .I have heard that there are nine scenery-view platforms along the way. What are they and how long does each place stay?

There are 45 stations along the 1972 km long Qinghai-Tibet railway from Xining to Lhasa and every station has unique scenery. To provide travelers better opportunity to enjoy the stunningly beautiful scenery on that way, scenery viewing platforms have been set up at nine stations. These includes: Yuzhu Peak Station, Chumaer River. Tuotuo river, Buqiangge, Tanggula Mountain, Lake Namtso, Nagqu, Damshung, Yambajan. The train will stay for around 15 minutes in each station.

11. Which is the best way to get to Tibet - by train or flying?

Tibet attracts lots of travelers every year coming by train or flying to Tibet. These are the advantages and disadvantages of the two methods of transportation.

By Flights: The flights usually arrive at Lhasa airport at noon and the customer can have good rest at their hotel to get acclimatized to the high altitude.

By Train:Advantage: Train passengers see the great scenery in the Holxil depopulated Area.


1.The train takes 24 hours from Xining and more than 48 hours from other cities like Beijing or Shanghai. Much of the trip is completed during the night.

2. Train Passengers may not get a good rest on the train because they may be affected by the high altitude.

3. It is difficult to get train tickets for the trip to Tibet. The cost of train ticket and service charge is higher than flights ticket during the high travel season.

Our suggestion:

We suggest visitors travel to Lhasa by air and travel back by train.Visitors have enough time to get acclimatized to the high altitude and train passengers will see the scenery on the return trip after getting acclimatized to the high altitude.

D. Losing a Passport in China

1.What should I do if I lose my passport when traveling in China?
2.What is a temporary passport?

A temporary passport is a certificate showing your identification. When you get the temporary passport from the embassy, you will also get another certificate containing your original passport information.

3.What documents should I submit when applying for a temporary passport?

To get a temporary passport, you need to present the loss certificate from the local public security authorities, a copy of your passport and proof of accommodation from your hotel.

4.How long will it take to get the temporary passport after my application?

It takes 1-2 working days.

5.What documents are needed when applying for a visa with same day rush service?

You need to present your loss certificate from the local public security authorities, a Chinese certificate from your China travel agent, your temporary passport and copies of your original passport and visa.

For specific details, ask local Division of Entry and Exit Department of Public Security.

6.What is a separation visa?

Separation visa is for travelers who travel in a group to China with a group visa. If leaving China without the group a separation visa is required.

7.How long will it take to get a separation visa after my application?

Same day service is available.

8.What documents should I present when applying for a separation visa?

Present passport, group visa, an official certificate from your China travel agent; a certificate containing the reasons you need to exit China alone.

9.What should I bring when traveling to China?

Preparing several copies of your passport and visa E-versions of them are also useful.