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Tibet Travel Tips During Olympic Periods

Tibet was reopened to foreigners on June 25th, 2008. Many foreign tourists are now planning to revive their plans to travel to Tibet. At present, tourists are most concerned about what they should prepare to get a Travel Permit to enter Tibet. We havecollected pieces of news which we found from newspapers and our local travel suppliers. We hope you could find them helpful for you in preparing your trip.

  1. The only way to enter Tibet is to travel in a group. No individual travelers are allowed to travel to Tibet at the moment, at least before and during the Olympics. The minimum person in one group is 2. and the people in one group must be from the same country - holding the passports of the same nationality. Road trip between Tibet and Nepal is NOT possible at the moment. However, Travelers can choose to Fly from Lhasa to Kathmandu or vice versa. China Highlights is able to book your flights to Nepal. (Updated Aug 20, 2008)
  2. A Tibet Permit is required for any foreigners to enter Tibet. China Highlights will arrange the Tibet permit for our customers who book their Tibet tours with us. Do bring the permit with you when in Tibet. The government will ask you to show your permit at any moment, especially at Airports, Trains Stations, Bus Stations, Tourist Sights. Check Tibet Travel Permit page for details
  3. All tours must be booked in advance by a Chinese travel agency. Your whole tour within Tibet must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide.
  4. All hotels must be booked in advance. Not all hotels in Lhasa have the right permits to allow foreign travelers. All hotel reservations must be made at hotels that officially allow foreigners.
  5. Book the tour at least 15 days in advance. It normally takes 2-3 days to confirm the hotel bookings and about 10 days for the Tibet Tourism Bureau to issue you the Tibet permit. It would be wise to leave enough time to prepare for the trip in advance.
  6. All the members in a group are required to provide the following information to their travel agency: a), a copy of China Visa; b), a copy of your passport(must be clear and high resolution); c), full names; d),your birthday, ; e),your current profession; f),your nationality ; g), your gender. All the information must be true. Your travel agency will need to submit your information to Tibet Tourism Bureau who will strictly review before issuing the permits.  Failure by one member to meet all the requirements will mean the whole tour group may be refused a permit. Details to apply for a Tibet Travel Permit
  7. F visa (business visa) holders are not allowed to enter Tibet, at least before and during the Olympics. This policy is expected to change after the Olympic is finished in late August. However, L visa(tourist visa) holders are not in the block-list.
  8. Some of the attractions in Tibet are still closed to foreign tourists. They are Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, Ganden Monastery in Lhasa, Samye Monastery in Shannan. Tibetan Family visits are also closed to foreign tourists. Mt. Everest was opened for tourism from July 15th.
  9. Some Agency said that French and Germany travelers are not allowed to travel to Tibet at the moment. We have confirmed with our local agency that it's not really the case. Althogh it is more difficult for apply for a Tibet permit for French and Germany travelers, it is still possible for get a permit, espcially if you are traveling in a group more than 10.
  10. Entering Tibet from Nepal is NOT possible at the moment because Chinese embassy in Kathmandu is now refusing to issue China visa to foreign tourists. It is also not possible to exit Tibet to Nepal by road. However, Flying from Lhasa to Kathmandu is now possible after you finish your tour.

Besides, you still need to be aware that to avoid any political issues and to respect Tibetan custom when you are traveling in Tibet, some of them are:

  1. Do not talk about sensitive topics like politics when in Tibet.
  2. Do not try to talk with some lamas about their lives and religions.
  3. Walk clockwise around the Barkhor Street, especially during the rush hour of pilgrimage from 9 am to 6 pm.
  4. Ask permission first before taking pictures of other people in the Barkhor areas. Sometimes they will ask you for money but most of time it is ok to give them a little gift.

For more Tips about traveling to Tibet, you can visit: http://www.chinahighlights.com/faq/tibet-travel/

NOTE: This page is last updated on August 12, 2008. Please contact us for the lastest policy or share the latest news related to this if you have any good resources.