How Should I Travel to Tibet?
Why Travel to Tibet?
Heaps of people travel to Tibet because it is one of the most popular holiday destinations in South Asia. Many people visit Tibet as a part of a pilgrimage while others use the region as a satellite place to go while holidaying in China. The weather is decent all year round but the peak season and ideal time for tourists to visit is from April to October, or summer and autumn. Tibet does have extreme temperatures and winter can be literally freezing. And don’t expect summer to be hot!
Tibet is at the top of the list for travelers looking for an outstanding travel destination in Asia. It is famous for its tourist attractions, spiritual monasteries, lakes and hills, exhilarating mountain treks and stunning high-altitude sights. The warm and hospitable local people also make a trip here filled with life-long stocks of pleasant memories to take home.
So if you are looking for a brief travel to Tibet tour guide, we have put together some info on things that might prove useful on a Tibet trip.
Where Is It Located?
Tibet is in south eastern China. China officially recognizes Tibet as the Tibetan Autonomous Region or Xizang (‘she-zhang’) which means ‘Treasure House of the West’. Tibet lies to the far west of China; the northern tip of India aligns with its western border, and Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar touch its southern border. The Tibetan plateau lies at around 16,000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by some of the highest mountains in the world – the Kunlun in the north, the Himalayas to the south and the Karakoram in the west.
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Tibet is sometimes called ‘the roof of the world’ because of its many high mountains.
Tibet is a Chinese province even though it operates autonomously. This means that getting into Tibet can be a bit complicated, but travel agencies can do a lot of the paperwork for you. Individual travel is not officially allowed; you need a visa for China as well as a permit from the Tibetan Tourism Bureau.
Tibetan travel permits are needed for different places in Tibet. There are four main types of permits you might need before you travel to Tibet: a Chinese visa or Tibet group visa, Tibet travel permit, alien travel permit and a military permits. Some areas are restricted for foreigners – military bases and the Chinese border areas.
You will need to apply for any necessary permits at least 15 days before travel.
There are basically two types of Chinese visas, the alien visa and the group visa. The alien visas ,which are marked with an ‘L’, are given to the foreigners who travel to Tibet for a short stay (between 30 and 90 days). The group visa is for tourists who travel to Tibet in groups and these are issued on a separate paper instead of in your passport. Travelers must travel in groups on a tour organized by a travel agency. The tour must also include a vehicle, driver and guide.
Special permits are required for the Mount Everest camp as well as the Mount Kailash camp. If you enter Tibet from Kathmanduyou will need a visa from the Chinese embassy in Nepal, even if you already have a Chinese visa.
The Beauty of Tibet
Some of the most stunning regions in Tibet are the Shigatse, Lhasa and Shangri-La. Tibet has some of the highest mountain ranges which include the Himalayas to the south and also the Mt. Everest, which is the highest peak in the world. It even has few of the oldest and the largest monasteries in the world.
Tibetan tourism has developed over the years so it is a pleasant place to spend time. The typically Tibetan style buildings and Tibetan food quickly become tourist favorites. You can plan a customized tour within Tibet depending on where you want to go. Different tours will take you to the most exciting attractions in Tibet safely and securely. You do need to book through a reputable agent.
What To See
Tibet has a very rich history and culture. However, a lot of its cultural heritage has been lost. Even so, there are plenty of heritage sites and loads of natural scenery that will make your Tibetan trip unforgettable.
Towns and cities
Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, sits at around 11,000 feet above sea level and is home to the Potala Palace, which was the home of the Dalai Llama and is the historical center of Tibetan Buddhism. Other towns worth visiting are Gyantse, where the spectacular Palcho Monastery is and Shigatse which is a popular Chinese tourist destination.
Lakes and rivers
Lake Mansarovar is a world famous holy lake which also happens to be one of the highest freshwater lakes lying at over 15,000 feet above the sea level. Hindus believe that drinking the water cleans away sins. Other famous waterways you can visit when you travel to Tibet are the Yarlong Tsangpo River, the highest in the world (13,100 feet), and Namtso ‘Heavenly’ Lake, the highest saltwater lake in the world which takes a week to trek around.
This needs no introduction. But if you need it: Everest is the highest mountain in the world (over 29,000 feet). Many people travel to Tibet just for an excursion to Everest or to trek the Himalayas. But if you are not a keen climber, you could pay a visit to the Rongphu (or Rongbuk) Monastery, which is the highest monastery in the world even though it is at the base of the mountain. This pilgrimage site has meditation caves round it and the views of the north face of Everest are truly breathtaking.
One of the best ways of exploring and discovering the natural, cultural and historical treasures of Tibet is by walking on your own two feet. There are long and short treks you can do, from one day to one month. You will have a tour guide, cook, trekking equipment and animals and porters when you book a trek. Most treks are suitable for everyone, even if you have no experience. There are so many options! You can explore the Kanbula National Park, walk all the way around holy snow mountains and lakes, go horse and yak trekking, walk up to the Everest Base Camp or discover wild animals, birds, and rare plants.
So what are you waiting for? Book your tickets and travel to the spiritual and scenic ‘Roof of the World’!