Tibet Frequently Asked Questions

For your convenience, we've compiled this list of commonly asked questions regarding a variety of travel topics. If you can't find the answer to your question here, contact us.

The Questions

A. General Information:

When is the best time to visit Tibet?
What's the weather like in Tibet?
What do you suggest we bring with us if we travel to Tibet?
What currency do I have to use in Tibet?
Is it easy to find an ATM in Tibet?
What credit cards are accepted in Tibet?
Is individual travel possible in Tibet?

B. Travel Document:

What documents do I need if I am planning to travel to Tibet?
Do I need Visa for Tibet?
What should I be aware of when apply for the China Visa?
How can I get China visa in Hong Kong?
Do I need double/multi-entry visa if I come to Tibet from China mainland and return China mainland after the trip?
Do I need any special requirements on Tibet visa while coming from Kathmandu?
What's the procedure to get Tibet group visa in Katmandu?
What is Tibet Travel Permit?
What do I need to do to obtain the Tibet Travel Permit?
Can I get the Tibet Travel Permit easily?
When do I need to apply for the Tibet travel Permit?
With this Tibet Travel Permit, where can I go in Tibet?
How can you send the Permit to me, or how can I receive it?

C. Tour Booking:

Do you offer join-in tour or can I join a group?
What is private tour?
How can I make a tour itinerary?
What does your tour cost?
I want an independent/private tour, but I do not want to do shopping, can you manage it?
What methods of payment do you accept?
How can I pay the balance?
What is your cancellation policy?

D. Lodging and Eating:

What are the hotels like in Tibet?
Can explain what the budget guesthouse, comfortable hotel and best available hotel are?
What are the hotel rooms like in hotels in Tibet?
Does the hotel room have access to internet?
Is there 24-hour hot water running?
What can I eat in Tibet?

E. Transportation:

What are the baggage regulations when flying inside Tibet / China?
Is it easy to purchase a train ticket to Tibet now?
Do I need a heath report when I travel by train to Tibet?
What vehicle do you use in Tibet?

The Answers

A. General Information:

1. When is the best time to visit Tibet?
The best time to visit Tibet is from early April to late November. Because first of all the Tibet weather would be not harsh, and secondly it is best time to visit Mt. Everest Base Camp.

2. What is the weather like in Tibet?
Lhasa - Shigatse - Lhatse - Tingri - Nyalam: Along the Friendship highway is basically in good conditions year around. But from December to February, the thawed road could make some trouble.

Mt. Everest Base Camp Area: Early April to early October is the best time to visit Mt. Everest. Due to the clear weather, you have great chance to see Mt. Everest's north face. From December to February, you'd better not to go to this area because it is too cold - except you are real Great Adventure People.

3. What do you suggest we bring with us if we travel to Tibet?
For the clothing, we suggest casual attire style and layered clothing. In day time you may need only a T-shirt or at most a jacket, but at night you may need a down jacket. Down jacket is necessary if you go beyond Lhasa and Shigatse to remote areas, the Everest Camp or further to Mt.Kailash. For more info on kailash tour please visit our www.kailashtourinfo.com  

Sun glasses, sun blocking cream, moisture scream are very necessary to be in your packing list.

4. What currency do I have to use in Tibet?
The legal tender in Tibet is Renminbi (RMB). Foreign currencies can not be used directly. Foreign currencies may be converted into RMB at all banks, bank branches or hotels at the exchange rate quoted on the foreign exchange marker on the day.

The Bank of China in Tibet is the bank which specializes in handing money exchange.

5. Is it easy to find an ATM in Tibet?
You won't have any problems finding an ATM in Lhasa and Shigatse, although you probably won't be able to find one in remote areas or the smaller towns.

6. What credit cards are accepted in Tibet?
Actually it is often accepted in big cities in Tibet, like Lhasa and Shigatse. Most of the internationally accepted credit cards are usable in Lhasa. They include: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diner's club, and the JCB card of Japan. Credit cards are accepted only in large shopping stores. Credit card symbols are displayed in the visible place in shops and hotels indicating credit cards are accepted.

7. Is individual travel possible in Tibet?
Yes it is possible, but restrictions are imposed on travel to many areas.

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B. Travel Document:

1. What documents do I need if I am planning to travel to Tibet?
You need to have a valid passport, a valid China visa (if you are coming from mainland china) Tibet group visa (if you are coming from Katmandu) and a Tibet travel permit.

2. Do I need Visa for China?
If you are travelling to Tibet from mainland china then you need a valid Chinese visa which you can obtain at Chinese embassy in your home town. No Visa is required prior to enter Hong Kong; a Visa will be issued upon arrival. If you travel beyond Hong Kong, even for a few hours, you will need a China visa to enter China.

3. What should I be aware of when apply for the China Visa?
We recommend that you obtain your visa before leaving the country where you live. When you are applying for the China visa, our advice you try 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 you won't get the visa to China.

4. How can I get China visa in Hong Kong?
It is usually very easy to apply for a China visa in Hong Kong. You can get a visa yourself at:
Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China
5th Floor, Lower Block
26 Harbor Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: +852-25851657 OR +852-25851680 OR +852-25851794

Please Note:

1) You need to go there Monday to Friday during business hours.
2) 'Fast Process' means: the visa should be processed the same day.

Requirements to obtain a Visa in Hong Kong

A. One recent passport photo.
B. Passport which needs to be valid at least more than 3 months.
C. Call the office before your visit.
D. China Tourist and Business (F) Visa can be obtained easily in Hong Kong. It can be obtained with the help of a travel agent but at least 3 full working days should be allowed for this procedure.

5. Do I need double/multi-entry visa if I come to Tibet from China mainland and return China mainland after the trip?
No, because Tibet is a part of China, if enter Tibet from other cities in China mainland and after the trip in Tibet, get back to China mainland again, only a single entry visa is required.

For example:
Beijing→Tibet→Shanghai

6. Do I need any special requirements on Tibet visa while coming from Kathmandu?
Before you are coming to Lhasa from Katmandu, you must get Tibet group visa from Katmandu because no matter you've already got the visa in your country or not, you must get a visa in Katmandu, which is regulated in an official memo between China and Nepal.

7. What's the procedure to get Tibet group visa in Katmandu?
Step 1: After you book the tour from us, provide us your copy of passport.

Step 2: We will apply the 'Visa Invitation Letter' from Tibet Tourism Bureau with your copy of passport and send it Kathmandu.

Step 3: After your arrival in Katmandu, we will ask your original passport, and then we go to the Chinese Embassy to apply the Tibet group visa. With the 'Visa Invitation Letter', you can get your Tibet group visa easily.

8. What is Tibet Travel Permit?
Tibet Travel Permit is the official document that allow foreign traveler to enter Tibet. It is granted by the Tibet Tourism Bureau. Tibet Travel Permit sometimes is also called Tibet Entry Permit or TTB permit.

Find more info on Tibet Travel Permit

9. What do I need to do to obtain the Tibet Travel Permit?
You need to provide us with the scanned copies of your passport and China visa, and the following information as well. Then we can hold these things to help you get the Tibet Travel Permit.

1) Full name
2) Gender
3) Date of birth
4) Passport number
5) Nationality

10. Can I get the Tibet Travel Permit easily?
You can get the Tibet Travel Permit easily through a travel agency except diplomats, journalists, and government officials who should travel to Tibet under the arrangement by the Foreign Affairs Office of Tibet Government.

11. When do I need to apply for the Tibet travel Permit?
You need to apply for the travel permit at least 10 days prior to your entry date, which means you should prepare all the information and documents in hand before this period of time.

12. with this Tibet Travel Permit, where can I go in Tibet?
Tibet Travel Permit (or TTB) only endorses you to enter Tibet, to stay in Lhasa area and two another major towns of Tibet like Gyantse and Shigatse. If you are planning to travel beyond and farther, you are required to prepare the PSB Permit.

13. How can you send the Permit to me, or how can I receive it?
A. If your last stop before entering Tibet is in China mainland, we can mail express the travel permit to the place you will be staying, e.g. your home address, postal code if you work and live in China, or the hotel name, address, postal code if you are travel in China. You will be receiving an EMS (Express Mail Service) envelope in which the permit is put.

B. If you only have a flight connection in one certain city, we have some one come to the airport to pass you the permit in person.

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C. Tour Booking:

1. Do you offer join-in tour or can I join a group?
Yes, we do have Group Tour or joining Tour. Let us know your interest and time then we will provide you options to join the trips.

2. What is private tour?
Private tour means that you will have a tailor-made tour itinerary, a private vehicle, a driver and a guide. During the tour, there will be no other tourists with you, but only your family members, or close friends.

3. How can I make a tour itinerary?
You can choose the pre-made Tibet tour itinerary from our website and send your requirement to us. We will have our travel advisor help you with the further discussion. You can also pop up your own itinerary but have to consult our advisor to see if your proposition is feasible and doable.

4. What does your tour cost?
Tour cost varies because tour itinerary might be different, group size might be different, and also many other aspects might affect the tour cost, like travel time, hotel standard.

5. I want an independent/private tour, but I do not want to do shopping, can you manage it?
Yes, we can manage that. We offer high quality of the ground service including shopping. But if you do not like shopping, we assure you that you are not led to any shops. But it is our guides' responsibility to show you the essence of local product (specialties). If you are not interested in any products at all, please specify this point with your travel advisor when making a reservation.

6. What methods of payment do you accept?
We accept major two ways of payment:

1). Wire transfer [we will send you our company bank account info via email];
2). Credit card [we will send you a credit card authorization letter via email]

7. How can I pay the balance?
You can pay the balance either by cash or by credit card upon your arrival in Lhasa or Kathmandu.

8. What is your cancellation policy?
Please visit our terms and condition page.

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D. Lodging and Eating:

1. What are the hotels like in Tibet?
Tourism is Tibet is in its infancy and the number of 4 Star hotels is quite limited. The newer hotels have been built away from the city center in order to protect the city history and environment. These hotels have central heating which is used in winter but no cooling is available in summer. We would still warn that the facilities and service standard may not be as you would expect from a hotel with this rating in other parts of the world. Older hotels located in the city have a good location but will not provide the level of comfort of the newer hotels and may not have any central heating. The level of service and facilities may be quite basic. Staff will probably not speak much English. Hotels in small cities and the Everest Base camp are very basic. They will usually have a public bathroom with squat toilet.

2. Can explain what the budget guesthouse, comfortable hotel and best available hotel are?
One thing you should bury in mind is that hotels in Tibet concerning its facility and service are not what you imagine. Not like hotels in other cities abroad.

Budget guesthouse has a few kinds. One is the twin room with or without the bathroom in it. The other is triple, four-bed rooms, and more beds rooms named dormitory which all have no private bathroom in them. Former one can be easily found in Lhasa and Shigatse, while later one is often the choice in remote area in Tibet.

The best available hotels are the 4 star hotels. 4 star hotels can only be reached in Lhasa. The best available hotels in the region out of Lhasa are generally 3 star hotels, and in some places hotels with no star, but comparatively of good condition.

3. What are the hotel rooms like in hotels in Tibet?
Often, in a room, there are two beds which we call twin-sharing room. Some hotels have queen bed room and some even have triple room. But the number of queen bed room and triple is very limited. Twin-sharing room with two beds inside is commonly used in Tibet.

4. Does the hotel room have access to internet?
Some hotel rooms, not all, in Lhasa have access to internet, so you should inquiry us for accurate information before making decision. But some hotel has business center where you can use internet service.

5. Is there 24-hour hot water running?
Due to basic condition in Tibet, sometimes with the poor pressure, the water flow may small and water sometime is not hot but just warm. In remote area, the condition can be even worse.

6. What can I eat in Tibet?
In Lhasa, you can choose Chinese food, western food, Nepali food and Tibetan food as well. But in remote towns and areas, choice is limited.

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E. Transportation:

1. What are the baggage regulations when flying inside Tibet?

Carry-on baggage:
The maximum carry-on baggage allowance for each economy class passenger is 5kg. First class passengers can have 2 pieces of carry on luggage. All other passengers can carry on only one piece. The size may not exceed 20x40x55cm. Carry-on baggage in excess of the limit is subject to an excess baggage fee and must be carried as checked baggage.

Check-in Baggage: Adult and children are entitled to a free checked baggage allowance of 40kg, for first class, 30kg, for business class, and 20kg, for economy class while traveling on domestic airlines in China. No free baggage allowance is granted to infants.

Groups traveling together are able to combine their baggage allowance if they check in together

Prohibited Items: The following items are prohibited and cannot be carried in checked or carry-on luggage: Flammable, explosive, corrosive, poisonous, radioactive, polymerizable and magnetized materials. Passengers are forbidden to carry arms, sharp or lethal weapons during flight.

2. Is it easy to purchase a train ticket to Tibet now?
The popularity of train travel to Tibet has resulted in the huge demand for Tibet train tickets among visitors. It's very difficult for individual travelers to get a ticket on their own. We can get a ticket for you if we have your decision at least 25 days before trip departure.

3. Do I need a heath report when I travel by train to Tibet?
All travelers are required to complete a heath report on the train to Tibet.

Timetable and Ticket Prices for Trains of Qinghai-Tibet Railway »

4. What vehicle do you use in Tibet?
If the tour is mainly around Lhasa, you are suggested to use minivan as the road condition around Lhasa is pretty good, and the minivan cost less as well. If the tour is covering some places with bad road condition and long distance to reach, we are offering 4WD off road vehicles.

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Testimonials

Two weeks holiday in Nepal with Mission Eco-Trek

My wife and I took a 2 week tour in Nepal with Mission Eco-Trek in Feb 2011 and had a fantastic time. Mission Eco-Trek provided the very highest caliber guides and Ram Kumar (the proprietor) personally made sure that everything went smoothly. When storms caused our original flights to be cancelled and then cancelled for a second time, he graciously accommodated our changes at no extra cost. The cost was reasonable and the services provided were exceptional -even beyond what we had expected from the contract....

Namaste!
Kevin & Jacque
New York, USA

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