Although it has a tumultuous past, Tibet is a wonderful place to visit. You’ll need to be super organised, and there’s a few rules and regulations; however, if you’re really game to travel to Tibet, once you do begin your journey, you won’t regret the hassle to discover these amazing cities and attractions. So we’ve put together a short and quick Tibet travel guide to help you out.
Things to know before you go:
- Two valid passes are required to enter Tibet – a Chinese visa, and a Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) permit. Unfortunately, if your passport is only valid for another six months, you won’t be able to get a valid entrance pass, so make sure your passport is renewed!
- Additionally, to get a TTB permit, you must have a guide for your time in Tibet. Please allow 14 days for your tour company to organize and send you your permit.
- Travel on public transport outside Lhasa is not permitted to foreign people, and private transport must be organised before your trip. This also requires another, separate permit. However, much of this can be taken care of by joining a Tibet tour.
Ok, but why is it worth it?
The best time to visit Tibet is from April to November, over the summer period. Tibet is a modest place, and you can get by on a fairly low budget, or splurge as you see fit. To really immerse yourself in the magic, there’s s few places you absolutely must see on your Tibet tour…
Lhasa is the axis of Tibet’s society, and the most popular destination in the area. This colorful gem in the Himalayan Valley home to the magical Potala Palace, a well known structural symbol of the importance of politics and religion, it can be difficult to access due to its remoteness and high altitude, however it is well worth the effort and careful planning to experience for yourself. Easily explored with a few days on a Lhasa tour, it is also your gateway to the rest of Tibet.
Tibet’s second-largest city is buzzing with activity. There is some amazing architecture, including Potala-lookalike Shigatse Dzong, drawing you to a hilltop. It looks incredible, but the fort unfortunately an empty reconstruction from 2007. Time in Shigtase much better spent at the beautiful Tashilhunpo Monastery, though any chance you get to explore this mysterious place is definitely worth it.
Without a doubt, Lake Namtso is one of the most gorgeous places in the world. Pristine blue water, mountains and dreamlike scenery surround this entire area, making it feel as though you’ve traveled to the pages of a fairy-tale.
This little city is not to be misunderstood. At more than 600 years since it’s development, Gyantse is beautiful beyond measure, and there’s plenty to see and do. Learn the intricacies of Tibetan culture at the Folk Museum, explore the wondrous Palcho Monastery and the castle-like Gyantze Dzong, shop for the infamous Gyantse carpets, or spend time hiking, camping or even horseback riding in the beautiful landscape.
Everest North Base Camp
Everest Base Camp was first used by the 1924 British Everest expedition. The site features a small army base and some permanent structures. You’ll get a beautiful view of Everest, and can even hire a tent and stay overnight at the small, flat camp 5200 meters above sea level. Although it may not be as tough as conquering Everest itself, it still takes a 4km trek beyond a drive to reach your destination. This relatively easy hike is well worth the beautiful immersion in nature, and there is even a Guru Rinpoche meditation cave. Should you wish to visit, the resident monk will allow you into the cave and tiny chapel.
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