Travelling in Tibet at the best of times can be awe-inspiring and will push your perception of the world as you thought you knew it. At times, it can be downright much of rural Tibet is still very rough and wild and for many this is the greatest attraction of Tibet. We are here to ensure that you have the most comfortable trip possible for the places you want to go and the things you want to do. Generally, infrastructure has gotten much more efficient and convenient here in the last few years. Roads are greatly improved; new hotels have been built (some with heating!) but Tibet still involves a number of special considerations. The standard of service in Tibet cannot be compared to western standards, food is often very different and you will have to adjust your expectations. Below are some of the factors that you should bear in mind before and during your time in Tibet.
Anyone with a good level of fitness can join one of our kayaking or rafting trips. However, for your own enjoyment, it is important that you read the information we have provided and ask us questions. We give each of our trips a rating. These indicate the effort and challenge level based on the length of time paddling each day, the difficulty of terrain covered and the altitude reached.
All travel in Tibet involves some degree of difficulty. Adjusting to the high altitude can be challenging and roads can be rough. This information will help you understand the trip.
Many of our River, Trekking and cultural tours fall into this category. The trip is venturesome simply because it is in Tibet, but your tour will not involve strenuous physical activity apart from paddling. Short walks and stairs will be involved but these tours are suitable for anyone in decent health. Roads can be rough with high altitude passess and accommodation on some nights will not have hot running water.
A good level of fitness is required. Accommodation often includes camping. The comforts of hotels and restaurants may not be available for extended periods. Long driving days on rough roads over high altitude passes are common and there will be several nights in basic accommodation without running water.
A high level of fitness is required and some pre-trip training should be undertaken. Paddling days may be long on difficult paths at high altitude. Rafting and kayaking may involve long physical days on difficult whitewater. These trips often involve camping for extended periods and the comforts of hotels and restaurants may not be available.
A specific skill is required such as kayaking or rafting. These trips will require working together as a team to meet a difficult goal such as a first descent of a river on an extended kayaking expedition. A high level of physical and psychological stamina is required and prior experience must be discussed with the trip leader.
Getting to Tibet for better or worse, Tibet is not particularly close to anywhere. There are two standard entry points into Tibet: from Nepal, and from mainland China. We can arrange for transit from either place, either by flight or overland, but we cannot book international flights. You must make your own international flight arrangements; however, we can look after all logistics once you arrive in either Nepal or China. (We do book the Kathmandu – Lhasa flight). From China, we can arrange for transfers through Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Kunming, and a number of other cities. We can also arrange sightseeing in some major Chinese cities.
Tibet is an official province of China so you need a Chinese visa to enter China and Tibet. (Officially you also need a Tibet entry permit). If you are coming to Tibet through mainland China, you need to apply for your Chinese tourist visa before you arrive. Contact your local nearest Chinese consulate for visa application details. NOTE: When you fill in your application form it is recommended that you do not mention Tibet as some consulates have an unclear policy regarding travel to Tibet. Just put down Beijing or Chengdu as your itinerary and write down the hotel you will be staying at as your contact. IMPORTANT: If you are planning to enter Tibet from Kathmandu DO NOT get your Chinese visa in advance. The Chinese visa is issued as a group visa in Kathmandu and is arranged by Adventure Hub Nepal along with your Tibet entry permit.
Adventure Hub Nepal has partners in Tibet and is obliged under Chinese law to arrange the Tibet Entry Permit and specific travel permits if your itinerary takes you outside of the Lhasa prefecture. This permit is arranged in advance and will be couriered to your point of entry (usually your hotel). For Adventure Hub Nepal to arrange permits and visas (if coming through KTM) we need a digital copy (photo or scan) of your passport info page and your Chinese visa (if coming through mainland China) well in advance. As soon as you commit to your booking, please email your whole groups passports and visas image. (make sure the file is a jpg format readable on your screen but under 200kb please)
Independent Travel to Tibet is currently not allowed in Tibet. This situation may change in the near future but at this stage only groups fully booked in advance (with the correct permits) are allowed into Tibet.
The “normal” tourist season in Tibet is from May through until October. The busiest months are usually July and August. However, this is changing as infrastructure development (roads and hotels) makes traveling at other times far easier.
Summer weather can be cool to warm. Summer is the rainy season but it rarely rains for long before the sun comes out. Trekking is possible from April through October. You can trek in winter but it is cold and you should be very experienced.
Fall & Spring are often cool and clear and can be excellent for trekking and cultural trips as you don’t have to face the crowds of Chinese tourists in Lhasa and Shigatse.
Winter is generally cold and clear in Tibet. It is not advised to attempt remote or high journeys during this time without prior experience. However, cultural tours to Lhasa and other regional centers can be very rewarding during winter months as there are hardly any other tourists and it is the customary time for Tibetan pilgrimage to central Buddhist temples. The overland journey from Lhasa to Kathmandu is usually possible year-round now that the new road has been built.
In general, this is not in this website except for specific trips. This is because our prices vary according to the level of services you request and the exact itinerary you choose. Travel here is relatively expensive because most of our itineraries require 4 wheel-drive lands-cruisers, special camping equipment, guides and cooks. We service some of the best international adventure travel companies for your Tibet holiday and if you compare our prices with those available internationally you will see the obvious value.
Because of its high altitude, largely remote destinations, and semi-arid weather Tibet comprises a unique set of health concerns. You don’t need to worry about Malaria or odd strains of para-typhoid here, but you should certainly consider the sun and altitude. We do not want to supplant advice from professionals and more complete suggestions available in guidebooks, so we suggest you consult appropriate sources before coming (the CIWEC clinic in Kathmandu provides extensive information that is partially applicable to Tibet). Our trips our designed so you do not over-exert yourself in the first few days, and our guides are experienced and aware of the dangers of altitude sickness. There is preventative and symptomatic medication to help with the minor symptoms of altitude sickness (headaches, nausea) and we recommend that you bring some. We also strongly suggest that you bring sunglasses, hat and sunscreen — Tibet is not the place to work on your tan. Further clothing and equipment depends on the type of trip you are doing here. We are happy to make suggestions (some further notes are included with our “Adventure travel “(B) introduction) or recommend published sources for more information on appropriate supplies.