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Tibet; the roof of the world, land of snow, and mysterious Buddhist kingdom locked away in the mountain fortress of the Himalayas are not only the reason one should visit Tibet but its unique topography makes Tibet richer in travel resources. It has the largest canyon in the world, largest scale of vertical eco-system zones, centuries old caravan trails myriads of lakes. For many people, Tibet is a uniquely spiritual place. Those moments of peace, fleeting and precious, when everything seems to be in its proper place, seem to come more frequently in Tibet, whether inspired by the devotion apparent in the face of a pilgrim or the dwarfing scale of a beautiful landscape. Mt. Kailash and Lake Mansrovar are sacred and very special to Hindus. For travelers, Tibet is without doubt one of the most remarkable places to visit in Asia. There is Gyantse, in the Nyang-chu Valley, famed for the largest chorten (stupa) in Tibet, and hiking in Yarlung Valley, widely considered the cradle of Tibetan civilization. Base yourself in Tsetang and marvel at the monkey cave in Gangpo Ri or walk the monastery kora (pilgrim path). Your trip will take you past glittering mountain turquoise lakes and over high passes draped with prayer flags. Find a quiet spot in a prayer hall full of chanting monks, hike past the ruins of remote hermitages or make an epic overland trip along some of the world wildest roads. The scope for adventure is limitless.
Fact of Tibet:
Global Tibetan population 5.5 million
Local drink yak-butter tea
Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) population Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) population: 2.81 million (2006)
Funeral custom sky burial
Average number of cups of tea drunk by a nomad per day 40
World highest railway line 5072m Tangula Pass on Qinghai Tibet Railway
Number of functioning monasteries in Tibet 1700
Area of TAR 1.23 million sq km, or one-eighth of China landmass
Tibet has lower temperatures due to the higher altitudes. Winters are cold and average temperature in January is -2C. May to September have warm days with strong sunshine and nights are cooler. Spring and autumn can come up with all four seasons in a day. Northern and western Tibet is colder than the rest.
When to go
Climate is not such a major consideration when visiting Tibet; it does not have that much of snow as some people think of. During Chinese New year and summer Lhasa attracts lots of Chinese tourists. The influx leads to lack of room in Lhasa during this time. Winter is very cold, many restaurants are shut and snow can close mountain passes, but some travellers swear by the winter months. There are few travellers about at this time and Lhasa is crowded with drokpas (nomads). The average temperature in January is -2 degree Celsius.
Spring, early summer and late autumn are probably the best times to visit Tibet. March is a politically sensitive month in the country and there is occasional tightening of restrictions on travellers heading into Tibet at this time, but the weather is pretty good. April brings reliable weather in eastern Tibet and discounts on accommodation and vehicle rental in Lhasa. Mt Everest is particularly clear during April and May.
From mid-July through to the end of September the monsoon starts to affect parts of Tibet. (The months of July and August bring half of Tibet annual rainfall.) Travel to western Tibet becomes slightly more difficult, the roads to the east are temporarily washed out and the Friendship Hwy sometimes becomes impassable on the Nepal side or on the border itself.
Trips to Mt Kailash can be undertaken from April to October, although September and October are considered the best months. October is also the best time to make a trip out to the east. Lhasa and its environs do not get really cold until the end of November. It is worth trying to time your trip with one of Tibet festivals. New Year (Losar) in January or February is an excellent time to be in Lhasa, as is the Saga Dawa festival in April or May.
Passport & Visas:
Your passport must valid for at least 6 months. Entering Tibet from China is only possible with Tourist Visa not any other and entering from Nepal needs Tibet Entry permit which is granted from Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu for 30-60 days and the processing times is about 2 weeks.
How to apply for a Tibet Entry Permit?
It is now only possible for group to obtain not to an individual. Please make a group and prepare following before applying for Tibet entry permit.
a copies of your Passports;
a copy of your Nepalese Visa ;
Full names, gender, Date of Birth, Passport number, nationality, occupation; if work with any organization in Nepal certification.
Travel Permit: It is required when you are planning to travel to the closed areas in Tibet, which you can obtain it after you arrive in Tibet
Military Permit - you have to obtain if you are planning to travel to some military sensitive areas.