The highest plateau in the world, famous as the “Roof of the world”, Tibet is a land of prosperity and spirituality. The land of Tibet, after China gained the autonomy of the state, was separated from rest of the world and it is only in these recent days that the plateau is being connected to the remaining parts of the globe. However, even now journalists and diplomats are not allowed in the area and visit permits are not granted easily, so this glorious country of the past remains unreachable to many. Irrespective of all the odd conditions, Tibetan locals have been welcoming more tourists each year with a pleasant smile and warm hospitality.
Optional tour to mount Everest by By Helicopter.
Trip Extention possibility to Bhutan.
- Capital: Lhasa
- Area: 1.228 square kilometres.
- Population: 6.5 million (according to the last census of 2014)
- Time zone: China Standard Time, GMT +8 hours
- Political system: Socialist Republic
- Major religion: Buddhism
- Official language: Standard Tibetan
- Working hours: According to Labor’s Law of China, the working hours are 8 hours per day, 44 hours per week Monday-Friday
- Electricity: 230 volts with 50-hertz frequency, devices might not function properly due to the altitude
- Location: South-west of China, bordering Nepal, India, Myanmar, and Bhutan
- Geography: Majorly plateau with diverse terrain including deep ditches, glaciers and the famous Gobi cold desert.
Tibet remains under the autonomy of China, thus toenter Tibet, along with a permit from Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB), one needs tohave a valid Chinese visa, except for the visitors from Japan, Singapore, andBrunei. Chinese visa can be easily obtained from the China Visa ApplicationCenter situated in one’s respective country within 2-4 working days. The visaprovided will be a standard single entry visa which shall last for 30 days.After being issued with the Chinese visa, one will need to coordinate withtraveling agencies or tour operators online, who will assist them to obtainpermits from TTB. The permit will allow tourists to visit Lhasa and Shigatse. Tovisit other places, other permits are to be requested separately. The visacharges are likely to vary.
How to reach Tibet
There are only ways to reach Tibet: from Nepal ormainland China. Two daily flights are operating from Tribhuvan International Airportin Kathmandu to Lhasa Gonggar Airport in Tibet by Sichuan Airline and AirChina. These are the only two international flights to Tibet, also theirfrequency decreases during winter. Alternatively, one can reach Lhasa overlandfrom Kerung-Rasuwa border. This 4-day long road journey is not for everyone; itdemands a good level of physical fitness and the roads are not always good.From mainland China, there are at least 6-10 flights per day flying for Lhasafrom Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, andKunming.
Popular Destinations to visit:
Although visitors are usually allowed to visitLhasa and Shigatse only, there is plenty of sightseeing to do in these twocities alone. In the city of Lhasa, there lies majestic Potala Palace in all itsglory. Built-in 637 A.D, now one of UNESCO world heritage sites, Potala Palace isa “must visit” while in Tibet. The Sera Monastery, another jewel in the city ofLhasa, is the most important monastery of the country. “Sera” means rose, so asthe rose suggests, the backside of the monastery is filled with varieties ofwild roses, giving a more eye-pleasing sight. Home to famous Tibetan paintingsand more than 40000 consecrated parchments, Shakya Monastery has beenattracting many tourists each year to the town of Shigatse. Kailash Mansarovaris another popular destination in Tibet, which is mostly famous amongst Hinduas well as Buddhist pilgrims.
Local currency and foreign exchange:
Chinese Yuan (Renminbi) is the local currency ofTibet, and American Dollar is the only other currency accepted in the country,that too only in a handful of shops and hotels. Traveler’s cheque is onlyaccepted by Bank of China, but Visa, Electron and cards are accepted byConstruction Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China in major cities likeLhasa and Shigatse allowing withdrawal of only 2000 RMB. While traveling toother parts, it is better to exchange foreign currency to the Chinese Yuan atLhasa. Major international currencies are easily converted into Chinese Yuan atthe Bank of China and also at the airport. While traveling to rural parts, itis advisable to carry the cash in the smaller denomination.
Internet and Communication in the country:
For years, the “roof of the world” has gonewithout communication with the rest of the world. But since the very late ofthe 20th century, the communication system has been improving, andnow 67.5% Tibetans have access to the internet. There is only one internetservice provider, hence WI-FIs are not very common. However, most hotels andrestaurants offer free WI-FI and there are fee internet cafes as well. Thelocals make use of 3G and 4G networks on their phone. The local cellphoneservice is not easily available to tourists. Even though there is easy accessto the internet, People’s Republic of China bans the use of social networkingsites and certain websites, including Google and Gmail.
Weather and climate:
Tibet lies in the area which receives intensesunlight directly, due to its altitude; the air is very thin which can neitherabsorb the sunlight nor radiate it. Such condition results in extreme type ofweather conditions, too hot summer and too cold winter. The summer temperatureusually exceeds 29 degrees but, the area receives less than 500 mm to 50 mm ofrainfall, which makes the summer very hot. In winter, the temperature might gobelow -16 degrees. Irrespective of the extreme climate, this land of snowdeserves to be explored and its beauty is praised throughout the world.
People, culture, and festival:
One of the most exciting parts of exploring Tibet isits cultural experience. Most of the Tibetans follow Buddhism, the importanceand influence of the religion are quite evident in the day-to-day life of theinhabitants. Hence, most of their festivals are related to worshipping andpraying to Buddha. During the “Butter Lantern Festival”, celebrated on January15 of the Tibetan calendar, people go to the temple, glowing incense andworship Buddha. Another famous festival of Tibet is “Saga Dawa” which alsoinvolves worshipping Buddha; it is believed that Shakyamuni Buddha took birth,became Buddha and died in April, thus on April 15 of Tibetan calendar, theycelebrate Buddha and worship him. In “Shoton Festival” of Lhasa, people exhibittheir Buddha paintings and attend operas. There are other festivals tocelebrate as well like the New Year, the harvest and the incoming spring.