INFORMATION FOR TIBET TOUR:

Tibet, largest and highest table-land or a plateau in this planet earth, one of the least accessible route in early years, at present due to large network of roads one can travel within Tibet taking any mode of transportation by air-train or overland drive either entering into main land China from respective countries.

Tibet remain as an independent country and a kingdom rules by various kings and monarch, past century during late 7th Mongolian invaded Tibet and replaced royals rulers appointing high priest Dalai Lama as head of the country.

A Mongolian word Dalai Lama which means ‘Ocean of Knowledge’ similarly Panchen Lama means ‘Jewel of Knowledge which is second to Dalai Lama with its throne in Tibet’s 2nd biggest city of Shigatse.

Since then Dalai Lama ruled Tibet as head of state till it was annexed with Republic of China in late 1950’ where Tibet at present known as Autonomous Region of China.

Tibet covers 471,900 sq. miles / 1,221, 700 sq.km and extends 2,600 k.m. from West to East and 1,300 k.m. North to South where Himalayan forms as barrier and a border with neighboring countries, like Nepal-North East-West of India (Sikkim-Ladakh and Arunchal Pradesh) including Bhutan as far to Myanmar.

Tibet a large country comparing with other countries it is double the size of California states of USA, 8 times bigger than England extending from 78° to 90° Longitude East and from 28° to 37° Latitude North.

Tibet with its vast landscapes with an average altitude of above 3,000 meters / 9,000 ft high reaching beyond 5,000 m where some villages  located above 4,000 m high, with snow capped peaks ranging from high 5,500 m, 6,000 m, 7000 m to 8,848 m at the top of Mt. Everest.

Brief History of Tibet:

Tibet history goes back beyond Yarlung Empire, as per the legend and folk tales, Tibetan people originated from the union of a monkey and an ogress.

This mythical event took place within a cave called Mt. Gonpo-Ri a ridge overlooking historic Yarlung Valley near Tsedang town South of Lhasa east of Gongor International Airport of Tibet.

Historical viewpoint provided by authoritative Tang Annals of 10th Centaury Chinese text, which recorded that the Tibetans were derived from the Qiang (Ch’iang) tribes, a nomadic and pastoral people that lived on the steppes northwest of China. Prior mention of these tribes has surfaced as early as 200 BC.

From other reliable sources traces Tibetan history from late 6th century AD, Namri Songsten (570-619 AD) of Yarlung Valley was a chief who ruled part of the divided country.

After joining forces with rival factions, he began to exert control over much of Central Tibet and became a significant military force in Inner Asia.

He conquered several Qiang tribes on Chinese border which was known to Sui dynasty (581-617) as ‘Commander of 100,000 Warriors’.

Tibetan tradition consider him as 32nd king in a line that started with Nyatri Tsenpo, the mythical ruler who miraculously descended from the sky to Mt. Yala Shampo at the head of the Yarlung Valley (during the reign of Lhatotori, the 28th king, Buddhist scriptures fell from the sky, heralding the transmission of Buddhism throughout the country).

Namri Songtsen’s son, Songtsen Gampo (617-50 AD), was crowned king in 629. He continued to expand the empire and threatened China’s western border during the 3rd decade around 7th C.
To appease him, in 641, Emperor Taizong (r 626-49) of the Tang Dynasty gave him one of his daughters, Princess Wencheng, in marriage. Even before that, however,

Songtsen’s Gampo had subjugated part of Northern Nepal annexed with Bon-Po kingdom of Shangshung in West Tibet, marrying in 632 the Nepalese Princess (Brikuti).
She was the daughter of Anshuvarman, minster of King Shivadeva and until 621 de facto ruler of Nepal by 648 AD. Songtsen has also invaded northern India.

Songtsen Gampo first religious King (Chogyal), through marriage was influenced by Buddhism and it was he who founded Jokhang and Ramoche, the foremost temples of the land.

Two decades after the death of Songtsen Gampo, Trisong Detsen (742-97 AD) was the Second Religious King. A century after Songtsen Gampo, he ascended the Yarlung throne (755 AD), and over the following half-century, he further extended Tibetan military power, in 763 AD, his army actually occupied Changan (modern Xi’an), the Chinese capital, and for a short time supported a puppet emperor.

His most important contribution to Tibetan history was not territorial. He was immortalized for nurturing Buddhism. At the age of 21, Trisong Detsen invited some of the greatest Buddhists gurus of India and China to Tibet like Guru Padmasamava  “Guru Ringboche’ who started the Nyinpa (Red Hat) sect of Buddhism, later Tsho Kapa established Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) sects in 11th C and followed by Kyigapa-Sakyapa sects.

Tibet at present

TIBET AT PRESENT: After it was annexed with Republic of China, from 1970's onward open the door for outside visitors, one can travel by air or on surface reaching from mainland China and Nepal. Tibet a country of 20 % forested area 40 % farm land and agriculture fields with 40 % of desolate, arid and windswept desert like territory  where some of the world highest and largest salt lakes exist in all parts of Tibet, the holy Manasarover Lake, Raksas Tal (lake) Pigatsho Lake, The turquoise color lake of  Yamdrok Tsho and beautiful Nam-Tsho Lakes with many rivers Brahmaputra (Yarlung Tsangpo) Karnali-Sutlej and Arun Rivers are some of the source of the rivers that fed from the glacier of Tibetan mountains. Tibet’s changes has taken place with wide network of roads and railway lines with tall building around the major cities of Lhasa-Shigatse and Gyantse, but still remains one of the most interesting country retaining its past glory into its pristine forms. Interesting book to read to get more into Tibet is SEVEN IN TIBET a classic novel during 1930's to 1940's, by Herman Hesse (German author) and the novel LOST HORIZON.

Weather & Climate

Temperature and Precipitations in Tibet: Tibet can be traveled from March to November months including monsoon times, as it falls in a rain shadow with least effect of heavy showers than other southern Himalayan countries. Month Temperature ( 0C )  Precipitations

MaximumMinimum(in mm)
January08  to 120
February10  - 100
March13  - 042
April16      03
May19      214
June24      970
July22    10130
August19       8140
September19       680
October16      -15
November13      -90
December08    -130

  Four different seasons in Tibet - winter, spring, summer and autumn. The best period to visit for plant lovers is in spring, when flowers are in full bloom. The mountain slopes are covered with beautiful and colorful flowers. Spring season starts from early March to late May. Even though days are clear haze disturbs the mountain views. Late May, and the downpour begins. It continues till late August. Autumn / Fall season begins from September to mid November. With temperate climate, clear blue skies and extraordinary mountain views it is the best season to visit the country. Winter begins in late November and continues till late February.

Altitude sickness

Altitude sickness: Traveling in Tibet involves high altitude areas could be strenuous sometimes, travelers with known heart or lung or blood diseases needs first doctor's advice before booking Tibet trip. It is always advisable to drink at least 2-3 liters of water every day while on the tour against AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) and dehydration.

Clothing & Equipment

Clothing accessories: The climate in Tibet with high altitude remains cool throughout all year round. From October till March, warm clothes such as thermal underwear are required. April to September, light clothes for the day and warm jacket or a sweater must for the evenings. The other recommended items are: personal medical first aid kit, water purification tablets (though mineral water can be bought), toilet & tissue papers, flashlight, comfortable walking shoes, sleeping bag, dust mask, sun hat, sun glasses and sun block cream. Head wear: Head wear is important to keep your body warm and to save you from UV as well, above 3,000 meters strong light of UV due to thin air hat or caps will be good as protections; Woolen cap for morning and night time. Body wear (this all required on your duration of Holiday): T-shirts, Short Pants, Trousers: Light weight & Heavy weight for cold temperature above 3500m, Wind and water Proof trousers are also suitable for trekking, Track-suit useful for trekking, Lightweight long sleeved shirt (this will save from sunburn as well), Thermal underwear useful for cold at night, Down / Duvet jacket which is essential for trekking above 3000 m, Gloves, water and wind proof wear or Poncho, snow gaiters for Trekkers above 4000m. Foot wear: For normal tours and sightseeing a runners and sports shoes is the best, as this involves short walks and climbing on steps also. For hiking a good comfortable boots if possible water proof (wax polish to be carried on other leather boots and shoes against wet areas and snow) with warm woolen shocks and for leisure walk soft cotton socks. Equipments: Daypack: A small rucksack as day to carry your necessary and valuable items; camera, water bottle, money, passport, towel, toiletries items, water proof for the walk and Sleeping Bags and walking poles as options. Personal: Camera and batteries, spare passport photos, water bottle, money belt, Torch / Flash Lights, Sewing kit, Sunhat/ Sunglasses, Ipods, Books, Wet Ones, Detergents to wash clothes, Writing materials, Swiss Army knife, Calculator, Personal toiletries, including tampons, Contraceptives, Insect Repellent, Sunscreen. Note: If you are wearing glasses, it is advisable to bring a spare pair since opticians are few on route trekking traveling remote areas. If you wear contact lenses you may find that climatic changes and dust can create visual irritation, therefore, it is advisable to bring a pair of glasses.

Food and Drink

Food and drinks: Tibetan cuisine is not exactly the most varied in the world. It is always handy to carry dry food and biscuits or anything that can be brewed with hot water such as coffee and drinking chocolate.

Customs

Customs: No prohibition on still and video cameras, tape recorders or radios as long as they are registered with custom officials and are of personal use. Printed matters considered unsuitable by the Chinese govt. are prohibited specially books and pictures of Dalai Lama or any other monks and priest on exile.

Travel information

Insurance Policy: It is most advisable that clients should have full insurance against medical and personal accidents. Booking formalities and visa: Minimum one week is required to book the trip from Kathmandu in advance along with full deposit, passport for visa process and full payment of the tour should be made before Tibet departure. From overseas, at least 2 weeks with all your personal and passport details are required with payment required as per our company rules and regulations. Cancellation: Incase of tour cancellation prior to departure, a cancellation policy as per company's rules and regulation will be applied. Risk and Liability: Tibet tours are run strictly under TIBET TOURISM BUREAU, Holiday Nepal and our counterpart Tibet agents shall not be responsible for any changes or cancellation of the programs due to road blockade, cancellation of flight, sickness or accident, political unrest etc. Any extras cost thereof shall be borne by the clients. Time Zone: Beijing Mean Time (GMT + 7:45 Hours). Which is 2 hrs 15 minutes ahead of Nepal Standard Time. Currencies in Tibet Chinese Remimbin Yuan which is 1 Yuan to US$ 8 but subject to change any time. Package cost includes: Air fare Kathmandu-Lhasa-Kathmandu, hotel/guest house accommodation on bed and breakfast basis, sightseeing tour as per the itinerary, an English speaking guide, transportation by private vehicle during the tour and monastery entrance fee. Cost excludes: Airport departure tax, lunch and dinner, Nepal re-entry visa fee, air ticket reconfirmation charge, personal insurance, emergency evacuation or any charges in case, if required, expenses of personal nature etc. Travel in Tibet are restricted by the Government of China where visitors can enter in a group wise with proper travel Chinese and Tibetan agencies, where Destination Holidays have counterpart agents to make your travel safe and enjoyable. Note: Please don’t forget to check with your Doctor & get advice whether your health permit or not for Tibet and its high altitude destinations. We also recommend: A dental check-up prior to traveling, you know your blood group in case of emergency and to send your medical / dietary lists. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions which might affect you on tour, you make these known to your Travel Agent at the time of your booking Medical Supplies: In every trip we do provide with essential comprehensive medical kits however you may carry your own medical kits as per your doctor’s recommendations. List of some recommended items: Band Aids / Bandages, laxatives, upset stomach remedy, anti-diarrhea remedy, Panadol /Aspirin, rehydration remedy, antiseptic cream/powder, sterile dressings, any relevant course of medication such as contraceptive pills.

Money

Currency: The official currency in Tibet is Remimbuin Yuan, One Yuan is made up of 100 Zian a smaller unit.  There are small bills and coins denominations of one, two, five and ten Yuan and bank notes in denominations of 1,2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, Remimbuin Yuan. There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency or travelers checks brought into Tibet. At present since 2000 till now US$ 1 = 8.9 Yuan but subject to change any times. Money Exchange: Bank of China (National Bank) does set the exchange rate and listed into daily news paper. There are many money changer counters and Banks in the cities at where you can change your cash money. When you are changing money officially, you need to show your passport and get receipt with your identity.  The Hotels do change the money however they do have lower rate. There are various ATM Machines in main cities and towns like Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse and so on. Where you can get cash (only Yuan) on both Visa and Master Card’s 24 hours a day. Usually you can draw Maximum 10,000 Yuan day from your Card.

Hotels

Accommodations: In Tibet most places have tourist standard facilities depending upon the choices, as we have put a lot of effort into locating the most appropriate type of accommodation for each tour. It will always be clean and hygienic, comfortable and of a very high standard. Accommodation for Tibet trips is in a combination of good standard tourist class hotels and Guest Houses in the Treks operated by the local people, which offer Twin Sharing accommodations, please be prepared for the common Bathrooms.

Tips

Travel / Medical Insurance: Travel / Medical insurance a compulsory in all Destination Holidays trips, all clients MUST be insured to cover personal accident, medical expenses, cancellation, curtailment and repatriation. Please Note you should check that your insurance policy is adequate for Trekking & Tours in Tibet. Tipping & Bargaining: Tipping in Tibet is not compulsory but it is a way of traditions handed by earlier visitors this might be expected by the guides, porters and Tour Driver, any gratuities for good service will be gratefully accepted at the end of the tour. Bargaining is kind of culture, especially in markets when hiring the Local Vehicles, Buying the Jewelries and Local Clothing. Travel Tip: You might be tempted to buy a few souvenirs here and there, so leave a little room for those extra purchases!

Visa and Permit

Passport: Your passport is a valuable document and you should exercise extreme care in keeping it safe. We recommend that you keep your passport on you at all times, preferably in a money belt that is worn under your clothing. We advise that you take copies of relevant pages in your passport and any visas that you may purchase in case of loss or damage. Your tour leader will require your passport details at the pre-departure meeting. Again, we recommend that you have a photocopy of your passport details, kept separate. Your passport must be valid for six months after the END of your tour, and must have one blank page for each country to be visited. Visa Requirements: Traveling into Tibet with various means of transportations, as there are many ways to enter the mainland but few entry into Tibet Autominous state of China, as China a huge country in Asia, the entry point from Vietnam, Hong Kong, Kajistan, Russia, Mongolia as for Pakistan being a close ally does not require Visa for Pakistan national, however the entry point from Pakistan is limited on the south west of China and Tibet. On reaching main land China one can enter Tibet via flight, trains or on surface where special entry permit required on entry immigration posts. From India only one points from western Tibet only for pilgrimage purpose to Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarover. For those who travel into Tibet from Nepal, must obtain permits and Visa from Nepal through Chinese Embassy. Please note that; Once the visa is issued, it will not be amended, re-validated and visa fees will not be refunded. There are two types of visa:

  • For groups in name list papers with two copies one for entry and other for exit,
  • For individual gets in their passport with much formalities and extra fees as per one nationality

Requirement for Visa is as follows:

  • Valid Passport (with a validity of a minimum period of six months) duly completed Visa application form. Two PP size Photograph.
  • Please also note that most of the western and Asian countries including Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Indian Nationals of the following countries must apply for a tourist visa through Nepalese Embassies as they do not get visas on arrival at the entry points.
  • TTB-Tibet Tourism Bureau that the Tibet permit application commenced from March 23rd 2015 much earlier this year in comparison with previous years.

Tibet travel permits policy: For the upcoming Tibet tour season, we accept Tibet tour booking for entry date from April onward (Kailash and Lake Manasarover travel permits are allowed for group size no less than 3 people with the same nationality. This is subject to change and we will keep travelers informed, to avoid urgent permits policy change and permits delivery, we still suggest foreign tourists confirm a Tibet trip at least 3-4 weeks in advance. Entry validity: The validity of visa dates is counted from the date of arrival in Tibet which is six months from the date of issue. Visa Extension: A tourist visa can be extended from the Department of Immigration in Lhasa Immigration Office for a total of 2 weeks. Over the course of a visa stated, a tourist cannot stay in Tibet more than the days obtained. Tibet travel documents general information: Chinese Visa, which can be applied in Chinese Embassy from respective country (If you go to Tibet via mainland China). Please be aware that: if you enter Tibet from Nepal, no China visa but Tibet Group visa is needed.