Tibet Tours - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

01 :   How can I get Tibet visa? How long does it take?

The latest info on the Tibet visa is given below.

a.   For all tourists entering Tibet from Nepal, a group visa (in a separate sheet of paper) is a must. (Even the group visa for 1 person is also possible. However, although it is of 1 person only, it is called a group visa for Tibet.)

b.    The Chinese Embassy in Nepal issues group visa for the tourists in a separate sheet of paper (not in the passport) against an authentic visa invitation letter from Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB).

c. For getting the visa invitation letter from TTB on time, you are required to send passport copies with a confirmed booking 20 days minimum in advance from the date of the tour.

d.    Normal visa processing time in the local Chinese Embassy is one week and urgent visa takes 2 full working days. In other words, clients should arrive in Kathmandu on Sunday and we collect their passports along with the duly filled in visa applications. On Monday, we apply and obtain visa on Wednesday. Then, clients can start Tibet tour from Thursday. If the clients arrive on Thursday and apply on Friday, visa will be given only on Tuesday. Accordingly, clients can start Tibet tour on Wednesday. Monday, Wednesday and Friday are the working days in the Embassy.

e.    Earlier, visa was possible even in one working day. This situation may improve later.  We will keep on updating you from time to time.

f.    Above all, to apply for visa, the original passports are a must.

g.  A passport size photo is required for visa application.

02 :   Is it possible to obtain Tibet visa without buying the package tour?

No. Not at all. After buying the Tibet tour package only, Tibet visa processing starts through our Tibet agent.

03 :   Can I travel in Tibet independently without buying any package tour?

No. Not at all. Even after buying the package tour, as per Tibet Tourism Bureau’s regulation, a guide who is a Govt. monitor (indirectly) is a must and you are always under his surveillance. This is why, a Tibetan guide is preferred by the visitors.

04 :   Can I stay in Tibet longer than my tour package?

No. Your date of exit either to Nepal or to the mainland China is ensured by our Tibet agent on the last day of your package tour. Otherwise, your guide or our Tibet agent will be in problem.

05 :   What are the differences between Tibet visa and Tibet Travel permit?

They are completely different. The Tibet visa is given by the Chinese Embassy in Nepal or the Chinese Consular office in Hong Kong. It is given to you against the visa invitation letter issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) in Lhasa. To obtain the invitation, you are required to send your scanned copy of your passports together with your confirmation of Tibet tour package purchase with needful advance money, against which TTB sends Tibet visa invitation letter to us and Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu through our Tibet agent at a time.

Tibet Travel permit is also made by TTB against your passport copies and confirmation, but it is completely in Chinese and Tibetan languages (unreadable by us). It is completely for their official purpose to confirm at the Chinese Immigration Office at the border/airport that the permit is true against your compliance with the rules of Tibet tour. It has nothing to do with the Chinese Embassy abroad.

06 :   How can I visit (enter) Tibet while travelling from the mainland China?

The process is slightly different. First of all, please apply for the Chinese visa to visit China in your local Chinese Embassy on your own, but without mentioning about your plan to visit Tibet in no case. Please make sure you will not mention it at all, otherwise the Chinese visa will also be rejected.

Secondly, after obtaining the Chinese visa, please send the scanned copy of the Chinese visa along with your passport copies to us as soon as possible so as to enable us to send them to TTB for the needful.

Against the copy of the Chinese visa and passport copies, TTB will issue Tibet Travel Permit to our Tibet agent and accordingly, our Tibet agent will send it to Beijing or Chengdu. So, where to be delivered at Beijing or Chengdu? Please give us your hotel address and date of arrival at Beijing or Chengdu when you know. Accordingly, our Beijing/Chengdu agent will hand over the permit to you in the hotel so that you could fly or take train to Lhasa without any hassles.

07 :   Is it so that to get Tibet visa, Tibet Travel Permit must be obtained first?

Both are processed at the same time. Once you buy the Tibet tour package by sending the scanned copy of your passports and money in advance, the processing starts simultaneously. TTB prepares 2 separate documents. One is Tibet Travel Permit and the other Tibet visa invitation letter. The permit is kept by our Tibet agent for the needful inside Tibet for their official use and the invitation letter is sent to us enabling us to apply for Tibet visa along with the needful documents at the Chinese Embassy after your arrival at Kathmandu.

08 :   What is the difference between Tibet Group Visa and the Chinese Visa?

The first difference is that the Tibet Group Visa (2 sheets of paper with your passport details) is not a stamp on your passport, while the Chinese visa is a stamp/sticker on your passport similar to the normal visa of other countries.

The second difference is that Tibet Group Visa is a must for visiting Tibet from Nepal, while the Chinese visa is not valid to enter Tibet from Nepal.

The third difference is that the Tibet Group Visa is not only valid for Tibet, but also equally valid for visiting the mainland China as well from Tibet, whereas the Chinese visa is not valid to enter Tibet at all from Nepal. But, if you are entering Tibet from China, The Chinese visa is not valid unless you have a Tibet Travel Permit.

Lastly, the visa fee for group visa is slightly cheaper than that for the Chinese visa.

09 :   Can I get Tibet group visa from the local Chinese Embassy in my country (except Nepal and Hong Kong)?

No. Tibet group visa is granted in 2 countries only. One in Nepal by the Chinese Embassy and the other is the consular in Hong Kong.  

10 :   Is there any age bar in getting Tibet/China visa?

There is no age bar as such in getting Tibet/China visa for all Tibet tour including tours to Mt Kailash. The age bar is applicable for the Indian pilgrims only that also goint to Mt Kailash and manasarovar. It is 70 years. For all tourists including the Indians, there is not age bar for visiting all parts of Tibet, except Mt Kailash and Manasarovar. 

However, even if you are younger and if you are undertaking pilgrimage to Mt Kailash and Manasarovar, it is highly advisable to consult your family doctor because Tibet involves high altitude of 4,000 m in average from the sea level. Especially, those with the problem of heart, brain and blood are particularly advised to consult the doctor, before buying the Tibet package tours.  

11 :   Is it safe for a single lady to travel in Tibet?

It is fully safe. Most of the time during the tour, our guide would be together. Besides, the security system in Tibet is very good. However, late night parties and night life may not be so safe for a single lady.

12 :   What currency should I take to Tibet?

Well, US Dollar is always advised as it is accepted or exchanged into their local currency (Yuan) everywhere, even where there is no bank or ATM machines. However, banks or exchange counters accept all convertible currencies like Euro, Japanese Yen, etc.

13 :   Can I use debit/credit cards in Tibet/China?

Yes, you can use almost all major cards like Master Card, Visa Card and American Express Card. They are accepted in all the major hotels and shopping malls. Besides, ATM machines are also in plenty in all the major cities of Tibet and China.

14 :   Do I need to have the travel insurance while travelling in Tibet?

Yes. It is always advised to have a full insurance covering medical and personal accident risk, flight cancellation, tour cancellation due to unavoidable situations, rescue operation including emergency helicopter service.

15 :   What is the situation of hotels in Tibet?

Except in Lhasa, the major cities do not have 4 star and 5 star hotels. There are 3 star level hotels in Gyantse, Shigatse and Tsedang only. In rest of the places, hotels and guest houses are basic and the most of the guest houses have common toilets and baths.

16 :   Can I get a good English speaking guide of Tibetan origin while traveling in Tibet?

Yes. We always make sure that a good English speaking Tibetan guide will be provided to all clients and groups. Only in case of need for other foreign language speaking guide other than English, a Chinese guide will be provided. There are very few foreign language speaking guides of Tibetan origin other than the English language in Tibet. 

17 :   What type of vehicle is provided for tours in Tibet?

First of all, please note that all travel agents are required to hire all vehicles from the Govt. transport company. No private vehicles can be used for the tourism purpose in Tibet.

Basically, for a group of 1 to 5 persons, a good van with heating is provided and for a group of 6 and above persons, a good bus is provided. Air-conditioning is not required in Tibet. It is mostly cooler in Tibet. The 4WD jeeps are also available. However, compared to the vans, they are extremely expensive.

18 :   How is the facility of hospital and clinics in Tibet?

All major cities like Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse and Tsedang do have good hospital facility, but there is no good facility of hospitals in Mt Everest BC and Mt Kailash area. 

19 :   How do you organize emergency rescue, in case of need?

First of all, in case of emergency health problem, patients are rushed to the nearest possible hospital by arranging emergency vehicle. In case of AMS (Acute Mountain sickness: high altitude problem), we try our best to arrange an emergency vehicle to bring down the patient to a lower height which is not that easy in Tibet as its average height is 4,000 m almost all over Tibet.

Next alternative is the use of a Gammow Bag. It can be provided upon request from the clients. Frequent use of this bag can help stabilize the condition of the patient so that the time taken in transporting the patient from the high altitude to the lower level does not make any problem.

As there is a regular flight between Lhasa and Kathmandu, rescue can also be done by flight as well, as Kathmandu has a height of just 1,300 m only.

20 :   What are the necessary documents required for applying Tibet visa in the Chinese Embassy in Nepal?

The following documents are required for visa application.  

a. Scanned copies of passports,

b. Client’s personal information such as home address, email address, mobile no, home telephone no, name of the person to contact in emergency with mobile no,

c. Names of family members with their occupation, nationality and relationship

d. Employer’s name and address (if employed)

e. Tibet Visa Invitation Letter of TTB (our part)

f. Duly filled up visa application form with passport size photo.

21 :   What are the chances of getting high altitude sickness in Tibet?

The chances are very low. Altitude sickness may not be a major problem in Tibet, if you follow some basic disciplines. More than 100,000 tourists visit Tibet every year and hardly less than 0.5 percent only get minor problems with it. That also with minor effects of the high altitude like mild headache, fever, loss of appetite or stomach disorder.  These symptoms are the normal process of acclimatization. With a full rest of a day or two will help the patients get fully acclimatized and they can continue their Tibet tour.  However, with a view to enabling you to undertake the tour without troubles, after your tour confirmation, we will send full information on how to cope with the altitude problem in Tibet.  So, no worries, please.

22 :   Do we have to cross the high passes of more than 5,000 m during the tour?

Yes, we do. Some high passes are more than 5220 m. However, please note that you do not have an overnight on the high pass at all. You will immediately drive down after about 10 minutes exploration with photos, etc. Normally, your overnights are at an average height of 3900m. This way, it is not a point to worry. 

23 :   In case of serious sickness, what do we do?

In case of serious sickness, we will drive you directly to the nearest city where there is a hospital with all facilities of caring for the altitude sickness. Each hospital in the urban areas is fully equipped with the full facility of curing high altitude sickness.

We know travelling in TIBET is an adventure involving high altitude and it could be strenuous. However, we advise especially the guests with known heart or lungs or blood diseases to consult their doctor before travelling to Tibet. Also, we strongly advise all to drink 4 liters of water minimum a day, not to exhaust yourself so much, breathe deep and take rest more than usual as long as you are in Tibet. It is also advised not take any alcohol drinks as long as you are in Tibet.

Bottled water is easily available in each hotel where you have overnight and in the restaurants en route where you have lunch.

We also advise you to have a special medicine called Diamox. You can discuss with your doctor regarding this medicine. Meanwhile, you can buy portable oxygen bottles/cans at the border or en route to be well equipped for altitude problem.

24 :   Do you advise to carry warm clothes with us to Tibet even in the month of June and July, warmest months in Tibet?

It is always advised to carry warm clothes with you even in June and July. If you are on the tour to the remote areas like Mt Kailash or Mt Everest, even a sleeping bag is a must.  There is no snow from June to August, however, the high passes may have mild snow depending on the weather. We do provide a detailed list of accessories to be carried with for the tour in Tibet once your tour is confirmed.

25 :   Is it possible to extend Tibet Visa/permit in Tibet?

No. Tibet visa cannot be extended at all while you are on tour in Tibet, only in case of health problem or flight cancellation. The last day of your exit is the responsibility of your Tibet agent. Otherwise, your Tibet agent will be in problem. So, the number of days to be spent must be finalized before you buy your Tibet tour.

26 :   How is the communication facilities in Tibet?

Communication facilities are very good in Tibet. Mobile phones (SIM) with 4G facility is easily available. Wi-Fi facility in all hotels are available. However, Google, Whatsap, Facebook and Viber do not function in Tibet/China, but Wechat does.

27 :   Is it safe to walk during night in the main cities of Tibet?

It is safe. But, better not to take risk by walking in the night time in the towns.

28 :   When is the best time to visit Mt Kailash and Manasarovar?

Although all Kailash tours/yatras are operated from May to October, the best time for all Kailash tour and yatras is from May to July. August and September are rather rainy and it may cause landslides, road blockage, flight cancellation, etc.

29 :   Which tour to Tibet/Mt Kailash is mostly problem free?

That tour which uses both way flights from Kathmandu to Lhasa and Lhasa to Kathmandu. Flights are 90% sure.

Note:  Most of all information given above are applicable to all Tibet tours and Kailash tours/yatra. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to write to us. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Importantly, please do read our FAQs on Kailash Yatra as well for detailed information on Kailash tours/yatras.