Into Tibet 50 essentials before you go – II

  1. Which overland tour is better, Shichuan-Tibet or Qinghai-Tibet?

The overland tour from Shichuan to Tibet is most beautiful one among the roads into Lhasa, but it is most dangerous. The road is gravel-based and goes across Hengduan Mountains. In the rainy reason, the mud-rock flow usually happens. In winter, mountain passes are covered with heavy snow. The seasons are uncertain. Accommodations and meals are very poor on the way. It is very suitable for the adventurers and travel enthusiasts.

The overland tour from Qinghai to Tibet is the safest. Every year, the road is under construction but most part is asphalt road. Accommodations and meals along the way are the best among all roads to Lhasa. However, the scenery along the road is very dull. It is very suitable for tourists who enter Tibet for the first time.

  1. What about accommodations and meals along the Qinghai-Lhasa road?

The accommodation could be arranged. In Xidatan, Wudaoniang, Tuotuohe River, tourists could stay in the guesthouse or the army service station. Usually, there are vacancies at any time. In Anduo area after Tanggula Mountain, there are hotels. Hot water and bathing could be done. In guesthouse, there is still no hot water.

It is no problem to find places to eat along the road. Chinese food is usual. And the instant noodles and biscuits also could be bought along the road.

  1. How is the accommodation in Tibet? Is it necessary to take the tent and the sleeping bag? Can the tent and the sleeping bag be rented?

The accommodation in Tibet is improving, but the hotel class is lower than that in other parts of China. For example, the 3-star hotel in Tibet is around the same as the 2-star class in other cities.

In Lhasa and Shigatse, the accommodation ranges from the guesthouse to the 4-star class hotels.

In Gyantse, Tsedang and Ningtri, the accommodation ranges from the guesthouse to the 3-star class hotels.

In Tingri, Zhangmu and Nagchu, the accommodation ranges from the guesthouse to the 2-star class hotels.

In remote places, there are only guesthouses.

According to your tour itinerary, you could decide whether you take the rent and the sleeping bag or not. If you only visit these big cities in Tibet, you could take nothing. If you visit some remote places, you’d better take the sleeping bag. In the remote guesthouse, sanitary condition is not good. At the same time, it will be warmer in the sleeping bag. If you make a trekking tour, cycling tour or other adventure tours, you have to take the tent and the sleeping bag.

It is very convenient to rent a tent and sleeping bag in Lhasa. They are charged by the day.

  1. How to choose the tent and sleeping bag

You are suggested to take the anti-minus-15-degree-centigrade down-filled sleeping bag and the anti-wind & rain Double-alpine tent.

  1. How many star hotels in Tibet? Very expensive?

There are more than fifty star hotels in Lhasa, about twenty star hotels in Shigatse. They are enough for tourists except in May 1stholiday, October 1stholiday and Shoton festival in August. In other places in Tibet, there are not so many star rate hotels. Because of its high altitude, there is a sharp contrast between high season and low season, with few tourists in the low season. The cost of hotel rooms in the peak season can be 30% higher or even double that of other cities in China.


Into Tibet 50 essentials before you go – III

  1. Tibet’s special food/snacks? Where can get them?

Tsampa (roasted barley flour), Butter tea, yak meat, Tibetan noodles, sweet tea, Qingke wine (chang) are all Tibetan specialties. As travelers who want to have a profound Tibet tour, you must visit one of the sweet tea houses there. You can taste the authentic Tibetan noodles, sweet tea, and the hospitality of the Tibetan people. If you want to have more of Tibetan food, you can try the Aluocang Restaurant beside Jokhang Tempe. There are various local Tibetan dishes, but the price is a little high, and many people are not used to the food, such as dry beef and Tsampa.

  1. How is the weather in Tibet? Is summer very hot? And is winter cold?

As for the weather, except the northern Tibet and the non-inhabitation area in Ngari, the temperature is very agreeable, especially for travelling. In summer, the temperature is generally below 25? in daytime, and about 10? during night; in winter, it is also above 10 ? in day time and just several degrees below 0 ? at night. While, for most of our sightseeing activities are in daytime, so summer is not hot, and winter is not cold.

  1. How about the sceneries of Tibet in winter?

Tibet is mainly mountains, and for most areas they are various mineral stone mountains. There are no trees except in eastern Tibet, so there is no such big difference between winter and summer. And there are more snow mountains and bigger glaciers in winter. It is low season for travelling in Tibet in winter, so accommodations and vehicle cost etc. are comparatively cheap. You can also enjoy your time there with few other tourists.

  1. How about the road condition in rainy season? Are rain gears necessary?

The rainy season in Tibet is mainly in June, July and August. The road condition is very bad and unpredictable. The road may be good the first day and then broken the next day. Normally, there are huge amount of workers maintaining the road, and also local garrison help. Generally, the problem of broken road can be solved within several hours. As for the rain gears, if you are traveling on your own, like trekking, mountain hiking or bicycling, rain trousers and rain boots are advised. But if you travel with a travel agency, then you don’t have to bring the rain gears, since for most of the rains are in night, it is always sunny in daytime. There is a vehicle along with you, no need to worry about it.

  1. When is the best time to travel to Tibet?

The high season for traveling to Tibet is from April to October, and during these months, the cost is higher in accommodation, eating and shopping. And it is also the time of most beautiful sceneries in Tibet. Several most important festivals (such as Shoton Festival) is amid this period. It is cheaper to travel in winter with fewer tourists and lower cost of accommodation and food. If you like a bustling atmosphere, you can come in July and August, but if you prefer a quiet tour, December is a good choice. There are not so many tourists, expect a few spending long winter time in Tibet.

  1. What’s the schedule of the regular bus in Tibet?

Lhasa-Shigatse: fixed schedule regular bus, every day;

Lhasa-Jiangzi: fixed schedule regular bus, every day;

Lhasa-Nyingtri: fixed schedule regular bus, every day;

Lhasa-Nagqu: Fixed schedule regular bus, every day;

Lhasa-Shegar: unfixed schedule

Shigatse-Zhangmu: unfixed schedule

Shigtase- Senge Tsangpo: unfixed schedule, about every ten days

Lhasa-Xining: fixed schedule, every day;

Lhasa-Chengdu: unfixed, about every ten days.

  1. Are there restrictions on foreign tourists entering Tibet? And what about overseas Chinese? Taiwanese? Hong Kong and Macau citizens? What are the procedures? And how long will it take?

Foreign tourists must be organized to travel to Tibet. It must be organized by travel agencies, and with the confirmed itinerary, and a permit from Tibet Tourism Bureau. Tourists shall book the flights and board the plane with the permit. Overseas Chinese, and Taiwanese also need to apply for the permit to travel to Tibet. Hong Kong and Macau citizens do not need the permit. Foreign tourists, overseas Chinese, and Taiwanese can entrust travel agencies to apply for the permit with the copies of passport and Chinese Visa and work certificate. Normally, it takes about one week, and 2-3 days for emergency case.

  1. What kind of people need the border pass? Who doesn’t need? How to apply? Can apply in Tibet?

Since many places in Tibet are in the border area or have not been entirely open to tourists, domestic citizens (including Hong Kong and Macau citizens) who want to enter these areas must apply for the border pass, otherwise, they are not allowed to enter. Chinese citisens who have valid passport, and the passport has been endorsed with overseas visa, they don’t have to apply for the border pass. The procedure of Tibet border pass is the same as the border pass in Shenzhen, people can apply with ID card at police station of their household registration, and the procedure is simple.

  1. The areas where the border passes are needed

Shigatse area: Dengpa county, Saga county, Nyalam County, Shegar county, Kangma county, Yatung County, Gampa county, Tingkye county, Kyirongcounty;

Shannan area: Tsona county, Lhuntse county, Lhodakcounty, Nakartse county;

Nyingtri area: Miling county, Namshan county, Zayul county, Metok county;

Ngari area: Purang county, Tsada county, Rutok county , Gar county.

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