General Information Tibet

Tibet Geography
The plateau region of Tibet is a part of People’s Republic of China. An autonomous region, it is also renowned as the roof of the world. Spread over a vast area of more than 1.2 million square kilometers, it has the status of one of the biggest regions in China. Some of the highest mountain peaks of the globe can be witnessed here and major rivers of Asia originate from this plateau. The sacred land of the Lamas borders countries like Bhutan, Nepal along with Sikkim and Kashmir regions of neighboring India.

Famed for astounding beauty and breathtaking panoramas, this cultural treasure trove attracts countless visitors. An ancient holy land of the Buddhists, scientific surveyors, mountaineers and religious tourists frequent this place. The region is divided amongst three sectors – north, east and south. Vast parts of the eastern region lay forested. Grasslands dominate the northern section, home to yak and nomads. Agricultural region is spread over the central and southern part which is also the cultural capital of Tibet.

The area is filled with significant towns like Lhasa, Shigatse, Gyantse and Tsetang. Its administration has divided the 1,200,000 square kilometers of Tibetan area amongst one municipality and six prefectures. Lhasa works as the municipality along with six prefectures such as Shigatse, Ngari, Shannan, Chamdo, Nagchu and Nyingchi.

Rivers and Mountains
Tibet is completely surrounded by mountains on all ends. Northern section is covered by the Tanggula range whereas Himalayas dominate its southern frontiers. In the same manner, the eastern segment is home to the Henduan Mountains, the west to the Kunlun ones and the central region includes the Nyainqentanglha and Kangdese ranges. The majestic Himalayas run for 2,400 kilometres in the region and the average altitude is a staggering 6,000 meters. It also includes Mount Qomolangma, the highest Himalayan peak with a height of 8,848.13 meters. Tibet is home to near four peaks surpassing 8,000 meters and 38 peaks over 7,000 meters. Some of the globally top ranking peaks involve Lozi – world’s fourth highest peak - crossing 8,501 meters in the south, Markalu - world’s fourth highest peak – more than 8,470 meters, Qowowuyag – seventh highest peak elevating 8,153 meters and Xixabangma soaring to nearly 8,012 meters. Clouds near Qomolangma offer a panoramic sight.

The Tibetan plateau is a rich resource of the world’s water and more than 20 rivers are found here. This has led to Drainage areas in the region cover more than 10,000 square kilometers and major rivers originating here are the Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Mekong, Salween and Irrawaddy. Their sources include ice, rains and underground water. The Yarlung zangbo River traverses nearly 2,091 km of the region and is revered as ‘Mother River’ by the locals. The river takes the name of Brahmaputra as it enters India. It has gained the status of the globe’s highest altitude river due to a vast drainage area surpassing 240,000 square kilometers with average elevation of 4,500 meters. The deepest canyon of the world is also located in Tibet – 370 kilometer Yarlung Zangbo Grand canyon – depth 5,382 meters.

Tibetan lakes are filled by water as the snow melts in its grand peaks. The most sacred lake of the region is Namtso Lake; situated in its northern part. This pristine lake is spread over a distance of 1,920 square km. One of the most holy lakes is the Mapam Yumko Lake in Ngari. Flocks of devotees from Nepal and India converge here. Breathtaking natural scenery surrounds the place while sheep and cows are witnessed grazing around. The islets of the lake are home to numerous ducks and swans.

Tibet Climate
Tibet is a land of beautiful summers and harsh winters. Summer temperatures in Lhasa can exceed 29 degrees C (84 degrees F), but the winter season can witness it falling below minus 16 degrees C (3 degrees F). Due to strong solar radiation the city has earned the epithet of Sunlight City. Extreme temperatures are present during both morning and night hours in Tibet. Guests are advised to schedule their visits to Tibet during the months of April to October.

Northern Tibet is far cooler and the average temperature is subzero. Shivering winter continues throughout the period from October to June. The best months to tour are July and August. Panoramic vistas, warm temperature and festivals draw hordes of tourists.

The eastern part of Tibet oversees festive seasons during the months of May, June and September. Winter brings heavy snowfall and landslides also occur. Southern Tibet witnesses gentle weather in the period from May to October. Heavy rains also occur during this time. A lot of festivals are held in this duration amidst breathtaking beauty. So, this is the best period to tour Lhasa, Shigatse and Nyingchi.

Guests are required to provide information such as Complete Name (as displayed in the passport), Date of Birth, Passport No, Date of Issue, Date of Expiry, Gender, Nationality, Occupation and arrival/departure flight/date information. Guests visiting Tibet should reach Kathmandu nearly 2 days before landing in Tibet so as to remain clear of hurdles while processing the Tibet visa with the Chinese embassy. Guests are also informed that the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu remains open for receiving visa application from 10 AM to 11 AM every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If a client desires the visa in one working day, he/she needs to provide surcharge of emergency visa fee. Guests are requested to secure double entry Nepal visa from Nepalese Embassy/Consulate abroad or get it on landing at Kathmandu airport.

Baggage Allowance
As far as free baggage allowance is concerned, it is 20 Kg per person.

If the cancellation is done 10 days before the client reaches Kathmandu, he/she will only be charged 50% of total payment. However, if it is done less than 10 days before the tour commences, clients would not be provided with regard to the policy of Tibet Tourism Bureau.

Guests wouldn’t be paid any partial refunds with regard to unused rooms, sightseeing trips, meals or trekking arrangements.

Risk & Liability
Travelers are hereby informed that upon signing for Tibet trips, they can face serious health risks as Tibetan weather and terrain are highly uncertain. We would like to confirm that in cases of illness, accident, delays or factors outside our control, we will not accept any responsibility neither can we be sued for damages. Guests should understand that traveling needs to be done at their own risk.

Altitude Sickness
Visitors suffering from severe health problems should take their doctor’s advice before traveling to Tibet. Maximum people touring the place become easily accustomed to the weather. One can also utilize DIAMOX in order to avert sickness. Guests are hereby informed that they would spend nearly half-an hour in the higher passes. Savoring lots of liquids is also recommended.

The procedure for exchanging money can be fulfilled at Bank of China and its different branches in cities such as Zhangmu, Xigatse and Lhasa. Visitors are hereby informed that hard currencies are exchanged with respect to Yuan. Nearly 8 Yuan equal a US$. It could be also re-converted at the aforementioned banks while returning back from Tibet/China.

China Customs
Guests are required to declare possessions such as electronic goods and jewelry while arriving and exiting. While exiting the country visitors need to declare any curios along with genuine receipts offered only at Government shops.

Visitors should acknowledge that if they face loss due to changes in their schedule, they would themselves be responsible for it. We would like to make it clear that we can’t claim responsibility due to changes effected by weather and airliner service. Further, if any excessive charges occur on account of such changes, the clients would be needed to pay for them.

Nepal Time is + 5:45 of Greenwich mean time whereas China time will be 2 hours and 15 minutes before Nepal time in winter. In summer, however, China time would be 2 hours and 15 minutes ahead of Nepal.

The road between Kathmandu and Nyalam is not in good shape and becomes disturbed during monsoon. Some areas above Friendship Bridge and Zhangmu can’t bear the weight of vehicles and thus walking for 3 and 2 hours are preferred over these roads respectively. However, porters are also present here. In the monsoons, during heavy rains the road within Xigatse and Gyantse gets flooded and one has to use the Northern Highway. Further, the Southern Highway which surpasses Gyantse and Yamdrok Lake0020 also crosses the 5010 m high Karo-La pass.

List of Tibet Journeys