Foreigners and overseas Chinese are required to enter Tibet with a Tibet Travel Permit (Also called ‘Tibet visa’. It is a common question that most of the foreign travelers would come up with – “How do I get a Tibet visa”. Actually, it is not that difficult than you can imagine. Here I list it step by step. Following the instruction and you’ll quickly get your Tibet Tour started.
Step one – Planning: planning is the first step and the most important part. All the places you are planning to visit, entry/exit date, entry/exit city must be recorded on the Tibet permit. Once the permit is issued, it is not easy to have them modified. You should find the answers to those questions carefully before confirming the tour:
1. When do you plan to visit Tibet?
The travel time depends on 4 factors:
1) Your holiday
2) Your Budget:
Peak Season 25th June – 7th October
Shoulder Season April – 25th June – 8th October – 30th October
Low season November - March
3) Weather & Temperature:
You may learn more about the best time to Tibet and decide when to visit Tibet after thinking seriously
2. Where do you plan to enter/exit Tibet?
There are 2 ways to get to Tibet: one is entering Tibet from mainland China, the other one is from Nepal.
You can find direct flight from most of the cities in mainland China to Lhasa, besides, you can also take the train to Lhasa from Beijing, Xian, Xining, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shanghai, etc.
Entering from Nepal to Tibet requires a special type of Chinese visa: Tibet Group Visa.
3. Places you intend to visit:
Generally, a short excursion to Lhasa and its surroundings takes about 4-5 days;
Traveling to Everest Base Camp takes about 8 days, you can also add 1-2 days for a short trip to Namtso Lake;
Making a pilgrimage trip to Kailash and Lake Mansarovar takes about 11-14 days;
If you prefer to have a deep exploration of the Buddism culture, 2-3 days tour to Tsedang is a good choice
The best scenery in Tibet locates to the east – Nyingchi takes about 2 – 5 days.
Step 2: Booking a tour with a trustful travel agency like Tibet Odyssey Tours.
You need to figure out all your tour details with your travel consultant and pay the deposit.
Step 3: Send your photocopies of valid passport & China visa to your travel consultant.
Then you can just wait and get prepared for your Tibet Tour.
2. How much is a Tibet Travel Permit?
For all the travelers booking tour with us, we provide free Tibet permit application. However, since foreign travelers are not allowed to visit Tibet independently, you have to book a tour with a local travel agency including accommodation, licensed guide, tourist vehicle with licensed driver, etc.3. Do Indians need a visa for Tibet?
For ordinary sightseeing (except Mt. Kailash), Indian passport holders need to apply the Tibet visa like all the other foreign travelers. They need to book the tour from a licensed travel agency and follow the standard process to apply the Tibet visa. The only difference between Indian passport holders and other foreign travelers is the pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash. The Tibet visa for Indian pilgrims is issued by Foreign Affairs Office along with Military region, Public Security etc.
And there are only 2 organizations authorized to arrange Kailash Tour for Indian travelers: Foreign Affairs Office of TAR; The other one is pilgrim center. Both of the two organizations are located in Lhasa. Other travel agencies are not allowed to receive Indian travelers planning to Kailash.
If you are from Indian aiming at visiting Kailash, you can contact your local travel agencies from Indian or from Nepal, Bhutan. Some of the travel agencies from these places are authorized by Pilgrim Center or Foreign Affair Office.4. How long does it take to get Tibet permit?
The processing time is different based on the places you are planning to visit:
Lhasa & its surroundings: You’ll only need the Tibet permit to visit Lhasa and its surroundings. The processing time is the shortest with about 7 working days.
Everest Base Camp, Gyirong: Besides Tibet visa, you also need a boarder pass to visit Everest or Gyirong area. The process is longer – about 10 working days.
Ngari area (Mount Kailash, Lake Manasarovar, Northern Ngari), Pomi area, Ranwu Lake, Sichuan-Tibet highway: Military permit is required for visiting these places. The processing time is also the longest, about 20 working days;
Anyway, it is suggested to submit the documents for the application of Tibet permit 30 days in advance. Don’t plan a last minute Tibet tour.