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8 Days Driving Across Himalaya from Kathmandu to Lhasa
Based on 359 Reviews
There is no better way to enter Tibet, more exciting and adventurous than travelling overland from Kathmandu to Lhasa. The 8-day adrenaline-packed adventure takes you past the highest peak along Great Himalayas to pristine alpine lakes, glaciers, Buddhist sites, etc. all the way to the Lhasa, the spiritual heart of Tibet.
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Moderate
Group Size Small Group
There is no better way to enter Tibet, more exciting and adventurous than travelling overland from Kathmandu to Lhasa. The 8-day adrenaline-packed adventure takes you past the highest peak along Great Himalayas to pristine alpine lakes, glaciers, Buddhist sites, etc. all the way to the Lhasa, the spiritual heart of Tibet.
To ensure you a safer and more pleasant journey from Kathmandu to Lhasa, we extended the original 7-day overland tour to the current 8-day tour in 2018. By doing so, you may spend one day in Gyirong Town (2700m), which drastically minimize the chance of acute mountain sickness for traveling from Kathmandu (1400m) to old Tingri(4300m). Meanwhile, you can start your journey in the late morning and drivers won’t have to drive at night on the treacherous mountain roads near Sino-Nepal border, which further enhance the overall tour experience and travel safety.
As the only local Tibet travel agency with offices based in Lhasa, we never allow the third party contractor to run our tours. Our Tibetan and Nepali staff will help you to get Tibet Permit (for free) and China Group Visa for Tibet entry from Kathmandu. You may also enjoy the safe and convenient transfer service from your hotel in Kathmandu to your hotel in Gyirong on Tibet’s side. If you want to extend your tour from Lhasa to other inland Chinese cities, like Chengdu, Xi’an, Beijing, Shanghai, etc., we may also help you book Tibet train or flight ticket and offer a variety of guided tours to other parts of China.
Tibet Travel Permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
All entrance ticket fees for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
Meals as specified in the itinerary;
Local tour Transfers, 5-29 seats comfortable Tourist Vehicle according to Group Size.;
Knowledgeable English-speaking Tibetan local tour guide shared in your group;
Comfortable Hotel Accommodations;
Service Charge & Government Taxes;
The above tour price does not include single room supplement. If you are a solo traveler, you need to share one room with another tourist (same gender in most cases); if you prefer to stay in one room by yourself, you will have to pay the single room supplement. And the exact price depends on market fluctuation in high and off season of Tibet tour. For the exact price, please refer to your travel consultant.
Arrangements include planning, handling, operational and communication charges.
Welcome Dinner in local restaurant when group members meet in Lhasa
Free Airport shuttle transfer between Lhasa Gongar airport and Hotel on designated time.
Group tours only include a welcome dinner after your arrival in Tibet.
Tibet Handy Map
Drinking water Provided during the trip
Tourist accident/casualty insurance;
International flight to and out of China;
Domestic flight/train to and out of Lhasa. (We can provide you the domestic flight/train ticket booking service at the BEST discount price, please contact us our travel experts for the details.)
Lunches and dinners are not included, please pay on site by yourself.; usually it costs about USD 3-15 per person for one meal in TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region).
Tips and gratitude to the guide and driver. If you are satisfied with their service, you may consider tipping them at an amount you find it suitable.
Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks (please do the best to avoid the alcoholic beverages during your Tibet trip), optional tour activities, etc.
Kathmandu to Syabrubesi (137 km, 7 hrs)
Our driver will pick you up in your hotel during 9:00-9:30 am. Then we will drive to China Tibet border. While driving near Mt.Himalaya, you can see the deep gorges, snow-capped mountain on the way. We will also drive across the LuangTang National Park.
Stay overnight in village guest house in Syabrubesi
Syabrubesi to Kyirong (40 km, 4-5 hrs) (B)
After breakfast, we will drive 15km to the border to enter China. You will meet our guide in China side. Then we will drive 1 hour to Kyirong (2800m) where is surrounded by lofty snow-capped mountains and dense forests. In the afternoon, you take a stroll to visit Paba Temple (2850m), a Gelugpa temple built by Tibetan King Songtsan Gambo at the proposal of his wife Nepali princess Bhrikuti. The Nepali style temple with delicate murals is only within minutes’ walk from your hotel.
Stay overnight in Kyirong Hotel
Kyirong to EBC to Tingri (480km, 11 hrs) (B)
Today, we will first drive to pass through Peikutso lake and grassland. Then we continue to drive to Everest Base Camp and visit the world highest Monastery, the Rongbuk Monastery. On the way, you can view the splendid panoramic Himalaya Mountain Range at Gyawula Pass (5200 m).
After visiting Everest Base Camp, we will drive to Tingri.
Stay overnight in Tingri Hotel
Tingri to Shigatse (280km, 7 hrs) (B)
Today, we will drive from Tingri to Shigatse. On the way, you will visit the 5000 m G318 National Highway milestone in Lhatse. After your arrival in Shigatse in the early afternoon, you will visit the seat of Panchan Lama – Tashilunpo Monastery, one of the most important monasteries in Tibet.
Stay overnight in Shigatse hotel
Shigatse to Lhasa via Gyantse (375 km) (B)
Today, we will drive to Lhasa via Gyantse. On the way you can see many Tibetan farmer villages. After arriving in Gyantse, you will visit Heritage town Gyantse old street and Perklor Monastery, Kumbum stupa. Then you will also visit Manak Dam Lake, Korola Glacier and Yamdrok Lake on the way to Lhasa.
Stay overnight in Lhasa
Lhasa Tour - Potala Palace, Johkang Temple, and Barkhor Street (B)
Today’s tour will first bring you to the Potala Palace which is the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. It was put to use since the 7th Century by the 33rd great king of Tibet. The most valuable collections of Potala Palace are the gilded burial stupas of former Dalai Lamas and meditation Cave of the 33rd great king of Tibet.
Then after lunch, tourists head to Jokhang temple which was founded by the 33rd great king of Tibet in the 7th century. Inside you can see the statue of Buddha Sakyamuni at the age of twelve. Outside, you can see pilgrims making prostrating in front of Jokhang Temple. Around the temple is Barkhor street, where you can do kora (a religious circle of a building or mountain) with pilgrims and locals, and explore the old market.
Besides, We can taste Tibetan tea with locals in the tea house.
Stay overnight in Lhasa
Lhasa Tour - Drepung and Sera Monastery (B, D)
In the morning, you are going to visit Drepung Monastery which is one of the “great three” Gelug monasteries of Tibet, founded in 1416 by Jamyang choge, one of the Tsongkhapa’s main disciples. You can visit biggest monastery kitchen inside the monastery and enjoy Buddhist Sculpture Carving workshop near Drepung.
In the Afternoon, Tourists will visit Sera Monastery which is another one of the “great three” Gelug monasteries of Tibet. The hot attraction is the Monks debating in the courtyard of Sera Monastery. In addition, you will see colorful rock painting of Buddha and see the three sand Mandalas in Sera Monastery. After that, you will visit Tibetan religious text printing house.
In the evening, you will enjoy the Farewell dinner well-prepared by us.
Stay overnight in Lhasa
Depart from Lhasa (B)
The guide will transfer you to the airport or train station and help you get on board.
Tibet Tour by local Tour operator and agency in Lhasa
Welcome to explore Tibet with the local guide
Tibet, a slowly developing region in far west China, is an under developed economy zone. The tourism infrastructure standard in Tibet is very basic in comparison with other Chinese major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Xi’an, etc. Even though there are more and more higher category hotels coming up, with the St. Regis or Shangri-La or Intercontinental Hotel as example, while, the most accommodation in Tibet is still basic. However, comparatively, we well select some accommodations which are better than the most with the similar level.
Here below are a hotel list for our Lhasa Group tours, final group tour hotel choice varies from case to case. Please note that: If you want to upgrade hotel, when you place the order, you may have the add on price options.
Lhasa Group Tours 3 Star Hotels option
- Lhasa Yak Hotel (3 star)
- Lhasa Gang-Gyan Hotel Tibet (the standard room type)
- Lhasa Dhood Gu Hotel
- Lhasa Tashi Norta Khangsang Hotel
- Lhasa Tashitakge Hotel (Nice Guesthouse in downtown, but reputable on TripAdvisor and Booking.com)
- Yabshi Phunkhang Heritage Hotel
Lhasa Group Tours 4 Star Hotels option
- House of Shambhala (Recommended by few group tours due to room availability)
- Shambhala Palace (Recommended by few group tours due to room availability)
- Shangbala Hotel (near Jokhang Square)
- Lhasa Gang-Gyan Hotel Tibet (VIP Tower section) the front building beside the Beijing Road
- Lhasa Thangka hotel (4 star)
- Xin Ding Hotel
- Snow Heaven Hotel
Lhasa Group Tour Hotels Details (3 Star Standard Category Option)
1. Lhasa Yak Hotel: This 3 star standard hotel in the historic center of Lhasa provides a large number of comfortable rooms with modern amenities. It has welcomed guests from around the world for many years. It enjoys a great location as it is within walking distance from Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Streets. The staff are very professional and helpful. Guests especially love the convenient service they provide. There are also many on-site facilities available, such as the Western-style restaurant, the bar, the tea-house and the massage parlor. it’s a famous hotel because of the top location. Around 200 meters to Jokhang Temple and Barkhor streets, it absolutely saves you more time and money than staying in out of downtown.
2. Lhasa Gnagjian Hotel: 10 minutes’ walk to Jokhang Temple and Barkhor streets, is commonly used hotel for foreign travelers. With a stone-throw away distance to downtown center, it enjoys the “prime location “. This hotel has 170 rooms with different room types and categories. So, there must be some rooms meeting your budget. The European style rooms exude an elegant aura, while Tibetan style rooms allow the guests to be immersed in an authentic cultural heritage. Rooms on the west wing give full views of Potala Palace in the distance. You will also hear bell rings coming from Jokhang Temple in the south. WiFi is available throughout the hotel. The Tibet Gang-gyan Lhasa Hotel is an ideal accommodation for anyone visiting Lhasa due to location and experiences in serving western travelers.
3. Lhasa Dhood Gu Hotel: Dhood Gu Hotel is an excellent choice for foreign travelers visiting Lhasa, offering a charming environment alongside many helpful amenities designed to enhance your stay. Guests have access to a rooftop terrace while staying at Dhood Gu Hotel. In addition, Dhood Gu Hotel offers free breakfast, which will help make your Lhasa trip additionally gratifying. Close to some of Lhasa’s most popular landmarks, such as Canggu Temple (0.2 mi) and Xiamiyuan Temple (0.2 mi), Dhood Gu Hotel is a great destination for tourists. Plus, during your trip, don’t forget to check out Jokhang Temple (0.2 mi) and Barkhor Street (0.1 mi), some attractions that are a short walk from Dhood Gu Hotel. Some of this Hotel reception staff speaks good English, and their Nepali cook and meals are fantastic. Tibet Local Guide frequently book this hotel, especially the Potala View room if available.
4. Lhasa Tashi Norta Khangsang Hotel: Tashi Nota Khangsang Hotel is a comfortable 3 star hotel near Barkhor Streets in Lhasa. Opened in 2016, the hotel has a modern architectural style mixed with traditional Tibetan features. Located on Linkuo North Road, the hotel occupies a great location within the city of Lhasa. From the hotel, you can watch the sun set behind Potala Palace and smell the incense coming from Jokhang Temple in the south. You can also spot Sera Temple in the distance in the north. The hotel has 99 comfortable rooms and provide 24-hour hot water supplied by solar power. Additionally, the hotel boasts a great restaurant serving a variety of cuisines, a business center, a teahouse, etc. Tashi Nota Khangsang Hotel is our favorite hotel in Lhasa that we like to recommend to our guests! Book with us and enjoy the best deals for all room types! Tashi Nota Khangsang Hotel Highlights Convenient location! It gives travelers easy access to must-see attraction in Lhasa such as Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Streets. Great value! Guests choose Tashi Nota Khangsang Hotel because they can always get a luxurious accommodation for a reasonable price. They especially enjoy the spacious and clean rooms that allow them to have a fully relaxing time during their stay. Beautiful rooms! Guests also love the minimalistic Tibetan aesthetics of its interior design. The staff are professional and always helpful.
5. Tashitakge Hotel:Centrally located in the old town of Lhasa, Tashitakge Hotel Lhasa is a short 1-minute walk from Bakuo Street. This Tibetan property features a rooftop restaurant with views of Potala Palace and the mountains. Free WiFi is available at public areas. Lhasa Tashitakge Hotel is a 3-minute walk from Jekhang Temple and a 40-minute drive from the Lhasa Airport. Tibetan-style rooms are fitted with an electric kettle and a flat-screen TV. The private bathroom offers free toiletries and hot shower facilities. Laundry and dry cleaning services are available. The staff at the tour desk can assist in making travel arrangements. Dong Tian Ge, the property’s rooftop restaurant, serves a variety of local Tibetan dishes. Bread, fruits and coffee are available during breakfast. Couples in particular like the location – they rated it 9.8 for a two-person trip. We speak your language! Centrally located in the old town of Lhasa, Tashitakge Hotel Lhasa is a short 1-minute walk from Bakuo Street. This Tibetan property features a rooftop restaurant with views of Potala Palace and the mountains. Free WiFi is available at public areas. Lhasa Tashitakge Hotel is a 3-minute walk from Jekhang Temple and a 40-minute drive from the Lhasa Airport. Tibetan-style rooms are fitted with an electric kettle and a flat-screen TV. The private bathroom offers free toiletries and hot shower facilities. Laundry and dry cleaning services are available. The staff at the tour desk can assist in making travel arrangements. Dong Tian Ge, the property’s rooftop restaurant, serves a variety of local Tibetan dishes. Bread, fruits and coffee are available during breakfast. Couples in particular like the location – they rated it 9.8 for a two-person trip.
6. Yabshi Phunkhang Heritage Hotel: It is a popular Tibetan-style boutique hotel in the heart of the historic center of Lhasa. The site was originally built for the family of the 11th Dalai Lama and was restored in recent times. The name of the hotel came from the title given to the parents of the 11th Dalai Lama. Yabshi Phunkhang Heritage Hotel Highlights Yabshi Phunkhang Heritage Hotel is a great choice if you want to stay very close to Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Streets. They are only a few minutes’ walk away. The beautiful traditional architecture ensures you a enjoyable stay and an authentic local experience. Guests especially love the spacious rooms and modern amentities that this hotel offers. It also has a garden. The staff are professionals in hospitality industry and speak fluent English.
Lhasa Group Tour Hotels Details (4 Star Standard Category Option)
1. House of Shambhala (Recommended by few group tours due to room availability): House Of Shambhala is highly reputable Tibetan-style boutique hotel in the historic center of Lhasa city. Resting quietly on an alley inside Barkhor quarter, the hotel is only a few minutes walk to Jokhang Temple. It is also a 10 minute taxi ride to reach Potala Palace from the hotel.
2. Shambhala Palace (Recommended by few group tours due to room availability) : The hotel has a tradition Tibetan style of architecture. The courtyard has wall carvings that depict the mythical story of the Shambhala Kingdom and its twenty five legendary kings. The environment and atmosphere will garantee you an authentic local experience during your stay. Guests especially love that the rooms are spacious and clean. Some rooms offer full views of Potala Palace. Guests can also get views of Lhasa on the roof terrace. The staff at Shambhala Palace Hotel are helpful and speak good English.
3. Shangbala Hotel (near Jokhang Square): Shangbala Hotel Close to some of Lhasa’s most popular landmarks, such as XiZangZiZhiQu LaSaShi BaKuo Jie BuXingJie (0.1 mi) and Canggu Temple (0.2 mi), Shangbala Hotel Lasa is a great destination for tourists. As your “home away from home,” the hotel rooms offer air conditioning, and getting online is easy, with free wifi available. Guests have access to room service and baggage storage while staying at Shangbala Hotel Lasa. In addition, Shangbala Hotel Lasa offers free breakfast, which will help make your Lhasa trip additionally gratifying. And, as an added convenience, there is free parking available to guests. If you’re looking for a cafe, consider a visit to DingFeng Cafe, Spinn Cafe and Tours, or The Sense Coffee, which are all conveniently located a short distance from Shangbala Hotel Lasa. Plus, during your trip, don’t forget to check out a , such as Monument of Alliance Between Tang Dynasty and Tibetan Regime. At Shangbala Hotel Lasa, your comfort and satisfaction come first, and they look forward to welcoming you to Lhasa.
4. Lhasa Gang-Gyan Hotel Tibet (VIP Tower section) the front building beside the Beijing Road
5. Thangka Hotel: Thangka hotel rooms that offer air conditioning, and you can stay connected during your stay as Thangka Hotel offers guests free Wi-Fi. The hotel features room service. Plus, Thangka Hotel offers free breakfast, providing a pleasant respite from your busy day. For guests with a vehicle, free parking is available. Nearby landmarks such as Barkhor streets (0.1 mi) and Canggu Temple (0.3 mi) make Thangka Hotel a great place to stay when visiting Lhasa. If you like Asian restaurants, Thangka Hotel is conveniently located near Tibetan Family Kitchen, Dunya Restaurant, and House of Shambhala Restaurant. Best of all, Thangka Hotel makes it easy to experience some great Lhasa attractions like Potala Palace, which is a popular castle. We’re sure you’ll enjoy your stay at Thangka Hotel as you experience everything Lhasa has to offer.
6. Lhasa Xinding Hotel: It is an excellent choice for travelers visiting Lhasa, offering a family-friendly environment alongside many helpful amenities designed to enhance your stay. Given the close proximity of popular landmarks, such as Lasa Sanquan Scenic Resort (0.1 mi) and Barkhor streets, guests of Xin Ding Hotel can easily experience some of Lhasa’s most well-known attractions. Xin Ding Hotel offers guests an array of room amenities including a kitchenette and air conditioning, and getting online is possible, as free internet access is available. The hotel offers room service, baggage storage, and currency exchange, to make your visit even more pleasant. The property also features free breakfast. Guests arriving by vehicle have access to free parking. If you like Asian restaurants, Xin Ding Hotel is conveniently located near Tibetan Family Kitchen, Dunya Restaurant, and House of Shambhala Restaurant. If you’re looking for something to do, Potala Palace (1.1 mi), Jokhang Temple (1.1 mi), and Barkhor Street (1.1 mi) are a nice way to spend some time, and they are all within walking distance of Xin Ding Hotel.
7. Lhasa Xueyu Tiantang International Hotel: Xueyu Tiantang International Hotel is a 4-star deluxe hotel in downtown Lhasa. The name means “Snow Heaven”. Situated on Linkuo North Road, the hotel has a luxurious modern style of architecture mixed with Tibetan features. The great location of the hotel means it is close to major Lhasa attractions including Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Streets. There are more than 100 rooms in the hotel. The rooms are bright and comfortable, and fully equipped with facilities such as TV, air conditioning, heating, etc. The hotel also boasts a western restaurant, a Tibetan restaurant, a conference hall, a VIP meeting hall, etc. Xueyu Tiantang International Hotel creates an elegant and comfortable local environment truly reminiscent of heaven.
Shigatse Group Tour Hotels Details (3 Star Standard Category Option)
1. Manasarovar Hotel: Shigatse Manasarovar Hotel is located on Qinghai Road in the center of Shigatse City. It’s just adjacent to the bus terminal and only 2 km away from Tashilhunpo Monastery. The hotel has 78 guest rooms including deluxe double rooms, standard double rooms, etc. The hotel has integrated Tibetan ethnic features with modern style. It provides comfortable stay for guests because each room has great facilities, such as humidifier and oxygen supplier. It also offers 24-hour hot water, free WiFi and other top-class services
Shigatse Group Tour Hotels Details (4 Star Standard Category Option)
1. Tashichota Hotel: Tashichota Hotel is a relatively new hotel (2011) in Shigatse city, Tibet. It is rated as four stars and has a very traditional Tibetan decor. It is a basic hotel and clean in Tibet standard, Rooms are of large size and can easily accommodate the chairs put in the room. The hotel is within walking distance to many restaurants, a grocery store, deserts locations and other places in town.
2. Vanray International Resort: VanRay International Resort is a hotel offering air conditioning, a minibar, and a refrigerator in the rooms, and it is easy to stay connected during your stay as free Wi-Fi is offered to guests. The hotel features a 24-hour front desk, room service, and a concierge. Plus, guests can enjoy free breakfast, which has made this a popular choice among travelers visiting Shigatse. For guests with a vehicle, free parking is available. Travelers looking to enjoy some dumplings can head to Shigatse Wordo Kitchen. Otherwise, you may want to check out an Asian restaurant such as Shigatse Wordo Kitchen or Songtsen Restaurant. Tashilunpo Monastery and some popular attractions that are within walking distance. However this hotel service varies from time to time and some travelers do complain it and wish there will be more improvements in the near future.
Some reference pictures of our hotels, for the actual final hotel booking, our travel consultant will reconfirm to you by email. Since it is a group tour, travelers are limited to select hotels per their own individual requests. However, to upgrade to a private tour if you have more than 2 people wanting more personal tour features, please click “customize” your trip.
Lhasa Yak Hotel (local 3 star standard category)
Lhasa Gnagjian Hotel (local 3 star standard category)
Lhasa Dhood Gu Hotel (local 3 star standard category)
Yabshi Phunkhang Heritage Hotel Twin Room (local 3 star standard category)
Lhasa Tashi Norta Khangsang Hotel (local 3 star standard category)
Lhasa Snow Heaven International Hotel (local 4 star standard category)
Lhasa Thangka hotel (local 4 star standard category)
Lhasa Xinding Hotel(local 4 star standard category)
Lhasa Shambhala Palace Hotel (local 4 star standard category)
Lhasa House of Shambhala (local 4 star standard category)
Lhasa Shambhala Hotel (local 4 star standard category)
Shigatse Manasarovar Hotel (local 3 star standard category)
Shigatse Vanray International Resort(local 4 star standard category)
Shigatse Tashichota Hotel(local 4 star standard category)
How can I get my Tibet Travel Permit?
It is critical to book your Tibet tour with a local travel agency like “Tibet local Guide travel service” for smooth travel permit application. Photo copy of your passport and the China visa copies are required for applying Tibet permits.
Please note that you will have to show the original permit in hand while asking for boarding pass and security checking in for flight to Lhasa or Copy of it while boarding the Train to Lhasa. However, Chongqing, Xi’an and Lanzhou railway station may also check original permits.
We will send it to your hotel in your flight departure city in China. While in urgent cases, we can send our permits delivery person to drop it to you at any China domestic airport if you just have few hours transit flight stop.
We do not send your Tibet permits to your home country, because permits come out regularly only 1 week to 2 weeks prior to your arrival date, and Tibet post companies have no efficiencies for handling international package delivery, so it is not trustworthy and not reliable to send your permits to your home county.
For more details of Tibet travel permits, you can email to email@example.com for instant Tibet local policy update.
What are the differences between travelling to Tibet from Nepal and entering Tibet from other Parts of China?
Foreign travelers have only two possible ways of getting to Tibet, one is from Nepal to Tibet by air or overland, while the other is from mainland city in China by train, air or car. Here below are the major differences.
- If you travel to Tibet from other provinces of China, you will need a valid China visa which allows you to travel, work or study in China, with this visa you can come to Tibet (but journalist, diplomats, public government service people, military persons and reporters, etc. must travel via Chinese government specified authorities, in most cases, these people are not allowed in), any Tibet travel agencies here in Tibet do not organize tours for those people whose jobs are listed as above. And the regular China visa categories are “L” tour visa, “Z” or “M” “Q” visa etc.
- Foreign travelers from a few countries such as Singapore and Japan may not need a China visa for specific period of time, in this case, these travelers can get Tibet entry permits without China visa. But please be noted that, you need to double check with your local china consulate to assure how long you can travel in China without a visa.
- Once you can travel in China legally, you can also get Tibet entry permits from local Tibet travel agency like us easily.
- To apply travel permits for foreign travelers entering Tibet from a city in China, none-restricted occupation travelers need to provide valid passport, valid China visa at least 2-3 weeks prior to arrival date to Tibet, and different travel destination in Tibet may require you to provide these documents even 30-40 days prior to arrival date because of many more complicated permits application process. These destinations are Kailash, North-loop-the Grand of Tibet, east Tibet bordering Kham (Sichuan province).
- Foreign travelers entering Tibet from mainland China can choose flight, train or overland driving. All the trains to Tibet will go through Xi’ning, Qinghai province, while the popular driving route is from Chengdu and Shangri-La or Kashgar or Xi’ning. The most picturesque driving adventure is between Tibet and Sichuan or Yunnan.
- If you enter Tibet from Nepal, you can go only by air from Kathmandu to Lhasa or by overland driving via Gyirong port or Purang (Taklakot) border, these are the only open borders between Nepal and Tibet. Currently the Indian-Tibet Sino border is not open for public.
- All foreign travelers from Nepal to Tibet must have 3 working days in Kathmandu to wait for the “Tibet Group Visa” prior to departure date for Tibet. This A4 size Tibet group visa (actually it is a china visa) document paper can only be issued through a registered travel agency in Kathmandu, but the important point is: any registered travel agency in Nepal has to obtain an official visa invitation letter photo copy issued from Tibet tourism Bureau here in Lhasa. To get this visa letter, a local Tibet travel agency like us can apply together with the Tibet permits around 2-5 weeks before visitor’s arrival in Tibet. So, travelers only need to bear in mind that, they do not apply any visa or permits by themselves, they just need to provide passport photo copies to Tibet based agency like us and we will handle all the rest.
- There is no train between Nepal and Tibet however. Kathmandu-Lhasa airfare is more expensive than via Chengdu, Chongqing, or Xi’an city in most cases.
- The overland driving between Kathmandu to Tibet border Gyirong is time consuming. The overall short distance may take around 10-15 hours especially in rainy seasons of July and August.
- No matter you enter Tibet from Nepal or mainland China, valid China visa (or Tibet group visa from Nepal) and Tibet permits are mandatory. And different permits are for different travel itineraries and specified schedule.
- When you fly from a city in China to Lhasa, original permits will be needed, however, if you fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa, you only need Tibet group visa for flight checking in(our Tibetan tour guide will take original permits to pick you up)
What documents do I have to send to you to secure all necessary Tibet Travel permits?
A short document list as below:
- Photocopies of valid passports data page for all travelers.
- Photocopies of valid China visa.
- Working certificate or student Id card copies if you do not hold “L” China visa but Z or F type of China visa.
- Marriage certificate or relatives’ statement with signature if you hold Q category China visa.
While booking your Tibet tour, we would like you to send us the copy of your Passport and China Visa for every member of the group. The copy of passport should be the same one you will be using to get your Chinese visa. If you renew your passports, but the China via is on the expired passport, please provide both passports photo copies.
If your visa is not the “L” category, i.e., tour category china visa, you will need to provide us the additional supporting document such as student certificates, resident and Work Permit and so on.
Please provide passport copies at least 2-4 weeks before arrival date. For Tibet tour without Kailash, eastern Tibet, North-loop Grand Tibet, we can accept urgent tour booking 2 weeks before your arrival date, but if your trip covers the places mentioned here, you’d better send us your passport photo copies 4 weeks to 5 weeks in advance at least, most of our Kailash travelers provide us passport copies half year in advance. And they can provide China visa copies 1 month in advance.
If you travel to Tibet from Nepal, we will only need your valid passport copies. Yet, we will have to apply for the Chinese Group Visa from the Chinese Embassy in Nepal.
Can I apply for Tibet Travel permit or Tibet group visa by ourselves?Definitely No, you cannot apply for Tibet travel permit or Tibet group visa directly. Tibet Travel Permit is only issued by Tibet Tourism Administration in Lhasa, together with other Chinese authorities such as military office, and foreign affairs office, national security office, public security bureau, etc. Therefore, an only local registered travel agency based in Lhasa can help you apply for it. Hence it is impossible for you to apply permits by yourself, and you will have to book your Tibet tour directly or indirectly with a local travel agency in Lhasa.
What is the Tibet travel documents list so I can check before coming?
During your traveling in Tibet, the three main primary documents are passports, China visa (or Tibet group visa) and Tibet entry permits. Different tour destination will need further document such as military permits, foreign affairs border passing permit, alien’s travel permits,
- Valid Passports.
- Valid China visa (for entering from China);
- Tibet group visa (for entering from Nepal);
- Tibet entry travel permits for all Tibet tours;
- Alien’s travel permits for trip covering Everest. Tsetang (Samye monastery), Kailash and north-loop Grand Tibet, eastern Tibet such as Draksumtso lake;
- Foreign affairs permit (policy keeps changing on this section)
- Border defense passing allowance permit (trip between Nepal and Tibet)
- Military permits.
Can a foreigner travel Tibet without travel permit?
Definitely No. it is not possible to travel to and in Tibet without a Tibet travel permit. No international travelers can visit in Tibet autonomous region of China without Tibet travel permit. It is mandatory for all the foreign nationals to get this permit prior to your arrival in Tibet. Only a local Tibet travel agency here in Tibet can help you make this document in Lhasa.
At all the entry and exit point to Tibet, the authority people will check the permit, passport, and Visa.
Can I have a few days as my own free time in Lhasa without hiring a guide?
Definitely Yes. it is possible but your activity is very limited. You can have some days free time in Lhasa to walk around, and do your shopping, try some local food, drink tea, coffee, and spend your leisure time, etc., BUT never enter a tourist attraction if without a tour guide. Furthermore, you cannot leave Lhasa for any other places in Tibet individually, especially when there is no tour guide and a licensed tour vehicle. You cannot extend further since there are many permits and identity checking points for exiting Lhasa.
How can I apply for a Chinese visa from my home country?
You can apply it through the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your country. Tibet local guide travel service team strongly recommend applying it without mentioning about your travel plan to Tibet. Your application might get rejected as Tibet is a sensitive region of China. We helped many foreign travelers providing China tour itinerary references together with their own flights booking references, hotel booking references, etc., they can normally get China visa without any hassles.
If you do mention your trip covers Tibet, we will have to apply and send the Chinese Visa Invitation from Tibet Tourism Bureau office here in Lhasa. For this, you will need to go to the Chinese Embassy, not the consulate to apply China visa. The Visa invitation will only address to Embassy, not to the consulate. So, we suggest you try to avoid complicated and time-consuming process but choose the simplified and workable process. However, China visa application is beyond our Tibet travel agency, and policy keeps changing due to many factors such as political climate, international relationship, etc., please consult with your local visa agent for more information.
For your reference, the Visa invitation letter can be only applied after Tibet permits application approval. Therefore, you will have to book the tour with us and send us the Passport copies to start making the permit at least 2-3 months beforehand. Please remember, we can never complete the Permit process without the copy of your China visa. So, you will have to email your passport copies to us as soon as you get it.
For what kind of Tibet tour do I need additional permits?
Technically Tibet entry permit is enough to go if you are only visiting the Lhasa Prefecture. If you are visiting other prefectures in Tibet, you will need the additional permit depending on the region you will be visiting.
The military permit is required if you are traveling to Mount Kailash, traveling overland from and to Xinjiang and traveling overland to and from Yunnan and Sichuan.
Alien’s Travel Permit (ATP) is needed if you are visiting from Lhasa to other prefectures in Tibet. Therefore, Mount Kailash in Ngari prefecture, Mount Everest in Shigatse prefecture, Samye Monastery in Lhoka prefecture and Nyingchi prefecture.
Additionally, there is another permit called Borders Permit. You will require it if you are traveling to any border region and arriving from Nepal to Tibet by flight.
But you will not need to worry about it all. Experienced Tibet travel agency in Lhasa will know which permits are required as per the tour itinerary.
How long does it take to apply our Tibet travel permit?
The duration of the Tibet travel permit application process varies from 2 weeks to 4 weeks prior to your arrival date. The authorities do not accept very early permits application submission. Sometimes those people in authority slow down the process without prior notice and all agents have to wait. As professional and experienced Tibet local travel agency and tour operator, “Tibet Local Guide travel service” team always suggest foreign travelers book Lhasa tour at least 3 weeks before arrival date, and book Kailash tours or other restricted regional tours at least 4-6 weeks prior to arrival date. To submit permits application for any Tibet tours around 4 weeks in advance can ensure on time application. If you have urgent booking, please talk with our consultants and see if it is doable or not, and urgent handling cost may occur. Every year, we did help some travelers for last minute Tibet tour booking.
Do I need multiple entry China visa to continue with china tour after Tibet?
Definitely No, Tibet is a part of China, called TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region of China) , single entry China visa or the Tibet group visa can allow your China tour after Tibet. BUT, please remember that, if you hold Tibet group visa (entering Tibet from Nepal) but want to travel to China after Tibet, you will need to hold individual pieces of the group visa to travel individually in China by yourself; while if you travel with the name listed group members together, all people can hold one “Group visa paper documents) since all are travelling together. Otherwise you will get issues when checking in hotel in China. Since 2019, most hotels in China need passengers to have face scanning and ID and or passports registry to check in a hotel room. Most travel agencies in Tibet do not know this, especially many agencies out of Tibet do not have this kind of experiences.
Do you provide Tibet Permit only service?
No, we don’t sell Tibet Permit service only since it is illegal. No agent is allowed to sell the Tibet Travel Permit. Even though on the permits itself, it says free and no commission fee, the permits application process and responsibility of managing foreign traveler’s travel in Tibet is strictly regulated. Tibet permits application is locally and lawful per the China local rules in Tibet for foreign travelers to ensure Tibet long run development, we have to obey the local rules and respect local policy regulations. So do not just book a permit only service, as local experienced Tibet travel agency, we can organize your trip with your maximum free time in Lhasa, meanwhile, not requesting you to hire a guide all the time. This is good for LHASA tours, if your trip covers places out of Lhasa, you will need to book tour including guide, driver and car at least.
Furthermore, we are only allowed to apply the permit when we provide Tibet tour service, which includes professional tour guide, tourist licensed vehicle with a driver and/or hotel accommodation.
All Tibet travel permits application is submitted by local registered travel agencies here in Lhasa, Tibet. No matter the agency is Han Chinese registered or Tibetan registered, if there is legal tourism license, permits can be applied. However, an agency like “Tibet Local Guide Travel Service” official name is Tibet Norpel Lin Travel service has many years experiences with focus on serving only foreign travelers, we can provide hassles free permits and quality Tibet tour services. It is one-stop shop Tibet tour solution with better local prices.
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