Question & Answer
Warmly welcome to China with us! We are very glad to provide you with some practical information for you to get some general ideas of China before you come to visit China. The following are some basic information for your China trip, we hope it would be useful and you will enjoy your stay in China. If the information what you need is not covered below, please feel free to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone at +86-773-5833156, or fax at +86-773-5831392
Generally, two documents are required for foreign travelers to enter Tibet. One is the China Visa, which can be applied for in a Chinese Embassy in your country. The other one is the Tibet Travel Permit issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau. Actually, VisitOurChina will apply for the Tibet Travel Permit for you if you book the tour with us.
Considering the local ethnic traditions, cultural relics and ecological environment, transportation conditions, as well as limited tour service and facilities in Tibet, the Chinese government makes the regulation that all tourists without a Chinese ID card should apply for a Tibet Travel Permit for entering Tibet. Meanwhile, foreign journalists, diplomats and anyone with political motives are not allowed to enter Tibet as a tourist.
People without a Chinese citizen ID card or Chinese passport are required a Tibet Travel Permit to get into Tibet, including tourists from Taiwan area and foreign passport holders. In addition, overseas Chinese without a Chinese passport also need apply for a Permit to travel in Tibet.
If you book tour in Tibet, your travel agency can be your representative to apply your Tibet Travel Permit. It takes some days for the application process, so please confirm your tour at least two weeks prior to your arrival so that your agency has enough time for the application.
To apply for a Tibet Travel Permit, your general information including your name, nationality, age, sex, occupation, passport number, your travel itinerary, travel time, and contact number…are needed; besides, copies of your passport and your China visa are also needed.
Independent tour is not allowed in Tibet. According to Chinese laws, foreign travelers traveling in Tibet should join in an organized travel group or have the tour arranged by authorized local travel agency.
Generally, the best time to travel in Tibet is from April to October, which is also a high season. The weather in winter is very cold in Tibet, so if you can bear the cold weather you can also take a winter tour. Travel in the low season in winter, you can avoid the crowd and enjoy the sightseeing at a cozy pace.
Generally speaking, flight and train are the most frequently taken transportations for tourists. Departing to Tibet by air can save your time, while by train provides a good chance to watch the scenery along the Qinghai-Tibet railway and it is helpful for some people to get used to the high altitude and reduce altitude reaction.
Until now, Beijing and Chengdu are the most convenient air hubs to get into Tibet. The flights to Tibet can be taken in Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Xi’an, Xining, Guangzhou, Chongqing and kathmandu of Nepal. But only the flights in Beijing and Chengdu are most steady; other routes may be changed without notice in advance because of the weather, government policies, airline company reasons, etc. So, we strongly suggest you take the flights in Beijing or Chengdu to get into Tibet.
Yes, trains to Lhasa (capital of Tibet) are available in Beijing, Xining, Lanzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai. As train travel to Tibet is very popular it is hard to get the tickets, and only two berth tickets or three seat tickets can be booked at a time. Therefore, it is suggested to fly to Tibet and take the train back.
During the train journey, you will enjoy the beautiful landscape such as everglade, snow mountains, beautiful and holy lakes, yaks and Tibetan antelopes in Kekexili (lasts about half to one hour). Do not forget to bring a telescope to catch the wild lives on the highland.
Almost all travelers to Tibet will experience altitude reaction or altitude sickness to some extent. It depends on personal physical fitness. It is hard to avoid it completely, but the following tips may help you to reduce the altitude reactions.
a. Have a good rest (without any strenuous exercise) for several days before entering Tibet;
b. Take some medicines for altitude reactions 3 days in advance by the doctor’s suggestion;
c. Have a rest in the hotel upon your arrival in Tibet; do not walk quickly, run or lift heavy things, and also avoid some outdoor activities such as entertainment and visits.
Please note that those people with a bad cold, a high fever, acute or chronic lung disease, severe cardiovascular, and the pregnant and children under 3 years old are not suitable to travel in high altitude areas.
Symptoms of high altitude sickness can range from the mild, such as discomfort, breathlessness, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and poor sleep, to the severe. Generally, the reaction reduced over a period of several days. Our guides are all trained to recognize any signs of altitude sickness and have the knowledge to help you to adjust it.
For traveling at a high elevation in Tibet, we highly recommend you to take some essential medicines such as pain killers, anti-inflammatory prescriptions and medicines for colds, fever and diarrhea. Anti-mosquito spray, cream or lotions are also needed in some remote areas, and medicines for preventing sunstroke in summer are necessary. In addition, it is better for those travelers with a pre-existing heart and lung problems to consult the doctors before the Tibet tours.
Due to the high altitude of Tibet, old people are suggested to consult their doctors before the Tibet tour especially those with lung and heart problems. As the spots and attractions in Tibet may not interest children, and the climate and poor conditions in Tibet are not so favorable, Tibet is not an ideal destination for children. Therefore, if you take your children to Tibet, please ensure that you take every daily needs for your children.
It is very hot in Tibet in summer, so hats, sun-glasses, sunscreen and lip balm are necessary to protect you from sunburn. Besides, a pair of comfortable walking shoes is very important as you are going to have a lot of walking during sightseeing. Shoes with high sides and a hard sole will be the best choice if you are going to do a lot of hiking. Moreover, overcoat and down-filled coat are also needed since the sun is very strong during the day while the temperature drops dramatically at night.
Generally, Lhasa, Tsedang, Gyantse, Shigatse and Tingri are the most popular destinations in Tibet; the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street and Drepung Monastery are the must-see spots; for people interested in expedition, Mt. Everest and Mt. Kailash are the most exciting and accessible areas.
The currency in Tibet is the Chinese currency; other currencies such as US dollar and pound are also acceptable but only in a very limited range, such as tips. Therefore, it is necessary for you to exchange some Chinese currency beforehand. You can change the currencies in Lhasa Hotel or branches of the Bank of China.
In Lhasa, you can find the Bank of China and draw cash from it, but in some remote areas and small towns, it is not that easy to find a bank. So it is suggested to take some cash along while traveling in Tibet.
Generally, the weather is very mild from April to November in the central Tibet, including Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse and Tsedang. The rainy season is in July and August. The weather and temperatures are quite comfortable in October and November, but the temperature drops sharply at night, so please take some clothes along to keep warm.
Tibet hotels are comparatively primitive. There are a few starred hotels, and the standards may not equal to the ones in other areas in China. Generally, the facilities and services of Tibet hotels are not as good as those in other cities.
Yes, most Tibetans observe the Lamaism (Tibetan Buddhism) and they have some special customs and habits. Tibetans are generally friendly, but they will get angry if offended. So please note the following taboos:
a. Do not touch a Tibetan’s head and his cap;
b. Do not photo the locals if not permitted; you could give some food and medicines to the locals or sweets and stationeries to children but not money, to make friends with them and then ask for taking some photos;
c. Enter temples with permissions and do not touch the exhibits or take photos in the temple;
d. Generally, horse meat, donkey meat and dog meat are forbidden in Tibet diet; sometimes fish, chicken and eggs are also forbidden;
e. To visit some rounded spots, please go along in clockwise directions;
f. Do not visit the Celestial Burial without permission.
Celestial Burial is worshipped in Tibet as the highest pursuit of life. The participants are usually the dead’s family members and relatives; strangers are not allowed to take part in the funeral ceremony. If not permitted, please do not approach the ceremony or take photos.
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