When is the best time to visit Tibet?
The best time to visit Tibet is from early May to late October. Because first of all the Tibet weather would be not harsh, and secondly it is best time to visit Mt. Everest Base Camp/Kailash Mansarovar (if you have plan to get there).
What’s the weather like in Tibet?
Lhasa – Shigatse – Lhatse – Tingri – Nylam: Along the Friendship highway is basically in good conditions year around. But from December to February, the thawed road could make some trouble. Try to avoid August – landslide could happen in the rainy season.
Mt.Everest Area: Early May and early October are the best time to visitMt. Everest. Due to the clear weather, you have great chance to seeMt. Everest’s true face (if you are lucky). From December to February, you’d better not to go to this area because it is too cold – except you are real Great Adventure People.
Ali (Mt.Kailash): Even without climate restrictions, this area is already inhospitable. Big rain and snow could make the journey worse. However, for those determined tourists, the appropriate time is May, June, July, September and October.
Eastern Tibet: Don’t go to this area in July or August (the rainy season) because the rain could ruin the road, and make terrible landslides. In winter, the road could be frozen.
Northern Tibet: With the average altitude of 4,500m, this area offers very limited time for tourists. Summer (July to August) is the prime time to enjoy the great plain in northern Tibet.
Foreign visitors can obtain individual or group visas from Chinese embassies and consulates, usually within a day or two. Most tourists are included in group visas, not inserted into passports. For individual travelers, single-entry visas are valid for entry within three months. For business people and other regular visitors there are multiple-entry visas good for six months at a time. Each visa is valid for a stay of 30 or 60 days, and can be extended while in China. Remember if you enter Tibet from Nepal China visa taken in your home country does not work. In this case we (Pigeon Travels-Nepal) arrange Tibet group tourist visa ourselves. Visitors should be sure to carry their passports while in China as they are needed to check into hotels, make plane or train reservations, exchange money or establish the holder’s identity. Loss of a passport should be reported immediately to the holder’s embassy or consulate, and the Beijing Municipality Public Security Bureau.
Any trip which involves a change of climate and diet can lead to difficulty in physical adjustment. One should take along some usual medicines, such as those for colds, diarrhea and constipation, though they are available at drugstore. Those who take special medicine on a regular basis should be sure to carry an adequate supply with them. It is advisable to avoid unboiled water and raw or under-cooked meat. Medical treatment in China is usually very inexpensive.
Telephone, Telegram and Telex:
Direct phones are very common in China. Usually you can easily call from your room in a hotel, or go to a public telephone booth by street. In some large cities, You can now buy IP phone cards which can save you a lot of the usual fee. Large hotels, post offices and telecommunication centers provide telegram and telex services.
Water & Electricity:
Electricity supply is 220 volts, 50 cycles throughout China. Plugs at hotel are normally two-pin flat (5 amp).
Tap water at most hotels are not drinkable. Drink only bottled or boiled water. Tea is often provided free in hotel.
China is one of the few countries where tipping is not practised. In most places, it is not necessary to tip and nobody will ask for it. However, if you do want to tip, it is customary to do it before the service is rendered.
At present the Bank of China accepts Master, American Express, Dynasty, Visa, JCB, and Diners Club cards. Travellers may use these cards to draw cash over the exchange counters in China’s banks, make purchases or pay bills at large department stores, restaurants and hotels in more than 100 major cities in China. A surcharge of 2% is always charged for card transactions.
Is it easy to find an ATM in Tibet?
You won’t have any problems finding an ATM in Lhasa and Shigatse, although you probably won’t be able to find one in remote areas or the smaller towns. However, this situation is changing, and ATMs are gradually spreading out across the land.
In China, both Putonghua and English are the languages of business. So, if the foreign tourists travel to China for business purpose, they can usually communicate with the chinese merchants in simple English. However, Putonghua is an official language of China. Most of the Chinese merely speak Putonghua with the outsiders. So, if the foreign tourists want to visit China but cannot speak Putonghua, they will find inconvenient on their tours. Therefore, it is essential and useful for the foreign tourists to learn some simple Putonghua when they decide to visit China.
All visitors must fill out customs declaration forms to present on arrival. The copy should be kept, to hand in on departure. Reasonable amounts of currency (including RMB) can be brought in, along with alcohol and cigarettes for personal use, cameras, radios, computers and tape-recorders.
Certain valuable items, such as video cameras, office machines, computers and gold declared on the form must be brought out of China or else import duty will be charged on them.
Prohibited imports include arms, ammunition and explosives; printed matter, film or tapes detrimental to China; dangerous or narcotic drugs; infected animals, plants or foodstuffs. It is also forbidden to take out any of these items, or endangered species of animals or plants and antiques without export permits.
RMB (Renminbi) is the sole legitimate currency of the People’s Republic of China. The basic unit of RMB is yuan, (pronounced in local dialest as kuai), which is divided into 10 jiao (pronounced as mao), which is again divided into 10 fen.
RMB paper notes include 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 and 100 yuan, and the smaller 1, 2 and 5 mao. There are also 1,2, 5 yuan, 1, 2, 5 mao and 1, 2, 5 fen coins.
Bureaux de change sponsored by the Bank of China are set up at Beijing International Airport, hotels and tourist stores. The exchange rate fluctuates with international market conditions. You should keep the form you fill in when changing money, because you will need to show it when you change RMB back into foreign currency.
Most bureaux de change open seven days a week from 9:00 to 17:00.
What are the hotels like in Tibet?
Tourism is Tibet is in its infancy and the number of 4 Star hotels is quite limited. The newer hotels have been built away from the city center in order to protect the city history and environment. These hotels have central heating which is used in winter but no cooling is available in summer. We would still warn that the facilities and service standard may not be as you would expect from a hotel with this rating in other parts of the world. Older hotels located in the city have a good location but will not provide the level of comfort of the newer hotels and may not have any central heating. The level of service and facilities may be quite basic. Staff will probably not speak much English. Hotels in small cities and the Everest Base camp are very basic. They will usually have a public bathroom with squat toilet.
What are the hotel rooms like in hotels in Tibet?
Often, in a room, there are two beds which we call twin-sharing room. Some hotels have queen bed room and some even have triple room. But the number of queen bed room and triple is very limited. Twin-sharing room with two beds inside is commonly used in Tibet.
Does the hotel room have access to internet?
Some hotel rooms, not all, in Lhasa have access to internet, so you should inquiry your travel advisor for accurate information before making decision. But some hotel has business center where you can use internet service.
Is there 24-hour hot water running?
Due to basic condition in Tibet, sometimes with the poor pressure, the water flow may small and water sometime is not hot but just warm. In remote area, the condition can be even worse.
What can I eat in Tibet?
In Lhasa, you can choose Chinese food, western food, Nepali food and Tibetan food as well. But in remote towns and areas, choice is limited, Chinese food or Sichuan cuisine is the best choice.
Do you offer join-in tour or can I join a group?
We operate private tours in Mainland China & in Tibet. But for Tibet Overland tour, we accept individuals to join in our weekly fixed departure tours. It is 7 Night 8 Days drive in / fly out budget tours.
Postal services are usually provided at hotel desks. Large hotels have mail boxes and sell stamps for letters, post cards and parcels. Post offices, with eye-catching green emblesms, are usually found on main streets, at railway stations, the airport and major scenic spots. They are open seven days a week from 9:00 to 15:00.
A letter costs 0.8yuan within China. Letter mailed through mail-boxes with yellow caps are delivered faster than ordinary services although no extra postage is needed. Stamps in China don’t come ready pasted so you need to glue them onto the envelopes.
There are hundreds of surnames in China; Zhang, Wang, Li, Zhao and Liu are the most popular. Most Chinese names have three characters, the first being the family name and the last two given names. Occasionally, one may run into four-character names, and you can be sure that the first two characters are the family name. Women keep their own family names after marriage.
Radio and TV:
All large hotels in China receive many television channels, including some popular international channels. China Central Television (CCTV) currently has 10 channels, broadcasting over 160 hours of programs daily. CCTV-4, 2, 9 and 10 show some English programs every day. CCTV-4 has a 30-minute English language news program at 23:00 every night.
China Radio International broadcasts to the world round-the-clock in 39 foreign languages and four Chinese dialects. Easy FM on 91.5 offers 12 hours of English broadcasting and Western music. This station is also a good source of information on what is happening in Beijing. Five minutes of international and domestic news is broadcast every hour on the hour.
Five working days in a week is the official government regulation. Working hours are 8 hours a day, normally from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with one hour break for lunch. All the government offices, institutions, schools,hospitals and other units do not work on Saturdays and Sundays, except some factories whose “weekends” may be within the week to avoid the electricity high peak. The emergency clinic is open when the hospital is closed. Shops are open everyday, normally from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Climate and Clothing:
China’s climate ranges from year-round tropical heat in Hainan to Siberian conditions in the far north and classic desert weather in the far west. Clothing is usually dictated by the weather. In winter it’s a good idea to wear layers of garments – thermal or silk underwear with a sweater and padded jacket – so as to be able to strip down when necessary. Padded jackets and wool-lined boots, in all sizes and styles, are among China’s best buys.
In the warm weather clothing should be casual and designed for comfort, without being too revealing. Slacks are still the norm for women in China, and are recommended for strenuous sightseeing.
The Chinese are generally conservative in their dress, favoring dark colors. In recent years, the Western coat and tie have become popular.
What do you suggest we bring with us if we travel to Tibet?
For the clothing, we suggest casual attire style and layered clothing. In day time you may need only a T-shirt or at most a jacket, but at night you may need a coat. Down coat is necessary if you go beyond Lhasa and Shigatse to remote areas, the Everest Camp or further to Mt.Kailash. Sun glasses, sun blocking cream, moisture scream are very necessary to be in your packing list.
In China there are 11 days of national public holiday throughout the year, and they are:
The New Year’s Day– 2 days;
The Spring Festival (also known as Chinese Lunar New Year, usually due in late January or early and mid-February)– 3 days;
The May 1st Labor Day– 3 days;
The October 1st National Day– 3 days.
It is customary for people to “borrow” weekends to make the three-day holiday into a week-long holiday.
Governments of all levels and companies in China follow the five-day week system.
The following items may be imported into China by passengers staying less than six months without incurring customs duty: 400 cigarettes (600 cigarettes for stays of over 6 months); 2 litres of alcoholic beverages (4 bottles of alcoholic beverages for stays of over 6 months); a reasonable amount of perfume for personal use.
Prohibited items: Arms, ammunition, pornography (photographs in mainstream Western magazines may be regarded as pornographic), radio transmitters/receivers, exposed but undeveloped film, fruit and certain vegetables, political and religious pamphlets (a moderate quantity of religious material for personal use is acceptable). Any printed matter directed against the public order and the morality of China.
Note: Customs officials may seize audio and videotapes, books, records and CDs to check for pornographic, political or religious material. Baggage declaration forms must be completed upon arrival noting all valuables (such as cameras, watches and jewellery), a copy of which must be presented to customs upon leaving the country for checking. Receipts for items such as jewellery, jade, handicrafts, paintings, calligraphy or other similar items should be kept in order to obtain an export certificate from the authorities on leaving. Without this documentation such items cannot be taken out of the country.
Allowance for carry-on luggage and checked luggage will vary with the class of your airline ticket, the dimensions of the bag, and individual airline policies. Usually, for domestic China and Intra-asia flights, you are allowed to check one piece of luggage. The limitation is 20 Kilograms (44 pounds) total. A fee may be imposed for excess weight. Passengers traveling together can have their luggage allowances calculated together on a per-person basis. There is no free luggage allowance for holders of infant tickets. Passengers may apply for insurance coverage above the minimum value for checked luggage. On domestic trains there are no luggage restrictions, but few porters are available to help with luggage. Travelers who are not part of an organized tour will be responsible for carrying their own bags.
Sport & Activities:
• Cycling: An estimated 300 million Chinese people use the bicycle as a means of transport and, not suprisingly, bicycle hire shops can be found everywhere, even in smaller towns. Visitors should note that car traffic has been increasing in China. Major roads outside cities also tend to be busy.
• Hiking and Trekking: China’s main natural attractions are its scenic mountains, waterfalls, caverns and great rivers and lakes. No permit is required for hiking, although a trekking permit is compulsory (and fairly expensive) for visiting more remote areas. For details of the necessary practicalities for individual hiking or trekking and for a list of specialised tour operators, contact the China National Tourist Office. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (also known as the ‘roof of the world’) is one of the world’s most famous mountaineering destinations. Some of the world’s highest mountains define the southern border of Tibet, including Mount Everest (8848m/29,021ft), Namcha Barwa (7756m/25,445ft), around which the Brahmaputra River carves a fantastic gorge to enter India, and Gurla Mandhata (7728m/25,355ft). Among the 14 peaks on earth above 8,000 metres, five are located in Tibet. The Tibetan approach to Mount Everest provides far better views than the Nepal side. Some 27,000 sq km around Everest’s Tibetan face have been designated as the Qoomolangma Nature Reserve. For foreign travellers, the Everest Base Camp has become the most popular trekking destination in Tibet. The two access points are Shegar and Tingri, along the Friendship Highway to Nepal, but visitors should note that these treks are very demanding and that the altitude requires some acclimatisation. Four-wheel-drive vehicles can also take visitors all the way to base camp along the Shegar track.
China has a low crime rate, comparing with a lot of other countries; however crime has increased in the past few years, principally in the major cities. Foreigners have seldom been victims of violent crime. It is still wise to be cautious with your personal possession in public place. There are pickpockets active in crowded areas such as stations, markets, shopping areas, etc. Do not show off your money in public. Use your safe in the hotel room and don’t bring too much cash with you when you don’t need it. If there is any problem, report to the hotel or police immediately.