1. Is Tibet open for Tourist and how easy to travel to Tibet?
Tibet officially opened sometime in 1980 for tourist, it was not easy to obtain tourist visa in early days however, things have changed since then and now it’s normal as any other country to Tibet through China or Nepal.
2. How to get Tibet Visa?
Please note that one must book Tour first from an authentic Tibet Travel Expert, your travel company apply and process all the necessary permit formalities.
If traveling to Tibet via Nepal, your Travel agent will organize visa approval letter from TTB in Lhasa and later apply visa at Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. You need to send passport scan copy at least 20 days prior to your travel date in order to process and issue visa approval letter from TTB timely. Passport copy must be valid at least 6 month from the date of entry to Tibet. Upon your arrival in Nepal, original passport and visa application will be submitted at the embassy of China. It takes 3 full days to process the visa. Chinese embassy visa working days are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. If you are planning to travel using new passport due to some reason, please notify your travel company immediately.
If you are travelling Tibet via China, you are require to apply Chinese at your home country and send your travel agency copy of Chinese visa at least 20 days in prior to your travel date in order to issue your Tibet permit timely, you will need original copy of Tibet Permit to enter Tibet. You will require to arrange reliable way of collecting original Tibet permit in China. BATE always recommend a night stay in China mainland such as such Chengdu or Beijing before you enter Tibet especially in Lhasa. Lhasa is directly connected by air/train.
3. How long does it take to get Tibet visa?
It depends upon whether you plan to enter from Nepal or China. Please follow clause #2. BATE recommend to enter from China mainland if you are in rush and do not have much time. But if you have time it is always best to enter from Nepal especially for 2 reasons. 1. Kathmandu altitude is 1300m and you have option of spending a night or two at the altitude of 2000m height around Kathmandu hills and enjoy great Mountain View, this will help you for acclimatization. 2. Familiarize yourself with Buddhist culture visiting some popular Monastery/pilgrimage sites and get to know spiritual and cultural site of Tibet.
4. Can I travel independently?
Tibet is a special autonomous area of China called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). One must pre book tour from a register Tibet Travel Expert Company. who will apply special permit at Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) in Lhasa and other arrangement. You are free to customize your own itinerary and itinerary can be quite flexible to some extend as long local condition permits.
5. Necessary document to apply Tibet visa?
You must provide copy of passport at least 20 days prior to your travel date and later submit visa form, original passport, and 1 MRP size photo and visa fee as per the nationalities. BATE offer extremely simplified version of visa Tibet form and makes visa process much easy for the guest.
6. What currency should i bring to Tibet?
Chinese Remimbian Yuan which is equivalent of US$ 1 to 6 to 7 Yuan. Most of the international chain hotel in Lhasa has exchange facilities and some local hotel also change foreign currency. Bate recommend change at hotel in Lhasa because outside Lhasa your hotel may not have exchange facilities. BATE guides are very resourceful helping you change your foreign currency. There are ATM machine in Lhasa, Shigatse and Tsedang.
7.Does Tibet visa valid in China ?
Yes, Tibet group visa is also valid in China but remember it’s a group visa so all tourists must travel together and exit China together. If any group traveling in Tibet with group visa and planning to travel to China later on but exit China separately, in such case travelers must inform their Tibet Travel Expert during booking of Tour so Travel Company will organize group visa accordingly to allow tourist exit China separately.
8. What are facilities of Hotel & Restaurant in Tibet?
Cities like Lhasa, Shigatse, Tsedang, Chengdu, The most important that you select hotel with well experience in hosting western tourist and hotel has a proper facilities. Hotel and restaurant offering services to western tourist have English staff and chef traditionally from Nepal. There are 5 star international chain hotels in Lhasa such as St. Regis, Shangri-La Hotel, and Four Point Sheraton and Intercontinental hotel but in Tsedang, Shigatse, there are only 4 & 3 star hotels available. In Everest region or Kailash region, accommodation and restaurant serves limited choice mostly Chinese, Tibetan meal. Accommodation are comparatively basic sometime shared bathroom. However, there have been rapid changes in the infrastructure in western part of Tibet.
8.Do I need travel insurance while travelling Tibet?
BATE insist you bring comprehensive travel insurance covers all relevant activities undertaken including rescue operation.
9.What kind of transportation do you use in Tibet, do they have safety features?
Depending upon the size of the group and demand of services whether budget/standard. BATE provides top class services including luxury vehicle supported by highly experience friendly Tibetan Guide, best available hotels. For regular normal groups on tour we use Tourist standard comfortable coach with Tibetan guide and driver. BATE use 4-6 seat capacity van for 1 – 4 persons, mini bus for group above 4 persons. We can provide highly luxury or 4WD SUV latest model vehicle as well. Authority in Tibet allows only latest model vehicle in order to maintain conserve the fragile environment. All vehicles are fitted with safety features.
10.What are facilities of Hospital and clinic in Tibet?
Hospital and clinic are available all around cities and towns but in rural areas small clinic or health post are available.
11.Do I need to travel with Guide in Tibet?
Yes it is mandatory to have Government registered Tour Guide in Tibet as per the Government policy. However, you can visit market place and wonder around yourself. But you will need Guide if you like enter any monuments.
12. What happens if I need emergency rescue?
In emergency rescue depending upon the condition of client, BATE provide in-depth safety briefing before starting the tour and guide debrief daily basis on safety and monitor guest closely. If Guide noticed any alarming potential situation, guide will follow early precautionary measures and guest must accept the decision as it is for their own safety. Guide decision will be based on several conditions if its altitude, guide decides whether to keep in same place until further improvement or send guest to the place with better facilities or send guest directly to Lhasa or lowest altitude. BATE guide use first aid kit and if require use oxygen, pressurized altitude chamber (PAC). In Tibet, we use vehicle to rescue so sometime sick person could be driving hours sometime days to reach safe place.
13. What are the chances to get high altitude sickness in Tibet?
Tibet is a high altitude destination; first and foremost select the experience Tour Company. If you do not follow proper acclimatization procedure and safety guidelines there is maximum probability you will get it. So with proper safety guidelines and maximum precautions, you can pretty much minimize the risk of altitude sickness by 99%. Please check out BATE safety guideline on high altitude sickness.
14.Is it possible to extend Tibet visa?
Yes it is possible to extend Tibet visa with extra cost but you need to inform our guide is advance so that we can arrange all the procedure.
15 How are the communication facilities in Tibet?
Communication is much easier in Tibet now these days. You will find WiFi in almost all Hotels/restaurants in central and eastern Tibet and larger villages in western part of Tibet. Hotel/Guest Houses usually have IDD facilities. Tour Guide always carry cell phone, your family can always contact you through your Guide if there is any urgency. Please note Google, Face book, viber etc. Wichat and watsap are widely used in Tibet and China.
16. Is there is any age barrier to travel Tibet?
There is no any age restriction however there exception for Kailash pilgrimage Tour, authority has put up age bar for Indian pilgrimage to avoid any altitude problem.
Tibet travel permit is generally valid until your Tour ends.
In early days, rules in regards of Tibet visa and traveling to Tibet as a whole used to be inconsistent. Now, tourisms is growing rapidly in Tibet so rules have been much stable.
19. Is there any way we could go the TAR by Train?
Yes, the Qinghai-Tibet (Qingzang) Railway from Golmud to Lhasa started operating in July 2006. The journey all the way from Beijing takes just under 48 hours. Trains to Lhasa originate in Beijing, Xining, Lanzhou, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Chengdu. It is quite difficult to obtain train ticket and require booking through reliable sources. BATE offer one of the most reliable train ticketing service.
20. What is the best time for travel Tibet?
Generally speaking the best time to travel around Tibet is from April to November. Tibet, being a Trans-Himalayan region, receives much less rain in the summer. From December onwards, the temperature drops significantly and starts snowing in high passes and places in higher altitudes. However Tibetan areas, particularly the south is not as cold as people think. Even in winter, in most places, snow hardly stays on the ground especially tarmac road for more than one night. The big cities like Lhasa, Shigatse, Tsetang and southern Kham the winter days are mild and beautiful. Bate recommend winter October to April for photography Tour however, in exception please avoid crossing Kyirong into Nepal due to the possibility of heavy snowfall in Gongtala pass nearby Nepal/Tibet border takes days to clear.
21.What are common means of transportation to travel within Tibet?
Traveling in Tibet is all about driving through high passes by motor vehicle or sometime trek. The only railway recently started connecting several major cities of China mainland and Lhasa. Domestic flight is also slowly coming into operation such as flight from Lhasa to Ali (Kailash area), Lhasa operates daily. Currently there are 5 domestic airport in operation such as Ali, Shigatse, Nyingchi, Chamdo, they all connected to Lhasa airport however, tourist are allowed only in Lhasa, Ali and Nyichi domestic Airport.
22.How do I exchange my money?
Chinese Currency is called Renmibi or RMB or Chinese Yuan. It’s always practical to pay in local currency. Any major foreign currencies such as US Dollars, Euro, Japanese Yen and Sterling Pounds can be exchanged in the “Bank of China”. Most of the international 4-5 star hotels also provide money exchange facility. Best place to change money is at Hotel in Lhasa because its take long time to change at bank due to complex formalities and sometime there may not be exchange facilities in your hotel outside Lhasa. The exchange rate at the time of print is RMB 6.8 for every US dollars (March 2020). BATE Tour guides are very resourceful and can help you exchange foreign currency, please talk to your Tour guide once you reach Lhasa.
23. Do Tibetan guide speak English?
Tibetan guides are reported to have limited English due to much limitation. However, we try and find the best among them. BATE believes communication is key hence all BATE guides are well versed in English and have good communications skill. There are few Tour Guides in Tibet speaks other languages such as French, Spanish, Germany, Russian and Italian.
24. What type of food you eat in Tibet?
There are choices of restaurant in big cities such as Lhasa, Shigatse, and Tsedang serves Continental/Chinese meal. But in small town only Chinese food are available. BATE includes breakfast in all Tour and sometime includes lunch or dinner as per the request and local condition. All meals are included during camping trek prepared by the Tibetan Chef. BATE recommends to eat dinner in hotel if possible after a long tiring day.
25.Can we take photograph in any place while we are in Tibet?
Places like airports, bridge and government establishment photography is not allowed. Please be prepared to face the consequences if you fail to abide by the local rules such as your camera, film etc will be taken away. Some monasteries and temples will allow you to take pictures inside with minimum fee. Tibetans generally will not be pleased when you take picture of something that is held sacred, including those inside the temples or monasteries. It’s best to take pictures of people from distance or consult with your guide.
26. Is it ok tipping in Tibet?
Guides and Drivers are generally expects tip but it is not a mandatory. International Hotels staff accepts tips but in local hotels/restaurant tipping is not a culture so please avoid tipping unless there is an exception. But considering rapid growing of western tourist tipping culture is just around the corner. BATE have given recommendation of appropriate tips in pre departure information sheet.
27. Can we stay in monastery and meditate?
It is not possible to stay at monastery in Tibet however, if you are interested in spiritual tour, you can request your Tibet Travel Expert for customize spiritual tour. There are few monastery where you can spend longer time in solitude or participate in their daily prayers time normally morning/afternoon/evening, we recommend you to offer little donation in each monastery. BATE is specialize in such tour escorted by ex monk with knowledge Dharma practice and Tibetan history, please contact the concern tour officer for such program.
28.Is Basanta Adventure Treks & Expedition is owned by Tibetan and where is it based?
Basanta Adventure Treks & Expedition (BATE) is founded by Basant Bajracharya in 1998 in Kathmandu Nepal. All operation in Tibet runs through sister concern company but directly controlled by BATE for the quality control. Basant decided to promote Tibet after his first ever trip to Kailash after reunited with his extended family in Tibet, since then, BATE have been consistently organizing first class Tibet Tour of highest quality and personalized service. Please check out company story.
29: Is it possible make Solo trip to Kailash ?
Yes, it is possible to travel to Kailash alone or make solo trip except Indian passport holder. For Indian passport holder, there must be minimum of 17 persons or join a group of people traveling in group. BATE do not have license to operate India travelers to Kailash area but BATE can organize tour for them in any other part of Tibet.
30:Does Basanta Adventure organize Tour in China as well?
BATE have been organizing Tour in China in collaboration with one of the most reliable joined venture international travel company. BATE offer top class ticketing service for train and airlines.