Tibet, a land veiled in secrecy for centuries, also referred to as "The Roof of the World," with all its mystery is now open to tourists. Nepal provides one of the few windows in the long forbidden Tibet and its culture. Ever since Tibet was opened to the world in 1985, Nepal has become an easy and attractive gateway from which to explore its ancient lands and cultures. We operate tours to Tibet by breathtakingly beautiful overland trips and also by easier access by air. Heart rending dry plateau's, green flatlands and diverse and unexplored cultures, make the journey worthwhile. Tibet is also harsh and primordial. Guarded by high passes and blessed by wispy prayer flags, it is often painted as a Shangri - La of cliff-hanging monasteries and a culture locked in eternal mysticism. A century ago, a visit to Tibet took stamina, nerve and a good deal of luck. Isolated by formidable geographic barriers and guarded by its government, today it is opened to everyone who wants to challenge themselves and enrich their world knowledge first handedly.
Tibet lies at the center of Asia, with an area of 2.5 million square kilometers. The earth's highest mountains, a vast arid plateau and great river valleys make up the physical homeland of 6 million Tibetans. It has an average altitude of 13,000 feet above sea level.
A traveler should bear with them a passport with validity remaining no less than six months. Make sure that it has plenty of blank pages for visas, entry and reentry stamps and extensions. On top of that, holding other ID's such as a student card or driving license will be an advantage. Losing a passport in Tibet is very bad, as you have to go to Beijing to get new one.
Travelers to Tibet are required to obtain a special Group Visa/Permit. The visa processing is initiated only after you book a trip with a qualified travel agency. Original passport has to be submitted along with the Visa Application Letter (Invitation Letter) of Tibetan Tourism Authority to the Chinese Embassy in Nepal or abroad. We are eligible to process your visa/permit and can fax you the Visa Application Letter (Invitation Letter) if you wish to apply for the visa abroad. Normally, Chinese embassy of Kathmandu works on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 09 30 am to 11 am. The regular visa fee is USD $50 and you can collect the passport on the third working day. For emergency processing, there will be an extra fee (4 days processing) charge of USD $65 and the same day processing (top urgent) charge of USD $85, but this will only apply to non-US citizens. For US citizens, normal visa process, mid urgent (4days) and the top urgent visa fee will be USD $142, $180 and $198 respectively.
Most importantly, all travelers traveling in Tibet are kindly requested to bear in mind that Tibet, being extremely remote and isolated by the most formidable Himalayan ranges, remains still one of the most captivating but least developed parts of the world. On top of that, with its very short history of tourism (just about 15 years), the facilities for tourist, although being upgraded, are still at basic and limited scale. Thus, visitors are requested not to have high expectation in terms of facilities in Tibet. You can rather take this tour as an adventure from every point of view e.g., road, hotel, visa, altitude, etc. However, we will always put all our efforts in making your journey as pleasant as possible.
Traveling to Tibet is an adventure involving high altitudes and could be strenuous. So far, most visitors have only experienced minor effects from the altitude. Age is no bar. However, we advise especially the guests with known heart, lungs or blood diseases to consult their doctor before traveling. Mild headache, fever, loss of appetite or stomach disorder can take place before acclimatization. Our advice: drink 4lt of water minimum per day. Do not exhaust yourself too much, breathe deeply and take rest more than usual. Bottled water is available in each hotel where you have an overnight stay and in the restaurants en route where you can eat.
As Tibet tours get operated mainly during the monsoon time, there are high chances of landslides mostly in the Nepalese part (also in the Tibetan part closest to the rest of Nepal). In case of landslides, to over cross them and the gap in between, extra vehicle with porters may have to be arranged. In that case, you are kindly requested to contribute nominal charges for porters and vehicle , per person. We wish there would be no hassles as such. Besides the landslide expenses, if our guide/Tibetan guide raises any unjustifiable extra cost on the way, you are kindly requested to have a receipt from the guide with his/her signature so as to enable us to reimburse accordingly. Without the receipt, reimbursement is not possible.
Banks in Tibet/China are closed on Saturday and Sunday. Thus, you are kindly requested to carry about USD 100 per person in cash to cover your extra expenses for main meals and others en route until Lhasa. If it is cash dollars, even local people can help you exchange them to Chinese Yuan. Travelers’ cheques and credit cards are very difficult to be cashed outside the banks, especially outside of Lhasa. Next, if any of the clients pay for the Tibet tour in travel cheque one afternoon you are kindly requested to accompany the guide to the bank in Lhasa for about 15 minutes and to please make an extra signature on the counter with the TCs you have paid. Your direct presence and counter signature ensures immediate encashment of the TCs to our agent in Lhasa. Otherwise, it may take months. Your kind cooperation in this regard will be highly appreciated.
We always try to provide a good English-speaking Tibetan guide. However, as per new regulations, guides are provided by the guide association on a queue basis. As the guides in Tibet do not get enough exposure to English language in Tibet, please do not expect fluent and spontaneous explanations from him/her. Your frequent questioning will encourage him/her to explain well, question by question.
As the temperature in Tibet is low and the trip involves a high altitude journey, it is always advised to carry warm clothes (better combined with a sleeping bag with you). As the weather is harsh and dry, chopstick, Sun tanning cream, hat, sunglasses and sporty shoes are always recommended.
It is included with your tour for the monuments and monasteries as mentioned in the itinerary, whereas photography fee is not. Please kindly pay the photography fee accordingly if you wish to take photos inside the monasteries.
As the facilities in Tibet are very basic, hotels, although looking gorgeously, do not have proper facilities even in Lhasa. In the more remote areas, hotels may not have enough double rooms and clients sometimes may have to take rooms with three, four or five beds in some places. However, we always try to provide twin bedded rooms. Specifically the first two nights have to be spent in such hotels that may not have bathrooms attached and could require you to use common toilets. You are kindly requested not to have high expectations from the tour in terms of the facilities in the hotels.
Eating out in Lhasa is enjoyable. The following restaurants are recommended and they serve great tasting food ranging from Tibetan to Chinese, continental to semi-Chinese all at a very affordable price:
From the first day onward, breakfast will be offered after an hour’s drive from Kathmandu at a mountain resort at Dhulikhel. Thus, please do not bother for breakfast in your hotel, which may also cause delay to report with the bus stand. Breakfast is included throughout your tour.
Guides and drivers are not paid well in Tibet. You are kindly requested to tip the guide and driver and help the entire Tibetan and Nepali economies, further helping make the experience better for our future groups as well.
Very importantly, on the last day, if you are traveling with a group visa, please make sure your guide has the original visa copy with him/her (if you are traveling in group) and other necessary travel documents (travel permit for the group and alien’s travel permit for the individual travelers) before you leave your hotel for the airport for the final departure. This is all to enable you to check out from immigration without any hassle. (This point does not apply if you are carrying your visa for Tibet in your passports.)
No airport tax applicable in Kathmandu and Lhasa.
The Potala, one of the most famous architectural works in the world, is erected on top of the Red Hill in Lhasa. The word "Potala" comes from the Sanskrit language. In the 7th century, after the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo's marriage with Princes Wencheng of the Tang Court, the Palace was built for meditation. In the mid -17th century, it was rebuilt by the 5th Dalai Lama to its present size, and ever since it became the Winter Palace of the Dalai Lamas. The construction took fifty years from its beginning to completion. The Potala is divided into two sections, namely, the Red Palace and White Palace. The total height of the Potala is 117 meters which is built in thirteen stories, the length of the Potala from east to west is 400 meters and the breadth from south to north is 350 meters. The whole building is a structure of stone and timber. The top-most flat glistens with golden roofs. It is a majestic architectural work and the cream of Tibetan culture and, representing the complexity of the Tibetan and Han cultures.
Tholing, at the center of Zanda xian, is the most historically important monastery of west Tibet, and its influence extended all the way from Kashmir. It was built in the 11th century. Tholing is, in all likelihood, the only place in Tibet with a meaningful collection of this distinctive art form. Tholing architecture was strongly influenced by designs from the Yarlung era (7th-9th century). Tholing also offers many low passages, other artistic monasteries and wonderful landscape.
Purang, also known as Taklakot, is one of the most fascinating places in west Tibet. Purang offers acquaintance with the Tibetan lifestyle, the largest monastic institution in the region, Nepalese and Tibetan market centers, a cave monastery, Gurla mandate mountains views and a plethora of natural beauties on display.
The Jokhang Temple, situated in the center of old Lhasa, was originally built in 647 AD. It was built by craftsmen from Tibet, China and Nepal and thus features different architectural styles. The Jokhang is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims. In the central hall is Jokhang's oldest and most precious object - a sitting statue of Sakyamuni. This was carried to Tibet by Princess Wen Cheng from her home in Changan in 700 AD. The three-layered roof of the Jokhang offers splendid views of the Barkhor Street, the bustling Barkhor market, across the Potala Palace. Not only can you take amazing pictures, but also learn about the archaic Tibetan culture first hand.
It is located in Nedobng county, established by King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and belongs to the Gelugpa Sect (Order of Excellence). The main building of this temple is the Assembly Hall. The images enshrined here are all made from bronze and the corridors are of full of murals.
Tibet is surely a destination different than most in the world, as the rolling hills of the high plateau and the stunning Himalayas are none to any. Referred to as Shangri La, The Forbidden Land, The Roof Of the World and by many more, the mysterious Buddhist Kingdom, it remained long closed to foreigners, exerting a strong hold on the imagination of the world. It has been fascinating mankind for centuries.
The Tibet tour gives you an opportunity to make the "ultimate pilgrimage" to holy Mount Kailas and Lake Manasarovar. Starting from Kathmandu in Nepal, the tour includes traveling overland to both the sacred Manasarovar Lake and Mount Kailash.
Mt. Kailash (6714 meters), known in Tibet as Kang Rimpoche (Jewel of Snows), is the home of the Hindu God Shiva and his consort Devi. For Tibetans, it is the home of the God Demchog and his consort Dorje Phangmo. It is here, according to legend that Milareppa, a great Tibetan Yogi and master of Tantric Buddhism, vied with Naro-Bonchung, a grand master of Bon, to prove the superiority of Buddhism. Many contests took place but the final one was to see who could first reach the summit of Mt. Kailash at the crack of dawn. Riding his damaru (ritual drum), Naro - Bonchung flew towards the peak of Mt. Kailash only to be overtaken at the last second by Milarepa. Naro-Bonchung was so astonished that he let go of his drum and it crashed down the mountain, leaving a vertical scar - a distinctive feature of the south face.
Two lakes, Manasarovar (Mapam Tso) and Rakas Tal, lie at the southern foot of Mt. Kailash. Takas Tal is associated with the forces of darkness whereas Lake Manasarovar represents the forces of light. Also, the vicinity of Mt. Kailash is the source of four great Rivers (the Indus, The Sutlej, the Bramhaputra and the Karnali) which water the four quarters of the Earth (at least in ancient times). Tibetan scriptures also speak of the four rivers starting their journey from the world-known mountain.
Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar remained unknown to the western world until the eighteenth century, hidden behind some of the greatest natural barriers on Earth. The first European to travel through the region was an Italian Jesuit missionary, Father Ippolito Desideri. In the winter of 1715 he crossed western Tibet, a vast, sterile and terrible-to-cross desert, following the course of Tsangpo river all the way to Lhasa. On the way, he passed Lake Manasarovar and a cloud-hidden mountain (Mount Kailash), which he reported was sacred to the powerful Tantrik wizard 'Urghien' or Padmasambhava.