As the InterContinental hotel in Lhasa (wasn’t open when I was there) is going to be on the PointBreaks list this coming Wednesday, I thought that it would be a good time to remind what the requirements for foreigners traveling to Tibet are.
I was in Tibet and Lhasa back in November 2011 and had a blast. I was not traveling with any tour group, but rather arranged the hotel (St. Regis) and dealt with the Chinese Visa and Tibet Travel Permit by myself.
To enter Tibet you need:
1. Chinese Visa
2. Tibet Travel Permit to enter Lhasa (there might be other permits required to visit some remote sites in Tibet but you can deal with those locally once you get there)
You must have Chinese Visa before you can apply for Tiber Travel Permit that is issued in Lhasa.
You must email copy of your passport info page and the Chinese visa for the tour operator that you are going to use.
They will process the Tibet Travel Permit and expedite to your hotel in China where you can collect it upon your arrival.
I would have preferred arriving to Lhasa on an Air China flight from Kathmandu, but the agency that I used (and may be all) is not able to send it outside of China.
Tibet Highland Tours
Friend of mine that was in Lhasa just before me, suggested that I would use this agency owned by the locals.You can access their website here.
They were very responsive to my emails and we quickly put together the following itinerary:
Here is the 6 days Itinerary and prices
Day1.arrive n lhasa
Day2. Sightseeing inside lhasa (jhokang Temple and Bhakor street and Sera monastery to see the monks debate afternoon)
Day3. Day trip to namtso lake
Day4.Day trip to Ganden monastery and drak yerpa caves
Day5.Sightseeing inside lhasa (Potala palace and Norbulingka palace)
Day6.Depart from lhasa to train station or airport
Price for the permit:200 yuan per person
Price for the Guide: 200 yuan per day*6 days = 1200 yuan
Price for the Service fee :1000 yuan
Day trip to namtso lake for car :1500 yuan
Price for the car for ganden monastery and drak yerpa caves for a day trip is 1000Yuan
pick up and drop off :700 yuan
Price for mailing the permit in urgent 38hours :550 Yuan
Note that these were prices in 2011 and have changed for sure.
The agency was able to arrange the permit in no time and it was waiting for me at the hotel in Beijing upon arrival.
At the time, you were supposed to have the guide booked for the entire duration of your time in Tibet if you were going to use him/her all the time or not.
I did venture outside of the hotel by myself and had a fun with a local friend with whom I went to have a pub crawl one night.
I have been thinking of going back to Tibet, as I didn’t do all the tours such as the Mount Everest base camp last time around.
The scenery in Tibet is simply stunning. I was there off season which I preferred. The weather was about to get colder, but it wasn’t really cold for me having grown up in Finland.
Just a word of caution. I did managed to get altitude sickness one day and felt miserable. Just buy the meds to deal with this and you should be able to bypass it altogether.
If you have done the Tibet Travel Permit recently, please leave your notes below.