Tibet: Up Close and Personal

  • If you are wondering which place to visit next, look no further than the marvelous and mesmerizing Tibet, located south-west of China. Its central region within China has been declared as autonomous and is referred to as the Tibet Autonomous Region. Nicknamed the Roof of the World due to an average altitude of around 5000 meters, Tibet is considered the highest region on Earth sitting pretty on the lofty Tibetan plateau and surrounded by towering mountains on all sides.

    Its neighboring countries include India, Nepal, Sikkim, Burma and Bhutan. However, entry is allowed only via Mainland China and Nepal. There are stringent travel regulations for foreign travellers who wish to explore it's beauty and culture.

    Rules for Foreign Travellers:

    Tourists are not allowed to travel independently in Tibet
    Travelling is permissible only via travel agencies who are responsible for applying and obtaining the mandatory permit on behalf of the tourist.
    Along with a valid passport and Chinese visa, Tibet Entry Permit is mandatory which is issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa. Processing of the permit takes around 15-20 days from the date of application. It is to be noted that traveller cannot apply for permit on his own. Travel agency will take care of this after you have furnished to the agency, necessary documents along with your local address in China where the issued permit would be sent by post.
    Tibet Permit allows travel within Lhasa and a few suburban areas. For places located near border area such as Mt.Everest and Mt.Kailash, border pass is required. To travel beyond Lhasa to places such as Shigatse, Tsetang, Ngari, Alien Travel Permit is required.
    For travellers who wish to opt for Nepal route, there is only one international flight available from Katmandu to Lhasa. Travelling overland is another option especially for thrill seekers who prefer a more adventurous way of travel.
    For Nepal to Tibet route, group visa (which can be applied at Chinese embassy in Kathmandu) and border pass is required. This again will be procured by your travel agency. In fact, through this group visa, it is possible to travel from Nepal to China via Tibet.

    It would be a mistake not to visit Tibet at least once in your lifetime. The paperwork and permit required for this journey shouldn't deter the spirit of an ardent traveller who will take back not just a lifetime of memories but will learn to respect nature a lot more after setting foot on this holy land.