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How to Plan to a Tibet Tour - Tibet Itineraries Planning Guide

21 August 2017 Last updated at 10:10

Tibet is a uniquely spiritual place offering fabulous monasteries, breathtaking natural views, stunning high-altitude treks as well as one of the friendliest people. By visiting Tibet, you will not only appreciate a visual feast and but also experience a lifetime cultural encounter. Since Tibet is a huge land, you can’t see all of it in a single trip. There are some planning ideas for your reference and you can make an ideal tour according to your travel time and preference.

Tibetan Classic Routes

Lhasa is the tourist center, and most people start their Tibet tour here. They always have a short stay in Lhasa to explore the landmarks and adjust to the high altitude first, and then extend their tour to other destinations like Namtso, Gyantse, Shigatse, Mount Everest, Mount Kailash etc.

Tour Lhasa in 4 Days

For those tourists who have limited time, four days will be plenty to explore the highlights of Lhasa. As the holy city and spiritual center of Tibet, it provides you a journey of both magnificent architectures and strong Buddhist atmosphere.

Day 1: Arrive in Lhasa. You can take a flight or train to Lhasa from several major cities in China, including Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Chongqing, Xian and so on. Remember to avoid strenuous activity for the first day, and it is advisable that you not take showers. Drink more water, have fresh fruit and plenty of rest will help to prevent the sickness.

>> Check the most updated information at Flights to Lhasa and Trains to Lhasa

Day 2~3: You will visit the can’t-be-missed attractions in Lhasa on the following two days, including Potala Palace – the imposing citadel soaring above the holy city, Jokhang Temple – the holy center of Lhasa Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, Norbulingka and Barkhor Street. In these Buddhist sites, you can catch a glimpse of the devoted belief of the local Tibetans.

Optional Activity: Princess Wencheng Drama, a large-scale outdoor live-action show is performed during 21:30~23:00 (late April to Early October). You could go to watch it during your journey

Day 4: Leave Lhasa for your next destination.

>> 4 Days Holy City Tour

Potala PalaceAmazing Potala Palace in Peaceful Morning
Sera MonasteryBuddhism Debating in the Sera Monastery

Add 2 or 3 More Days to Visit Gyantse & Shigatse

In addition to Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse are two attractive destinations in Tibet. Gyantse has not (yet) been turned into a Chinese tourism trinket and so you should enjoy a relatively traditional visit to this small mountain village that has retained much of its traditional architecture. Shigatse is the second-largest city in Tibet and historically rivaled Lhasa for influence. Usually, tourists prefer to drive to Shigatse via Gyantse on Day 4, and drive back to Lhasa on Day 5. On the road to Gyantse, you will pass by beautiful Yamdrok Lake and fantastic Korala Glacier. As you get to Gyantse, you will visit Palcho Monastery. Palcho Monastery is famous that three different sects of Tibetan Buddhists are living here harmoniously. Its Kumbum stupa is also well-known, and thousands of statues of Buddha are housed there. In Shigatse city, you will visit majestic Tashilhunpo Monastery – the residence of Panchen Lama. If you have an additional day, it will be a good choice to accommodate in Gyantse and you are able to visit Gyangtse Dzong and Pala Manor.

>> 6 Days Lhasa Gyangtse Shigatse Historical Tour

>> 7 Days Tibet Discovery Tour (Lhasa/Gyantse/Shigatse)

Add 2 More Days to Mount Everest

Route - Lhasa/Gyantse/Shigatse/Everest/Lhasa (7~8 days)

Mount Everest is the highest peak in the world attracting numerous mountaineers to conquer it. For regular tourists, it is also available to explore its beauty and mystery. Tourists often travel to Mount Everest after their Lhasa Shigatse tour. It takes about 9 tours drive to Mount Everest from Shigatse. The journey is long but the scenery is worth-seeing. Everest Base Camp is the highest place which tourist can reach. From this great viewing-deck, you can have a good sight of the south face of Mount Everest. Rongbuk Monastery Guesthouse and Tent Guesthouses offer basic accommodation in Everest. If you are a lucky dog, you can get an opportunity to admire the most beautiful sunrise, sunset and starry sky here.

>> 8 Days Everest Base Camp Tour

Add 5~7 More Days for Ngari

For some tourists who are thirsty for wild nature and adventure, Mount Everest is not enough. They will have a longer and deeper discovery in Ngari. Ngari, located in the western Tibet, is honored as the roof of“Roof of the World’s Roof”. It’s most splendid attraction must be Mount Kailash, regarded as the center of the world by Tibetan Buddhism, Hindism, Bon etc. Starting from Mount Everest, you will drive to Darchen (the starting point of kora around Mount Kailash) with one night’s stop in Saga. Then you spend three days on kora around mount Kailash and turn to Guge Kingdom to discover the lost civilization. Before getting back, you will spend another day to enjoy the enchanting landscape of Lake Manasarovar.

>> Mt.Kailash Tour

Palcho MonasteryOverview of Palcho Monastery in Gyantse
Palcho MonasteryGlorious architecture of Tashilhunpo Monastery
Mount EverestMarvellous Scenery From Rongbuk Monastery
Mount KailashSnow Covered Mount Kailash

Theme Tour in Tibet

Tibet is always ready to fulfill your different needs. No matter you want a relaxing holiday or an adventure experience, a history & culture exploration or a sightseeing journey. You can realize your goals in Tibet.

Tibet Train Tours

Since the operation of Qinghai-Tibet Railway, taking a train to Tibet becomes well-welcomed. More than transportation, the trains taking you to Tibet also act as a moving viewing-deck, from which you can appreciate the changing landscapes. Moreover, the railway itself is world engineering wonder creating world records. Nowadays, it is available to book a train to Lhasa from Beijing (about 40 hours), Shanghai (about 48 hours), Chengdu (about 44 hours), Xian (about 31 hours), Chongqing (about 42 hours), Guangzhou (about 53 hours), Xining (about 21 hours) and Lanzhou (24 hours).To shorten this long train tour, you are suggested to take a flight to Xining first and then transfer to Lhasa by train. The most beautiful landscape is long the railway between Xining and Lhasa. If you fail to book a train to Tibet (which very popular among tourists), you can choose a train to leave Lhasa instead. Read more about Train Tours.

Local Life Experiencing Tour

Living in the high-altitude area and owning strong religious belief, Tibetan people’s life is quite different from outside world. If you want to experience the local life, you spend an additional day in Lhasa and visit a local family. Taking advantage of this opportunity, you can have a talk with the local people, learn about their authentic life and taste the food they make. If is also a good idea to take part in the Cooking Class if you have special interest in Tibetan food. This cooking class lasts nearly two hours usually. If you travel with kids, we can arrange Thangka Drawing class for you as well.

>> 5 Days Tibetan Life Discovery Tour

Photography Tour

With so much picturesque scenery to savor, Tibet is well-deserved paradise of photography. If you are a shutterbug precisely, Namtso Lake is the first recommended destination for you. The waters of Namtso Lake are an almost transcendent turquoise blue and shimmer in the rarefied air. Two days are needed to take the picture of the perfect Namtso Lake, in early morning, at the dusk, or under the starry sky. You could spend two extra days traveling to Namsto Lake after your classic Lhasa, Shigatse or Everest tour.

>> 6 Days Holy Lake Namtso In-depth Private Tour

If time not permits, it is also a good idea to take Yamdrok Lake as a substitution. It needs only one day to Yamdrok Lake from and back to Lhasa. There are four viewing decks to enjoy the Yamdrok Lake. Standing on the highest one - Kamba La Pass, you can get an incredible vista of the lake and the winding road.

>> 5 Days Lhasa and Yamdrok Holy Lake Tour

Trekking or Hiking Tour

Stretching your legs in the wild nature of Tibet must be an inspiring, exhilarating and unforgettable experience. You can hike to the monasteries and the valleys or trek around the holy mountains and lakes.

Even in Lhasa outskirt, you can realize your trekking dream. After you visit the landmarks of Lhasa, spend one day trekking around leisurely. You will cover a trekking length of 25km with moderate road condition. During your trekking road, you can visit various monasteries.

>> 5 Days Lhasa Leisure Hiking Tour

If you love the peaceful and captivating valley views, you can try a hiking to Samye Monastery from Ganden Monastery. This is a more difficult trekking taking 4 days, and you need to accommodate in the herder’s camps. It allows you to enjoy an authentic cultural experience.

>> 11 Days Ganden to Samye Trekking Tour

Want something more challengeable? Try a trekking to Mount Everest. The whole trekking takes 4 days, but the air will become thinner and thinner. This adventurous trip will fully fulfill your passion for nature as well and you won’t miss the best sightseeing on the way.

>> 12 Days Everest Base Camp Trekking Tour

There are many tourists visiting Ngari and taking a trekking around the holy mountain – Mount Kailash. Mt. Kailash trekking is actually a pilgrim circumambulation which local Tibetans always undertake. The road condition is not good and accommodation is very basic. It takes three days to finish the holy trekking

>> 13 Days Mt. Kailash & Lake Manasarovar Trekking Tour

Featured Festival Tour

Tibetans celebrate festivals almost every month. Visiting Tibet during festival allows tourists to get a better understanding of their culture. The most eyes-catching festivals include the Shoton Festival, New Year Festival, Peach Blossom in Nyingchi, and Horse Racing Festivals in Nagqu.

During the Shoton Festivals, wonderful traditional Tibetan operas and dramas will take place in Norbulingka, and a huge Thangka of Buddha will be shown in Drepung Monastery. 6 days Tibet Shoton Festival tour must be memorable.

>> 6 Days Tibet Shoton Festival Tour

When Tibetan New Year comes, the whole Tibet will be immersed in the atmosphere of happiness. Many religious and cultural activities will be held to farewell the finishing years. Cham is the performance you must see. Sometimes, Tibetan New Year Festival is not open to foreigner tourists.

>> 7 Days Tibetan New Year Festival Tour

Maybe you have seen a sea of peach flowers, but you can’t see the lovely peach flowers blossoming under the foot of snow-covered mountains. It is a marvelous view appearing in Nyingchi only. Spare 8 days to visit Tibet during Nyingchi Peach Blossom, and you will have a dream-like journey.

>> 8 Days Tibet Dream Tour from Nyingchi to Lhasa (Peach Flower Festival)

Horse Racing Festival is a festival combining joyful performance and exciting competition. Various activities will take place, such as horseraces, yak-races, tug of war, stone lifting and performance of Tibetan operas...

>> 6 Days Nakchu Horse Racing Festival Tour

Tibetan FamilyTanggula Mountains along the Qinghai Tibet Railway
Tibetan FamilyVisiting Local Family
Namtso LakeIncredible View of Namtso
Yamdrok LakeAmazing Yamdrok Lake
Ganden MonasteryGanden Monasteryin the Peaceful Mountain
Trekking to EverestTrekking to Everest Base Camp
Ngari TrekkingPilgrim and Hiker in Ngari
Shoton FestivalGrand Buddha Exhibition during Shoton Festival
Nyingchi Peach Blossom FestivalPeach Blossoms at Nyang River

Gateway Cities and Tibet Tour

There are several other cities well-linked with Lhasa by flights or trains. Among these gateways cities, the most popular ones include Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, and Shanghai, which operate both flights and trains to Lhasa.

Chengdu Tibet Tour

Regarded as the best gateway city to Lhasa, Chengdu providing most frequent flights to Lhasa. It needs 2 or 3 days to visit Chengdu highlights before heading to Tibet. The must-see attractions in Chengdu include Panda Reserve Base, Jinli Street and Wenshu Temple. If you have more time, visiting Renmin Park, Jinsha Relic Museum and watching Sichuan Opera are recommended. Then you can transfer to Lhasa and have a Tibet tour according to your travel length. Read more about Chengdu Tibet Tours.

Beijing Tibet Tour

As the capital of China, Beijing is connected with most countries by international flights and can be reached conveniently. Besides, it is also a top tourists’ destination deserving your visit. You are suggested to spend 3 or 4 days in exploring the landmarks of Beijing and then taking flight or train to Lhasa. Visiting Beijing, you can miss Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace and Hutong. Some night activities are also interesting, like Peking Opera, Kunfu Show, bars and so on. As you get to Tibet, Lhasa and Everest need to be covered if your time permits. Read more about Beijing Tibet Tours.

Shanghai Tibet Tours

Shanghai is a metropolis city with inexhaustible energy. You can take 2 or 3 days to feel its charm by visitng the Bund, Yuyuan Garden, Jake Buddha Temple and Nanjing Road. Then turn to Lhasa and begin another totally different tour in Tibet. You are advised to visit Lhasa, Mount Everest and Namtso Lake. Read more about Shanghai Tibet Tours.

Kathmandu Tibet Tours

Nepal and Tibet are great neighbors having much in common. There once to be two ways to travel from Kathmandu to Lhasa, by driving and flight. Driving along Tibet Friendship Highway is the best way. It is the only national highway in tibet, staring from Lhasa, going through Shigatse, Lhatse, Tingri, Everest and Zhangmu, and ending at the defense highway of Kathmandu. You really have a lot to see on this road. At present, the road between Kathmandu and Zhangmu is still under reconstruction after the strong earthquakes. So, taking a flight to Lhasa from Kathmandu becomes the only transportation to Tibet from Nepal. After your Nepal tours, you are able to get to Lhasa within 1.5 hours. Read more about Kathmandu Tibet Tours.

Chengdu Tibet TourGiant Pandas in Chengdu
Beijing Tibet TourMutianyu Great Wall
KathmanduFeatured Architectures in Kathmandu

Tips for Planing Tibet Tour

Must Tibet Permits

To visit Lhasa, including nearby towns and attractions, such as Namtso Lake, Ganden Monastery, you only need to obtain Tibet Travel Permit (Tibet Entry Permit). Tibet Entry Permit, issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, is the most important one which has to be obtained before your trip because you must have it to take your flight/train to Tibet. If you visit other places outside Lhasa, Alient Travel Permit is Must. Tibet Border Pass is also needed if you visit the border area like Mount Everest and Ngari. Besides, visiting Ngari, and some places of Shannan and Chamdo, you need to prepare Military Permit.

High Altitude Sickness Notes

The average altitude of Lhasa city is around 3700 meters. You may suffer slightly from high altitude sickness in the first two days, but don't worry you can acclimatize yourself gradually. Visiting other destination with higher altitude, like Everest, Ngari and Namtso, you’d better take the following measures. Firstly, take a physical examination before traveling to Tibet and pack necessary medicines; secondly, spend some days in Lhasa for acclimatization, then travel to other places at a moderate pace; thirdly, keep yourself warm all the time and prevent from catching a cold; fourthly, keep a relaxing mind. Your tour operator will also prepare oxygen supply for emergency use.Packing and Wearing Ideas

Packing and Wearing Ideas

A large backpack and a smaller carry-on bag are recommended, and you can put your documents and valuables in your carry-on bag. You need bring warm clothing, needed medicine, and other stuffs like sunscreen cream, hats water bottle, gloves, rain gears, solar flashlight etc. It is advisable to dress in layers (both thin and thick jackets) that you can easily add or remove as the temperature changes frequently. Don’t forget your camera, and you will lots of scenes to record.

Recommended Tibet Tour Packages

Tibet has too much to offer. And our aim is to bring you the best experience in Tibet. Following are some other recommended Tibet tour packages that you may be interested in. All of our Tibet tour packages are customizable to meet your personal requirements. You can also contact us to customize a trip if you want.

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Questions & Discussions

Following are latest questions and answers from our webusers and customers. You can learn many useful information from the discussion and cases. You can also join in the discussions or ask your own question. Our experts will help you ASAP.

Group Tour & Organising Railway tickets
1) I and my wife would like to form a group for the 8 days Tibet Highlight tour with expedition for Mt Everest. The standard price is U$1,061. If I join another group, or invite others to join us - does the price drop down as the number of travellers increased? How does it work? We like to leave on 5 August 2016.
2) Can you arrange our train tickets (returned) fro Guangzhou to Lhasa? Who much would it cost?
2016-05-10 06:37
Hi Daniel,

Thanks for your message. You plan is great and doable. Whether you will form a group of your own or join in other group, the more people you have to book with us, the cheaper the price will be. There is a train to Lhasa from Guangzhou departing every other day. And of course we can book the tickets for you.

To help you better, I have delivered your plan to our Travel Specialists Team. One of them will reach you soon.

Best wishes to you!
Train and Discounts
1) can you confirm how much is the costs of train journey from Guangzhou to Lhasa, and then the return journey from Lhasa to Guangzhou? We like to travel first class on soft sleeper.
2) other tour company can give me discounts. Can you give me for early booking of 10%?
2016-05-10 18:51
Hi Daniel,

Thanks for your message again. Train ticket for soft sleeper is 1,468 RMB. The Train Z264 leave Guangzhou at 11:45 AM and arrive at Lhasa at 17:30 of third day. Kindly alert that it is very long journey. If your purpose is to experience the Qinghai Tibet Railway, you can board the train from Xining so that the train journey can be shortened to within 22 hours. As for the discounts, I think we can also offer but the final discount will be based on the exact quotation on your group. Our travel specialist will reach you with details very soon.

Have a nice day!