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Tibet Weather and Climate - Best Time to Visit Tibet

13 December 2022 Last updated at 16:39

Tibet is located in Qinghai Tibet Plateau with an average altitude of more than 4,000 meters. Influenced by its special topography, geographical environment and atmospheric circulation, Tibet owns a complex climate – freezing winter and mild summer, featuring strong sunlight, ultraviolet radiation and dry and thin air. It will get colder with the rise of elevation. In Everest and Ngari, the temperature is much lower than in Lhasa. It will be 10°C only in summer daytime, drops to below zero degrees at night. Under the alternant control of west wind in winter and southwest wind in summer, Tibet has an obvious dry season and rainy season: every October to next year April is the dry season, every May to September is the rainy season when precipitation counts about 80% ~ 90% of the whole year. Precipitation in Tibet reduces from southeast to northwest. Night rain happens quite frequently in summer.

When is the Best Time to Visit Tibet?

It is available to visit Tibet all year round, because you can easily find different fun in different seasons. The best time for Tibet travel ranges from April to October when you can savor more beautiful places with more comfortable weather. Other months are usually very cold, and possibly have heavy snow, especially in regions like Mount Kailash and Namtso Lake, etc. The holy city Lhasa and its popular surroundings – Gyantse, Shigatse, Nyingchi and Shannan are suitable to visit all the year around. The golden time for traveling is August and September. If you want to skip the crowds, you can avoid visiting in Chinese National Day in early October.

Weather and Highlights of Tibet Spring

Tibet just undergoes its late algid period in spring (March ~ May). It is still freezing even though it snows in some high elevation areas during early spring. Lakes like Namtso Lake (4718m) and Manarsarovar (4441m) are in deep freeze until warm May time arrives. As time goes on, you will feel a little warm in the day but it remains chilly at night. Nicely warm days in April & May are one of the best times to Tibet, during the temperature is comfortable and it rains little.

Recommended Visiting Places: Nyingchi, Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigtse Everest (late spring), Shannan

Nyingchi Peach Blossom - Nyingchi is top recommended for a spring journey because you get an opportunity to see the vast sea of peach blossoms. Especially during Nyingchi Peach Blossom Festival (late March ~ April), there are thousands of peach trees blooming their beautiful blossoms at the river banks, villages, mountains, farming fields, valleys, etc. as well as many interesting local activities taking place.

NyingchiThe Peach Blossom Village in Bomi (early April)

Weather and Seasonal Highlights of Tibet Summer

Owe to the high altitude location, destinations in Tibet are less hot than plain cities in the same latitude during summer (June ~ August). No sweltering you will feel except the pleasant warmth in the daytime. Temperature dropping largely at night in all Tibet areas, down to degrees below zero. Tourists are able to visit most attractions during this period since frozen lakes melt, days are becoming warmer than spring. Meanwhile, most of rain falls from July and August, causing many natural disasters, like debris flow, landslides in remote areas not recommended to go.

Recommended Visiting Places: Namtso, Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigtse Everest, Ngari, Nyingchi, Shannan

Natmtso Lake - The best time for Namtso Lake comes in summer. The frozen water begins to melt in spring and you can enjoy the bright blue water in summer. You will also see the fluttering prayer flags, soaring peaks, devoted pilgrims etc.

Shoton Festival - Shoton Festival is one of the most sacred festivals in Tibet taking place in July or August in the solar calendar usually. At this festival, you can have a yoghurt banquet. There will be interesting Tibetan Operas performed in Norbulingka. This festival culminates with a huge Buddha Thangka exhibition in Drepung Monastery.

Nagchu Horse Racing Festival - Nagchu Horse Racing Festival is a funny festival in Nagchu. The event in the Horse Racing Festival includes horse racing and horsemanship. Visiting Nagchu at this festival, you won’t miss the shooting arrows, chopping, picking up Hada etc.

>> 6 Days Tibet Shoton Festival Tour

>> 6 Days Nakchu Horse Racing Festival Tour

Namtso LakeBeautiful Namtso Lake
Drepung MonasteryHuge Thangka of Buddha Exhibited in Drepung Monastery

Weather and Seasonal Highlights of Tibet Autumn

Rainy seasons end in pleasant cool autumn (September ~ November), which makes it another golden time to travel to Tibet. Plenty of tourists portray Tibet in autumn as a fairy tale world. You can see many picturesque scenery in Tibet while the sky, yellow leaves, monasteries and snow mountains set each other off beautifully. Tourists often pay a visit to Tibet in September and October. It’s getting cold gradually from this season, obviously shivery in the evening in high elevation places. Therefore, very few tourists go to Tibet in November when it’s biting freezing close to winter.

Recommended Visiting Places: Everest, Namtso, Nyingchi, Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigtse, Everest, Ngari, Nyingchi, Shannan

Nyingchi Photography - In addition to spring, autumn is also the good season to visit Nyingchi. The weather is cool, and the forest turns yellow and orange. Take your camera and you can get many wonderful shots in Lulang Forest, Ranwu Lake etc. during glorious and sunny days.

Mount Everest Sightseeing - As the world's tallest peak, Mount Everest is really popular for tourists as well as Trekkers. It can be seen from both Nepal side and Tibet side. Because of the good weather in autumn, Mount Everest is likely to be seen clearly. You can travel to Rongbuk Monastery in Tibet side to have a close sight, or trek to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal side, or take a mountain flight to take a bird-eye view.

>> 8 Days Everest Base Camp Tour

BhutanMount Everest - View from Rongbuk Monastery

Weather and Highlights of Tibet Winter

If you compare the summer of Tibet to a young lady, winter of Tibet must be the aged man, serene and quiet. In winter, days begin to be cold and dry, extremely chilly at night, northern Tibet of high altitude is windy and fiercely frigid when thick clothing is needed to keep warm. But you still have a lot of chances to enjoy warm sunshine in the daytime in south and central Tibet, kind of warmer than inland cities. It snows but seldom rains during this period. Roads to natural scenic spots will be blocked by heavy snow, besides lakes will freeze completely with crystal ices, making these attractions a real ice and snow world. Namtso, Ngari and Medog are not suitable for tour.

Recommended Visiting Places: Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigtse, Shannan

Peaceful Environment: Winter is not the best time to visit the three kingdoms, but a good time to get away from the bustling world. There are few tourists and you can listen to the story of Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan by yourself quietly.

BhutanSnowy Landscape of Potala Palace

High Attitude and Sickness

Average TemperatureAltitudeNorth Latitude
Lhasa 7.4ºC (45.3ºF) 3,658 m (12,001 ft) 29°42′
Shigatse 6.3ºC (43.3ºF) 3,836 m (12,585 ft) 29°13′
Nyingchi 8.6ºC (47.5ºF) 3,000 m (9,842.5 ft) 39°33′
Nagqu -1.9ºC (28.6ºF) 4,507 m (14,787 ft) 31°29′
Chamdo 7.6ºC (45.7ºF) 3,204.7 m (10,514 ft) 31°11′
Damxung 1.3ºC (34.3ºF) 4,200 m (13,779.5 ft) 30°29′
Tsedang 8.3ºC (47ºF) 3,500 m (11,483 ft) 29°15′
Gyantse 4.7ºC (40.5ºF) 4,040 m (13,254.6 ft) 28°55′
Tingri 0.7ºC (33.3ºF) 4,300 m (14,107.6 ft) 28°38′
Pagri -0.1ºC (31.8ºF) 4,300 m (14,107.6 ft) 27°44′
Bome 8.5ºC (47.3ºF) 2,750 m (9,022 ft) 29°52′
Zayu -11.8ºC (10.8ºF) 2,327.6 m (7,636.5 ft) 28°39′
Amdo -3.0ºC (26.6ºF) 4,800 m (1,5748 ft) 32°21′

The average altitude of Tibet is about 4000 meters above the sea level (Lhasa: 3700m; EBC: 5200m; Namtso: 4718m). You may suffer a bit from High Altitude Sickness in the beginning days of your Tibet trip if you haven’t had a rich high plateau travel experience. But don’t worry too much, the high altitude can be acclimatized usually in 2~3 days. Our suggestion is to take a physical examination and get suggestions from your doctor, and also bring some medicine to prevent High Altitude Sickness before your trip. While in Tibet, you should keep warm all the time, avoid strenuous activities, drink more water and eat more vegetables and carbohydrates. You’d better not take showers during the first two days after your arrival in Tibet. If you don’t feel well, get help from your tour guide or go to the hospital without any delay.

Dressing Tips for Tibet Tour

Dress in Layers: There is a large temperature difference between day and night in Tibet, so you are suggested to bring enough warm clothing and dress in layers that it will be easier to add or remove clothing according to different temperatures. If you want a trekking experience, wear waterproof clothing and rain.

Wear Comfortable Shoes: While visiting monasteries, you often need to climb some steps. Therefore, comfortable shoes are needed.

Avoid Sunburn: The sunlight is always strong in the high plateau areas. It is necessary to protect your skin from the sunburn, so bring sunglasses, snow glasses, hats, lip balm, sun block, sunhat, seamless scarf, etc.

Recommended 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 or check more Tibet Tours>

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