1. What kind of permits do I need to visit Tibet ?
There are two kinds of permits (Tibet visa) for traveling in Tibet: the entry permit (TTB permit) and the Alien's travel permit (PSB permit).
A. TTB Permit - Tibet Entry Permit (Tibet visa)
When you fly from any city to Lhasa you will need to show this permit when you check in at the airport. Furthermore, whenever you buy a flight to Lhasa you need to show this permit. TTB permits are also needed by groups traveling by Land Cruiser but this will be arranged by the travel agency organizing the trip. Here is a picture of TTB permit (click on the picture to enlarge):
B. PSB Permit - Alien's Travel Permit
If you want to go further to the "unopened" areas, you need an Alien's travel permit issued by PSB of Tibet. It is called "Alien's Travel Permit" or "PSB permit".
2.How to get the travel permits?
1) full name;
3) date of birth;
4) passport number;
- all exactly the same as on your passport. And you need to tell us your occupation because journalists and people that could be involved in political matters could be revoked (they need more complicated procedure to get a permit).
You need to apply for the travel permit at least 10 days prior to your entry date.
Please note that if you do not book any tour from us, we can not help you get the permits. No travel agency can provide "permit-only" service. Here is a note from Lonely Planet:
"Lhasa PSB will not issue travel permits to individuals and will direct you to a travel agency. Agencies can arrange a travel permit to almost anywhere but only if you book a Land Cruiser, driver and a guide."
3.Important Issues about Tibet Travel Permit
Click to enlarge
1. All kinds of people can get Tibet permit through a travel agency except diplomats, journalists, and government officials who should travel to Tibet under the arrangement by the Foreign Affairs Office of Tibet Government.
2. After having a permit, a travel agency could buy you the air tickets, and you can pass the check-in at the airport and the check point reroute with the permit.
3. Only the guide could hold the permit after you establish yourself on Tibet land. You are not allowed to bring with it and travel to anywhere you want because except Lhasa you need another permit named as "Aliens’ Permit". Otherwise if you are stopped by the police you will be sent out of Tibet or have trouble politically and economically.
Furthermore, the travel agency which helped to get you the permit will also be in trouble.
Therefore seriously not any legitimate travel agency could sell you the Tibet permit if you do not book a tour with them. We don't think you would like to be in trouble due to a "sold" Tibet permit after you pay a lot of money for the tour.
4. There is a service charge (by the government) to get the Tibet permit. And it takes time, paper work, transportation fee and delivery fee for us to get a permit for you, so ATT will charge an extra fee for the permits.
4.How long can I get Tibet Permit?
Answer: Generally it needs three days to get the Tibet permit if you could supply the full necessary documents. But if it needs another 3 days (or more) to Express Deliver the permit.
Other documents are the same as you travel to other places of China - you need hold a valid passport with valid visa (issued by Chinese Embassy).
If you are coming to Lhasa from Kathmandu, you'd better get China visa from Kathmandu because no matter you've already got the visa in your country or not, you must get a visa in Kathmandu, which is regulated in an official memo between China and Nepal.
5.What to pack for Tibet tours?
Sunglasses, sun lotions, chapped stick, hat, layered clothing and down-filled coat (the sun is very strong during the day but the temperature drops at night). Wear comfortable walking shoes. High-calorie snacks like cookies, chocolate and candies also should be packed in advance.
6.How to avoid and treat the high altitude sickness?
1. Please try not to strain yourself and avoid excessive working before taking Tibet tours.
2. Take the prescribed medication before reaching Tibet and continue to take the medication upon arrival there.
3. Avoid drinking coffee or alcohol, and taking sleeping pills in the high altitude areas.
4. Drink plenty of water or tea.
5. Eat high-carbohydrate foods (rice, pasta, cereal) while avoiding fatty stuff.
6. Avoid active movements and try to relax in the first one or two days upon arrival at the high altitude areas.
7. Diamox 125 mg. tablets taken twice a day is F.D.A. approved for prevention and treatment of A.M.S. Although it originally was released as a diuretic (water pill), it also helps you breath deeper and faster. This allows you to get more oxygen. Diamox is especially helpful with the sleeping problems and other symptoms of A.M.S. Avoid sleeping pills because they may cause shallow breathing at night and make it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.
8. Use Oxygen to relieve symptoms.
9. If nothing else works, return to the areas with the lower elevation.
7.What can I do with Tibetan beggars?
Religious beggars are an accepted part of society in Tibet. Giving money or food to a pilgrim is considered an act of merit, donations of five fen to two jiao(Chinese money) are appropriate. Notice if the beggars are the old men and women who dress in shredded, bulky clothing, while the Yunger ones may have a monkey on a chain, a spectacle of great interest to the Tibetans. These beggars are professionals, having less meritorions intentions than religious pilgrims. Just wave them off as the locals do if you don't want give anything.
8.What documents I should hold for traveling in Tibet?
There are two requirements for foreign tourists tour in Tibet. One is the Chinese Visa, which you Can apply for in Chinese Embassy in your place. Another is the Alien' Travel Permit , which issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau .
9.What is the best season for tour in Tibet?
In general speaking, from April to October is the best season for Tibet tour. But it really depends on your route. In fact have a winter normal schedule tour will be quite comfortable. Because in winter, there isn't full of tourists, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery freely.
Lhasa: Lhasa is suitable for visiting all year around due to the comparatively lower altitude and warm weather. If you are adapted to the chilliness, try to come here in winter for the cheap cost of transportation.
Ali (Mt.Kailash): Even without climate restrictions, this area is already inhospitable. Big rain and snow could make the journey worse. However, for those determined tourists, the appropriate time is May, June, July, September and October.
Mt.Everest: Early May and early October are the best time to visit Mt. Everest. Due to the clear weather, you have great chance to see Mt. Everest's true face. From December to February, it's too cold to go to this region. But the magnetism of Mt. Everest always attracts people anytime of the year.
Eastern Tibet: Don't touch this area in July or August, the rain could ruin the road, and make terrible landslides. While in winter, the road could be frozen.
Northern Tibet: With the average altitude of 4,500m, this area offers very limited time for tourists. Summer is the prime time to enjoy the great plain in northern Tibet.
10.Can I go to Nepeal from Tibet?
The Friendship highway is basically in good conditions year around. But from December to February, the thawed road could make some trouble Besides, try to avoid August - landslide could happen in the rainy season.
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