What to Know About Your First Trip to Tibet

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Tibet is one of the most unique places on the entire planet. It is located on the northern side of the Himalayan mountains, and it’s actually the highest region on Earth elevation wise. Mount Everest is actually located within the Tibetan Plateau.

If you’ve yet been to Tibet, then you’ll want to make sure and read the following tips to make your trip an enjoyable and successful one.

Photo by BBC

Get Your Paperwork Straight

In order to travel to Tibet you will first want to make sure you have all of your travel documents in proper order. It’s a little more complicated than what you’ll need to travel to many other places.

First, you need to have a government issued passport with at least six months of validity left. But, you aren’t done yet.

While Tibet is officially called the Tibet Autonomous Region or TAR for short, it is part of China and therefore the first visitation requirement is securing a valid Chinese Visa. Today, it is easier than ever to get a multi entry Chinese visa.

It is worth noting sometimes a certified invitation letter is required, this can easily be provided by a locally licensed travel company.

Understand Local Customs

Tibet has its own culture and with that it has its own local customs. Having a general idea of what is and is not acceptable will help ensure you have an enjoyable trip.

For example, though it is very common for those coming from a western culture to wear shorts in both informal and some semi-formal settings, it’s one piece of your wardrobe you might want to leave behind. You should never even think about wearing them if you visit any temples or monasteries as it’s seen as being disrespectful to the sacred places.

Though the Tibetan residents have grown accustomed to visitors, it is still their home. They will be much more accommodating if you spend a little time before your trip to get a solid grasp of basic acceptable etiquette.

Hire Help

While you may be more a free spirit on your other travels, having a professional on your side while visiting Tibet is basically a must do. In fact, you will need to in order to secure the travel permits you need.

Additionally, most places in Tibet are also off-limits to foreign passport holders unless you acquire the services of a licensed guide.

However, there’s more to having professional help than just fulfilling the basic requirements you’ll need to travel there. They can also assist with arranging accommodation and creating a sight-seeing schedule that is efficient so you make the most of the time you have. Plus, they can help mitigate any potential problems that could arise due to the language barrier.

At the end of the day, you don’t really have much of a say in this matter. If you want to visit Tibet, you have to follow the rules and policies dictated by the government.

In Summary

Tibet is a truly special place. There’s nowhere else on the planet like it. But, with that uniqueness comes a lot of possible challenges for first time visitors.

Do your homework before you go. Get all of the required government documents in order. Study up on local customs and review expert tips for traveling to Tibet.

Make the most out of your trip because your first time to Tibet might be your last time as your future travels may never take you to the area again.