After a prolonged hiatus, Tibet Travel Permits applications are set to reopen on March 15th, allowing for leisure travel into Tibet starting from early April.
This is good news for anyone currently in mainland China hoping to travel to Tibet. For international visitors, a Chinese visa will first be required in order to then apply for a Tibet travel permit.
What is a Tibet travel permit?
A Tibet Travel Permit is required to enter the Tibet Autonomous Region. WildChina can arrange this permit for you and send it to you before you fly to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, but please be aware that travel to and within TAR is subject to change with very little notice. In order to do this, you will need to first have a valid Chinese visa.
Since the permit takes up to 14 days to process, please ensure that if you are coming from abroad, you apply for your Chinese visa ahead of time so that it is ready at least 15 days before you intend to enter the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
We advise arranging a phone call with your travel designer before applying for your Chinese visa so we can explain in more detail what to expect and how best to apply. Once you’ve received your Chinese tourist visa (L visa), we will require a scanned copy of the photo page of your passport and your Chinese visa page, in order to apply for your Tibet Travel Permit.
If traveling outside of Lhasa (still in Tibet) you will also require an Alien’s Travel Permit and Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB Permit). This will be arranged by WildChina and you will receive the permit once in Lhasa. The cost of these is already included in the land cost quoted to you by your travel designer.
The Tibet Public Security Bureau requires that a detailed itinerary is submitted when applying for these documents, and this itinerary must be followed precisely. As such, it is important to be aware that unplanned deviations from our itinerary are not usually possible.
When handling your Tibet Travel Permit, please take care, as there is a small (not-very-sticky) sticker, which renders the document valid. If this sticker falls off, the document is no longer considered valid and will be rejected by authorities.
How do I get to Tibet?
Tibet can only be accessed via mainland China or Nepal. We recommend entering through mainland China, as the Tibet Travel Permit can be applied for in advance if using this route. If you enter through Nepal, you must apply for a new Chinese visa in Kathmandu (if you already have a valid Chinese visa, it will not be accepted, and will be canceled in order to apply for the new one on-site in Kathmandu) before you can apply for Tibet Travel Permit.
When entering Tibet via mainland China, you have two options: flight or train.
There usually direct flight options from Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Chengdu, Xi’an Kunming and Shangri-La. Flying is the quickest and most-direct option.
The train is an overnight journey from Xining to Lhasa and takes ~22 hours. This is a great option if you have more time, are interested in seeing the scenery along the Tibetan plateau, and seeking a slower acclimatization to the elevation.
Have more questions?
Check out our Tibet FAQ page.
Ready for Tibet?
Wondering how to start planning a trip to Tibet? Check out our Tibet travel guide.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out our podcast on Tibet.