Tibet Autonomous Region lies in the southwest of China and in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It is bounded to the north by Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province, to the east by Sichuan Province, to the southeast by Yunnan Province, to the south and west by these countries: Burma, India, Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal. The region covers an area of around 1.22 million km2, which accounts for 12.8% of the total of China.
With an average altitude of above 4,000 meters, Tibet Autonomous Region has very complex topography and falls into three geographic parts: the west, the south and the east. The west part, known as the North-Tibet Plateau, lies between Kunlun Mountain and Kangdese Mountain, and Tonglha Mountain and Nyainqentanglha Mountain. This part takes up 2/3 of the total area of Tibet. The south part of Tibet consists of valleys and lies between Kangdese Mountains and Himalayas. The east part is mainly made up of canyons and is marked by a gradual decline in altitude intercepted by small ranges called Henduan Ranges.
Population: 4.22 million
Urban Population: 1.22 million
Area: 7,266 sq km
Nationalities: Han, Hui, and She
History: a quiet market town before 1949 and has since expanded to become an industrial center
Climatic Features: subtropical humid monsoon climate with frost-free period of 245 days, 4 seasons clearly
Average Temperature: 15.7℃ annually
Rainfall: annual precipitation of 1000 mm
Rivers: the Cao Lake - one of the 5 famous fresh-water lakes in China, Feihe River - a branch of Huaihe River, Sili River; Ershili River and Banqian River
Products: paddy rice, wheat, legume, potato, cotton, flue-cured tobacco,
Best time to visit
The best time for traveling in Tibet is May and the period from middle August to October. The rest of the year is not suitable for touring activities because of harsh weather condition.
Major tourist regions
Tibet Autonomous Region has 7 districts under its jurisdiction, they are Lhasa, Shigatse, Chamdo, Lhokha (Shannan), Nyingchi, Nagri(Ali) and Nagqu.
Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to Tibet
- The only way to enter Tibet is to travel in a group. No individual travelers are allowed to travel to Tibet at the moment, at least before the Olympics. The minimum number of members in the group is 2 at the moment (Source: Tibet Tourism Bureau.). But we are not sure that whether the number will change to 3 or 4 in the near future or not.
- All members in a group have to be with the same nationality - owning a passport issued by the same country. This is mainly to avoid individual travelers from trying to join in a tour when arrive in Tibet (all travelers are required to travel in a group). However, China Highlights will work with our local travel agency and try our best to arrange a Permit for our customers, even they are holding passports of different countries.
- All tours must be booked in advance by a Chinese travel agency. Your whole tour within Tibet must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide.
- All hotels must be booked in advance. Not all hotels in Lhasa have the right permits to allow foreign travelers. All hotel reservations must be made at hotels that officially allow foreigners.
- Book the tour at least 15 days in advance. It normally takes 2-3 days to confirm the hotel bookings and about 10 days for the Tibet Tourism Bureau to issue you the Tibet permit. It would be wise to leave enough time to prepare for the trip in advance.
- All the members in a group are required to provide the following information to their travel agency: a), a copy of China Visa; b), a copy of your passport(must be clear and high resolution); c), full names; d),your birthday, ; e),your current profession; f),your nationality ; g), your gender. All the information must be true. Your travel agency will need to submit your information to Tibet Tourism Bureau who will strictly review before issuing the permits. Failure by one member to meet all the requirements will mean the whole tour group may be refused a permit.
- Some of the attractions in Tibet is still unavailable to foreign tourists. We have been informed that Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, Gandan Monastery in Lhasa, Samye Monastery in Shannan, Tibetan Family visits are now closed to foreign tourists.
Besides, you still need to be aware that to avoid any political issues and to respect Tibetan custom when you are traveling in Tibet, some of them are:
- Do not talk about sensitive topics like politics when in Tibet.
- Do not try to talk with some lamas about their lives and religions.
- Walk clockwise around the Barkhor Street, especially during the rush hour of pilgrimage from 9 am to 6 pm.
- Ask permission first before taking pictures of other people in the Barkhor areas. Sometimes they will ask you for money but most of time it is ok to give them a little gift.