The Tibetan Plateau is one of the highest and most extensive on earth. The average height of the land area of Tibet as a whole is around 4000 metres, and visitors to Tibet will spend considerable amounts of time at altitudes in excess of this figure. Above 4000 metres there are generally no trees, and the landscape of most of Tibet is, as a result, open and harsh in appearance. Typically, the scenery comprises rolling brown and orange hills, with a backdrop of distant snow-covered peaks, punctuated by occasional settlements where, with irrigation, it is possible each year to grow a single barley crop. The extent of the area known as Tibet had always been difficult to pin down, but with the coming of the Chinese, borders have been drawn up, and the so called TAR (Tibetan Autonomous Region) is now bounded to the north by the Chinese Provinces of Xinjiang and Quinghai, and to the east by Sichuan. Tibet shares its southern border with Nepal.
The time in Tibet is GMT +8 hours (Standard China Time).
The language of Tibet is Tibetan, which is spoken by 6 million people across the broader Tibetan Plateau. Your crew on the expedition will mostly be from Nepal. We do recommend that you take a pocket phrase book and learn some basics such as common greetings. Any attempt to speak the local language is usually warmly appreciated and is all part of the fun of adventure travel.
During the period from May to October, the weather in Tibet can be surprisingly mild, with warm, dry and sunny days and crisp cold nights. At the time of our trips to Tibet (May to October), night time temperatures at our highest camps, are likely to fall well below freezing. This high plateau-land experiences regular strong winds, especially in the afternoons, and dust storms are not uncommon. The influence of the monsoon brings a little rain to Tibet during July and August. At any time of the year it is possible to experience snowfall in Tibet.
Politically part of China, Tibet uses the Chinese Yuan Renminbi. Check the latest exchange rates at www.xe.com
It is not necessary to obtain local currency prior to departure. Sterling, US Dollars and Euros are equally acceptable for exchange in Kathmandu and in Lhasa. We recommend that you carry your travel money in the form of cash, since you will exchange the majority of this on the day of your arrival in Kathmandu and in Lhasa. If you prefer not to carry all of your spending money in cash, it is possible to withdraw money from ATMs in Kathmandu and Lhasa using your debit or credit card.
A valid passport (with at least 6 months remaining validity), together with a Visa for China are needed for this holiday. If you are entering Tibet from Beijing or Chengdu, a normal tourist visa for China is all that is required and you can apply for this in advance from the Chinese embassy in your home country.
If your chosen holiday enters Tibet from Nepal, we will make all the arrangements for your Chinese Visa since this must be done as a group for entry into Tibet from Nepal. In this case, we will include the cost of your Chinese visa on your final invoice. For Tibet holidays which enter from Nepal you will also need a multiple entry visa for Nepal which can be obtained on arrival in Kathmandu or in advance from the Nepalese embassy in your home country.
Please note that it is not permitted to enter Tibet from Nepal with an individual Chinese visa.
Please also note that the granting of visas to group members is entirely discretionary. Very occasionally the Chinese authorities have refused to grant a visa to a member of a group without giving any reason. Although this has never happened to a KE group, KE Adventure Travel cannot be held responsible if the Chinese authorities refuse to grant your visa for any reason. Up-to-date information on visa cost and visa application will be sent to you when we confirm your booking.
You should attend your own doctor and dentist for a check-up. Your doctor will have access to the most up to date information on the required vaccinations for the country you are visiting. In general we recommend vaccinations against the following: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis ‘A'. Malarial prophylaxis is not recommended for this trip unless you intend to visit the Terrai region of Nepal (such as during an extension to Chitwan National Park). A very good online resource is the National Health Travellers website at fitfortravel.nhs.uk
Additional Sources of Information
Trekking in Tibet. Gary McHugh.
The Tibet Guide. Stephen Batchelor.
Tresspassers on the Roof of the World. Peter Hopkirk.
Tibet and its History. Hugh Richardson.
A Cultural History of Tibet. Snellgrove/Richardson.
Abode of Snow. Kenneth Mason.
Seven Years in Tibet. Heinrich Harrer.
People in High Places. Audrey Salkeld.
Tibet Handbook. Victor Chan. (In depth guide to monasteries and religious sites)
To a Mountain in Tibet. Colin Thubron
The Trekkers Handbook. Tom Gilchrist.
It is possible to get hold of a reasonable map of the route from Lhasa to Kathmandu in Kathmandu.
Schneider Maps 1:50,000.
Jumla NH44-11 (Start of the Mount Kailas trip).