Tibet is known for iconic, picturesque sites including the highest mountains on earth, historical palaces and temples, and vast rolling grasslands. To visit as a foreigner, you’ll definitely need a Chinese tourist visa, a valid passport and, depending on the regions you’ll explore, may need to travel with a tour company who will obtain a Tibet Travel Permit (TTP) for you. Here’s what you need to know before entering Tibet.
All foreign visitors require a Chinese tourist visa, which you can obtain through a visa application process. Contact the Chinese Embassy in your country to get started. A Chinese visa is all that is required for travel in Kham and Amdo Tibet, where some of the most culturally authentic experiences (and few tourists) can be found.
You’ll need a Tibet Travel Permit (TTP) to visit sites including Everest, Lhasa and other quintessential destinations in Central Tibet, also known as the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
If you are visiting the TAR, the law also requires you to book a tour with a registered Tibet travel agency and to have a guide accompany you for the duration of your time there. Your tour company will process your TTP for you, as you can’t process it on your own.
You need to confirm your itinerary before your tour company can obtain your TTP, which can take up to four weeks to process.
Your tour agency will request a scanned copy of your passport and a scanned copy of your Chinese visa to process your TTP.
Mailing completed permits overseas is prohibited, so your Tibet travel agency will deliver the original permit (not a copy) to your hotel in China, or meet you at the airport with it, as you will need it to enter Tibet.
The original copy of your two-page permit will be checked in your departure city for Tibet, either at the train station or airport, and upon arrival in Lhasa.
Once you arrive in Tibet, your guide will assume responsibility for your TTP and will use it to check you into your hotel, to purchase tickets to tourist attractions and at checkpoints along your route.
Now that you know how to get a TTP, explore the regions of Tibet to determine what adventures call to you.
Contact us here at Extravagant Yak if you have any questions about getting your permit, what each region has to offer, and anything else you need answered while planning your trip to the Roof of the World.