Fast Facts: Tibet

Below are some of the most common questions from our travelers.

Do I need a passport? What is required for entry?

In addition to the entry requirements for China, all visitors to Tibet must also obtain a free Tibet Travel Permit, issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB). You must apply through an authorized Tibet tour operator such as Friendly Planet. See the China National Tourist Office website for more information.

Booked on one of our packages with Scheduled Dates? We will obtain your Tibet Travel Permit. After you book and have received your Chinese travel visa, please send the following to so that we may process this permit: 1) a color scan or color photocopy of your Chinese travel visa; 2) a color scan or color photocopy of the photo page of your passport; 3) a color scan or color photocopy of a 2" x 2" passport-size photo; and 4) your occupation.

More information about passports & visas.

What is the weather like?

Tibet is situated on a high altitude plateau surrounded by tall mountains. These mountains catch the rainfall before it reaches the plateau, making most of Tibet a desert steppe, tundra or permafrost. Tibet has large temperature differentials between the day and night and for six months out of the year, it experiences frost.

Check out the current weather conditions in Tibet.

Are there any health precautions I should take?

According to the Center for Disease Control, there are no requirements for travel to Tibet. Some travelers may need to manage altitude sickness with various medications. Pack sunscreen as Ultraviolet rays get much stronger with increased altitude.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

What is the currency?

Tibet is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China therefore the currency is the Yuan. Please review the current exchange rate for the Yuan.

ATMs are not widely available and credit cards can only be used at some hotels in Tibet.

Are tips & service charges customary?

It is not customary to tip taxi drivers and restaurant staff in Tibet, but tipping is expected for a variety of other services in Tibet and is a great way to give back to the community. Tour guides, drivers, hotel staff and porters expect to be tipped; this is especially true if they have worked very hard to provide tourists with the best service possible. Many Tibetans use their income to support not just their immediate family, but often their extended family as well.

What are the best items to shop for?

The best shopping is often at public markets. Shop for Tibetan hats, jewelry (silver and gold), wooden items, clothing, quilts, fabrics, Tibetan rugs and carpets.

What are the voltage requirements?

220 volts. Plugs A, C & I. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit before your tour to China. View more information about electrical standards around the world.

Can I take my cell phone?

See our blog post on using your cell phone abroad.