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The foreign tourists must apply for a Tibet travel permit before entering to Lhasa by either train, overland or flight, and traveling around Tibet. Other permits like the Alien’s Travel Permit and the Military Permit are required to travel outside Lhasa if you are planning to visit the unopened areas, like Mt. Everest, Mt.Kailash, etc, which need to be approved by several government departments.
There are five main highways in Tibet, namely:
Sichuan-Tibet Highway – it runs between Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province, and Lhasa.
Qinghai-Tibet Highway – it runs between Xining, the capital city of Qinghai, to Lhasa.
Yunnan-Tibet Highway – it runs between Yunnan province and Tibet.
Xinjiang-Tibet Highway – it runs across boundless deserts, lofty and steep peaks.
Flying to Lhasa always requires a stopover in either China or Nepal. Lhasa Gonggar Airport is located about 98 kilometers (about 61 miles) to the south of Lhasa City. The only international flight to and from Tibet is between Lhasa and Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.
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The Gormo to Lhasa railway stretches for 1,142 kilometers (710 miles) and serves as a link between mainland China and Tibet
All baggage must be declared and cleared through the customs on arrival at the entry. Personal effects are permitted free entry. It is important to remember NOT to carry any material relating to free Tibet like for instance Dalai Lama books or flags, masks etc carrying such slogans
Spring in Tibet occurs around April and May. Due to melted snow and gentler temperatures, this is the most ideal season, but also the busiest time to visit. Tibet is usually closed to visitors in March, due to Tibetan New Year and the government’s fears of political occurrences. Winter falls in December and January. It is cold, but the skies are typically clear, and fewer tourists are seen.
From the moment you land in Lhasa, a city which stands 3,650 meters above sea level, many travelers will start experiencing mild symptoms of altitude sickness, including headaches, dizziness and shortness of breath. Your tour guide will ensure you climb gradually to the higher altitudes, so that by the time you reach Everest Base Camp at 5,150 meters you should be reasonably acclimatized.
Altitude sickness is something to take extremely seriously. Fitness is not a factor. Even the toughest mountaineers can die if they climb too high without giving their bodies time to adjust. Stay well hydrated, give yourself time to adjust to the altitude before embarking on any major hikes. Report any symptoms to your tour guide, and know what you’re getting into Tibet is the roof of the world, and the air is thin!
In most of the cities and towns in Tibet hotels and guest houses are available. Lhasa boasts of accommodation ranging from simple guest houses to four-star hotels. Shigatse, Gyantse, and Tsedang offer up to three-star hotels. While other smaller or remote areas, accommodation is available mainly in guest houses.
The unit of currency is Chinese Yuan. The Bank of China can exchange all foreign currencies. The banks in Tibet/China are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Travelers Cheques and credit cards are very difficult to be cashed outside the banks especially outside Lhasa. ATM facilities are easily available in Lhasa and Shigatse; however, it may be difficult to find one in other smaller towns or in remote places.
China Mobile coverage is available in some areas of Tibet, but there is no coverage in villages or remote places. Therefore, cell phones are not a reliable mode of communication. You can use telephones found in the post office, hotels, street booths, and shops.
However, with the exception of the major cities like Lhasa, Xigatse, Gyantse, Lhatse and Tsedang, communication facilities including telephone and postal services are absent in other parts of Tibet.
Internet cafes are available in Lhasa. Hotels in Lhasa like the Xigatse hotel also provides internet facility to its customers.