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We have collected some important questions that are frequently asked by travelers with exact answers to insure them get the right information about Tibet.


1. What documents do I need to visit Tibet?

To visit Tibet you should have a valid passport, a Chinese visa and a Tibet Travel Permit, also called a Tibet Entry Permit or Tibet Visa.


2. How do I obtain the Tibet Travel Permit?

To obtain Tibet Travel Permits, it is necessary to make your travel arrangements through a genuine local travel agency, providing clear scanned copies of your passport and China visa. Please note that it’s impossible to board any flights or trains to Tibet without the Travel Permit. The permits themselves specify every destination and all the towns that you would visit during the tour and cannot be changed once you have arrived in Tibet; therefore, be sure to detail all possible destinations as well as the route before you decide your trip. It usually takes 3 working days for the Tibet Travel Permit to be issued.


3. What are the easiest gateway cities to Tibet?

Flying from mainland China is the easiest way to get into Tibet. If you want to take the train to Tibet, Xining is the best option as the train from Xining lasts only 24hrs and affords all the best scenery.


3. How can enter Tibet from Kathmandu, Nepal?

There are two main ways to get into Tibet from Nepal, either through a direct flight from Kathmandu to Tibet or by an overland drive to Tibet. The overland drive poses a greater risk of getting altitude sickness due to the extreme increase in elevation along the way.


4. What currency is used in Tibet?

The Chinese yuan (CNY) is the currency used in Tibet. You can’t use other foreign currencies for shopping, but the Bank of China accepts credit cards. You can also withdraw cash from Bank of China ATM.


5. Can I withdraw cash from the local banks in Tibet?

Credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, JCB, Master and Visa are accepted at the local, large hotels and tourist stores. You also can withdraw cash from the Bank of China ATM machines found easily in Lhasa, Shigatse and Tsedang. Sometimes, the China Constructional Bank also works with these credit cards, but a $2-4 surcharge is applied for each transaction. Obviously, there will be no ATMs or banks in rural villages, so you'll need to carry some cash with you.


6. What documents are needed if we enter Tibet from Nepal?

If you plan to enter Tibet from Nepal, you must get the Tibet Group Visa from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu despite whether or not you already have a Chinese Visa. The Tibet Group Visa is an A4 size sheet of paper, with the name, sex, nationality, passport number, date of birth and occupation. The dates of entry and exit are precisely recorded. Usually, the visa is valid only for the length of the trip you have booked but it's possible to get the visa extended for additional days, for stays in Lhasa only. There will be two original copies of the Tibet Group Visa, one for immigration at the entry and one for the exit. We highly recommend if you enter Tibet via Nepal not to apply for an individual Chinese Visa in your country; when you arrive in Kathmandu, you will need to apply for the Group Visa to enter Tibet and the Chinese Embassy will cancel your individual Chinese Visa when you receive the Group Visa.


7. What are the causes of Acute Mountain Sickness?

Altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low air pressure (usually outdoors at high altitudes). It usually occurs around 3,000 meters above sea level. Cold temperatures, high fever and extreme fatigue can all lead to altitude sickness.


8. Is there any way to prevent the altitude sickness?

To prevent the occurrence of altitude sickness, visitors should have a proper rest and avoid strenuous activities days before you go to Tibet. After getting off the plane, you should try not to carry heavy things or run and avoid outdoor activities. Nifedipinum, Nuodikang Capsules and Suoluomabao Capsules (known as Hongjingtian Capsules in Chinese) may help some people prevent the occurrence of altitude sickness when they are taken three days before arrival to a highland. Note: Acetazolamide (Diamox) is a drug used to stimulate breathing and reduce mild symptoms of mountain sickness. This drug can cause increased urination, so when taking this medication, make sure you drink plenty of fluids and do not drink alcohol; if you don’t drink enough water, it may result in serious dehydration, which can worsen AMS.


9. What do I do if I get altitude sickness in Tibet?

Getting adequate rest and administering oxygen can help alleviate some of the symptoms of altitude sickness. The main form of treatment for all kinds of mountain sickness is to climb down (descend) to a lower altitude as rapidly and safely as possible. Extra oxygen should be given if available. If a patient does not show any sign of improvement after 3 to 4 hours, he/she should go to a hospital for treatment.


10. What are the meal options in Tibet?

In cities like Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, Nyintri, Tsedang and Zhangmu, you can easily find clean restaurants that serve continental, western, Indian, Nepalese, Tibetan and Chinese dishes. Chinese Cuisine and noodle restaurants can always be easily found in even some small towns during your trip.


11. What kinds of food can I find at EBC?

At EBC, there is no special restaurant and all the tent guesthouses have their own kitchen. They serve noodles, fried rice and some simple dishes to order. For breakfast, they can make pancakes and omelets. You can also get a cup of instant coffee for a higher cost.


12. What are the differences between standard hotels and budget guesthouses?

The major differences between hotels and budget guesthouses are that hotels are generally cleaner, have better services, private bathrooms, comfortable beds and furniture and include breakfast. Some high-end hotels provide free internet access and phone calls as well, but these hotels are only available in cities like Lhasa, Shigatse, etc.


13. What are tent guesthouses like in Tibet?

Tent guesthouses are available at EBC (Everest Base Camp). They are rectangular, black tents made of Yak wool with a few beds (2-5 beds). All beds are covered with Tibetan carpets and can be used as bench seat during the day. There are also small tables inside. In the middle, there is a Tibetan-style stove that keeps the whole tent warm by burning cow dung and wooden blocks. Solar cells are the only source of electricity and it is very hard to find a place to charge your electronic devices.

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