Tibet Useful Facts
Flights and transfers
It takes approximately 15 hours to get an indirect flight from London to Tibet, which all fly in to the capital Lhasa from Chinese cities. Air China, China Southern and Sichuan Airlines all provide flights to Lhasa.
You will require a China visa in order to enter Tibet, which are usually easy to get from most Chinese embassies or visa centers. These visa centers will usually give you a 30 day single-entry tourist visa within three to five days, which are typically £30 for UK citizens. The visa application form features a lot of questions, including your travel itinerary and means of transport - be sure to include typical itinerary spots, for instance Beijing, and do not mention Tibet. You may need proof of your return flight and hotels and your passport must be valid for at least 6 months before.
The main language used in Tibet is Tibetan, which is closely related to Burmese, though many speak and understand Mandarin too. English is rarely understood unless in popular tourist hotels or restaurants.
Jeep – Though not the cheapest way to get around Tibet, taking a jeep is definitely a popular and convenient way to travel. Jeeps can seat four people and luggage quite comfortably and drivers will transport you for four or five days. Drivers also eat and sleep for free wherever you go. Write down your whole itinerary beforehand and never pay in advance, or there will be a possibility of being scammed.
Bicycle – Cycling is a popular means of travel with both Tibetans and foreigners. You’ll find yourself cycling various road qualities, from paved to rough dirt tracks, so be well prepared, and head to large cities in China or Lhasa to rent your bicycle.
Taxi – Taxis are available in most towns; including fixed-route passenger taxis that run between several cities, so this is a great way to travel between towns and a fairly cheap price.
The official currency for Tibet is Yuan renminbi, though US dollars are accepted. Credit cards are accepted in the main cities and some tourist spots, though it is best to take cash.
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Vaccination and Health
As health requirements change, book an appointment with your GP four to six weeks from travelling to find out if you need any vaccinations.
There is little expert health care outside of the capital, Lhasa, so take precautions and carry a medical kit for any minor emergencies.