According to the requirements of Chinese Embassy, you have to show your round trip air tickets in and out of China as well as hotel reservation proof to get the Chinese tourist visa approved. It’s not difficult for those tourists who enter and depart Tibet from China side, for example Chengdu-Lhasa-Chengdu, Beijing-Lhasa-Beijing, those tourists can just show the Chinese embassy their tours in Chengdu or Beijing, as well as their round trip air tickets leaving China from Chengdu or Beijing. In this way, visa will be 100% approved since you can show round trip air tickets and a regular China tour without Tibet part.
However, there are many tourists travel into Tibet from China side and join in a Tibet-Nepal overland tour, that is to say they will not go back to any Chinese city but continue by overland to Nepal via Zhangmu border. Then, how can those tourists get their Chinese visa approved since they cannot show Chinese embassy an air ticket out of China? Besides, if the Chinese embassy knows Tibet will be one of their trip destinations in China, the embassy will not issue the visa to them. Under this circumstance, generally there are two solutions, and they are shown below.
Write in the visa application form, you will leave China by overland (but not from Zhangmu border in Tibet), you can leave from Shenzhen Luohu Customs to Hongkong, Youyiguan Customs (Guangxi province) to Vietnam, Ruili Customs (Yunnan province) to Myanmar, Manchuria Customs (Inner Mongolia province) to Russia, Gongbei Customs (Guangdong province) to Macau.
Book fully refundable air ticket out of China, cancel the air ticket after the visa obtained. Many international air tickets leaving China is fully refundable if you book the first class air ticket. Though there will be a high advance from your bank account, yet you actually lose not a penny at all after cancellation.
For the above two solutions, we advise you to take solution two as it meets the visa application rules completely while sometimes the Chinese embassy just does not accept solution one.
Lastly, for the hotel reservation proof, we recommend you to book your hotel via www.booking.com which imposes no cancellation fee if you cancel your booking no less than 7 days before check-in date.