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The Ultimate Guide on How to Plan a Tibet Winter Tour

Time: 23-08-2019 This Article is Composed by BudgetTibetTour

Traveling to Tibet in winter may seem counter-intuitive. In the eyes of most people, Tibet in winter must be lifeless and barren with heavy snow-covered and bone-chilling air shrouded. However, is Tibet winter so desolate as people imagine?

That is not the case! Opposite to the imagination of most people, Tibet is not very snowy and chilly in winter. Instead, most days of Tibet winter are sunny with blue sky and high visibility. It is only during the night when temperatures drop well below freezing. Tibet has too much to offer to its tourists in the winter months.

Tibet Winter
Tibet Winter

Part 1. Reasons for Traveling to Tibet in Winter

  • Superb natural scenery. Tibet winter has its unique charm. A lot of breathtaking natural sceneries are worth a visit, such as stunning alpine scenery, crystal lake, snow-capped mountains, and glacier.
  • Experience the authentic Tibetan culture. Many grand festivals like Tibetan New Year will be celebrated in winter months. At that time, you can join the locals to celebrate the festival and experience the real Tibetan culture.
  • Cheaper prices. For some travelers on a budget, traveling in winter makes their money go further. Flights, accommodations, attractions, and travel agencies offer them a big discount.
  • Fewer tourists. Wintertime is not the peak tourism time in Tibet, so there are not so many tourists compared to the summer months.

If you have decided to travel to Tibet, then you can start planning your trip. If you are not sure where to start, just utilize the following tips.

Part 2. Tibet Climate in Winter

Learning about weather forecasts before setting off is very important as it helps people prepare for how to dress, plan outdoor activities, know what sort of weather can be expected, etc. In this part, we will give you some details of Tibet winter climate.

With an altitude of 4500m above sea level, Tibet is considered the highest plateau in the world. The high-altitude makes Tibet a typical high - altitude plateau climate, which is characterized by small annual temperature ranges and a big difference of temperature between day and night. In this climate, Tibet is cold with a few snowfalls.

Suny Tibet in Winter  
Suny Tibet in Winter

In December, the temperatures drop well below freezing in most of Tibet. During the daytime, the weather is cool, dry and sunny in some low altitude areas such as Lhasa. The average daytime temperature of these places is around 8 °C (45 °F), while the average night temperature will plummet to around -9 °C (15 °F). Adequate sunshine in the daytime makes it pleasant for tourists to do some outdoor activities.

Tibet Climate in Winter - December
Region/weather Min Temp (℃) Max Temp (℃) Avg Temp (℃)
Lhasa -9.2 7.6 -0.8
Namtso Lake -19.3 -1.7 -10.5
Yamdrok Lake -17.5 1.1 -8.2
Shigatse -12.2 6.8 -2.7
EBC -15.4 1.8 -6.8
Mt. Kailash -14.4 -2 -8.2

January is one of the coldest months in winter. In January the night-time temperatures can drop to -9 °C (15 °F), and daytime temperatures often hover just below freezing. Strong wind is not unusual, nor is snow in some high-altitude areas.

Tibet Climate in Winter - January
Region/weather Min Temp (℃) Max Temp (℃) Avg Temp (℃)
Lhasa -10.2 -1.8 6.7
Namtso Lake -20.6 -11.8 -3
Yamdrok Lake -19.4 -9.9 -0.3
Shigatse -13 -3.7 5.6
EBC -16.5 -7.9 0.8
Mt. Kailash -15.6 -9.7 -3.8

February is still cold and dry. But compared with January, Tibet weather in February is milder. Temperatures in the daytime can reach over 7℃ and night temperature is around -10℃. It snows little in most of Tibet, while the strong wind is common. As the last month of winter, February becomes warm and the ice begins to melt. It would be a great time to visit Tibet.

Tibet Climate in Winter - February
Region/weather Min Temp (℃) Max Temp (℃) Avg Temp (℃)
Lhasa -10.2 -1.8 6.7
Namtso Lake -20.6 -11.8 -3
Yamdrok Lake -19.4 -9.9 -0.3
Shigatse -13 -3.7 5.6
EBC -16.5 -7.9 0.8
Mt. Kailash -15.6 -9.7 -3.8

Part 3. Advised Tibet Tours in Winter

Lhasa is an ideal place to visit when traveling to Tibet in winter. The temperature of Lhasa varies from -10°C to 10°C. It is warm during the day and cold at night. Don’t forget to bring some warm clothes. There are many attractions in Lhasa that are worth a visit, such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Drepung Monastery, Ganden Monastery, Sera Monastery, Barkhor Street, Norbulingka, etc.

Apart from Lhasa, our travel experts have picked out some of the most suitable and popular itineraries for Tibet winter tour, covering some of the hottest destinations like Yamdrok-Tso Lake, Shigatse, Everest Base Camp, Nyingchi, Kathmandu, etc. Notably, you can decide the departure time based on your needs.

Lhasa Holy City Tour Lhasa Holy City Tour >
Holy Lhasa plus Sky Lake Tour Holy Lhasa plus Sky Lake Tour >
7 Days Tibet Mt. Everest Base Camp Express Tour 7 Days Tibet Mt. Everest Base Camp Express Tour >
9 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour via Mt. Everest Base Camp plus Namtso Lake 9 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour via Mt. Everest Base Camp plus Namtso Lake >
Ganden to Samye, 10 days Ganden to Samye, 10 days >
11 Days Tibet Mt. Everest Base Camp Tour plus Nyingchi 11 Days Tibet Mt. Everest Base Camp Tour plus Nyingchi >

Part 4. Festivals in Winter Tibet

Festival is the best way for tourists to experience the authentic local culture. Tibet is no exception. In Tibet, there are various grand festivals, most of which are deeply connected with their belief. During the festival, all Tibetan people will wear traditional clothing to sing and dance. If you want to learn more about Tibetan festivals in winter, the following table might be helpful.

Tibetan Festivals in winter in 2019
Festivals Region Date Notes
Pal Lhamo Festival Lhasa Dec 12 Tibetan pilgrims would travel miles to have an audience the statue of the Frog-faced Palden Lhamo.
Ganden Ngacho Almost all Tibet Dec 21 the anniversary of the parinirvana and enlightenment of Je Tsongkhapa Lobsang Drakpa
Tibetan New Year Almost all Tibet Feb 5 Also known as Losar, is the most important festival on the Tibetan calendar.
Monlam Prayer Festival Lhasa Feb 9 Monks will assemble in Jokhang for prayer to Shakyamuni's image. Buddhists will also come to Jokhang to worship the Buddha and make kora around the Jokhang temple.
Labrang Monlam Festivals Amdo, Labrang Feb 17 The unveiling of a giant Thangka of Buddha

Tibetan New Year Celebration
Tibetan New Year Celebration

Part 5. Important Tips about Tibet Tour in Winter

To optimize your Tibet winter tour, we offer you 2 important travel tips.

  • Plan in advance. You’d better plan your Tibet winter tour at least 20 days before your departure. Usually, it takes 2-3 days to confirm hotels bookings, and about 10 days to apply for Tibet Entry Permit.
  • Keep healthy. Keep as healthy as you can before entering Tibet, as illness will make altitude illness worse. Try to sleep well, keep warm, and drink a lot of water in Tibet to reduce the symptoms of high-altitude sickness.
  • Needed Documents
  • Passport with visa: This is the most important document for international travelers. Double-check if your passport is valid before setting off.
  • Tibet Travel Permit: International tourists must obtain the Tibet Travel Permit before entering to Tibet, otherwise they will not be allowed to board flights or train to Tibet. This permit is issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau and you cannot apply it on your own or contact a local travel agency to help you arrange it.
  • Aliens Travel Permit: This permit is not required in Lhasa, but it is needed in Mount Kailash. Generally speaking, your tour guide will arrange it after your arrival at Tibet.
  • Military Area Entry Permit. The Local travel agency will apply for it on behalf you.

Part 6. What to Pack for Tibet Tour in Winter?

Winter Clothing in Tibet
Winter Clothing in Tibet

Deciding what to pack for your Tibet winter tour is never easy. Before setting off, it’s necessary for you to create a detailed packing list for your journey. If you have no idea how to pack for Tibet tour in winter, here are 5 useful packing strategies for your reference.

  • Documents: Passport, Chinese Visa or Chinese Tibet Group Visa, Tibet travel permit, printout itinerary with important addresses and contacts.
  • Gear: Day backpack, water bottle, flashlight, tripod, standby batteries, camera memory cards, toilet paper, towel.
  • Clothes: thermal underwear, warm jacket, sweater, jacket, windbreaker, a thick hat, warm gloves, comfortable hiking shoes, thermal socks, a scarf, etc.
  • Sun protection: Sunglasses, sunscreen, sunhat.
  • Medication: Ibuprofen sustained-release capsule (for headache), Diamox (for altitude illness), Diphenoxylate, Multi-Vitamins.
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Travelers' Questions Might Help

The questions raised by our past customers can help you get a more clear picture about tours to Tibet, read them or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

user portrait Ms. Ho*** from: When to get my Tibet permit

Hello, we are considering to travel in Tibet in summer. We are a family of 5, two adults and three kids, age 13(then), 10, 8. We are interested in the 10 days Mt. EBC & Namtso Lake Group tour. We are US citizens with valid 10-year Chinese multiple entry visa, which we have applied when we went to Beijing in 2019. We are currently living in South Korea.  


1. Are kids suitable (or even allowed) for this tour?  

2. If kids can join, are there any discount deals for kids?

Answered by Helen

Dear Ms. Ho***,

    Greetings from Helen at Budget Tibet Tour and welcome you to join our 10 days Mt. Everest & Namtso Lake group tour. For your questions: 1. Your kids are suitable for this tour. Travelling in Tibet is as safe for kids as it is for their parents. While the high Tibetan plateau may be the highest place on the planet, very often, the kids that visit this region are more adaptable and have fewer problems than their parents. We also have arranged wonderful Tibet tours for many families with kids such as a tour to EBC for a family with a 3-year-old son, a 9-year-old girl and a 11-year-old boy, they did have fun in Tibet and there is no problem for them. Or you can take some medicine under the guidance of doctor to prevent high altitude before enter Tibet. 2. If kids travel with you, we'll offer some discount for them, please check your email and find more detailed information. Thanks & Regards

Email to Helen about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

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