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Tibet tour in winter

Serving international tourists for nearly 20 years, Budget Tibet Tour has come across many clients who frequently asked the following questions when they plan to travel to Tibet in winter:

  • Is Tibet too cold to visit in winter?
  • What can we visit in winter?
  • How to prepare correctly for a winter trip?

We would therefore like to provide some useful tips below:

Winter in Tibet is from middle October to February. In our opinion, winter is the second best time for visit (after the period April to June), for reasons of climate, expense and activities.

Potala Palace in November

At more than 4000 meters, most of Tibet lies on a high-altitude desert plateau.Temperature is cool during daytime and often cold at night. In Lhasa and Shigaste, temperatures are still pleasant in November and December during the daytime, but cold in the higher elevations of the North and West and also at Everest Base Camp. In January temperatures are starting to get really cold and some high passes even start to close. But there is still surprisingly little snow in the Land of Snows, thanks to the Himalayan Rain Shadow. January and February (the depths of winter) are very cold but still sunny and not a bad time to visit Lhasa and Central Tibet. Surprisingly, the day-time (10AM to 5PM) temperature in Lhasa could even be higher than those cities in the same dimension thanks to its sunny weather.  

Yamdrok Lake in winter

The colder weather means fewer travelers and therefore a better range of vehicles. Prices are obviously cheaper than during high season (June to early October).Not many tourists visit Tibet in winter, so you’ll have the place largely to yourself. Air ticket and hotel prices are discounted by up to 50%, but most hotels then do not provide breakfast.Your guide will take you to restaurants for meals. Discount on entrance fees or even free tickets for some places from the government support are another attraction to go.

What you can get when you travel to Tibet in winter?

Plenty of sunshine in Lhasa. Sightseeing recommendations are Potala Palace, Barkhor Street and Jokhang Temple Square with farmers and nomads back for winter break which is the most busy time for pilgrimage and traditional festivals.

Barkchor Street in winter

Recommended Tour 4 Days Lhasa Holy Landmarks Express from $385

Snow Mountains will be another surprise to watch in winter, because it is the best time to get a full view of the mountains without thick clouds or random rain, especially Mt. Nangabawa, Mt. Everest and Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains. The view of Mount Everest in the early morning with the first rays of sunshine is an unforgettable experience.

Tibet Everest Base Camp in winter

Recommended Tour 8 Days Tibet Mt. Everest Base Camp Group Tour from $730

Starry Skies is another highlight:  the stunning buildings and statues in the Himalayan Mountains, Namsto Lakeside and Seng-ge Kambab in Nagri, captured in beautiful images by the Tibetan night sky.

  Mt. Namchabawa in winter

Almost nothing is better than hot springs to warm you up during a cold winter in Tibet. Yangpachen Hot Springs, Dezhong Medicinal Hot Springs and Qiusang Hot Springs are said to be effective for curing bodily ailments. Tibetan families from many villages are often seen camping here with a week’s supply of food and other necessities for their daily dip in the bubbling hot water. For tourists, the hot spring experience is not complete without local refreshments such as Chang-barley wine and the local delicacy Tsamba.

Hotspring in Tibet

Winter is also the safest time to visit a Glacier. Located in the junction of Nanggarze County and Gyangze County, Karola Glacier is the closest to a highway and therefor easy to reach when traveling from Gyantze. Rongbuk Glacier will be harder to approach due to the need of a mountain climbing permit and a 3-4 hours hike from the Everest Climbing Base Camp. If you enter Tibet by 318 National Road from Chengdu, Midui Glacier is an attractive option.

Karola Glacier in Tibet

Recommended Tour 6 Days Exploration of Legendary Ancient Cities from $660

For avid birdwatchers:Bird-watching in Lhasa with Bar-Head Goose, Tadorna Ferruginea, Black-Headed Gull etc.From January to March in Lalu Wetland, Zongjiao Lukang Park, Lhasa River and Lhundrub County, best times 2 hours after sunrise and 2 hours


Firstly you need to  inquiry us to confirm a travel date, normally at least a month before you come to Tibet, earlier is better as more flexible to confirm a departure date to open a new group tour. Then send the trip adviser your passport and China visa (L type visa, if other visa type need to provide some extra files which the trip adviser will ask from you) copies for  Tibet TravelPermit  application. Then you can ask for tour contract from us, and book the flights or train tickets.

Tibet Travel Permit

How to prepare correctly for a winter trip?

Bring a down and feather coat/ winter jacket (better in red color for photography in snow time) is necessary year-around, as Everest or Namsto Lake place will reach minus 5-12 degree, Sunglasses and sun hat will be needed too, moist lip protectors, sun cream, neckerchief, any necessary stuff for you to prevent over-exposure to intensive sunshine and snow blindness. No need to bring sleeping bag as Lhasa and Shigaste have good range of accommodation, only one night in Everest Base is limited up, but it is warm inside with stove and yak blanket, for hygiene, you can bring a thin bed bag. Suite case or backpack both would be ok, most time you will leave the stuff in hotel or vehicle, and bring a small bag with you to contain passport, cash or other important stuff. Even for trekking tour, your luggage will be taken care of well in the hostel. Take anti-altitude sickness medicine is necessary too, such as Diamox, Rhodiola rosea(Hong Jingtian), of course you can buy them easily in Lhasa.

Then you can just wait the permit to deliver to your hotel or be sent to airport, if take train just need the permit copies which will be sent to your email in advance. You can fly to Tibet to enjoy your unforgettable  Tibet Tour  in winter then.

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 please contract us, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

Mr. Mo*** from: Travelers' Questions Might Help
November 02, 2019 22:35

I'm interested in the 14 day trip from Lhasa to Nepal trip. In in January or February would be great. how much would that be? is there space?

best regards Mo***

Answered by Nancy
November 03, 2019 03:36

Dear Mo***,

Greetings from Nancy at Budget Tibet Tour, thanks for visiting our website and sending your inquiry. Sorry we do not have any group tour in Jan or Feb to Kailash as there will be heavy snow and the road will be blocked, and also the area would be closed, and no one do the business there, no hotel, no restaurants there. So from Nov to March we would not send any groups there.
If you would like to do this tour, you must plan it from April to Oct. and at present we have the group tour in next 6th May and 29th May, and we will have more available date in future. if you are interested in joining in this, please kindly let me know. Best regards.

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