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Dos and Don'ts

When you travel in Tibet, you'd better keep the following local customs and etiquette in mind so that you would not to offend the locals and have a pleasant journey.

Local Customs in Tibet to Keep in Mind

Some of the local customs in Tibet include, along with other dos and don’ts when traveling to Tibet:

  • Unless you are invited as a guest to a tent or house, you are to remember not to step on the threshold of the door. When calling someone, you will add "La" behind his or her name to show respect. When you are asked by the host to take a seat, you should sit cross-legged and don't stretch your legs with your feet pointing to the other. If someone gives you gifts, you should receive with both hands. When presenting gifts to someone, you'll bend your waist and lift up the gifts in both hands over your head to show respect. When you are offering tea, wine and cigarettes to someone, you are to offer them with both hands and don't let your finger into the cup.
  • When the host proposes a toast, the guest should use the tip of his ring finger to dip a little to sprinkle in the air, mid-air and to the ground for three times as a sign of offer to heaven, earth and ancestors. After that, you should take a sip of wine, the host will refill it, you take another sip and your host will refill it the second time. A succession of this action will be repeated for three times till you are asked to bottom up the whole glass.
  • Tibetans don't eat horse, dog and donkey, in some areas not even fish. We should respect their tradition.
  • Don't clap your hand or spit behind Tibetans, for these behaviors will be considered extremely impolite.
  • Drawing out tongues and both palms cupping together are signs of respect.
  • When paying a visit to a temple or a monastery don't smoke inside or touch the images and the religious equipments and don't take pictures inside a temple or monastery. Remember to walk around a temple in clockwise with the exception of Bon monasteries.
  • At encounters of wayside stupas, temples, Mani stone piles etc, you must walk around them in clockwise with the exception of the Bon followers who go anti-clockwise.
  • Vultures are considered holy birds in Tibetan people's hearts so don't drive them away and hurt them. If you see certain yaks or sheep with red, green or yellow ribbons, don't disturb them.

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.

Ms. Pa*** from: Can I apply for the Chinese Group Visa if I travel only by myself alone?
October 16, 2019 12:26

I want to take the train from Lanzhou to Lhasa on the 12th of Nov. 2019 and need a permit for Tibet. I want to spend 5-6 days in Lhasa. I need to book a train ticket and accommodation I am a U.S. citizen and a solo traveler. My 4th time to China.

Please help!! I have had no success with other tour agencies.

Answered by Nancy
October 17, 2019 02:03

Dear Ms. Pa***,

Thanks very much for your inquiry. From your travel time, here we recommend one 6 days Exploration of Legendary Ancient Cities group tour to you, and we currently have one departure date on 14th of November. Taking train from Lanzhou to Lhasa will cost you about 24 hours, and we are happy to help you book train ticket. Please kindly note that there is no "permit-only" or "accommodation-only" service, foreign tourists are not allowed to travel Tibet alone, you have to book a pre-organized tour including guide, car, and hotel as well. As you are only one person, joining a group tour is the most economical way. We will prepare guide, car, accommodation, Tibet permit for you. Applying for Tibet Permit requires copy of your passport and Chinese visa, and it usually takes about 15-20 days, if you want to join our tour, please send copy of your passport and visa to us quickly. I will send detailed itinerary to your email, please check it. Best regards.

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

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