Traveling to Tibet is not easy but needs planning and help from the local travel agency, and while we at Explore Tibet can organize almost all the aspects of your Tibet tour. There is no exact time for being the best time to travel to Tibet. Tibet is a year-round holiday destination, and each of the different seasons has its appeal for travelers.
Tibet is situated at a high altitude, so most people prefer to travel when the weather is at its best, with warm temperatures, sunny skies, and clear views. Others want to travel for the fantastic trekking experience at the roof of the world. Some want to get away to somewhere peaceful and quiet, without the crowds of most peak-season holiday destinations. Whatever your reasons for traveling to Tibet, we have a season that will be perfect for you.
Seasons for Tibetan Travel
Tibet has a “closed” period of around 5-6 weeks in February and March. Apart from that, Tibet is an all-year destination, with many different features depending on the seasons. In spring and fall, take to the trails and trek around Mount Kailash. In summer, take in the pleasant scenery of the Lhasa River and the Lalu Wetlands, with their fantastic birdlife. In winter, view the stunning landscapes around Lake Yamdrok and tour Shigatse, the home of the Tashilhunpo Monastery, and even Mount Everest.
Travel in Spring
Spring in Tibet goes from April to the end of May, and while the season is short, it is one of the most delightful. While temperatures can be a little cold at night and early mornings, the daytime temperatures are comfortable and pleasant, and suitable for all types of travelers. Spring is the start of the tourist season in Tibet. It is best to book your Tibet tour in the early spring before it gets crowded.
Travel in Summer
Summer is also the monsoon season in Tibet, although the plateau does not see much rain. Tibet is only affected by the monsoon to a degree, mainly because of the shadow effect of the western Himalayas draining the bulk of the rains before the clouds cross onto the plateau. Summer temperatures are warm and very comfortable, and the air is richer with oxygen during July and August, making it easier to acclimatize. However, summer is also the peak season for tourism and can be crowded with tourists, especially Lhasa.
For the locals, it’s a picnic season. In Tibet, summer is short, so people often go out for picnics with friends and family. It is the best time to travel to Tibet.
Travel in Autumn
Like spring, autumn is one of the most pleasant seasons to travel to Tibet and has comfortable weather with almost no rain. With vast tracts of deciduous forests, the fall of the autumn leaves is a popular attraction, covering the ground with a carpet of fall colors. However, it can get a little cold at night, reaching temperatures of around freezing.
The vast grasslands turn yellowish and rare birds start to fly back to the warmer place. It is pretty windy and dry as well.
Travel in Winter
Contrary to popular opinion, you can visit Tibet in winter, from December to January. However, February and March are closed months in Tibet for the Tibetan New year or Losar. Winter in Tibet is not as cold as you might think. Though temperatures at night can reach as low as minus 35 degrees in the most remote and inhospitable regions overnight, daytimes in Lhasa, Shigatse, Ngari, and Nyingchi can be pleasantly warm thanks to the thinner atmosphere allowing the sun to shine stronger.
It is the best time for budget travelers to travel to Tibet because all the hotels and Tibet tour packages will drop the price. The most popular destinations in Tibet will be less crowded, and you have a pleasant tour.
Best Time for the Major Attractions
While the winter can often see snow in the west of Tibet, it is pretty rare to see a massive accumulation of snowfall. Travel to Everest is easily possible from December to mid-February. Clear skies are the best time t visit, Everest, to get a great view of the summit of the World’s Highest Mountain, and the best months for that are April to May and October to mid-February. Spring and summer also see clearer skies, with plenty of chances to view the mountain or trek from Old Tingri to the base camp itself. Summer is monsoon time, and while it may not rain much, there is a higher likelihood of cloud cover over the peak.
The three-day trek around Mount Kailash is one of the most popular treks in Tibet, and as high-altitude trekking goes, it is the most spiritual. In the Ngari Prefecture, Mount Kailash is the world’s holiest mountain and is considered to be sacred in four religions. It is best to do this trek or visit the mountain in the spring and autumn when the weather is most apparent, and there is no rain. The tour takes you to very high altitudes, so good weather is essential. It also avoids the time of the principal Hindu pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, which can see thousands of pilgrims making the trek around the mountain.
There is no best time to visit Lhasa, as the city is open for tourism throughout the year (except Losar). However, if you are not a fan of trying to cram through the temples and monasteries with thousands of people, it is best to avoid Lhasa from July to mid-October. Summer is the busiest period for tourism in Tibet, and Lhasa is the most popular tourist place. Known as the City of Sunlight, it is a bright and cheerful city, filled with excellent sites and unforgettable, unique people.
Peak season sees hundreds of thousands of Chinese tourists heading for the plateau, and the city can be very crowded. The first week of October is also a busy time in Lhasa and Tibet and should be avoided. This week is known as National Day week in China, and it is a time when all Chinese have their annual holidays, with many traveling to Tibet for the week for their tours.
Tibet offers some of the most fabulous and incredible landscapes and scenery that this lovely planet has to offer, and much of the region is still an unspoiled paradise just waiting for visitors. And while Tibetan Buddhism provides you the path to a higher plane of existence, Tibet itself gives you the chance to reach a higher plane of reality on the vast Tibetan Plateau.