Tibet is a magnificent region with a unique culture and breathtaking landscapes. Traveling to Tibet can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but when to go to Tibet? Due to its unique location and high altitude, planning a trip to Tibet requires careful consideration of the weather and climate conditions. In this article, we will help you choose the best time to visit Tibet based on your preferences and travel plans.
Tibet is a region in China that is located on the Tibetan Plateau, which is the highest and largest plateau in the world. The climate and weather in Tibet are greatly influenced by its high altitude and geographic location.
|Features||Climate and Weather Description|
|Altitude||High altitude with an average elevation above 4,000 meters|
|Seasons||Four distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter|
|Temperature||Cold and dry, large day and night temperature difference|
|Rainfall||Low annual precipitation with most rainfall occurring from June to August, with the rest of the year being relatively dry.|
|Snowfall||Heavy snowfall during winter months, particularly in mountainous areas|
|Wind||Strong winds, especially during the winter months|
|Sunlight||High altitude and clear skies provide intense sunlight, but with strong UV radiation|
The best time to visit Tibet largely depends on your travel preferences and the purpose of your visit. However, generally speaking, the best time to visit Tibet is from April to October, offering perfect a blend of mild weather and cultural festival.
Tibet in Spring ((April to May)
Spring is one of the best times to visit Tibet if you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy moderate temperatures, with temperatures ranging from 5°C to 19°C. During this time, the snow begins to melt, and the flowers start to bloom, making it an ideal time for trekking and sightseeing. (Please note: Tibet is usually closed to visitors in March for Tibetan New Year)
Tibet in Summer (June to August)
In summer, the weather is warm during the day and cool at night, with temperatures ranging from 12°C to 24°C. The lush vegetation and the highest oxygen content, make it a lower risk to suffer altitude sickness. However, it is important to note that the summer season may have also occasional rain and thunderstorms.
Tibet in Autumn (September to November)
Autumn is considered one of the best times to visit Tibet, with clear skies, stunning views of the Himalayas, and comfortable temperatures ranging from 7°C to 20°C. The autumn colors add to the beauty of the landscape, making it a good time to hike and trek in Tibet. Additionally, the clear skies provide an excellent opportunity for photography enthusiasts to capture the majestic mountain peaks without the obstruction of clouds.
Tibet in Winter (December to February)
Winter is the coldest season in Tibet, with temperatures ranging from -5°C to 11°C. Although the weather is cold and dry, the skies are often clear, providing the clearest snow-capped mountains and the most colorful rivers. However, some attractions may be closed due to heavy snowfall, and travel to remote areas can be challenging.
High Season (May-Sep)
The warmest weather makes travel, trekking and transport easiest. Prices are at their highest peaking in July and August as summer holiday comes, and it is recommended to book ahead during the 1 May and 1 October national holidays.
Shoulder (Apr, Oct–Nov)
The slightly colder weather means fewer travelers and a chance to explore in-depth and meet the locals. Prices are cheaper than during the high season.
Low Season (Dec–Feb)
Very few people visit Tibet in winter, so you’ll have the place largely to yourself. Hotel prices and many entry tickets are discounted, but some restaurants close due to the lack of tourists.
For trekking enthusiasts, the best time to visit Tibet is from Spring (April to June) and Autumn (September to October). During these months, the weather is favorable, with comfortable temperatures and clear skies, providing excellent conditions for trekking and stunning views of the Himalayas. But if you just trek around Lhasa city or Shigatse, such as Ganden Monastery Trekking, then winter is fine.
The best times to visit Mount Everest in Tibet are April, May and early June as well as late September to early December. During these periods, the weather is stable, offering the clearest views across Mount Everest. The views of Mount Everest and the surrounding peaks are also at their most spectacular during these times.
Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, is called "The City of Sunshine" for its more than 3,000 hours of sunshine annually. With an altitude of 3,650 meters, lower than much of western and northern Tibet, it is a great place to visit all around the year. You can discover sacred temples and ancient monasteries any time of the year. July and August are good months for experiencing Tibetan culture and festivals. Spring and autumn are better for trekking because of clearer skies and less rainfall. Winter is also a great time for budget travelers because of widely available discounts.
Tibetan culture is rich in traditions and festivals, and the best time to experience them is during the peak tourist season from April to October. There are several big festivals held in August meanwhile, such as Shoton Festival, Nagqu Horse Racing Festival, Ganden Thangka Festival, etc. However, visitors should be prepared for large crowds.
Some of the most significant festivals in Tibet include:
Saga Dawa Festival: This important Buddhist festival takes place in May or June and celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and passing of Buddha. The festival is marked by pilgrimages, prayers, and various religious activities.
Shoton Festival: Held in August or September, the Shoton Festival is a week-long celebration that features Tibetan opera performances, traditional music and dance, and the unveiling of a giant Thangka (Buddhist painting) at the Drepung Monastery.
Tibetan Horse Racing Festival: Taking place in July or August, this festival showcases the skill and agility of Tibetan horse riders, as well as traditional dancing and singing performances.
Ganden Thangka Festival: This festival is celebrated in August and is known for the unveiling of a giant thangka at Ganden Monastery.
Bathing Festival: This festival is celebrated in August or September and involves locals and pilgrims taking ritual baths in rivers or lakes to purify themselves.
Note: Festival dates are calculated using the Tibetan lunar calendar, and as a result corresponds to different dates in each year.
Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar are two of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in Tibet. The best time for a Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra (pilgrimage) and Kora (circumambulation) is generally from May to June and September to mid-October when the weather is favorable and the roads are accessible. During these months, the temperatures are comfortable for trekking, and the sacred sites are open for pilgrims and tourists alike.
The best time for photography in Tibet is during the clear and stable weather from March to October. In March, peach blossoms are in full bloom, while the end of May is the season for rhododendrons. July and August is the best time for both nature photography and humanities photography. The autumn months of September and October are especially ideal, as the golden hues of the landscape and the clear views of the Himalayas create a breathtaking backdrop for photographers.
|Spring (Apr-May)||long-sleeve shirts, light sweater or fleece,warm coat or down jacket, long pants, waterproof and windproof jacket, hat, gloves, and scarf, comfortable, sturdy shoes or hiking boots.||Sunglasses
Extra memory cards
Personal hygiene items
|Summer (Jun-Aug)||short-sleeve shirts, long-sleeve shirts for sun protection and cooler evenings, light sweater or fleece, light waterproof and windproof jacket, long pants and shorts, hat, gloves, and scarf (for higher altitudes), comfortable, sturdy shoes or hiking boots|
|Autumn (Sep-Nov)||long-sleeve shirts, warm sweater or fleece, warm coat or down jacket, long pants, waterproof and windproof jacket, hat, gloves, and scarf, comfortable, sturdy shoes or hiking boots|
|Winter (Dec-Feb)||Thermal or woolen base layers, warm long-sleeve shirts, heavy sweater or fleece, warm coat or down jacket, long pants and thermal or woolen leggings, waterproof and windproof jacket and pants, hat, gloves, and scarf, warm, comfortable, sturdy shoes or hiking boots.|
If you're a first-time visitor to Tibet, we recommend spending 8 to 15 days exploring this region. This will give you enough time to acclimate to the high altitude, as well as to visit some of the most important cultural and natural sites in the area.
Tour Lhasa city and surroundings 4 Days or 5 Days
For 4 days, it is highly recommended to visit Lhasa Private Tour for Best Highlights
For 5 days, it is highly recommended to visit Lhasa Essence Tour with Great Three Monasteries
Add 2 or 3 More Days to Visit Gyantse & Shigatse
For 5 days, it is highly recommended to visit Lhasa & Yamdrok Lake Private Tour
For 6 days, it is highly recommended to visit Lhasa Yamdrok Lake Shigatse Private Tour
Add 2 More Days to Mount Everest
For 7 days, it is highly recommended to visit Tibet Nepal Overland Tour from Lhasa to Gyirong via EBC
For 8 days, it is highly recommended to visit Tibet Discovery Tour from Lhasa to Mount Everest Base Camp
To extend further, you can cover Mount Kailash (3 Days), Guge Kingdom & Zanda Earth Forest (1 Day), Namtso Lake (1 Day), etc.
9 Days Panorama Tibet Tour from Lhasa to EBC with Namtso Lake
15 Days Mount Kailash Pilgrimage Tour with Lhasa Shigatse & EBC
Local based in Lhasa and Tibet for over 10 years, our local team at Asia Odyssey Travel has carefully designed Tibet tours that offer a truly authentic and unforgettable experience. You can choose to travel in the comfort of a Tibet Private Tour with a flexible itinerary, or join a Tibet Group Tour that's budget-friendly without compromising on quality. Whatever your preference, Asia Odyssey Travel has a tour that caters to your needs and desires, ensuring that your journey to Tibet is an unforgettable adventure.
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