Most tourists like to visit Tibet from May to October, which is the high season. During that period, the temperature is warm, with lush prairies and verdant forests. However, winter is also an excellent time to travel to Tibet, and it is not as cold as you think it would be.
Tibet is located on a high-altitude plateau and surrounded by mountain ranges, which block the rainfall from reaching the plateau. That means most Tibetan areas are made up of the steppe, permafrost or tundra except the southeast regions. Although the weather varies a lot from a region to another, there is hard frost from November to April, and most of the lakes here will freeze throughout winter.
Weather in Winter
Winter in Tibet means cold, dry, with clear blue skies. Compared with summer, the oxygen content of the air is thinner, but you will have better visibility. With clear skies throughout the winter months, the blazing sun can make you feel almost in summer during the daytime. It’s a good time to take pictures, as clarity through the thinner air gets improved. If you want to get a perfect shot of Mount Everest or see the universe around you at a starry night, winter is an ideal time to go.
If you’re going to Tibet during the peak season, usually from July to August, you will meet the majority of the tourists from mainland China. The major spots like Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street will be crowded, so it’s hard to take any desired photo, enjoy a quiet afternoon with a cup of coffee, etc. The price of accommodation, vehicle, tour guide, the entrance fee will rise a lot. That’s why we recommend you to visit Tibet in winter, to experience the region without the crowds of tourists. And in Lhasa, Shigatse, Shannan, and Nyingchi, the temperature is not as cold as your imagination, about 10℃ ~ 15℃ in the daytime because of intensive sunlight, which is warmer than many places in northern China. However, in some high altitude places like Mt. Kailash, Lake Namtso, etc. will be covered with snow and ice with frost and the roads will get blocked due to the heavy snow. So you are not suggested to choose winter time to go to Tibet if you want to visit Northwest of Tibet and see the plateau lakes.
The main drop in temperature comes at night when it drops to well below freezing. And this can be countered by warm clothes, a good sleeping bag, and tent if camping, and even the luxury of a warm, cozy hotel. All of the hotels used in our Tibet Winter tours are of excellent quality and have working heating in all the rooms, so your stay is even more comfortable than ever. Whether you are staying in Lhasa in a nice hotel, or out in the middle of Tibet in a local tent guesthouse, you are guaranteed to be warm and comfortable wherever you go.
We have developed some of the best winter tours based on our expertise in Tibetan culture, scenery, and Buddhism. From the glorious scene of Butter Lamp festival in Lhasa, with lanterns lighten up in Ganden Monastery and on the streets of Lhasa, to the unique beauty of the monastic debates at Sera Monastery, we have got various tours to satisfy every need to show the best sides of Tibet. This unique experience for your winter tours will delight and amaze you.
If you want to spend several days in and around Lhasa, explore the unique sites of Jokhang Temple, Potala Palace, Sera, and Drepung monasteries, you may choose our four days Lhasa City Essential Group Tour. Or you may consider a more extended tour Lhasa to Everest Base Camp tour. We will take you across the region from Lhasa to Shigatse, which’s the second-largest city in Tibet; pass through the stunning Lake Yamdrok on the way; pay a visit to Everest Base Camp, where’s the closest place to touch the sky; and stand high above the surrounding of Himalayan Mountains.