Brief Introduction To Tibet Autonomous Region (2009.03.10)
Geographic Conditions: Tibet -- Xizang -- is its Chinese name -- is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China and covers 1.07 million sq. km. (500,000 sq. mi.) in China's southwest corner. Nepal, Myanmar, India and Bhutan cluster along its southern border. Most of Tibet consists of high-altitude plateaus and mountain wilderness, which is how it has earned the name of the Roof of the World.
Lhasa, the "City of Sun," is nestled high in the Gyi Qu Valley and is blessed with seasonally mild and humid weather from monsoons in India 160 km.(100 mi.) to the south. Tibetan winters, as might be supposed, are fiercely cold. But for half the year, strong sunlight warms the thin air, making most days in Lhasa comfortably mild and, owing to protective mountains, relatively windless. Summer temperatures hover above 30'C (high-80s F) and only to drop to a searing -23'C (-10'F) in midwinter. The best time to visit is from late spring to early fall.
Health Considerations for Visitors: No matter when to visit Tibet, however, the 3,600-m.(12,000-ft) altitude of the Lhasa Valley will be a factor to consider, even if you live year-round in the Rocky Mountains or Switzerland. For the first few days, at least, the ubiquitous green canvas oxygen bags will be constant-and most welcome companions. Any form of over-exertion (such as running or strenuous climbing) is patently dangerous, with even the fittest specimens courting dehydration and pulmonary strain.
Most visitors will feel some form of mild discomfort-usually some combination of headache, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, or insomnia. Lots of rest and aspirin are the best remedies, although extreme symptoms may signal the onset of more serious forms of altitude sickness. In these cases, a physician should be consulted at once. The best cure in most cases may be an immediate return to a level ground. Smoking and drinking will only exacerbate the discomfort.
Prior to 1980, the Chinese required rigorous physical exams of all passengers prior to boarding their flight to Lhasa. Since then, however, this requirement has been waived for many groups. But visitors with high blood pressure, or any respiratory or heart ailments, are advised to attend to the risks and reconsider their travel plans.
Tibet is beautiful. Until 1950, no cars or trucks or carts were permitted to traverse the few dirt roads for fear that their wheels would scar the earth and thereby release evil spirits. No pollution mars the magnificent, jagged mountain peaks or darken the deep, clear lakes.
Tibet in History: Tibet also has a mystical charm. The atmosphere of fatalistic serenity and powerful beliefs in evil spirits stemmed in part from Lamaism, an ancient sect of Tantric Indian Buddhism, coupled with Tibetan Shamanism, which held sway every aspect of Tibetan life from the 7th century until political reforms begun in 1959. Albeit most of the monasteries and temples are now officially designated as historical monuments, hundreds come to worship daily, with large throngs still appearing on religious holidays.
Tibet's entire history is marked by intense preoccupation with religion, and by sporadic political autonomy through the centuries. Briefly conquered by the Mongols when they ruled China (1279-1368), the region came under Manchu control in the 18th century.
Before the Democratic Reform of 1959 Tibet had long been a society of feudal serfdom under the despotic religion-political rule of lamas and nobles. Although they accounted for less than 5 percent of Tibet's population, they owned all of Tibet's farmland, pastures, forests, mountains and rivers as well as most livestock. Serfs made up 90 percent of old Tibet's population.
The central people's government and the local government of Tibet signed in 1951 the 17-Article Agreement on measures for the peaceful liberation of Tibet, and Tibet was peacefully liberated. This brought hope to the Tibetan people in their struggle for equal personal rights. After the quelling of the armed rebellion in 1959, the central people's government, in compliance with the wishes of the Tibetan people, conducted the democratic reform in Tibet and abolished the extremely decadent and dark feudal serfdom. The million serfs and slaves were emancipated. From that time on they won the right to personal freedom. This was a great, epoch-making change in Tibetan history. The Tibetan laboring people began to enjoy the right to subsistence, along with adequate food and clothing.
Freedom of Religious Belief: The majority of Tibetans believe in Tibetan Buddhism. There are also about 2,000 Muslims and 600 Catholics in the autonomous region. Respect for and protection of freedom of religious belief is a basic policy of the Chinese government. Protected by the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and laws, the Tibetan people now enjoy full freedom to participate in normal religious activities.
There are two main documents required for foreign tourists who want to travel in Tibet.
Firstly, please be noted that Chinese visa and Tibet permit is two things totally different.
To enter Tibet, or any part of China excepting Hong Kong and Macao (Visitors to Hong Kong, holding passports from the some countries DO NOT need a visa when staying for a specified free period), a Chinese visa is necessary. It may be best to obtain it before leaving your home country unless you are taking a package tour to enter Tibet overland from Nepal.
The first rule when applying for a visa as an independent traveler is to expect that you will be refused a visa if you mention plans to visit Tibet. There is a trick that when you apply for the Chinese visa, you can't tell the officer that you have the plan for traveling to Tibet; you can only inform them you want to travel to somewhere else of China. Or else the application would become complicated and arduous.
Keep in mind
1. When entering China it is best to have a visa covering the expected duration of stay. Getting extensions inside China can involve delays and other difficulties.
2. You need to apply for a double- or multiple entry visa when you need to leave and re-enter mainland China. Please note that, even when you leave for Hong Kong or Macao from mainland China, you still need to have a double- or multiple entry visas.
Travel to Tibet through Nepal
If you entry Tibet from Kathmandu, Nepal, you are required to obtain a Chinese visa in the consulate of P.R China in Kathmandu, the opening time for the Consulate of P.R China in Kathmandu is only available from 9:30AM-11:00AM on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Please note this visa application is compulsory despite you have already had a Chinese visa in your country or not since this is regulated by the border treaty signed between Nepal and China.
The Chinese visa you get in Kathmandu is a "group visa". A "group visa" is not entered in travelers' passports but is a separate sheet of paper issued in duplicate by the Chinese consulate in Katmandu, listing all members of the group. It usually allows a stay of 15 or 20 days. A "group" may be any number of travelers, and may be just one traveler. One or more travelers entering Tibet together with others may wish to have their own separate group visa so they are able to separate from the others. Obtaining a group visa requires at least two clear days in Katmandu.
Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) Permit
Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) Permits are necessary for entry to Lhasa or any other part of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, and are obtained through tour operators as part of arrangements for travel; A T.T.B. permit does not obviate the need for an Aliens' Travel Permit for any closed areas that may be visited. But you can get them easily from our Lhasa office.
Important Issues about Tibet Travel Permit
1. All kinds of people can get Tibet permit through a travel agency except diplomats, journalists, and government officials who should travel to Tibet under the arrangement by the Foreign Affairs Office of Tibet Government.
2. After having a permit, a travel agency could buy you the air tickets, and you can pass the check-in at the airport and the check point reroute with the permit.
3.You are not allowed to bring with the TTB permit and travel to anywhere outside of Lhasa city you want because except Lhasa you need another permit named as "Aliens' Permit".
4. Generally it needs three days to get the Tibet permit if you could supply the full necessary documents.
Aliens' Travel Permits (PSB's)
These are required to visit closed areas - much of the Tibetan Autonomous Region outside the Lhasa prefecture-level district, and scattered counties elsewhere. They are usually only obtainable through tour operators, for tours by four-wheel-drive car.
Permits to visit places that are not declared open are known as Aliens' Travel Permits, or PSB's. They are issued by the police (Public Security Bureau, "PSB"). A single permit is normally issued to all the people who are traveling together, the permit naming just one of them and stating how many others are accompanying him; the passports, or at least photocopies of passports and visas, of all persons traveling must be presented in order to obtain a permit.
If you want to do an overland tour from Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai or Xinjiang province to Tibet, you must got the PSB permit before your tour starts.
1.Generally it takes three days to get the Tibet permit if you could supply the full necessary documents. After having a permit, a travel agency could buy you the air tickets, and you can pass the check-in at the airport.
2.The following details of the travelers are required for Permit: name, nationality, passport number, sex, date of birth and occupation.
3.if you do not book any tour(Like Land cruiser with driver ,guide ) from us, we can not help you get the permits. No travel agency can provide "permit-only" service.
4.Only the guide could hold the permit after you in Tibet. You are not allowed to bring with it and travel to anywhere you want because except Lhasa you need another permit named as "Aliens?ˉ Permit". Otherwise if you are stopped by the police you will be sent out of Tibet or have trouble politically and economically. Furthermore, the travel agency which helped to get you the permit will also be in trouble.
5.When you apply for China visa, please do not mention Tibet. After you get China visa you can easily get Tibet permit. Otherwise you have to wait for Tibet permit and then you can get China visa. Of course you will face the risk of that you might be refused to come to Tibet even if you get China visa but your destination is Tibet.