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Geography of Tibet

What exactly does the term "Tibet cover"? How to enter Tibet? What should I expect?


Map of Tibet

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Tibet is traditionally divided in 3 regionsCentral Tibet, Amdo and Kham.

This division is before all cultural . Each region is populated by women and men with their own dialect and customs, even though they all consider themselves Tibetans.  

The scenery also varies by region, although it is beautiful everywhere in our opinion.
Finally, the administrative formalities to enter each region are not the same (see our practical guide).

How to enter Tibet?

It all depends on the region you want to visit.  ​

Central Tibet is accessible: 

- by air via Lhasa airport (at 3600 meters above sea level), but necessarily via a large Chinese city or Kathmandu for administrative reasons (see our practical guide ) ,

- by train (from the city of Xining in particular - journey of about twenty hours)

- by car via the "friendship road" which connects Lhasa to Kathmandu (but be careful to do this trip only from Lhasa to Kathmandu, because on the way to Lhasa, you will not have time to acclimatise to the altitude and you will put yourself in danger).

Amdo is accessible by air through Xining Airport. However, there are no direct international flights with Europe or the American continent.

Kham is accessible by plane thanks to Chengdu airport, which provides direct international flights, or those of Kangding (at 4200 meters above sea level), Daocheng Yading (at 4400 meters above sea level) and Garze Gesar (at 4000 meters above sea level). altitude).

To find out more about the administrative formalities to enter Tibet, read our practical guide .

This information concerns periods outside of COVID-19.

COVID-19 as of 05/18/2022: 

- Regarding tourist visas, to quote the French Embassy in China: "China has stopped issuing tourist visas since March 23, 2020. This situation continues until now without the Chinese authorities giving any perspective on when tourist visas can be issued again. Under these conditions, it is not possible today to travel to China". We can however try to organize a trip for 2023.

- For foreigners residing in China , inter-province travel is authorised to Tibet. If you are in this case, do not hesitate to contact us.

The specificities of each region


Central Tibet

Lhasa (Potala, Jokhang), Samye, Namtso Lake, Everest Base Camp, Mount Kailash, and more...

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Steppes, canyons, monasteries, festivals, meetings, small farming villages, nomadic camps ...



Nature reserves, ancestral mountains, mythical monasteries, treks, source of the Mekong...


In Tibet, it all depends on the region and the activities you want to do.

Central Tibet is quite a comfortable destination. In Lhasa, there are 3*, 4* and even 5* hotels (run by Tibetans and in a Tibetan style). In the other cities of central Tibet, which are the starting points for excursions outside the city of the gods, there are also good hotels. In the biggest cities, like Shigatsé and Gyantsé, we also have good 3*, even 4*. In medium-sized towns (Damxung, Tsétang, etc.), there are 2* or 3* hotels that are quite decent. Therefore, for those who want a comfortable trip, a beautiful trip to Central Tibet is absolutely possible.  

Amdo is a slightly less comfortable destination, but which remains totally decent. In Xining, which is usually the starting point, there are high quality hotels. As soon as you reach the Tibetan countryside, the quality of the hotels drops slightly (towards 2* or 3*), with a few good exceptions. But during these excursions in the countryside, you can enjoy the superb nature of Amdo and immerse yourself in the Tibetan culture thanks to the meetings with locals organised by our partner. And what we recommend of course is to experience homestay in a Tibetan family. Comfort will be basic (no bathroom in general). But it is quickly forgotten thanks to the warm welcome you will receive and the change of scenery that this experience provides.

Kham is the most "off the beaten path" destination. Which makes it the most immersive experience. Where will your stay? Guest house, inn or homestay. Our partners are themselves the happy owners of these establishments or they will suggest accommodation with Tibetans from their network. It's the best way to live like locals and with locals. You will be able to discover how Tibetans in rural areas live and you will be able to communicate with them thanks to your guide (English or French speaking).  

For more information about comfort and hygiene in Tibet, read our mini-guide dedicated to this question.


Please note that our partners make sure to update their list of hotels to ensure the comfort of travellers.  


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Check out our itineraries for each region:

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