Passports and Visas

You will need a valid Chinese visa when travelling to Tibet as it is part of China. You are also required to obtain a Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) permit to travel in Tibet.

Travelling from China-
Your passport will already have the necessary Chinese travel visa, which must extend for the duration of the whole tour and include the Tibet extension. You will also need an additional TTB permit to travel in Tibet. We will need to apply for the Tibetan travel permit as a group during our stay in Shanghai and this is a simple process usually taking only one day. The cost of this permit s already included in your tour price. 

Travelling from India and Nepal-
We will apply for the necessary Chinese travel visa and Tibetan Permit (TTB) as a group. To obtain this visa, we will send you a copy of the application form which you must complete and return with one additional passport-style photo and the visa fee of US$175.00 (fee subject to change) per person, to the Big Journey Company office by the date specified and before departure. Your tour group leader will submit all visa and TTB applications on arrival in Kathmandu, Nepal, ready for onward travel. Two working days in Nepal are required to process the visas, submitting your original passport with the application. Your passport will not contain individual visa stamps- it is issued as one paper document for the whole group.

Your passport must remain valid for at least 6 months beyond the completion of your trip. It is also imperative that your passport has enough blank pages (excluding amendment pages) available for entry and exit stamps issued when entering and exiting immigration points.

Photocopy the personal information pages of your passport; leave one copy at home with a friend or family member, and pack another separately from the passport itself.

Arrival in Tibet Information

Upon arrival in Lhasa, we must clear immigration together a we have a group travel permit. Once we have cleared the formalities and collected our luggage, we will make our way to the arrivals hall where we will be greeted by our local guide and directed to the transportation. Look out for a sign with ‘The Big Journey Company” on it if you become separated from the group in the luggage hall. From the airport, we will be transferred to the hotel.
Some travellers have had on occasion had their Tibet-related reading material and images confiscated at immigration on entry. It is illegal to import any printed material, film, etc ‘detrimental to China’s politics, economy, culture and ethics’ and this can be a sensitive subject on entry to Tibet. It is illegal to import anything regarding the Dalai Lama or the Tibetan national flag. Do not carry any packages, letters or photos for someone else out of Tibet for the same reasons.

Tipping

The “tipping culture” is expected by most people involved with the tourist industry in Tibet. It is not mandatory but is an important source of income. Feedback from previous tours has led us to suggest an overall tips package for your journey where we would take care of tipping throughout which would include tips at restaurants where the meal is included, your driver, your local guides as well as hotel and support staff.

Travel Insurance

It is vital that all members of the travelling party are fully insured for the dates of travel.
All pre-existing medical conditions must be declared to the insurer and the correct cover must be taken for the type of holiday you are taking. The Big Journey Company Limited holds no responsibility to any travelling persons or their belongings that do not hold a valid insurance policy. Please provide us with your insurer’s details prior to your departure. We recommend that all travellers carry the details of their coverage on tour. Please make sure to write down important information such as the insurance company’s telephone number and your policy number.

Health and Vaccinations

Please ensure that you visit your doctor to enquire about any vaccination requirements you may need for your visit to Tibet. It may be worthwhile taking a copy of your itinerary with you to show the exact areas you will be travelling to.
We can’t give advice on any medication but please ensure you are prepared for any minor ailments that may occur whilst you are away. Please let The Big Journey Company know prior to travelling if you have any medical needs or take any medication that we need to be made aware of to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant tour. This includes the use of sleep apnea machines, and medication that you may need to be stored in a particular way whilst away e.g. refrigerated insulin.

Weather

The weather in Tibet in October is cool, with daily highs of around 17°C, which may fall as low as -1°C during the night. Early morning starts and evenings will be cool. Rainy weather is still possible at this time of the year. UV levels are still very high so remember sun hat, sun screen and sun glasses.

What to Wear

Dress in layers with a waterproof coat, trousers, t-shirt and jumper. Wear or carry a pair of socks- shoes must be removed when entering religious buildings. Women should pack a scarf large enough to cover bare neck and shoulders.

• A waterproof jacket and an umbrella;
• sweater/jacket for evenings;
• comfortable walking shoes;
• Lightweight binoculars, useful for sightseeing;
• A small flashlight.
Note: Laundry service is available at all hotels.

What to Pack

A good day pack should be big enough to hold your valuables, camera, and things you need while you are out and about. Also useful-
• Notebook or journal;
• Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hair brush, razor, feminine products and cosmetics;
• Tissues and antibacterial wipes;
• Travel alarm clock;
Basic first aid kit: medications for upset stomach, prescriptions, aspirin, antiseptic cream, cold medicine, vitamins, bandages,
• Prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses;
• Mini flashlight;
• Small calculator (for currency conversions);
• Converters, adapters, chargers and power cords;
• Travel umbrella;
• Camera, batteries and extra memory cards;
• medications and prescriptions;
• passport sized photo x 1 for Tibet TTB permit,
• Sunglasses, sun block and a sunhat, lip balm, insect repellent.

Currency and Money in Tibet

As in the rest of China, Tibet’s currency is the Yuan (RMB), pronounced RenMinBi Only the Bank of China and certain hotels are permitted to offer foreign exchange in Lhasa.
ATM Cash Machines ATMs are available but limited. You can withdraw a maximum of RMB2000 in cash, around GB£200 o US$300. Prior to your departure, we recommend notifying your bank of your travel plans so they can inform you of any applicable foreign transaction fees and/or restrictions.
Credit and debit cards Visa, MasterCard and American Express are usually accepted in tourist hotels and shops in Lhasa but are not widely accepted elsewhere. There will always be a transaction fee for processing the cards. This charge is enforced by the banks and not the merchants so please don't ask for a discount to remove this.

Electricity

Tibet supplies electricity at 220 volts and 50 hertz. To charge electrical items you will need a socket adaptor and perhaps a voltage converter. Please check the operating instructions for your equipment to ensure that it can handle either 110 or 220-volt electrical systems. Voltage converter and adaptor plugs may be purchased at the airport or travel shops.

Mobile Phones

Please check with your mobile phone provider about your roaming charges for calls and texts before you go as it can be very expensive and you could be presented with a large bill when you get home.

Photography

Pack a dust-proof case (or sealable plastic bags) and an air brush to protect camera equipment from dust. Etiquette requires that you ask permission before photographing local people, unless you are shooting a crowded public scene. Many people in Tibet believe it is inauspicious to be photographed and do not wish to have their photograph taken- please be considerate of this. Photography is not permitted at some designated locations such as temples, usually clearly marked. In general, avoid taking photographs of airports, government buildings and installations, bridges and military or police personnel. If in doubt, please ask.

Time Difference: GMT+8.

Smoking

Tibet’s altitude is high and smoking can and will exacerbate altitude sickness. Smoking is prohibited on all public transport and many restaurants and bars.

Luggage restrictions

Please see your itinerary for full details as luggage limits can vary per flight. In general, one large suitcase and one small piece of hand luggage is allowed. The weight of the luggage limit varies.

If there are any questions that have not been answered please don’t hesitate to contact us on info@thebigjourneycompany.com.

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© The Big Journey Company 2016 - 2018. All rights reserved.
Holiday tours are operated by The Big Journey Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered office: Marron Bank, Branthwaite, Cumbria, CA14 4SZ. Registered number: 6532140. The Big Journey Company Limited is a member of The Travel Trust Association member number U5675 and holds an Air Travel Organiser’s License number T7282.

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