Best Time to Visit Tibet in 2023
Traveling to Tibet is an adventure that requires planning. While we at Explore Tibet can organize almost all aspects of your Tibet tour, what we ask you to decide is when you want to travel. Tibet is a year-round holiday destination, and each season has its appeal for travelers.
Most people prefer to visit when the weather is at its most pleasant, with warm temperatures, sunny skies, and clear views. Others want to travel for the amazing trekking experience on the roof of the world. Some just want to get away to somewhere peaceful and quiet, without the crowds of most peak-season holiday destinations. Whatever your reasons for choosing to travel to Tibet, we have a season that is ideal for you.
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Seasons for Tibetan Travel
Apart from the “closed” period of around 5-6 weeks in February and March, Tibet is an all-year destination, with many different aspects depending on the seasons. In spring and fall, trek around Mount Kailash. In summer, enjoy the pleasant scenery of the Lhasa River and the Lalu Wetlands, with their amazing birdlife. In winter, view the stunning landscapes around Lake Yamdrok and tour Shigatse, the home of the Tashilhunpo Monastery, and even Mount Everest.
Travel in the spring.
Spring in Tibet runs from April to May, and while the season is short, it is delightful. While temperatures can be cold at night, daytime temperatures are comfortable and pleasant and suitable for all types of travelers. Spring starts the tourist season in Tibet. It is highly recommended to book your Tibet tour in spring before it gets crowded.
Travel in the summer.
Summer is also the monsoon season in Tibet, although the plateau does not see much rain. Tibet is only affected by the monsoon to a degree. This is because of the shadow effect of the western Himalayas draining the bulk of the rains before the clouds cross onto the plateau. Summer temperatures are warm and very comfortable, and the air is richer in oxygen during July and August, making it easier to acclimatize. However, summer is also the peak season for tourism, and can be crowded with tourists, especially in Lhasa.
Travel in the autumn.
Similar to spring, autumn is one of the most pleasant seasons to travel in Tibet and has comfortable weather with almost no rain. With huge tracts of deciduous forests, the fall of autumn leaves is a popular attraction, covering the ground with a carpet of fall colors. However, it can get cold at night, reaching freezing temperatures.
Travel in winter.
Contrary to popular opinion, you can visit Tibet in winter, from December to January. However, February and March are closed months in Tibet for the Tibetan New Year or Losar. Winter in Tibet is not as cold as you might think, and though temperatures at night can reach as low as minus 35 degrees in the most remote and inhospitable regions overnight, daytimes in Lhasa, Shigatse, Ngari, and Nyingchi can be pleasantly warm thanks to the thin atmosphere allowing the sun to shine stronger.
Best time for Major Attractions
While winter often sees snow in Tibet, it is rare to see a huge accumulation of snowfall. Travel to Everest is easy from December to mid-February. Clear skies are the most appropriate time to visit Everest to get an excellent view of the summit of the World’s Highest Mountain. The best months for that are April to May and October to mid-February. Spring and summer also see clear skies, with plenty of chances to view the mountain or trek from Old Tingri to the base camp itself. Summer is the monsoon season, and while it may not rain much, there is a higher likelihood of cloud cover over the peak.
The three-day trek around Mount Kailash is one of the most popular treks in Tibet, and as for high-altitude trekking in general, it is the most spiritual. Mount Kailash, in the Ngari Prefecture, is the world’s holiest mountain and is sacred to four religions. It is advisable to do this trek or visit the mountain in spring and autumn. This is when the weather is clear and fine. The trek takes you to very high altitudes, so suitable weather is essential. This also avoids the main Hindu pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, which sees thousands of pilgrims trekking around the mountain.
There is no preferred time to visit Lhasa, as the city is open for tourism throughout the year (except Losar). However, if you are not a fan of cramming through temples and monasteries with thousands of people, it is best to avoid Lhasa from July to mid-October. Summer is the busiest period for tourism in Tibet, and Lhasa is the most popular place for tourists. Known as the City of Sunlight, it is a bright and cheerful city, filled with awesome sites and amazing, unique people.
Peak season sees hundreds of thousands of Chinese tourists heading for the plateau, and the city can be very crowded. The first week of October is also a busy time in Lhasa and Tibet and is best avoided. This week is National Day Week in China. It is a time when all Chinese have their annual holidays, with many traveling to Tibet for the week for their tours.
Tibet offers some of the most fabulous landscapes and scenery that this lovely planet has to offer. Much of the region is still an unspoiled paradise waiting for visitors. And while Tibetan Buddhism provides you with the path to a higher plane of existence, Tibet grants you the chance to reach a higher PLAIN of existence. This is on the vast Tibetan plateau.