When is the Best Time to Visit Tibet?
While there are best times to visit Tibet, the plateau region at the roof of the world is one place that can be visited throughout the year. For most tourists to Tibet, the summer peak period is the best time to visit, so that the weather is warmer, but mostly, the best time to travel to the region depends on when you want to visit and what you want to do while you are here. Tibet has certain seasons when it can be beneficial to travel for certain activities or requirements, and each is ideal for the chosen activity or personal need. So for the best times to visit Tibet for specific things, read on.
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Best Time for Good Weather
Obviously, everyone wants to visit Tibet when the weather is best, though not all the things you can do are done when the weather is at its best. The best period for weather in Tibet is from April to October, and actually includes the monsoon season on the plateau. Tibet has a typical sub-tropical plateau temperate climate, which means that it can be warm in the summer and cold in the winter. However, the different areas and altitudes also play a part in the weather conditions across the region.
Best Time to Visit Lhasa and Shigatse
Normally, the best time to travel to Lhasa and Shigatse, Tibet’s capital and second city, is from June to October, throughout the summer and autumn seasons. While summer is the monsoon season, there is not as much rain in Lhasa and Shigatse as in other monsoon countries. And most rainfall comes in the late afternoon and evening, making the days clear for sightseeing. Autumn is even drier, with stunning colors and lush grasslands, which makes the trip from Lhasa to Shigatse one of the beautiful scenery and golden fields.
Best Time to Visit Everest Base Camp
For those planning a trip to Everest Base Camp (EBC) in western Tibet, the best times to travel are in the spring and autumn, from April to May and September to November. While the summer is one of the best times to visit Tibet, it is not the best time to travel to EBC, as the rains can leave the summit of the world’s highest mountain covered in clouds. During the spring and autumn seasons, the skies are clear and bright, the peak of the mountain is clearly visible, and the weather is warm enough to travel comfortably. And an Everest Base Camp tour in the spring and autumn will give you the best experience possible.
Best Time to Visit Lake Namtso
Lying to the north of Lhasa, on the boundary with Nagqu Prefecture, in Damxung County, Lake Namtso is one of the most beautiful lakes on the plateau. As with most high-altitude areas that are a little remote, the best time to visit is from June to September, during the peak summer months, when the weather is warm enough for you to travel comfortably. The road to Lake Namtso crosses the high Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains and can be covered with snow in the winter months from December to March. It can also be a lot colder there in spring and autumn, than in Lhasa.
Best Time to Visit Mount Kailash
Just like traveling to EBC, taking the long road trip across Tibet to Mount Kailash for the stunning three-day trek around the mountain’s pilgrimage route is best done in spring and autumn, from April to May and September to November. Mount Kailash lies in the far northwest of Tibet, in Ngari Prefecture, and the climate is a lot colder than most other places in Tibet. Spring and autumn bring clear skies and dry conditions to the mountain kora trail, which can be rough and arduous for inexperienced trekkers. Summer rains can leave the valleys and passes washed out, and make the trek uncomfortable and a lot harder.
Best Time to Visit Nyingchi
Nyingchi is the easternmost prefecture in Tibet and is subsequently the lowest in altitude. This gives it a much warmer, alpine temperate climate, which makes traveling there much more enticing. The best time to visit Nyingchi for the stunning alpine views and beautiful low deep valleys is from April to October. The region is also famous for its beautiful forest landscapes, and the spring brings the stunning peach blossoms all across the area. As summer comes in, the rains come to the area, which sees higher rainfall than most other places in Tibet in the monsoon season.
The higher rainfall can make it harder for traveling to some of the more remote places, but mostly falls in the evening and overnight, so is not too much of a problem for sightseeing. Autumn in Nyingchi is a beautiful time of year when the weather begins to cool down after the summer is over, and the rains die off, leaving the landscape verdant green, and ideal for trekking and sightseeing. As autumn progresses, the leaves on the trees turn to red and gold and brown and begin to fall to the ground, covering the area with a multicolored carpet.
Best Time for Trekking
In general, the best time for trekking in Tibet is from April to May and September to November, during the spring and autumn seasons. At this time, the weather is dry and the air is clear, with almost no rain at all across the plateau. Temperatures are not too cold as spring rolls around, and are warming up for summer, making trekking more comfortable than when it is hotter. Similarly, in the autumn, the temperatures are already cooling down, and the dry period after the rains leaves the countryside lush and green, as the leaves fall from the trees.
Best Time for Tibet Festivals
While festivals are held in Tibet throughout the year, there are periods of the year when it is better to visit for those that love the festivities of traditional Buddhist ceremonies and celebrations. Summer is the time of many of the major festivals of Tibet including the Shoton Festival, the Nagqu Horse Racing Festival, and the awesome Ganden Thangka Festival. These three festivals are normally all held in August each year, depending on the dates of the Tibetan calendar, and offer some of the best in traditional festival atmospheres and culture.
Best Time for Lower Cost
If you are looking for a budget tour of Tibet, and want to save money on the cost of the tour, then the best time to visit is in the winter months, from December to March. Winter is the low season for tourism in Tibet and sees fewer tourists traveling to the plateau region. This means that you can often get discounts on the cost of the tour, on hotel accommodation, and even on flights and train tickets to get to the plateau. A winter tour is also a lot more interesting, as the fewer tourists mean that the attractions are not so crowded, and you can get a better and more authentic local traditional experience in Tibet. You can also find that the weather is dry and clear for the winter months, with almost no rain at all, which makes traveling much nicer and more pleasant. A winter tour of Tibet is not just a great way to save money but is an ideal opportunity to spend some time in Tibet without all of the tourists that crowd the City of Sunshine throughout the rest of the year.