When is the best time to visit Tibet?
Set on a high-altitude plateau and among tall mountains, Tibet is one of the new wonders of the modern tourist world. And once the harshness of winter is over, it is a great place to visit around Tibet. Whether you want to trek the mountains’ slopes or visit the base-camp used by the Everest mountaineering expeditions. During a Tibet tour, it is guaranteed to have something for everyone. It offers great exposure to Tibetan culture and history while visit Tibet.
Most of the region comprises the desert steppe, tundra, or permafrost, except the southeast region, which has a lower elevation and is a better region to acclimatize. At an elevation of only 3,550 meters, Lhasa is ideal for this and is also a great city to see. The region’s capital city, Lhasa, has many hotels for tourists and lots to see and do all year round. It is one of the best places to travel in Tibet.
One of the major characteristics of the climate in Tibet is the massive change in temperature during the course of just one day. While nights can be as low as the minus figures, midday temperatures can reach as high as 38°C.
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When to go…
The best times to visit Tibet are from April to October, when the weather is less cold, averaging around 10°C through the spring and summer months. This is the busiest time for Tibet when the tourists come for the warmer weather and have higher oxygen content. Once the harshness of the winter is out of the way, the summer’s heart can turn out to be very hot and not really one for trekking the mountains. The spring and fall are the best times of the year for trekking.
Spring In Tibet
As spring comes along in April, and the ice starts to melt as the weather warms up. After the normal closure of 5-6 weeks through February and March, Tibet normally reopens for tourists in April. During the Tibetan New Year in March, visitors cannot normally get the Tibet Entry Permit. The New Year festival, known as Losar, is the most important of all the Tibetan festivals. The festival lasts for 15 days, although the first three days are the most important. If you want to avoid the crowds of summer, April to May is the best time to come.
Visit Tibet in Summer
The Tibetan summer is the busiest time of the year for tourism. The weather can range from cool to hot, through the summer months of June, July and August. Most people prefer the summer months as the air has higher oxygen content than the other seasons. In Lhasa, the summer temperatures can fluctuate between a pleasant 10°C and warming of 23°C.
The monsoon season in Tibet is from July to September, with August being the wettest month. However, apart from the lower southeast region, there is still not much rain across most regions. In the southeast, where the capital, Lhasa, stands, the rain is a lot heavier. With an average for the rest of the region being around 200 millimeters a year, Lhasa’s average annual rainfall is much higher, at around 500 millimeters. This makes the rainy season in the southeast hotter and more humid.
Autumn In Tibet
Almost as busy as summer, autumn sees clearer and cooler weather and another good time for hiking and trekking the mountains. And with less cloud cover, it can be one of the best times for photographing the mountain peaks. Autumn is also when the leaves start to fall from the trees, and the ground is covered with a carpet of color. Red, yellow, and brown leaves cover the forest floors as the plateau gets ready for winter. It is the best time to visit Tibet for photographers.
Winter In Tibet
With winter running from November to March, it gets colder, though often not as cold as people think. And with fewer tourists and lower prices, the off-season from November to January can be a good time to come and relax in Lhasa. And with more local customs and festivities, you can be sure nothing is lost by traveling off-season.
Festivals to see during Tibet Tour
There is also a wealth of cultural festivals through summer. One of the first, the Saga Dawa Festival, is held to honor the life of Buddha. It is said that, on his deathbed, he instructed his followers to honor him by striving to follow his teachings, rather than just lighting incense and spreading flowers.
The 500-year-old Thangka Unveiling is also held in summer, normally between the 14th and 16th days of the fifth Tibetan calendar month. During this worship festival, giant Thangka pictures are on display at the Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse.
August is one of the most popular festivals on the Tibetan calendar. The Shoton festival celebrates the end of the Tibetan monks’ season of meditation. It is one of the comprehensive celebrations that has had a huge influence on the country’s culture and is a great occasion for Tibetans and tourists alike.
For the racing people, there is even a horse-racing event. About 240 kilometers southwest of Lhasa is the old town of Gyantse. The Gyantse Horse Race festival also includes other games, such as archery, wrestling, track and field sports, and ball games. Open-air markets abound, and you can catch the Tibetan Opera as well as singing and dancing. It is a must-see event for anyone who loves the sporty festivities in summer.
November hosts the Lhabab Duechen, a Tibetan Buddhist festival commemorating Buddha’s return to earth after going to the 33rd Heaven. It is all about prayer and the burning of incense and of doing good deeds.
The Palden Lhamo festival, on the 15th day of the 10th Tibetan lunar month. Palden Lhamo is a wrathful deity. Often considered to be the protector of the Panchen Lama and the Dalai Lama. She is the defender of Tibetan Buddhism. In Lhasa, people can be seen parading floats of her. By carrying figures in and around Barkhor Street, with its many old and traditional buildings.
In essence, there is really no “best” time to visit Tibet. Any time is the best time. All year round, there are so many things to see and do that will make your vacation something very, very special.
There are many attractive Tibet tour packages offered by many travel companies in Tibet.