All foreign travelers must take part in an organized Tibet Tour. Before setting off, your Tibet Travel Agency should organize these things: Tibet travel permits, a private vehicle, a driver and a tour guide. You can’t go to Tibet without these. Your travel permits will be checked when you board a train or flight, which shows whether you have joined an organized tour.
Choosing a reputable, local-owned travel agency in Tibet is a need for you before traveling. They will arrange everything for you and also take great care of you during your trip in Tibet. Take it easy! Traveling from Malaysia to Tibet is quite convenient nowadays.
Entering Tibet from Chengdu, China
Without any direct flights from Malaysia to Tibet, you need to board a plane at the Kuala Lumpur Airport to Chengdu, and then transfer to Tibet–it is the first method. There are flights everyday between KL and Chengdu. Your Chinese tourist visa will be checked at your departure airport. You can get it from the China Embassy in Kuala Lumpur or at the China Consulates in Kuching, Penang and Kota Kinabalu. Please remember, do not list Tibet as your destination in your visa application, or else, it’s difficult for you to get this visa.
There are 8-12 direct flights daily to Lhasa at the Chengdu airport. The journey is nearly 2hrs and you can enjoy spectacular scenery through the window of the flight during the trip. Except taking a flight, another way to Tibet is by train which takes 2 full days. In the first two days, you’d better acclimatize yourself to live in the high elevation and avoid strenuous hiking, climbing the stairs of the Potala Palace and drinking alcohol.
After you contact with a local travel agency in Tibet, it takes at least 2 weeks to get a TTB. So you need to contact with the travel agency at least 6 weeks earlier before the date of your arrival. In the same way, if you want to travel to other destinations in far Western Tibet such as Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasarovar , you need to contact you tour agency at least 8 weeks before your arrival.
If you want to get more detailed information on Tibet tour or the route to Tibet, please contact us.
Entering Tibet from Kathmandu, Nepal
Another way to get to Tibet from Malaysia is through Kathmandu, Nepal. There are direct flights everyday between Kuala Lumpur and Kathmandu. You can choose to go by the overland route or just fly to Lhasa. The flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa takes only one hour and 15 minutes. In contrast, the overland journey takes 3 or 4 days. As mentioned above, all foreign tourists to Tibet must take part in an organized tour either from Mainland China or Nepal.
There are many differences on the Chinese visa regulation between going to Tibet from Nepal and Mainland China. As mentioned, when you leave from Chengdu or any other cities in Mainland China, you only need to apply for a normal Chinese tourist visa from the Chinese Embassy in KL or at the Chinese consulates in Kuching, Penang or Kota Kinabalu. But when you leave from Nepal, you must apply for a Group Chinese Tourist Visa from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. That is to say, you can’t go to Tibet from Nepal with a Chinese visa gotten in Malaysia or anywhere else on the planet. If you want to get a Group Chinese Tourist Visa, you need to refer a visa invitation letter to the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. Pay attention to that you can’t write this letter by yourself but need to request from the travel agency in Tibet. Although it is officially named “China Group Visa”, you don’t need to join in a group in practice to get this visa. Solo travelers also can get this Group Chinese Visa successfully if they are members of organized group tours. It usually needs 2 business days to get the China Group Visa. Remember that you can only get you visa on a weekday at the Chinese Embassy. So please make sure that you have enough time after your arrival, so as to get your visa without any delay.
If you take an overland tour from Kathmandu to Lhasa, you should find whether your route line gives you adequate time for your acclimation to high elevation. While many travel agencies in Nepal and Tibet have short budget, they offer schedules that travelers can’t feel accommodated and it may lead to serious altitude sickness risks. Kathmandu is not high enough to adapt to the altitude change with 1350 meters above sea level. Especially one of the routes covers an elevation to 5200 meters from Kathmandu to Everest Base Camp in just three days offered by some travel agencies. This kind of behavior is extremely stupid and crazy. With increasing of altitude, travelers are at the risk of causing serious altitude sickness or even high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE). The best way I suggest is to take a flight to Lhasa from Kathmandu, and spend at least 3 nights in Lhasa. And then take a bus back to Nepal during which travelers can enjoy the main sites in Central Tibet, including Everest Base Camp.