Tibet Travel Agency Recommendations

There are hundreds of travel agencies to choose from. Read for more details on how to pick a reputable and safe travel agency in Tibet.

Everyday I get emails from across the globe asking me which travel agency to use when traveling to Tibet. Since all foreigners going to the Tibet Autonomous Region are required to be on an organized tour that includes travel permits, a tour guide, a private vehicle and a driver, a travel agency will need to be used in order to travel to Tibet. When choosing a travel agency, it is important to use a company that has a good reputation for arranging good, safe tours. It is also important to be a responsible traveler by choosing to use Tibetan owned and/or staffed agencies.

There are many excellent Tibetan-owned agencies to choose from that are based in both Lhasa and Xining. However, there are also numerous agencies out there that actually have little experience in arranging tours to Tibet. Since the train line to Lhasa opened in 2006, Tibet has become a huge tourist destination for both foreign travelers and Chinese tourists. Because of this, a lot of people have started travel agencies in an attempt to cash in on the increased number of tourists arriving. Some of these travel agencies know very little about arranging tours, have difficulty in obtaining the required travel permits, use unreliable vehicles and suggest itineraries that do not allow proper time to adjust to the high elevations of Tibet.

Tibet Travel Agency Recommendations

A Buddhist nun from the Kham region

Tibet Travel Agency Recommendations

Yamdrok Lake

Since all foreigners going to the Tibet Autonomous Region have to be on an organized tour, the costs of traveling in Tibet are much higher than the rest of China. Because there is a lot of competition for tourists, a lot of travel agencies are priced quite similarly. If you come across an agency that is offering a significantly lower price on a specific tour, it is best to use caution before booking with them.

There is a reason why certain agencies offer prices a lot lower than their competitors. Reasons could be that they are not including key items in your price estimate (such as entrance fees, train/flight tickets to Lhasa or hotel prices), are using an old and unreliable vehicle or that you will be part of a large group tour that has 20 or more people in it. Or it could be that the agency has a bad reputation and poor safety record so the only way they can get customers is to charge an extremely low rate. Bottom line: you get what you pay for! If you book with a budget tour, don’t be surprised when things go wrong (like vehicle breakdowns, guides who can’t speak English, permits that never arrive, train tickets to Lhasa that never get purchased, etc).

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The Gyantse Kumbum Stupa

There are many excellent, competitively-priced, Tibetan-owned agencies to choose from, but since there are so many agencies out there, they can be hard to find. For a recommendation on a reputable, safe, Tibetan owned travel agency to use, send me an email at thelandofsnows@gmail.com.

42 thoughts on “Tibet Travel Agency Recommendations

  1. terri

    I am planning to travel overland from china to tibet and back to china, in august. I will be in kashgar and can travel to any location to take the train to lhasa. due to the rains in sichuan I do not know if it is wise to commence journey from chengdu. I am a single american traveler and would be happy to travel with others to share costs of this journey.
    I want to see lhasa and villages nearby where I can see local culture.
    thank you for any recommendations
    terri

  2. Tomás

    Hey,
    Im trying to get my Tíbet permit just with a guide for Lhasa as i have very few money and i want to book my own accomodation, transportación and stuff but they are giving me huge prices i Cant afford. Do you think you can contact me with someone who can contact me just for permit and visiting buildings in lhasa? Or not even the guide! Hahaha… Im will be in chengdu tomorrow and i will be here trying to get my permit in the following days!
    Thanks a lot,
    Tomas

  3. Pg

    Is roadtotibet a tibetian owned travel company? Is the agent Woeser a reliable agent? He has got a very good review from trip advisor. Thanks

  4. Stefanie Hoben

    Dear Sir or Madam, Tashi delek!
    we are two female students who would like to travel to Tibet.
    Our Inquiry includes following:
    -We would like to start our travel in Chengdu with a train to Lhasa on the 18th of august.
    -Then stay in Lhasa for a few days to acclimatisation and to visit the Potala Palace and other important monasterys.
    Then we would like to travel to Gyangtsa, or Shigatse or Tsedang.
    -Furthermore on of the lakes like Yamdrok Lake ,Lake Namtso or an other lake would be great to see.
    The problem is that we only have 6-7 days time, and we can’t decide what to visit. There’re so many great places.
    We’re interested in the tibetian culture as well as in the scenic nature, so at least on lake would be great.
    We want to spent our money and trust to a reliable and experienced tibetan agency. Could you help to find one, that can still help us to arrange the trip, even if we’re a little bit late?

    We’d like to begin our journey on the 18th of august (train departure), as we have to be back in Chengdu on the 27th/28th of august. Therefore we’d like to take a flight back.
    We don’t need luxury, as longs as the accommodations are clean and have a warm shower it’s ok.

    So far our budget would be around 9000-10000, but not higher than 10500. rmb per person, (including flight/train). It would also be ok to join a group with similar interests.

    Could you help us? I hope we’re still on time for everything.

    Thank you very much in advance and best regards

  5. J

    Love the info you have on here. Have you thought about adding more posts for some lesser-known places? You have some nice obscure ones but places like Chatreng and Tawu in Sichuan are still missing, and some interesting ones like Luchu, Bora, and Sangkok in Kanlho or Chabcha in Qinghai would be interesting. Very few resources on the web right now about places like that.

  6. Josu

    Hi Losang

    We,re three people planning to go EBC and Kailash in 14-6 days on October or November
    Looking for information you find that november is a no-go month, but I was years ago at EBC on February and it was great. Same for Kailash?.
    Is it possible to get the Tibet permit before entering China ?, or it,s better once in China from Chengdu or Xining?. Before it was easy from Xining, but now?
    And last, average cost for a 14-16 EBC-Kailash tour starting and ending in Lhasa.

  7. Nathan Stone

    Hi. Thanks for all the great info. Can you give me a quote for June, from Lhasa to Nepal border? We’ll be 2 people, one a Chinese national, but would prefer to join a group and do it as cheap as possible. Thanks!

  8. Regina van Hoof

    Hi,
    i see in the list of questions als o the one about travel agencies. I would like to travel to mount KawaKarpo and do a kora in sept oct 2014. Someone told me about whistling arrow, an organsiation in hong kong through which one can join a small group as i am a solo traveller. Does anyone know the agency??
    Kind regards,
    Regina van Hoof, the Netherlands

  9. Cicilya

    Hello,

    I will arrive in Xi’an very late at night on July 19. From Xi’an I will take train to Xining on July 20. Then from Xining to Lhasa also by train. So, I assume I will be in Lhasa around July 22. I haven’t booked any train tickets yet. But I assume I will be in Lhasa on July 22 or 23 depending on the train ticket I get.

    On my TTP and ATP, do you guys write my arrival date to Tibet and my departure date from Tibet? Do you need those dates to arrange my permits? Because I’m not certain about my arrival date to Tibet. It could be July 22 or July 23 depending on the train ticket I get.

    I can stay in Tibet for 7-8 days. I cannot stay more than 8 days. So, If I can leave Lhasa back to the mainland China on Day 7 or 8 would be awesome. Day 7 works better for me, however if I have to leave Lhasa on Day 8, well, that is okay.
    I would like to visit these places below.

    Lhasa-Gyantse-Shigatse – Tingri – Rongbuk/EBC – Shigatse – Namtso Lake – Lhasa

    Basically My main highlights are to visit Yamdrok Lake, Karo-la Glacier, Rongbuk Glacier and Monastery, Everest Base Camp, Pelkhor Monastery, Namtso Lake.
    I also want to see Potola Palace and Barkhor Street if these can be done on the day of my acclimatization process in Lhasa

    If you can arrange all these, how much does it cost for a group tour?
    I’m a low budget traveler, and I can sleep in a budget hostel as long as it is safe and clean. I don’t need a fancy hotel. So, I really hope the cost is not high but affordable. I’m traveling alone, can you put me in a group of people on your tour ? as I don’t need a private tour.
    How many people in a group tour and what kind of vehicle do you have?
    If I exit Xining to Tibet, and then return to Xining, Do I just need single entry Chinese Visa?

    Looking forward to hearing back from you.

    Best,

    Cicilya

  10. Andrew Miles

    @Regina van Hoof. Hi Regina, I recently travelled with Whistling Arrow to Yunnan. Deqin -> Tiger Leaping Gorge -> Liming -> Wenhai over the course of 10days. It was extremely well run and with the help of a local partner provided a very unique and local experience. The owner, Adrian, was talking about The KKK trip and I was very tempted as it is a special year in Tibet but unfortunately at 2.5 to 3 weeks I cannot take the time away from work.
    PM me if you want any more info. Andrew

  11. Laura

    Hello,
    We absolutely love your website!
    We are 2 Australia couples (4 people) wanting to travel the Friendship highway around the last week of April to Mid May 2015. We were planning to catch the train to Beijing then hire a car/ driver. Can you recommend a couple of Tibetan Agencies which can assist us in booking the rail tickets. apply for the Tibetan permit and provide the car and accommodation bookings? We are architects and are interested in immersing ourselves in Tibetan culture.Will the agencies only take us to the Nepalese border or can they provide transport to Kathmandu?
    I look forward to your response,

    Laura

  12. Maria

    In july I want traveling in 12 days in Tibert in 2 parts:

    I/ Lhasa and arround
    II/ reurn flight Lhasa -Ali for Mount keliash kora + lake miniosaver.
    Maria

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  16. Peter C Bewick

    I am English 60yrs my wie is Chinese.54yrs
    We would like to travel by train from Chengdu.
    Travelling around Nov 10th 2015
    Good local accomodation and food/
    English speaking guide with reliable vehicle.
    Base camp 1 if possible
    Travl outside Lhasa
    It is difficult to find a good recommendation

  17. Peter C Bewick

    Thanks for your recommendation. I will follow your advise as long as the cost is reasonable.
    I am emailing them tonight regarding the 9 day tour
    thanks again
    Do you have their phone number?

  18. Melanie

    Hello Lobsang, your web site is great. We are planning a trip to Lhasa and surroundings for January 2016, please would you send me a list of reputable travel agencies?
    Many thanks,
    Melanie.

  19. Nicole

    Hi I am looking to travel to Tibet June of 2016. I will be starting in Chengdu and flying into Lhasa. Can you please provide me with some reliable travel agency. I am a USA national born in China and will be traveling with a Chinese national if that makes a difference. Thanks for your help.

  20. karina braithwaite

    Hello,

    We are planning to visit tibet in april 2016, can you please send through your recommendations for reputable travel agents in chengdu or lhasa? Thank you 🙂

  21. Patrick

    Hi,

    My girlfriend and I want to make a trip this September to Beijing – Pingyao – Xi’an – Tibet (incl. EBC) – Kathmandu and we’ve had a (I think) great offer of Tibettravel (I’ve sent you a mail as well). Tibettravel isn’t a Tibetan owned travel agency and Tibettravel reviews are a bit confusing. So, now we’re not sure what to do.. Can you recommend Tibettravel or would you recommend to go to another company?

      1. Mélanie

        Hi Lobsang !

        I’m interesting to get your recommadation on travel agency.
        We planned to go in Tibet in middle of May.

        BR.
        Mélanie

  22. Karl Schmidt

    I’m working with a 08FEB-07MAR2016 timeframe to get to/from Tibet.
    Starting in Chengdu, can I set up train &/or air in/out of Tibet, using, hopefulliy, a Tibetan-heritage Chengdu based agent? My particulars:well-traveled US citizen w8yrs left on my PRC visa, healthy, age: 70’s.
    Regards,
    MichaelS

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  24. Peter C

    I wil be finishing a 8days Lhasa to EBC back to Lhasa tours on July 1st would like to find some local tours to Namtso lake and or Nyingchi area for 4- 5 days before I leave Lhasa. Can you recommend any travel company has local tours like this. Thanks.

    1. Lobsang བློ་བཟང་ Post author

      Peter, whatever travel agency you are using to arrange your journey to EBC has to also be the agency that arranges your journey to Nam Tso and Nyingtri. You cannot use one travel agency to arrange part of your journey and another agency to arrange a separate part of your journey. You must use the same agency. My advise….simply tell the agency arranging your 8 day journey to EBC to also arrange a journey for you to Nam Tso and Nyingtri. Extremely easy solution…..Lobsang

  25. rita

    Hi there:

    I am looking for good Tibet travel agencies. I am planning my trip to Tibet in December 2016.

    thanks

  26. Christopher

    Hi i am planning to go Tibet on mid 2017. 4 of us are low budget traveller but due to regulations we have to join tour. Can you recommend me some of the agencies that offer more flexible and cheaper tour ? Much appreciated!

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