Getting into the TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region)

Entering Tibet requires a travel permit through the Tibet Tourism Bureau. This red tape guarantees travel agents’ their jobs (permit fee Y50, processing fee Y450) and filters out travelers who can’t plan a week in advance. Since the application requires copies of everyone’s passports, it make things much easier to make PDFs of your passport so you can shoot it over to your travel agent of choice (most in the major cities can handle this, not just those in the jump off points of Xining, Xi’an, or Chengdu). In a pinch, you can also take a snapshot of it and convert that to a PDF. We did it this way and will get ours in four days, including express mail delivery to our hotel in Shanghai.


2 thoughts on “Getting into the TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region)

  1. Hello, Thanks for the tip and information. My buddy and I are planning to be in Tibet by the 14th of October. So far, we have not been successful at finding agencies that are willing to respond to emails regarding basic questions about pricing, availability and type of tours. Sounds like your experience was pretty straight forward, can you recommend an agency/website/source to go? Thanks again – Gerson

  2. Hi,I had luck getting email responses from only a few agencies: Windhorse (aka CYTS Chengdu,, China Yak (, Dreams Travel (, and Grand Himalaya ( I noticed that I improved my odds if I looked at the tour and rate information on the website first, and then asked specific questions about that in my email. I suppose it showed them I was serious.That said, you probably ought to eat the long-distance charges and make a few phone calls, especially before you sign a contract. It'll give you a better idea of the level of service you can expect, and if you don't speak Chinese, how fluent the agents are in other languages. Plus, it's so much more effective to ask about discounts over the phone.Have a good trip!

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