Tibet Travel Permit Update, Bad News For Solo and Budget Travellers Planning to Visit Tibet in 2012

As the title states, Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa has changed rules regarding issuance of Tibet entry permit. It’s been hard to get there already, but now things will get even worse.


What are the new rules?

Himalayas, Lhasa. Image taken from WikipediaFrom May 2012 all foreigners wanting to visit Tibet will have even harder time getting the permit. At least five people with the same nationality will have to apply at the same time for the application to be successful, unless they are spouses. What does it mean? Simply speaking, if you want to go via any agency, you will need to come with your husband/wife of the same nationality and prove it with a marriage certificate or find another 3 people from your country to travel with you. In some cases it is possible that agency will do it for you, i.e. you come from a country from which there’s more people who want to travel via the same travel agent as you do.

How does it affect people who booked their tours in advance?

To make things even worse, Tibet Tourism Bureau will only accept applications one week in advance, so even if you booked your tour long time ago, you still have to adhere to the new rules. It’s advisable that you consult your agent. Agency representatives across Tibet and China are now pulling their hair trying to find people of same nationalities in order to apply for permits simultaneously.

Me, Agness and Tibet…

Well, we were contacted by our travel agent today about it and it seems that unless they find three Poles traveling to Tibet when we do, or at least copies of their passports and Chinese visas, we are not going. It’s terrible and we hope that it will change or somehow can be sorted, but for now, we’re already thinking of alternative destinations…

Update: We have already visited Lhasa in June. Tibet Tourism Bureau has stopped issuing new permits soon after, but they have started again now. As much as it is still hard to get a permit, please do not give up! It is worth the hassle. Tibet is unforgettable… 

You can find out about our Tibet experience here.

If you have any questions or more info please share it in comments.


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Cez Krol
Cez Krol
I’m always positive and never bored – there’s just so much more to see and experience! I began my journey around the world in 2011 with just $400 and one-way ticket to Asia. Still going and blogging today. You can typically spot me working on a laptop or rock climbing.
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59 thoughts on “Tibet Travel Permit Update, Bad News For Solo and Budget Travellers Planning to Visit Tibet in 2012”

  1. I hope they will change such kind of rules and make easier for travelling.

    As they have kind of rules so if you are looking people form same country here you can find some reliable company who is authorized and has collected people for budget tour and private tour too http://www.theasiaadventure.com

    You can review on lonely planet also here how this company work.

    1. Hey David,

      Thanks for your comment. I see that you work for this travel agency. I just want to draw it to the attention of our readers, so they are aware of this.

      Can you tell us how the new rules affect your work? Do you cooperate with other agencies? For example, can you apply for travel permits for travellers who do not go with your agency and booked with another one with which you cooperate?


  2. Well for my work not much effect because our work not only depend on Tibet tour as we do other country too.
    very few authorize agency are based in Kathmandu so we do cooperate with each other for same nationality group.
    We cooperate for finding group as we are few company but we can’t apply for travel permits for travellers who do not go with our agency this is true.

  3. shaktinepaladventure

    News of a foreign tourism ban to Tibet risks raising concerns of a repeat of 2008, when travelers were twice banned from visiting the destination.

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