Getting to see Mount Everest (Qomolangma, in Tibetan) with your own eyes is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience worthy of any travel bucket list.
We hired a Chinese tour company to arrange this Tibet Trip. They booked all the railway tickets, hotels, local guide and driver for the tour. Most importantly, they handled all the documents needed for Americans to travel in Tibet.
In this post, I will share the details of our 8 Day Tibet Tour from Beijing to Everest Base Camp.
To get started, watch the Tibet Travel Video below.
Tibet Tour from Beijing to Everest Base Camp
Table of Contents
- Qinghai-Tibet Railway
- 8 Day Tibet Tour Itinerary
- Altitude/Mountain Sickness in Tibet
- Travel Gear for Tibet
- Tibet Travel Permit & China Visa
- RV Travel in Tibet
- How to Access Google in Tibet
- Facts about Mount Everest
The two main ways to get to Tibet is by airplane or train. We opted to take the Qinghai-Tibet railway from Xining to Lhasa. The scenery was incredible and worth enduring a long train ride without fresh air.
This video will give you an idea of what it’s like to ride the world’s highest railway.
You can fly to Xining to catch the Qinghai-Tibet Railway or take the high speed trains like we did.
This is a breakdown of the trains we took from Beijing to Lhasa:
- Train 1: Beijing to Lanzhou high speed train
- Train 2: Lanzhou to Xining high speed train
- Train 3: Xining to Lhasa Qinghai-Tibet Railway
Tips for the train ride to Lhasa, Tibet:
- Have your Tibet travel permit handy when boarding the train
- Bring your own toilet paper (western and squat toilets on the train)
- Hot water is available on the train to make beverages and noodles
- Bring a thermos to make instant coffee/tea
- Hot meals are served in the dining car including sautéed fresh organic vegetables
8 Day Tibet Tour Itinerary
This is an outline of the 8 Day Guided Tour of Tibet.
- 3 nights in Lhasa
- 1 night in Shigatse
- 2 nights in Tingri
- 1 night in Lhasa
The local guide met us at the train station in Lhasa. He spoke english well enough for us to get a basic understanding of the culture and history of the places we visited.
September is one of then best times visit Tibet. Our Tibet tour was in early September with temperature in the high 60s/low 70s with plenty of sunshine. I only recall one partly cloudy day during the Tibet trip.
Places and Attractions Visited include:
- Potala Palace
- Jokhang Temple
- Barkhor Street
- Manak Dam Lake
- Palcho Monastery
- Yamdrok Lake
- Tashi Lhunpo Monastery
- Sunrise View of the Himalayas at Gyatsola Pass
- Everest Base Camp for Tourists
- Rongbu Monastery
Read up on the varies places, attractions you will be visiting in Tibet. Depending on your guide and how fluent they are in your native language, details may get lost in translation.
Altitude Sickness or Mountain Sickness in Tibet
The average elevation of Tibet is 16,000 feet. To reduce symptoms of altitude sickness in Tibet, give your body time to acclimate to the altitude change. We stayed in Lhasa (~11,800 ft) for three nights to rest and get acclimated.
In our experience, research and from speaking to tour guides in Tibet, the best way to reduce or avoid mountain sickness is by getting enough rest, avoiding alcohol, drinking plenty of water and not overeating.
Oxygen bottles are available for purchase in Tibet. Every hotel we stayed had oxygen bottles for purchase, 25-30 yuan per bottle. It is not recommended to use oxygen for mild symptoms of altitude sickness.
There are also pills for mountain sickness. We brought a bottle of Altitude RX Oxyboost and took it according to the instructions. It’s hard to say for certain if the pills worked to reduce the symptoms of being at high altitude. Would our symptoms have been worse if we didn’t take it?
Mild symptoms of mountain sickness include shortness of breath, fatigue and headaches, which we experienced.
We found eating fruits, rice and other high-carbohydrate foods helped alleviate the headaches. When Joe’s headaches became severe and unbearable, the oxygen did help alleviate the pain.
Tibet Travel Gear – Sun Protection
The sun is quite strong in Tibet. Having the right gear to protect from the UV rays is essential.
A pair of polarized sunglasses to protect your eyes.
Clothes with sun protection. REI has a wide selection of sun protective clothing.
We also recommend a good travel water filter. While bottled water is readily available, we prefer to make our own purified water and cut down on plastic bottles.
Travel Permits & Visa
For our Tibet trip, we needed three travel documents in addition to our U.S. passports:
- 1) China visa – since Tibet is a province in China, a visa is required for foreigners. We applied for this visa on our own as it was not included with the tour we booked.
- 2) Tibet Travel Permit – this important document lists every destination we plan to visit during our time in Tibet. The tour operator applied for this permit on our behalf.
- 3) Alien’s Travel Permit – this travel document is issued for restricted areas such as Everest Base Camp. The tour operator applied for this permit on our behalf.
Depending on where you want to go in Tibet, a military permit may also be required. Explore Tibet wrote an in-depth post on the types of permits for Tibet.
RVing in Tibet
I did find a couple who managed to rent an RV and travel around Yunnan and Tibet. Seeing the photo of their RV camped with Mount Everest in the background definitely inspired me to look into it more. Although we didn’t end up RVing around Tibet, it’s an option.
Learn more about John and Harriet’s adventure RVing in China.
How to Access Google in Tibet
We purchased ExpressVPN and set it up on our laptops and iPhones before we left on our trip.
This gave us access to Google, YouTube, Facebook and thousands of other websites blocked in China.
The VPN service also provides a secure connection when connecting to public wifi networks. The connection was slow at times, but we never had an issues accessing the websites we needed.
Facts About Mount Everest
Mount Everest isn’t the tallest mountain in the World. However, it does have the highest summit above sea level. When measured from base to summit, Mauna Kea in Hawaii is the tallest in the world.
The mountain was already called Qomolangma by the Tibetans and Nepalse before the British decided to name it after surveyor George Everest in 1856.
The mountain continues to grow each year at a rate of approximately 4 millimeters.
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