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How to explore Tibet flexibly?

Travel Tibet as independently as possible! Why Not?

Hello, my name is Tony, I am the founder of, and, online Tibet tour booking system of Tibet Niwei International Travel Service, one registered Lhasa tour company since 1999. I am happy to help you understand how to travel in Tibet with maximum flexibility.

Most travel agencies will warn you that Tibet is not freely travelling destination and you must have an organized full trip. It is partially true. But we can say it is absolutely wrong. If one travel agency warns you that way, you will be most possibly be ripped off on tour prices. Even though the local actual travel regulations (even no official governmental documents) request that all foreign travelers will have to have a guide with them for the trip out of Lhasa. And of course you will need a tourism licensed vehicle taking you out of Lhasa. But it does not mean that you have to book everything such as entrance tickets and hotels for trip out of Lhasa. I could spend hours talking about the different ways to travel with more flexibility. But here let me share with you the Top 5 ways  to travel as independently as possible. Should you know any of others, feel free to let me know.

  • No.1 You can book most hotels by yourselves. Any reliable local operator or even your Tibetan tour guide can help you book hotel with good prices instantly during the trip or just couple of days before your arrival with decent price.
  • No.2 You can pay the entrance tickets by yourself to the ticketing office. If you do not feel good during the trip, you may skip some attractions thus you even saved the tickets fee.
  • No.3 You just need to join necessary part of a group tour out of Lhasa. For example, if a typical Everest group tour lasts 8 to 10 days (this sort of group tour is promoted by every tour website), you just need to join part which is out of Lhasa. Why you book that part only? Because you may only need to share the transportation, and the guide service out of Lhasa.
  • No.4 Leave more free days to do things by yourself in Lhasa. This is very important and it is actually right. Many foreign travelers can do this way, then why don’t you? Here some “Tibetan agencies” or “Chinese agencies” ( no mater they are ranked No.1 or No.2, or No.3,4 or 5  on TripAdvisor) may warn you that: foreign travelers can not visit Lhasa by themselves. But you should ask you this serious question that: “Can I have 1-3 free days for very good rest? Because I worry about mountain sickness! I have to have 2-3 free days without tour for good acclimatization.” This is correct. You can do this way. No police will stop you because they can not see a guide with you when you are walking in Lhasa. The restriction has ridiculous aspect. So you should take advantage of it, rather letting your travel agency takes full advantage of yourselves.
  • No.5 During the free days in Lhasa, you can visit many attractions by yourself. E.g, you can go to visit Norbulinka or Sera Monastery by yourself, or take a visit to Anitsangkung Nunnery, Ramech Temple, Parks, Barkhor streets, and many more. However you are suggested to visit Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple with a local guide. If you feel stressed to travel by yourself, please do not worry, you can have many options to join some mini tours lasting from couple of hours to 1 or 2 days in or from Lhasa. This absolutely gives you more flexibility but still offers you many guided tour possibilities.


September 6, 2018
This is so interesting We have been warned so many times that we are not allowed to walk around Lhasa by ourselves. And some of our quotes are for 3 days in Lhasa with a private guide which is getting very expensive. I really want to go to the Saga Dawa Festival on 17June 2019 and just stay in the celebration area (not hike around mountain) and my husband wants to visit EBC. Our tour quotes have been given to us for 11 days with four days just in Lhasa. Is there anyway of reducing the cost by us having the freedom to visit Lhasa on our own and maybe the guide show us the palace and temple on the day leaving Lhasa to start our journey?
    September 7, 2018
    You were misled by my local or outsider agents. Of course you can walk around in Lhasa by yourself. You can go to restaurants, shops, wander along the streets, no one says no. But for tour attractions, sure you do need a guide, however you can have your own free time except for the guided tour. Lhasa. For the EBC and Lhasa (flexible Lhasa city tour), you could consider around 9-11 days, it is no problem. If your budget is not tight, a private tour is more rewarding. Group tour is optional however it leaves you less flexibility. Is it possible for you to have few friend to take a private tour? Kindest regards. ECT (Tibet Ctrip Travel Service).

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