Travelling to Tibet from Malaysia is simple and straightforward, and is the same for Malaysian citizens as it is for almost everyone else outside China. Travel can be done through either mainland China or Nepal, as both are within easy flying distance of the Airports in Malaysia. Lying within Southeast Asia, it is easier to get to Tibet for Malaysian citizens than for those travellers from outside Asia, as travel between Asian countries is easier and less demanding, with more direct flights to many of the airports in China and to the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal.
However, there are a number of things to take into consideration before you travel to the roof of the world, such as the tour type you are going to be on, the places you will visit whilst in Tibet, when to travel to the region, and how to get there from your hometown. Here at Tibet Vista, our professional and helpful tour advisors can help you work all that out, help you decide on the best itinerary for your trip, and even advise you on the best times for Tibet travel according to your choice of attractions.
Find Your Favorite Places to Visit in Tibet
First and foremost, you need to know where you intend to go while you are in Tibet. The land of snows is a vast landscape set on a huge high-altitude plateau, ringed by the world’s highest mountains, and there are hundreds of thousands of things to see and do, and places to visit while you are in the region. With so much to choose from, how can you possibly make a decision of what to include and what to leave out?
This is where we come in. Not only are our tour advisors helpful, friendly, and professional, but they are also experts in travel into and around Tibet, and know all of the places that you would want to visit intimately. While there may be a billion things to see and do and visit, there are several that are the top attractions in Tibet, and places that you should really visit, especially on your first tour of the region.
How about Lhasa?
In Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, there are a plethora of things to see and do, as well as plenty of places to visit and explore, and most people try to limit their sightseeing tours of the city to the major attractions, such as the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple, and the major local monasteries, as well as some of the more interesting areas of the city, such as Barkhor Street.
For those travelling outside Lhasa, at least as far as Shigatse, then there are plenty of places to visit along the Friendship Highway. Once outside Lhasa, you have the stunning scenery and views of the sacred lake Yamdrok, one of the Great Three Holy Lakes of Tibet. Lying to the southwest of Lhasa, the road to Gyantse passes along the lakeshore, where you can get a great view of the lake itself. Before you reach Gyantse, you will also pass the Karola Glacier, with its pristine white glacial tongue. And inside the city of Gyantse, there is the stunning Kumbum Stupa, a one-of-a-kind stupa in Tibet that stands 32 meters tall.
Shigatse is also a great place to see, with the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama, Tibet’s second highest incarnation, and a major monastery of the Gelugpa School of Tibetan Buddhism. Outside the city, a little way to the west, lies the world’s highest monastery, the Rongbuk Gompa, sitting in the shadow of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. If you are travelling out to the west of the region, then a visit to Everest Base Camp (EBC) is a must.
No matter where you want to go in Tibet, there are major attractions that you can find to interest you, so decide on where you want to go and what you want to see, and our tour advisors will help you select the right package for you.
Travel to Tibet at the Right Time
Knowing when to travel to Tibet is something that few people have been able to master, especially since most of the world believes that Tibet is under layers of deep snow for the whole year. However, this could not be further from the truth, and Tibet actually has four distinct seasons, which have their own attractions depending on the time of year.
For most tours of Tibet, the high season of Tibetan tourism is the best time to visit, and while it is the rainy season, it does not rain much in the region, and what little does fall usually happens in the evenings or overnight. However, there are some things that are best done in the winter, the low season for tourism, or in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn.
For example, if you are planning on trekking in Tibet, then the best times to travel are from April to June and Sept to Oct. These are the shoulder seasons, and when the weather is at its optimal for trekking, with clear skies, warm temperatures (except at night, when it can get cold), and pleasant weather with little to no rain or snow. Trekking in most of Tibet is not as good in the summer months, and in the depths of winter, it can be a little riskier. Travel to EBC is also better in the shoulder seasons, as the changeable weather at the mountain in summer can sometimes mean the peak is not visible for days at a time.
Is winter a good idea?
Winter is also a good time for travelling to Tibet if you want to get away from the tourist crowds, as the plateau sees fewer tourists from December to March. It is also a good time to get away from the monsoon season in Malaysia, which runs from mid-October to the end of March. Instead of getting wet at home, you can enjoy a cooler and drier climate on the roof of the world.
However, if you are planning on visiting Lake Namtso, in Lhasa on the boundary with Nagqu Prefecture, then winter is definitely out, as the roads and passes get clogged with snow from December to April, making travel impossible.
Decide Your Way to Get to Tibet from Malaysia
With Malaysia being so close to Tibet, in relative terms, getting to the region can be done in several ways, by getting connecting flights to Lhasa, or by combining flights with overland travel, or even a delightfully relaxing train journey.
Obviously, unless you are planning to travel by road or train from Malaysia to Nepal or China, which can be done (although it is a very long trip and requires careful planning), your main concern is how to get to China or Nepal. Flights are the simplest and easiest choice, and once you have decided on which you are going to travel through, getting the flights is easy. Over 100 flights leave Malaysia for cities in China every day, and while there may be no direct flights to Kathmandu from Malaysia, there are plenty of indirect flights that can take as little as 6 hours.
If you are travelling to Kathmandu, you have the choice of taking a connecting flight to Lhasa, or taking an overland trip, crossing the Sino-Nepal border at Gyirong Port, and travelling along the Friendship Highway to Lhasa.
For those travelling through China, you also have a choice of routes to take. You can take a flight from more than a dozen cities across China, or you can choose to take the train. There are seven cities that act as gateways to Tibet for the Tibet trains, including Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lanzhou, and Xining. These trains take from 22 hours to 55 hours to get to Tibet and are an incredible journey of discovery and exploration.
Book your Tibet Journey far ahead
Tibet is a land where it is not possible to travel independently. All international travellers to Tibet are required to travel using a registered tour operator on a pre-booked tour, that includes a private guide, driver, and vehicle. Not only that, but certain permits are also required to travel into and around Tibet, the main one being the Tibet Travel Permit, which can only be applied for by the tour operators and takes around 20 days to process.
Which means that, in order to properly arrange your tour, you need to book well in advance. The Restricted Areas Permit, for those wishing to travel to the outlying areas in Ngari, such as Mount Kailash, also requires 15-20 days to process.
Ideally, you should plan to speak to us about your trip to Tibet at least a month in advance of your date of travel, even as much as 6-8 weeks, as this gives us plenty of time to prepare the documents from the various agencies in Lhasa, yet is still within the 3-month validity period of your Chinese Entry Visa. If you are travelling through Kathmandu, then you can leave less time or more, as the visa to enter Tibet from Kathmandu is not issued until you arrive in Nepal.
Travelling to Tibet from Malaysia is a complex process, with lots of things to consider, such as where and when to go, etc. It can also be a confusing process, with a lot of permits and passes to arrange, as well as having to sort out visas, train travel, hotels, etc.
However, when you contact us for your tour, we make it simple, advising you on the places you want to visit, and the best times to visit them, as well as arranging all your permits and even helping out with train tickets, flight schedules, and your hotel accommodations. Which means that it is really easy to get to Tibet from Malaysia, with a little help from your friends, us!