Tibet, formally known as the Tibet Autonomous Region, is an autonomous province in southwest China. It's often called the “Roof of the World” due to its location across the Tibetan Plateau and several mountain ranges that give the area an average elevation of more than 14,000 feet. Due to its rugged terrain, Tibet is sparsely populated, leaving many of its natural features and attractions undeveloped.
The area was closed to foreign tourists until the 1980s, but since then, the combination of its tranquil, majestic landscape, which includes Mount Everest, and culture of religious mysticism has begun to attract its fair share of visitors.
Travel Medical Insurance for Travelers in Tibet – FAQs
There's a lot to consider when choosing a Tibet travel medical insurance plan. It's important to understand why travel medical insurance is necessary and to separate fact from fiction. Make sure your coverage matches your destination. In a remote, high-altitude environment, consider whether you'd need a service like emergency medical evacuation.
Do I need travel medical insurance for Tibet?
Visitors are not always required to purchase travel medical insurance in order to get a Chinese visa or Tibet Entry Permit. However, when you consider the ruggedness of the region and the activities it is known for, it would be unwise to visit Tibet without the protection of travel medical insurance. There may also be a requirement for you to purchase a specific type of travel health insurance if you are traveling to Tibet as part of a tour or expedition.
Why buy travel medical insurance before traveling to Tibet?
The medical facilities in Tibet are limited by western standards. There is a high probability that any serious medical condition will require emergency medical evacuation, especially if climbing or trekking. The cost for this can be as much as $250,000. And if you do not have travel medical insurance covering medical evacuation, you would be required to pay this cost yourself. Get travel medical insurance to protect both your health and your finances.
Trip Cancellation Insurance for Travelers in Tibet – FAQs
Booking a tour to Tibet requires a significant financial investment. If anything should go wrong during your Tibetan trip, you could suffer a major financial setback. Trip cancellation insurance is designed to protect your trip investment by providing reimbursement in case of unexpected events.
Why should I get trip cancellation insurance for my Tibet travel?
When traveling to Tibet, you will need to book your flights, ground transportation, accommodations, and tour/expedition in advance. These charges are largely nonrefundable. So, what then would happen if you got sick, had a family emergency or some other issues were to pop up, forcing you to cancel your trip? Well, you could end up on the financial hook for a trip you are unable to take.
You can avoid this with trip cancellation insurance. It can allow you to be reimbursed for your prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses if you are unable to take your trip for a covered reason.
What can be covered by trip cancellation insurance for Tibet?
Travel insurance is often referred to as trip cancellation insurance because it offers trip cancellation coverage. However, there is more to travel insurance than that. Your policy can cover instances such as:
Take the time to compare various travel insurance plans on this website. You can use the information to determine the best insurance policy for your trip to Tibet.
Tibet’s Most Popular Places for Travel
Lhasa, located in the south-central portion of Tibet, is a prefecture-level city that serves as the capital of the region. As of 2020, it had a population of just under 500,000. The city's primary draw for tourists is its culture steeped in the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and monastic life. Attractions in Lhasa include the Jokhang Temple, which has been called the “spiritual heart of Tibet,” the buzzing bazaars of Barkhor Steet, and the incredible Potala Palace complex.
Namtso Lake, about a six-hour drive north of Lhasa, is the highest saline lake on Earth. at an elevation of 15,479 feet. Regarded as one of the most beautiful spots in the Nyenchen Tanglha Mountain Range, Namtso is one of the holy lakes that draws Tibetan pilgrims and hermits—and, more recently, tourists. The lakeshore is a popular place for walking, bicycling, trekking, and sightseeing. The drive to and from Namtso offers views just as spectacular as the lake itself, rising and falling along the high passes, peering at snowy mountains in the distance.
Tashilhunpo Monastery, located in Tibet's second-largest city of Shigatse, was founded in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama. Tashilhunpo is the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama. The monastery sits on the southern slope of Nyiseri Mountain and is open for visitor tours. Highlights of the visit include the beautiful architecture of historic sites like Coquen Hall and the Chapel of Jampa; walking a scenic kora (a type of pilgrimage) around the complex; the tombs of the fourth and tenth Panchen Lamas; and observing Buddhist monk debates and scripture chanting. It's also the site of the Tashilhunpo Monastery Thangka Festival—also known as the Buddha Exhibition Festival—one of the most important religious festivals in the region.
Everest Base Camp
Mount Everest has two main base camps, the South Base Camp in Nepal and the North Base Camp in Tibet. First used in 1924 by a British Everest expedition, the North Base Camp has two small permanent structures and an army base. It is necessary to acquire a permit from the Chinese government to visit the camp; these permits are available through travel companies in Lhasa as part of a package including a vehicle, driver, and guide. Any private vehicles are still required to stop about 2.5 miles from the camp, and visitors must take a Chinese-government-run bus or trek the rest of the way. Located at an elevation of about 17,000 feet, the base camp features a sign for tourist photos, overnight accommodations in a small tent city or at the Rongpuk Monastery Guesthouse, and a combination tea house/hotel.
Key Guidelines for Travelers in Tibet
Climbing Mount Everest
If your ambition is to climb Mount Everest instead of merely visiting the base, you should make sure to purchase mountaineering insurance, available as part of a hazardous sports travel insurance package. The risk of mountain climbing (especially one as daunting as Everest) is too great for a basic insurance plan to cover, but purchasing the coverage will protect you should the worst happen. You must ensure that the coverage you purchase does not exclude climbing at the extreme altitudes of Mount Everest. Contact us if you have any questions.
Tibetan cuisine is based largely on the available resources from its climate. Common ingredients include noodles, goat, yak, mutton, butter, and yogurt. The staple crop of Tibet is barley. If you are from a different culture, you may find Tibetan food unkind to your stomach. It is recommended to pack a few nonperishable food choices to depend on for necessary nutrients if Tibetan cuisine does not agree with you.
The average altitude in Tibet is 14,370 feet. This is similar to the altitude of the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado, USA. Those not used to these extreme altitudes can suffer from altitude sickness, and in more extreme cases, hypoxia. Make sure to speak to your healthcare professional prior to traveling to Tibet to ensure your body can cope with high elevations, and give yourself ample time to acclimate to the thin air before exerting yourself.
Before You Travel to Tibet – Do This
- Book your tour at least 10 days in advance. It usually takes at least five days for the Tibet Tourism Bureau to issue an issue an entry permit.
- Consider planning your trip to Tibet between May and October. The climate is most comfortable during this time, and oxygen levels in the air are slightly higher.
- Consider the activities you will be participating in, and purchase travel medical insurance or travel insurance that will cover them.