Is It Safe to Travel to Tibet?
- by Beatrice
- Last Updated: 2021-01-26
Tibet, a holy land in remote Asia which is known as the “third pole of the world”, attracts countless travelers all over the world to explore its unique beauty. Besides breathtaking landscape and mysterious Buddhist culture, travelers wonder that is it safe to travel to Tibet? Let's show you the most concerned issues besides altitude sickness, which is regarded as the major safety hazard of Tibet. We will not elaborate it any further here.
Tibet is a tightly controlled place, there are many checkpoints on the roads which entail stopping. Checkpoints will check passports, permits and other documents. As a result, driving on Tibet’s roads means have stops, slow speed and a long time waiting. For example, there are more than 20 checkpoints on the road between Lhasa and Shigatse. What’s more, most vehicles are equipped with speed-monitors, which will alert when the driver is driving too fast. During a long journey in remote areas in Tibet, particularly when you are looking forward to visiting the Mount Everest or other attractive sites, the speed may be frustrating. However, the speed limitation and checkpoints ensure you a safe trip in Tibet, please be patient.
Most of the roads in Tibet are well-paved and broad.
Local Tibetan are hospitable and trustworthy, criminal is rare in Tibet. However, there are some petty criminals in Tibet, the majority of them is theft and pickpockets. In crowded areas in Lhasa, particularly in Barkhor Street, you may encounter with pickpockets. Take care of your bags and pockets, and don’t bring a large amount of cash with you. Hold your camera tightly when you are enjoying the breathtaking scenery. Make sure your digital equipment, such as phones and tablet computers, are always in your bag. There are some common scams in Tibet and foreign travelers are vulnerable to them. Don’t go with people who approach you and invite you to drink at a bar or café. What’s more, ATM scams are common in recent years. Using ATM accompanied by your travel guide is suggested to avoid ATM crime or your card being swallowed. You’d better use ATM during the daytime in banks, shops, and big shopping centers. Don’t go out at night.
Dogs and Other Animals
Tibet owns more than 800 species of wild animals, 200 species of which are native. As a wonderland for the wildlife, you are suggested to protect the animals and yourself by respecting laws. Brown bears, yaks, and snow leopards attacked local people during past years. Travelers are not suggested to trek or cycle in those wild areas alone but companied by a local travel guide. When you see wild animals, keep a safe distance from them and never approach them. In the countryside and pastoral areas, almost every local family owns a Tibetan mastiff. Tibetan mastiff is a species of dog, which is powerful, ferocious and dangerous. When you see a dog during your journey, keep away from it.
Tibetan mastiff is a very common Tibetan animal.
Money and Valuables
Don’t carry much cash with you, and don’t show your wealth in public. Take care of your valuables, such as jewelry, cameras, and expensive watches. Don’t leave them in vehicles or hotels. If your thing was stolen, report it to the nearest Public Security Bureau. You will fill in a loss report and claim the loss on your travel insurance, which will cover it.
Your passport is valuable, since criminals may commit crimes with lost passports. To avoid your identity being used by criminals, take care of your passport and always bring it with you. Contact the nearest Embassy as soon as possible once you lost your passport.
Although you will be surrounded by attractive local food, which is cheap and delicious, you’re suggested to eat in the big restaurants. A meal in a big restaurant in Tibet is not cheap, which costs about CNY 60 per person, but it’s worth trying. Food from vendors is not always safe, and it may be cooked with stale meats and vegetables. For your health, you’d better have your meals in reliable restaurants with better sanitary conditions.
Tibetan food deserves a trying.
Terrorism and Politics
When a riot breaks out in Tibet, travelers can be caught up or injured. It is reported during past violence. Although it’s not likely to take place during your travel, you’re suggested to stay in the hotel for your safety if you encounter this situation. If the situation getting worse, local authorities and the embassy will organize flights out of Lhasa. Since the strengthened security procedure in Tibet now, there’s no need to worry about terrorism. Because of the social unrest, Tibet is tightly controlled and there are some restraints. As an international traveler, don’t bring pictures of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan snow lion flag or any pro-Tibetan political things to Tibet.
In a nutshell, it’s safe to travel to Tibet as a foreign traveler. Located in Lhasa with 16 years’ experience, we offer group tour packages with seasoned travel guides and drivers. We guarantee you a safe, unforgettable and rewarding travel to Tibet.
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