Road trips in Tibet
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Scramble Through the Beautiful and Formidable Land of Tibet
Religion is hugely important to Tibetan culture and has heavily influenced all aspects of it. Bön is the indigenous religion of Tibet, but it has been almost entirely replaced Tibetan Buddhism, which is a combination of Mahayana and Vajrayana, and was originally introduced by the Sanskrit Buddhism of northern India. The Tibetan yak is another integral part of life in Tibet, as they are used for farming, riding, meat, milk, and more. You are likely to see at least one on any Tibet expedition. Hopefully, you will have the opportunity to see the traditional Tibetan outfits of colorful, ornate robes. Even the yaks have fancy saddles, bridles, and decorations! Barley is by far the most important crop in Tibet, and you will find tsampa (barley flour dough) is used to make noddles and dumplings which are ubiquitous. Yak butter, yogurt, and cheese also make up a large part of the Tibetan diet. Be sure to try some yak butter tea!
The climate varies across Tibet, but all are some variation of a monsoon climate. Generally, March to October offers the best weather for travel, and we run our tours from May through September. A strange phenomenon unique to Tibet is the much higher occurrence of rain at night rather than during the day. This primarily occurs in the Himalayan region and the southeastern area of Tibet. Plan accordingly for these weather patterns, along with huge temperature swings over the course of a day and the strong solar radiation that results from tons of sunshine and the thinner atmosphere at altitude.
Tourism to Tibet is strictly controlled by the Chinese government, and all foreign visitors to Tibet need at least one of eight different permits, which is the Tibet Tourism Bureau permit. You will also need a valid Chinese visa. Arrival in Tibet most likely means you will fly into Lhasa from Kathmandu, but overland border crossings are also possible.
There isn’t much you need to worry about during Tibet adventure tours, but definitely be mindful of altitude sickness! We allow some time to acclimatize, but it’s not a bad idea to arrive early, if possible, to help your body adjust even further. When walking or riding through cities, especially during Tibet motorcycle tours, keep an eye out for the numerous stray dogs that can sometimes be aggressive.
What Planet Ride offers for adventure tours in Tibet
Planet Ride is your connection for Tibet adventure tours! Whether you’re interested in carving the switchbacks and mountains roads on a modern enduro bike, exploring vast plateaus and remote villages in a 4×4, or even stepping back in time with a classic Tibet Royal Enfield motorcycle trip, we have a tour that will meet your adventure needs! Whichever tour you choose, one of our local expert guides will work closely with you to arrange everything. They will also support you along the entire journey, providing insight into the local culture and hot spots to visit, along with any vehicle maintenance. Some of our tours run during fixed dates, while others, including our Tibet motorcycle tours, offer you the flexibility to choose your dates as well as who rides with you!
An example of one of our tours is a 9-day 4×4 Tibet expedition across the region. After arriving in Lhasa, we’ll spend plenty of time adjusting to the high altitude before starting our journey. Finally, you’ll begin your adventure driving along the iconic Friendship Highway, which extends 800 kilometers and connects Lhasa to the border with Nepal. Along the way, you’ll traverse mountain passes and switchbacks, and barren dirt trails through the high plateau! One of the highest points of the trip will be when we cross Gyatso La Pass (5,200 meters) and Gawalu Pass. Here, you’ll be able to see five different peaks, each more than 8,000 meters tall! A few other highlights include the visit to Rongbuk Monastery, where nuns and monks live together, and you can mail a postcard from the highest post office in the world, traveling along the mighty Brahmaputra River, and visiting the incredible Stone Forest near Kunming. This trip will leave your head spinning, not only from the altitude, but also the incredible beauty of the land that surrounds you and the kind, friendly, unique culture of the local people!
We also feature thrilling 14-day motorcycle raids aboard classic Royal Enfield bikes. These Tibet motorcycle tours grind down remote dirt and gravel roads through rocky and rugged landscapes and climb dizzying heights to traverse mountain passes. You’ll visit beautiful and intriguing Buddhist temples, monasteries, and landmarks while immersing in the unique Tibetan culture. Adrenaline and excitement will run high, and you are sure to return home with unforgettable memories!