As an Indian traveler who plans to travel to Tibet, it usually divided into two types: one is ordinary citizens from India want to visit Tibet just like other travelers from all over the world. The other one is Indian pilgrims who want to trek around holy Mt. Kailash.
In fact, as long as Indian travelers who want to travel to holy Mt. Kailash or pass through Nagri County, even if there is no religious purpose, they will be considered as a pilgrim. But if you hold an American passport, you won’t be seen as a pilgrim, even if you go to Mt. Kailash.
The way to obtain Tibet Travel permit and organize Tibet tourism is different for three different types of Indian tourists.
1)Tibet Travel Permit application and ordinary Indian
If you are an ordinary Indian who plans to travel to Tibet instead of Nagri County, before traveling to Tibet, you should be at least 20 days in advance to determine the itinerary and date, and then send a copy of the passport and China visa to Tibet travel agency who will help you to apply for Tibet Travel Permit.
2) Tibet Travel Permit application and American passport Indians
If you’re an Indian with an American passport, you can be easier to travel to Tibet, including a Mt.kailash pilgrimage tour than pilgrimage tourists from India. You also should be at least 20 days in advance determine the itinerary and date, and then send a copy of the passport and China visa to Tibet travel agency who will help you to apply for Tibet Travel Permit.
3) Tibet Travel Permit application and pilgrimage tourists from India
The Tibet Travel Permit application for Indian pilgrims must be verified by the Foreign Affairs Office of TAR, Tibet Military Region, Armed Police Tibet Frontier Corps and the Department of Public Security of TAR. Only two organizations can authorize a pilgrimage tour in Tibet for Indian: One is the Foreign Affairs Office (government); the other is Pilgrim Center (non-governmental). Other organizations and travel agencies are not allowed to receive pilgrims from India to Mt. Kailash. Because of the monopoly of the pilgrimage tour, the cost of pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash is much higher than that of other ordinary Tibet tour packages.
How to enter Tibet for Indian travelers
1) Driving from Kathmandu to Tibet: before the earthquake in Nepal happened in May 2015, most pilgrims from India drive to Tibet from the Zhangmu border which is also known as the “Kodari border”. However, so far the earthquake made it almost impossible to access Tibet from Zhangmu border. But in 2017 August, another port which called Gyirong port is open to foreign visitors. So now you can drive from Kathmandu to Tibet via Gyirong port. Along the way, there is a beautiful natural landscape and the highest Mount Everest in the world.
2 You can fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa, and start your tour from Lhasa. If you have a short vacation in Tibet like a week, flying from Kathmandu to Lhasa is a good choice for you. The flights from Kathmandu to Lhasa will give you an amazing view of Himalaya Range Mountains (8844.43meters). Because there will be a huge rise from Kathmandu Valley (1400m) to Lhasa (3658m), it is wise to have a good rest in Lhasa.
3 You can first fly to Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and other cities of China, and then go to Tibet by train or plane into Lhasa.
Noted: If you enter Tibet from Kathmandu, you should entrust the Tibet travel agency to apply for a China group visa for you in Kathmandu. Besides, you will stay in Kathmandu for at least three days to assist in applying for Chinese group visa. If you go to Tibet from other cities in China, like Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, you should apply for a Chinese visa in India.