The amount of tourists in Tibet begins to decline in September. However, from the end of September to early October, Tibet will witness an increasing amount of tourists because of the golden National Day Holiday. Yet compared with other places in China, a tour to Tibet during this period is rather comfortable, as the holy land is less crowded than other tourist attractions. And pressure on accommodation and the three meals in Tibet is also less than other places as well. The amount of tourists begins to decrease after the end of the golden holiday, but the scenery of Tibet during this period remains unbelievably amazing. Therefore, for those who want a less crowded place for travelling in October, Tibet is a wonderful choice.
Temperature keeps cooling down in October, but in most of the Tibetan places, it is normal to see that the temperature is still above 0 degree. The only thing needs to be noticed is the huge temperature differences between day and night. When it is 17 degrees in the daytime, the temperature can drop down to as low as 1 degree at nights. Therefore, thermal clothes should be prepared to against the chilly cold evenings.
Tibet in October
The Sunshine can be seen on the entire plateau throughout the whole month, with little rainfall coming to the place. Therefore, tourists don’t need to worry about the weather during their trip in Tibet. However, tourists need to make preparation for the strong sunshine, which is getting stronger during this period in Tibet.
October is the watershed of the weather in Tibet. The weather is relatively comfortable in the first half of the month, and a light coat would be enough for the journey during this period. However, the weather will change dramatically in the latter half of the month. The temperature will drop down quickly, and you need to wear thicker clothes if you go to Tibet at this time.
October marks the beginning of the slack season of Tibet tourism. Nevertheless, the decreasing amount of tourists in October doesn’t mean that Tibet is not suitable for traveling in this month. On the contrary, the scenery in October in Tibet is surprisingly beautiful: the autumn scenery of Nyingchi and Shannan, the blue sky and white clouds in Lhasa, snow-covered mountains in Namtso, and the pure water of Yamdrok Lake, which can give tourists different feelings during this period.
Yungbulakhang in Shannan
Even though the amount of normal tourists are decreasing, more and more trekkers are heading for this holy land in October. Therefore, October is also the beginning of the second season of trekking in Tibet throughout the year. Compared with the previous months, October is a time when tourists can save a lot of money on their journey, making the month one of the best time to visit Tibet throughout the year.
October is a proper time to visit Lhasa, when the weather is mostly sunny during the period, with less than 10 mm rainfall throughout the month. Temperature ranges between 18 degrees in the daytime and 2 degrees at nights. Because of the fresh air and high altitude, UV rays in Lhasa are much stronger. Besides, oxygen content in October is relatively high, so tourists are less likely to get altitude sickness.
Lhasa should be the first stop for most people when they arrive in Tibet, as the city owns a lot of cultural relics. Weathers in Lhasa are comfortable in all seasons. It is not hot in summer nor cold in winter, even though temperature differences between day and night are large. If the main purpose of your trip is to explore and feel the traditional culture of Tibet, October should be an ideal time for you, because you can visit the city in a more relaxing way. What’s more, you can have a cup of tea in the tea houses and have a causal talk with the local people. Besides, you don’t have to worry about the train tickets and tickets of those tourist attractions, which are cheaper and more available in October.
October is also one of the best time for tourists to enjoy the religious atmosphere in Lhasa. They can see the pilgrims making ritual kora around Jokhang Temple and prostrating in front of the temple. Because of the National Day Holiday, it might be crowded in Lhasa in early October. To avoid of the crowded people, tourists had better go there after the holiday.
As it is cold in the morning and at nights in October, you need to wear an extra coat to keep out the cold at this time. And a light down coat would be the best choice. When there is sunshine in the daytime, you can wear long sleeves inside and put on a coat outside, so that you can take off the coat whenever you feel hot. But you won’t feel hot in most of the time. It is relatively comfortable to wear long sleeves in Lhasa in October, and short sleeves might not be enough to against the cool weather during this period.
Average temperature in Namtso during this period is between -3 degrees and 10 degrees. The weather is mostly dry and sunny, so scenery of the lake is clearly visible during the daytime. Water of the lake reflecting the blue sky is flickering under the sunshine, making the scene a picturesque one. While walking by the lakeside, tourists need to pay attention to the strong winds. So a wind-proof or thermal jacket is necessary for a trip to Namtso.
The best time to visit Namtso is from early October to mid-October, because water of the lake will begin to freeze at the end of the month and yaks which were grazed on the meadows around have already moved to other warm places.
In the Chinese zodiac Year of Sheep, Tibetan people would make pilgrimages around Namtso Lake by walking around the lake circle after circle. They believe by doing this, their sins will be washed away. Therefore, tourists might see more pilgrims in the Year of Sheep than in other years.
As the temperature in Namtso begins to drop down dramatically in October, you must pay attention to the temperature changes during this period. Not only should you bring thermal clothes such as down coats, fleece jackets and sweaters, but should also bring equipment like gloves, hats, scarves and cold-weather masks to against the cold and wind by the lakeside. The temperature will be lower than zero degree at nights. Therefore, we don’t suggest that you stay overnight in Namtso.
Countless travelers walk into Tibet to have a look at the most beautiful scenery of the place in different time of the year. Yet there is no correct answer to the question of “when is the best time to go to Tibet”, because the scenery of Tibet in all seasons are beautiful in different ways. And that’s exactly the charm of Tibet, attracting thousands of tourists throughout the year. Yamdrok is showing its beauty in four seasons in different ways, too. If you there in October, you might be able to see this kind of rare scenery: the white snows fall on the blue water of Yamdrok Lake, and finally integrate with each other. There is little rainfall during this period and water vapor in the air is drying up rapidly, so the weather in Yamdrok are mostly sunny and dry in October. Birds on the islands are ready to fly to southern areas before winter. Therefore, this is the last chance that tourists can have a look at the birds on the islands throughout the year.
With the decrease of rainfall and air humidity, Yamdrok is a little bit warm in the daytime during this period. But once it comes to evenings, the temperature will drop down dramatically. So down coats and fleece jackets are essential for a trip to Yamdrok in October.
October marks the beginning of autumn in Gyantse, with green leaves on the trees turning into brown, red, and golden yellow. Temperature is dropping down to below 0 degree at nights and rainfall seems to disappear in Gyantse during this period, making a trip to Gyantse more comfortable and relaxing.
Gyantse is one of the famous historical and cultural counites in China, and it is also an emerging tourism county in Tibet. Though small in size, there are several famous tourist attractions in Gyantse. Topping the list are: Gyantse Fortress, Kumbum Monastery, and Pala Manor, which are all of great importance to the history of the county. Gyantse Fortress is a war site which had played an important role in the battle between the Tibetan people and the British invaders in 1904. Kumbum Monastery is the only temple where the three major sects of Tibetan Buddhism harmoniously get along with each other. And Pala Manor is the only well-preserved manor of ancient nobility in Tibet, showing two totally different life between the rich nobility and the poor slaves in ancient times.
Shigatse is a perfect place for trekking in October, when the weather is proper and comfortable. It is a little colder than the plain area because of its high altitude, ranging between -4 degrees and 12 degrees. There is bright sunshine in the daytime, so the weather is relatively warm. Although the temperature might drop down at nights, it barely rains during this period (only 1-2 rainy days). As long as tourists make full preparation for the coldness, walking outside at nights is still acceptable.
Compared with Lhasa, Shigatse is smaller and less famous. However, once you get there, you will be attracted by not only the scenery but also the enthusiastic atmosphere there. Local people will give Hada (a piece of silk used as a greeting gift) to honorable guests. Tourists can also have a cup of hot buttered tea there.
You will pass through the Gangbala Mountain Pass and Karola Mountain Pass before you get to Shigatse. You can spent half an hour having a look at the holy YamdrokTso Lake at the Gangbala Mountain Pass, and Karola Glacier at the Karola Mountain Pass respectively. As these two mountain passes are both 5,000 meters above sea level, the wind can be very strong at these two places, Therefore, you need to put on an extra light sweater and a coat to keep warm when you stay in these two places.
Everest Base Camp, a protected zone established to protect the environment of the core area of Mt. Everest, is located at an altitude of 5,200 meters and linear distance between EBC and the peak of Mt. Everest is approximately 19 kilometers. The postal office in EBC is the highest in China. The 5,200-meter-high Monument is only 4 kilometers away to the south of EBC and tourist can only go there by eco-car or on foot. The two public toilets are the only permanent buildings in EBC. The tents which provided for normal tourists will be closed from October to next spring. However, that doesn’t mean October is not a suitable time for tourists. It is actually a perfect time for mountain climbers from all over the world. Colorful tents are scattering on the empty base camp in October, which is quite spectacular.
There is always blue sky and white clouds in the daytime, and rainfall seldom comes during this period, allowing tourists to take the best views of Mt. Everest clearly. Tourists are suggested to spend 4 days to trek from Tingri Counting to Everest Base Camp via the Friendship Highway, because they are able to see the stunning views of not only Mt. Everest but also other mountains as well.
As for the accommodation of normal tourists, they are suggested to go to the Rongbuk Monastery, which is only 8 miles away from EBC. The equipment and facilities for accommodation in the monastery are much better than those of the tent guesthouses in EBC, and tourists can also enjoy the views of Mt. Everest from the monastery.
The weather in October in EBC is not as warm as it was in summer. The best choice of clothing for a trip EBC in October include thick down coat and fleece jacket. In addition, knitted hat and scarf are also great equipment that can keep you warm when you stay in EBC during this period.
Weather is dry and cool in Mt. Kailash in October, making the month one of the best time to trek around the mountain. The roads to the mountain are not slippery because of the little rainfall. The views of the holy mountain in October is also the most beautiful of the year. During the month, not only pilgrims who live nearby will go to Mt. Kailash to make pilgrimages, those who live thousand miles away will also make pilgrimages from where they live to the mountain. Therefore, the amount of pilgrims in October are the most throughout the year.
Besides, Tibetan people have the tradition of making pilgrimages in Mt. Kailash in the Chinese zodiac Year of Horse. They make pilgrimages by walking around the mountain circle after circle. It is said by walking one circle, people can wash away the sins of their whole life; walking ten circles, people can get rid of the 500-hundred years’ suffering in hell; walking one hundred circles, people can become a Buddha after their death. Therefore, in the Year of Horse, tourists can see countless pilgrims walking around the mountain.
Mount Kailash pilgrims
Not only Tibetan people, but also tourists from mainland China and other countries will rush to Mt. Kailash for trekking and pilgrimages. They set off in the morning, with backpacks filling with trekking equipment on their backs. Some will hire a horse to carry their loads, so that their journey in Mt. Kailash will be more relaxing and energy-saving.
While October is the beginning of winter in other places in Tibet, it is the peak of autumn in Nyingchi. Leaves on the trees have already turned into brown and red, and some of the leaves have fallen down from the trees to create a scenic pastel carpet for the grounds. With the snow-capped mountains and the blue sky being the background, rivers in the valleys are shimmering together with the golden leaves under the sunshine, making the place a fairy tale world.
Compared with Lhasa and Shannan, Nyingchi is located at a lower altitude, so temperature here is relatively higher. When there is sunshine in the daytime, temperature is between 10 degrees to 18 degrees. Even in the evening, the lowest temperature is above zero degree. Average rainfall during this period is 38 mm, a little higher than other places. Therefore, the air is more humid in Nyingchi than other places.
Sekyim-la Pass in Nyingchi
When there is no sunshine in the daytime, the weather can be pretty cold in Nyingchi. So when you go to Nyingchi in October, you need to bring sweaters and thermal coats to keep warm not only at nights, but also in the daytime.
Shannan is a place which enjoys favorable climate: warm in winter and cool in summer. Therefore, travelers can travel in the area in most time of the year. For those who are into cultural experience, they can go there in July, as the famous "Shannan Yalong Culture Festival" in held on July 25th every year. Tourist can sing folk songs and dance with the villagers and wear the local costumes during the festival. Shannan is located in the hinterland of the Yarlung Zangbo River, boasting fertile fields, outstanding people, and beautiful natural scenery. Unlike other places in Tibet, tourists can truly feel the differences of the four seasons in Shannan. The annual average temperature in Shannan is about 8 degrees. The highest temperature appears between June and August - about 20 degrees. December and January are the two coldest months, with the minimum temperature being less than - 10 degrees, so October is one of the best time to travel in Shannan, when the weather is mostly sunny and it is neither too cold nor too hot: 17 degrees in the daytime and 3 degrees at nights.
Shannan is also an ideal place for trekkers in October. Famous toursits attractions in Shannan include the Yumbulakang Palace, Lake Ramlaco, and Tradruk Temple. Yumbulakang Palace is the first palace ever built in Tibet. Lake Ramlaco is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet. It is said that people can see their past and future from the lake. Therefore, thousands of pilgrims come to the lake every year. Tradruk Temple is one of the earliest geomantic temples in Tibet. The thangka decorated with thousands of pearls which depicts Princess Wencheng as White Tara (one of the 21 manifestations of Guanyin Bodhisattva) shouldn’t be missed while visiting the temple.
The weather during this period in Shannan is neither too cold nor too hot, but the sunshine is still strong. So the first concern during this journey should not be keeping warm, but to avoid of getting a sunburn. The best way to achieve this goal is to wear clothes as much as possible. Long shirts and long pants are the best. When the temperature drops down in the morning or at nights, you should wear extra thermal underwear to keep out the cold.
In October, the whole plateau of Tibet is decorated with fallen leaves in different colors. Kathmandu has already entered into winter during this period. Therefore, while driving from Lhasa to Kathmandu, tourists are able to experience the changes of two seasons in two places within just a few days: from autumn in Tibet to winter in Kathmandu. The Nepali capital is an amazing exotic city boasting the world’s best Buddhist and Hindu sites. October marks the beginning of dry season of Kathmandu. There is little rainfall in Kathmandu during this period. Therefore, tourists can enjoy a lot during their journey from Lhasa to Kathmandu along the way.
The Sino-Nepal Highway, also known as the Friendship Highway, is believed to be one of the most unique and fantasy highways in the world. 8 out of the world’s 10 highest mountains are situated on the border between China and Nepal, and tourists are able to see at least 5 of them while driving along the Friendship Highway.
The Chinese part of the highway is from Lhasa to Lazi County, after which the highway is divided into two lines: the west line (Lhasa - Shigaze - Lazi - G219 - Kuala Lung County - Kuala Lung Port - Nepal) and the east line (Lhasa - Shigaze - Lazi – Dingri - Nyalamu County - Zhangmu Port - Friendship Bridge - Kathmandu). Because of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Zhangmu Port has once closed and it is now only accessible for freight. Therefore, tourists can only choose the west line to get to Nepal from Tibet.
Gyirong Port is the last stop in China on the journey from Lhasa to Kathmandu. Tourists need to go through exit formalities before crossing the Resuo Bridge. Once getting into Nepal, tourists have to apply for their visas in the authority agency of the country. After that, they may begin their trip in Nepal by enjoying the lush and spectacular valleys and forests along the way from the border to Kathmandu. Tourists can get transfer service from Gyirong Port to Kathmandu offered by our company, and the fee is 60 USD/person.
Tips: For visitors who want to travel from Kathmandu to Lhasa via overland, they will have to apply for both the Tibet Permit and China Group Visa in Kathmandu. With the help of our staff, visitors can get their documents done quickly. One thing to remember is that visitors have to apply for the visa at the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu at least 3 days before their tour starts, as it will take 3 working days to finish the process. If possible, tourists are suggested to arrive to Kathmandu 5 days in advance to the day leaving for Tibet. So that they can have enough time to deal with their documents. After handing in the passports, out travel consultants will help you get all the details done.
Ongkor Festival is a traditional festival with a history of over 1,500 years and originates from the lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River and the area around Tsedang for a bumper harvest. Today, it is mostly held in Lhasa, Shigatse, Shannan and some other places. The date of the festival is not fixed, as it depends on the agricultural situation of the year. But mostly the festival is held between late September and early October of Tibetan lunar calendar. Ongkor refers to “surrounding the farmland” or “circling the fields” in Tibetan language. During the festival, 100 young women will be chosen to perform kora around the fields to be harvested, led by Dalai Lama and leaders of the community. Celebration for the festival include: racing, shooting, singing and dancing, performing Tibetan traditional Opera, stone lifting, and wrestling, etc.
October is the watershed of the weather in Tibet. It is comfortable and warm in the first half of the month. While in the second half of the month, the weather is getting cold. Temperature differences between day and night are large throughout the month, so no matter when tourists go to Tibet in October, thermal underwear, thick sweaters and jackets are needed to against the coldness at nights. Besides, light coats are also recommended, as they can be easily taken off when the temperature increases in the daytime. Short sleeves are not suggested for a trip to Tibet during this time. For one thing, even though there is sunshine in the daytime, short sleeves are still not enough to against the coldness. For another thing, UV rays in Tibet is much stronger than people think, and skins can easily get harm by the sunshine, so long sleeves are better choices for tourists. Besides, a pair of good boots are necessary for a trip to Tibet in October, as most of the grounds in Tibet are rough and rocky.
Sunshine in Tibet are always strong throughout the year. If you don’t want to get a great tan or sunstroke during the trip in Tibet, do bring with you sunglasses and sun protection equipment such as sun hats and High SPF sunscreen. Besides, skin cream, hand cream and lip balm are also necessary to against the dry weather there.
Tibet is located on the world’s highest plateau, so people are more likely to get altitude sickness when they arrive in Tibet. And one interesting thing is that those who are in better health conditions are more likely to get altitude sickness than normal people. To avoid of such situation, visitors had better take Rhodiola 7 to 15 days in advance before they get to Tibet. Medicine like Rhodiola Compound Capsule and Gaoyuan’an that can relieve the symptoms of altitude sickness should also be prepared.
October is one of the best time of the year to visit Tibet, with the sky being clear, clouds being pale, air being fresh and weather being comfortable. The leaves falling on the grounds make Tibet more colorful. It is a great time to trek in Tibet and the last time of the year to watch all kinds of wild animals on this holy plateau. You will feel quite comfortable wherever you go in Tibet during this period. Because of the golden National Day Holiday, Tibet is a little crowded in early October. Once the holiday is over, Tibet will change from a bustle city to a tranquil one, allowing tourists to get a special chance to experience more of the unique Tibetan culture, and know more about the Tibetan Buddhist people. Therefore, tourists had better go to Tibet in October beyond the days of the golden holiday.