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How is the weather in Tibet?

In fact, the Tibetan climate is not as harsh as many people imagine it to be. It is suitable for travel to Tibet from April to early November, and the best time is August and September. But if you only stay in Lhasa, you can go there any time of the year.

Sun radiation is extremely strong in Tibet. The sunlight in Lhasa is so intense that the city is called Sunlight City. The thin air can neither block off nor retain heat so that the temperature extremes can be met in daytime and the same night respectively in Tibet. However it is not impossible to visit the holy snow land. May through October is the golden season for visiting Lhasa, Shigatse, Shannan, Nyingchi and other places in southern Tibet.

Most annual rainfall comes in the rainy season that starts from June to September. Usually it rains at night in Lhasa, Shigatse and Chamdo area. The rainfall may block roads and make travel difficult but the scenery at the time will be the best.

With the exception of southeastern Tibet, Tibet's windy season lasts from November to May of the following year, with strong winds in February and March

When to go

Climate is not such a major consideration when visiting Tibet as many people might imagine. For a place nicknamed 'The Land of Snows', there's a surprising lack of snow. The boom in domestic tourism means that Lhasa swells with Chinese tourists in the summer and particularly in the week-long holidays around 1 May and 1 October. Finding accommodation can be trickier during these weeks, so try to have something nailed down by lunch time. Winter is very cold, many restaurants are shut and snow can close mountain passes, but some travellers swear by the winter months. There are few travellers about at this time and Lhasa is crowded with drokpas (nomads). The average temperature in January is -2°C.

Spring, early summer and late autumn are probably the best times to visit Tibet. March is a politically sensitive month in the country and there is occasional tightening of restrictions on travellers heading into Tibet at this time, but the weather's pretty good. April brings reliable weather in eastern Tibet and discounts on accommodation and vehicle rental in Lhasa. Mt Everest is particularly clear during April and May.

From mid-July through to the end of September the monsoon starts to affect parts of Tibet. (The months of July and August bring half of Tibet's annual rainfall.) Travel to western Tibet becomes slightly more difficult, the roads to the east are temporarily washed out and the Friendship Hwy sometimes becomes impassable on the Nepal side or on the border itself.

Trips to Mt Kailash can be undertaken from April to October, although September and October are considered the best months. October is also the best time to make a trip out to the east. Lhasa and its environs don't get really cold until the end of November.

It's worth trying to time your trip with one of Tibet's festivals. New Year (Losar) in January or February is an excellent time to be in Lhasa, as is the Saga Dawa festival in April or May.

The following is the weather in Tibet

Tibet Weather Report
from Wunderground.com (Click on the image to get the weather forecast)
Lhasa
Click for Lhasa, Tibet Forecast
Garze
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Nagqu
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Nyingchi
Click for Nyingchi, Tibet Forecast
Qamdo
Click for Qamdo, Tibet Forecast
Tingri
Click for Tingri, Tibet Forecast
Xigaze
Click for Xigaze, Tibet Forecast

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