What it Takes to Get to the Himalayas (via Turkey)

In case you wondering what it takes to get to the Himalayas from the US, I’ve pasted what one day’s worth of research has revealed on this project. It’s complicated, but possible.

This post was inspired by a blogger who asked me recently “What’s taking so much time in preparing for this trip?” Here’s an example of what a day’s research looks like…not to mention the tailor-made details of researching how to get a man who can’t walk– to the Everest Base Camp this Fall. (I found that you can hire a horse or yak and cart from the Ronbuk Monastery (the worlds’ highest monastery), but I’ll save that for another post!



-Photo courtesy Dnor, Wikimedia Commons

Note: this information was cobbled together from various websites and exchanges with trekking and guide organizations inside and outside of Nepal. Hopefully I have appointed credit to the correct organization in cobbling this together. The due dates and time lines for obtaining visas are based on the time it takes to get them and my September departure. Note: The last week of September to last week of October are prime season to be in the Himalaya for weather and visibility as the monsoon season will have passed.



Nepal & Tibet via Turkey Trip Visa Staging


Nepal – Apply by May 1… (supposed to take 7 business days plus mail time)

via Embassy in Washington DC:


visa application form at bottom of site

Fill out form/sign form/ send valid passport in a prepaid self-addressed-Stamped Envelope   / best to use FED-EX prepaid with barcode/airway bill.


-photo courtesy: Jean-Marie Hullot, Wikimedia Commons

Turkey Apply by June 13 or after

– apply by apply a maximum of 3 months before travel (visa turn around/ receipt within = 24 hours (email?)

-online: https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/

-when received print and put in passport

-must have 6 months of validity on passport for entry to Turkey


-photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons, David Spender


China / Tibet – Still working on this. (But, my vote is to organize this segment of trip through an agent such as I have on file: Gurkha Encounters or Himalayan Adventure Company etc…)

It seems that “Tibet visa”  is best done via Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu (in person or via mail?)— and is issued to groups of people entering at same time? Don’t mention Tibet as that’s a political problem for Chinese and they may not grant the visa if you do. It’s all China to them. An “L”  visa is a tourist visa. You can get them for single or double entry and  from 1-3 months. Obtainable in 3 days time.

How we can enter Tibet from Kathmandu, Nepal?

There are two main ways to get into Tibet from Nepal, either through a direct flight from Kathmandu to Tibet (normally available on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) or by an overland drive to Tibet. The overland drive poses a greater risk of getting Altitude sickness due to the extreme increase in elevation along the way.

-author Mattes, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

What documents are needed if we enter Tibet from Nepal?

If you plan to enter Tibet from Nepal, you must get the TIBET GROUP VISA from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu despite whether or not you already have a Chinese Visa. The Tibet Group Visa is an A4 size sheet of paper, with the name, sex, nationality, passport number, date of birth and occupation of each member of your group listed. The dates of entry and exit are precisely recorded. Usually, the visa is valid only for the length of the trip you have booked but it’s possible to get the visa extended for few additional days, for stays in Lhasa only. There will be two original copies of the Tibet Group Visa, one for immigration at the entry and one for the exit. We can easily help you with the Tibet Group Visa application. We also highly recommend if you enter Tibet via Nepal not to apply for an individual Chinese Visa in your country; when you arrive in Kathmandu, you will need to apply for the Group Visa to enter Tibet and the Chinese Embassy will cancel your individual Chinese Visa when you receive the Group Visa.

Four things needed to travel to Tibet:

1.) Chinese visa or Tibet Group visa

2.) Tibet Travel Permit (TTP) ( need to be submitted 15 days prior to travel in region)

-Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons: Luca Galuzzi – www.galuzzi.it

How do I obtain the Tibet Travel Permit?

To obtain Tibet Travel Permits, it is necessary to make your travel arrangements through a genuine local travel agency, providing clear scanned copies of you passport and China visa. Please note that it’s impossible to board any flights or trains to Tibet without the Travel Permit. The permits themselves specify every destination and all the towns that you would visit during the tour and cannot be changed once you have arrived in Tibet; therefore, be sure to detail all possible destinations as well as the route before you decide your trip. It usually takes 3 working days for the Tibet Travel Permit to be issued. I can take 5 to 7 days if your particular tour requires the Military Permit and PSB permit.

How long does the Tibet Permit application process take?

Normally, Tibet permits can be issued in 3 – 5 working days, but if your tour itinerary covers some restricted or unopened areas like Everest Base Camp, Mt. Kailash, Sichuan-Tibet highway and Yunnan-Tibet highway, it need several different permits, then it would take around 7-9 working days.


How and when do I receive the Tibet Permit?

Normally, we are able to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit 10-15 days before the trip’s starting date. If you are going to fly into Tibet, you should have the original permit to board the flight to Tibet, so you should provide us with details about your hotel or residence address in China (including the correct name under which the booking is made) and we will send the original permit to you by EMS which takes 24 hrs to 3 days within China, we never mail it abroad as it takes longer and could be delayed or lost. If you don’t have a long layover or overnight in China, you can send us your detail international flight information and we can arrange someone to deliver the permit to you at the airport.

3.) Alien’s Travel PErmit

4.) Military Permit

What kind of trip requires the Military Permit, PSB Permit and Alien’s Travel Permit?

Military and PSB Permits are only needed for those trips going through sensitive areas or a border region; these trips include the Mt. Kailash trip, Sichuan-Tibet Overland Tour, Tibet-Kashigar Overland Tour and so on. Alien’s Travel Permits are necessary if you are going to Mt. Everest Base Camp, Samye Monastery (southern part of Tibet), Nyinchi (Eastern part of Tibet) and Mt. Kailash, but these can be issued from the local PSB just before you enter the region.

It’s highly recommended to NOT apply for individual Chinese visa from USA b/c if you enter Tibet from Nepal the Chinese embassy will cancel your individual Chinese visa.

1024px-20110812_Nomad_Horse_Racing_Zhanzong_Tibet_China_1-Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons, Ggia

How do I apply for Chinese Visa?

To avoid any problems you might encounter to obtain the Chinese visa in other countries, we suggest you to obtain the Chinese Visa from the Chinese Consulate in your home country before you leave. Explore Tibet also strongly suggest you not mention your trip to Tibet on your visa application form, because Tibet is a politically sensitive area and mentioning it as a destination on your application might reject the visa. You can use your return flight tickets and hotel reservation in other cities of China to get the visa


 How much does the Tibet Group Visa cost?

Number of Working Days to Obtain it
Cost for American Passport Holders
Cost for other Nationalities
5 days
$140.00 (USD)
$50.00 (USD)
3 days
$155.00 (USD)
$65.00 (USD)
Top Urgent
1 day
$175.00 (USD)
$85.00 (USD)
Note: You can only apply for the Tibet Group Visa on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (three days a week). Also, the local Nepalese agencies have a service charge of $20-50 (USD) per person normally based on group size.
Above information updated on Aug.20th, 2011.

  (source: http://www.exploretibet.com/Essential-Info/Tibet-Visa-Permits/)

19 thoughts on “What it Takes to Get to the Himalayas (via Turkey)

  1. I don’t know how you’re managing to get any other writing done with all this trip prep, Renee. It sounds fabulous, though!!


  2. Hi Renee, You have an amazing adventure ahead of you. I’m sure it will be worth it in the end, but why does it need to be such a pain in the mean time? Debbie


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