How about the Spring in Tibet?
Lying on the high-altitude Tibetan plateau, Tibet Autonomous Region has four seasons, unlike many other Asian countries that have a monsoon season. One of the most popular time for tourists to visit Tibet, especially for trekking and touring to Mount Everest, is the spring, which runs from March to late May. Coming immediately before the monsoon season in the region, spring is the start of the tourist season, and is one of the best times to visit Tibet, with mostly clear skies and already warm enough to not get too cold during the day.
As the winter ice and snow melts, roads across the region become clear, ready for the influx of tourists, making travel outside Lhasa more possible and much more pleasant. As the cold winters come to an end, the melting snows leave the region bare and pale, and the renewed hope of new life begins to take a hold across the bare and sometimes barren areas of Tibet. As the flowers start to bloom, showing that spring is really here, everything comes to life, and gets ready for the rainy season, when the plateau becomes lush and green with new growth.
Climate and Temperature of Tibet in March, April and May
March is the first sign of spring in Tibet, although it often does not feel much like it, with temperatures still close to freezing in many places. However, the sunny weather of Tibet and bright clear skies give more of a feeling of spring, as the sunny weather starts to warm things up slowly. Temperatures in March average around 12 degrees during the daytime, and can still drop to below zero at night, so warm clothing is still necessary, as always in Tibet. There is also very little rain in the month of March, and almost all of the days are bright and clear.
In April, it really starts to feel like spring, and the temperatures are really getting higher, with an average daytime temperature of around 16-18 degrees, and maximum highs of around 22 degrees. However, nights can still be a little cold, getting as low as -1 degrees in many places across the region. Average rainfall is a little higher than in March, though most of the days are still clear and bright with no rain. April is one of the best months to visit Everest Base Camp, Mount Kailash or some other places like these, as the weather is at its best for viewing and photographing the mountains, and for walking the kora route around the holy Mount Kailash. In Lhasa, the weather is already comfortable for those tourists that have already arrived, with more than eight or nine hours of sunshine a day.
May in Tibet is the end of the spring season, and one of the best months to travel in Tibet, no matter where you are headed. Bright sunshine and dry weather prevails across the entire region, with little rain in the lower altitude areas, and almost none in the mountains. Most of the vegetation is already starting to turn green with the oncoming monsoons expected within a few days of the end of May, and the grass is already becoming greener and lusher for the herds of yaks that roam the plains and prairies.
Temperatures of Tibet in May are at their highest for the season, reaching as high as 27 degrees, with an average high of around 20 degrees across the region. On average, the low temperature across the region is around 6 degrees, although there are still some areas where it can drop to just 1 or 2 degrees at night. The higher altitude does make it feel warmer during the day, which is mainly due to the thinner atmosphere allowing more UV rays through, so it is wise to use a good sun cream and hat to cover the exposed areas of your head and neck.
Spring in Lhasa
Spring in Lhasa is the time when the city really comes to life. After the cold of winter has passed on, and the sunshine is bright and warmer, the city breathes in new life, and the major hotspots for tourists are open and ready for the influx of visitors. As the start of the tourist season in Tibet, spring brings thousands of tourists to the Tibetan capital every day, and the streets become thronged with people enjoying the warm sunshine and gaping in amazement at the sheer beauty of this highest of capital cities.
At one of the lower elevations of Tibet, spring comes to Lhasa earlier than in the far west and north of the region, and while the weather in the city is comfortable, the surrounding mountains are still capped with snow. With only around four days of rain a month, spring is an ideal time to visit Lhasa, and as there are still not that many tourists, compared to the summer months, you have a better time seeing the city and its many wondrous attractions in their fullest, and at their best.
Spring in Nyingchi
Nowhere on the plateau is spring felt more than in Nyingchi Prefecture, to the east of Lhasa. This lower-altitude area of Tibet sees spring coming full on earlier than anywhere else, and is the most popular place to visit from mid-March to the end of April. And there is a very good reason why.
Nyingchi is famous throughout China, and becoming more famous around the world, for the stunning peach blossoms that fill the hills and valleys of this tiny corner of Tibet from the middle of March to the end of April. All across the area, peach trees in their thousands fill with spectacular blooms of pink, white, and peach, that cover the low-lying valleys, riverbanks, and hillsides all over Nyingchi. And as if it is not enough to just have this amazing and wondrous sight, the people have even turned it into a festival time.
The Nyingchi Peach Blossom Festival is normally held in April, and lasts throughout most of the month, with different little festival celebrations in the different areas of the prefecture. Festivals commonly include photography contests, to see who can take the most amazing and stunning shot of the local peach blossoms, with many using the backdrops of the still snow-capped mountains, and bubbling streams in the foregrounds. If you can get the chance to get to Nyingchi in April, then this is the best highlight of any trip to Tibet in the spring.
Spring in Shigatse and Everest Base Camp
Over in the west of Tibet lies the beautiful second city of Shigatse, a prefecture-level city within whose boundaries lies the mighty mountain of Qomolangma. Also known as Mount Everest, the mountain is a popular place to visit in the spring months of April and May, as the weather has cleared up from the cold of winter to allow better views of the summit and some of the most spectacular photographic opportunities. Travel to Everest Base Camp in the spring is easier than in the winter, and the roads are now clear of any snow that fell, although the base camp itself can still have a little snow in it in the early part of spring.
Nearby, lies the city of Shigatse, the capital of the prefecture and a base of operations for those traveling to the west to visit Mount Everest. The city is the hub of the network of roads that connects Lhasa with Nepal and the northwestern prefecture of Ngari, in which lies the holy Mount Kailash. The city and the surrounds are a great place to visit in spring, as the numerous attractions that the area holds are once again open to the visiting public. From the heady height of Mount Everest and the stunning beauty of the Rongbuk Glacier to the dozens of monasteries that can be found in the area, these amazing natural and man-made attractions are an inspiration to tourists and pilgrims alike, and are visited by both in their thousands.
Spring in Lake Namtso
Located over 240 kilometers to the north of Lhasa, in the northern areas of Tibet, lies the stunning holy lake, Namtso, or Nam Co. This beautiful example of nature at its best is one of the highlights of any trip to Tibet, and a visit to the beautiful natural lake and its spectacular surrounding landscape is a must for any visitor to Tibet. However, many people will tell you that you cannot visit the lake in the spring, as it is merely an extension of the winter, and the roads are too dangerous.
To a degree, this may be true, but with the improved road conditions from Lhasa to Nagqu, and better vehicles to drive in, there is no reason why the holy Lake Namtso should not be on your list of must-see places in Tibet in April or May. The weather may be colder than in the lower altitude areas of the plateau, and at over 4,000 meters above sea level, the altitude plays a huge part in the climate of the area around the lake. However, the daytime temperatures are starting to rise, reaching highs of around 9-10 degrees, and the ice on the surface of the lake is already melting, making it an astounding sight to see, with its tranquil turquoise waters shimmering in the bright sunlight against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks.
Travel Tips for Visiting Tibet in Spring
Spring in some parts of Tibet can still have a little rain, so it might be a good idea to bring along some lightweight waterproofs just in case. There is nothing worse than getting wet in the cold of the Tibetan plateau.
Take care of the clothes you use, as heavy clothing will not keep you as warm as several layers of thinner clothing, such as short and long sleeved t-shirts. Wear lightweight and windproof pants with a good thermal underwear underneath to stay warm, and include gloves and good strong boots.
UV rays come in two kinds, and sun cream only protects against one kind. Bring a wide-brimmed hat for protection from the more harmful UVA rays, and sun cream for the UVB rays for best effect.