Is It Safe to Travel to Tibet in 2024? FAQs about Safety in Tibet

Last updated: March,14 2024

Tibet is a beautiful place to visit, with towering mountains, shimmering lakes, and lush green valleys. The region is one of the most popular destinations in Asia in recent years, and tourism in Tibet has been steadily increasing. However, one of the main questions people ask is whether it is really safe to travel in Tibet. Though there are some risks due to the high altitude, with a bit of care and attention, you can avoid them and enjoy your journey of discovery in this unique Buddhist land on the roof of the world.

Is It Safe to Travel to Tibet by Train?

Not only is it safe to travel to Tibet by train, but the journey along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is full of scenic wonders and the safest way to gradually adjust to the high-altitude region.

Trains to Tibet leave from seven gateway cities across China every day, and very little crime happens while the trains are traveling to Lhasa. Luggage is your own responsibility, and you should make sure it is secured with padlocks and stowed safely in your cabin. Expensive items such as laptops, tablets, and cellphones should be kept on your person, as should your essential documents such as your passport and Tibet Travel permit. While crime is low on the train, it is good practice anywhere to not leave valuable items unattended.

Get to Tibet by Qingzang RailwayGet to Tibet by Tibet train

The best option for keeping your items and luggage safe on board is to book a berth in a soft sleeper cabin. The door can be locked when you leave to eat or use the washroom, and if you are traveling as a group, you can book all the berths in one cabin for privacy and security. Train staff and police frequently make rounds to discourage crime during the journeys. If you find that something has been taken, you should report it to the train staff and the police immediately. In cases where it cannot be recovered, you will get an incident report that you can use with your insurance company.

Is it Safe for Solo Travelers to Visit Tibet?

Solo travel is a bit of a misnomer in Tibet, as you are never really alone. All foreign tourists to Tibet must have a guide, driver, and private vehicle, as well as a tour booked through a registered tour operator. All guides used in Tibet tours are registered, have undergone training specific to their job, and are safe to travel alone.

If you are unsure about traveling alone with a guide and driver, you can join one of the many join-in tours that are on offer. On these tours, you can join several other individuals traveling to Tibet, which means there are more people to help you feel safer.

Is it Safe to Travel to Tibet with Kids and the Elderly?

Simply put, yes, it is perfectly safe to travel in Tibet with kids and the elderly. Tibetans are devout Buddhists, and crime is rare, especially outside the cities. The most people will want to do with kids is to see them and possibly hold them. The kidnapping of foreign children in Tibet has never happened. Children often get a lot of attention, but it is well-intentioned and not threatening. Foreign children are rare in Tibet, and many of the people in the region's remote areas have never seen a foreign child, so it is a novel experience for them.

Tibet family tour with kidsTibet family tour with kids

Elderly people are also safe when traveling in Tibet. Many elderly people have traveled with tours to the region, with the oldest in their 80s. Devout Buddhists, Tibetans tend to revere the elderly as wise and treat them with more respect than they would anyone else, even those from other countries. Village elders are still a thing in the remote places around Tibet. They run the village and make important decisions that affect the entire community.

Tibet ebc tour for Elderly peopleElderly people are also safe when traveling in Tibet.

Is Altitude Sickness a Concern for Safety in Tibet?

Altitude sickness is one of the most serious dangers of traveling to high-altitude places, and there is nowhere on the planet higher than Tibet. With an average elevation above 4,000 meters and some places you will travel to being well over 5,500 meters, altitude sickness is a very real threat.

Also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), AMS is an effect of high altitudes caused by low oxygen levels. Everyone has a different susceptibility to AMS, and it can affect people in very different ways or not at all. Previous travel to high-altitude regions with no symptoms is not a sign that you will not get altitude sickness. It is completely indiscriminate and can happen when you least expect it.

The basic symptoms of AMS include headaches caused by dehydration, which is the primary symptom of altitude sickness, along with a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and lightheadedness. Certain medications can help with the symptoms of AMS, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol for headaches and anti-sickness medications for nausea. Acetazolamide, such as Diamox, can help to prevent and treat AMS, but you should consult your doctor before taking such medications with you to high altitudes.

If you are feeling the effects of altitude sickness during your Tibet tour, you should stop and rest and inform the other people in your party, especially your guide. Most tour guides usually have oxygen in their vehicles for these emergencies, and breathing oxygen through a tube can help reduce the effects. If the symptoms persist, you should descend immediately and consult a doctor.

Is the Weather on the Tibetan Plateau Safe for Travel?

The weather in Tibet varies greatly throughout the year. From April to October, temperatures are generally above zero. It can still be cold, but it is safe to be outside. The rains during the summer, particularly in July and August, can create risks of road closures and landslides, but your guide will help you plan accordingly.

Visit Tibet with our Tibetan travel guideVisit Tibet with our Tibetan travel guide

Winter conditions can be harsh, and when touring outdoors, proper warm clothing is necessary. Heavy snowfall can make some areas inaccessible.

The biggest climate-related risks are UV radiation and irritation from the winds. Due to its high elevation, Tibet receives intense UV radiation. Sunscreen, protective clothing, and sunglasses are all essential for sun protection. The dry air and strong wind can irritate exposed skin. Besides staying hydrated, travelers should remain covered and carry lip balm and moisturizer with them.

Are the Roads in Tibet Safe for Travel?

The road infrastructure has significantly improved in Tibet over the last several years. Main roads like the G318 Friendship Highway are modern and well-maintained. In other areas, sections of the road are primarily gravel tracks or unpaved. However, with a suitable vehicle and careful driving, there is little risk of accidents.

Tibet Everest Base Camp biking tourThe road to Tibet Everest Base Camp is flat for cycling.

Low traffic levels make the road safe for cyclists and pedestrians. Long stretches of empty roads are not uncommon, leaving plenty of room to avoid other people and vehicles.

Are Encounters with Wild Animals in Tibet Dangerous?

Tibet is home to unique wildlife that has adapted to the harsh conditions. The herd animals of nomadic peoples are used to interacting with humans, and it is safe to be around them with proper supervision.

Tibet Wild donkeyTibet wild donkey can be encountered sometimes.

Encounters with animals such as wild yaks, brown bears, and snow leopards are rare but possible. For the most part, these animals avoid human settlements or run away from people. Wild dogs are a more common sighting. Don't approach any wild animal, as that can make them respond aggressively.

What Safety Precautions Should I Take When Visiting Tibet?

You can do a few things to ensure better safety on your Tibet tour:

● Be aware of the risk of altitude sickness. Ascend slowly and take time to acclimatize. Talk with a doctor before your visit and prepare medication in case of symptoms.
● Dress for the weather. Wear clothing in layers, including an inner thermal layer and an outer wind and waterproof shell. Wear good-quality hiking boots and socks.
● Eat healthily and drink lots of water. This will help avoid altitude sickness and keep your energy levels up during the trip.
● Purchase travel insurance. Make sure you have comprehensive coverage in case of accidents or emergencies, as well as evacuation and trip cancellations.
● Plan for the best time to go. For the best and safest experience, travel to Tibet between April and October.


There are no safety concerns that should stop anyone from visiting Tibet. A little knowledge and preparation will help you avoid any risks. Our experienced and professional guides will also be there to give you advice and help you deal with any problems that arise. Don't let any worries get in the way of having an unforgettable experience visiting Tibet.

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