It is tough. And constantly changing.
Your best strategy is to sign up for a cheap few-day tour that will take you from Kathmandu to Lhasa overland. Then apply for a Chinese visa in your home country (NOT in Kathmandu) and show them proof that you are on a tour. That *should* give you a Chinese visa endorsed for Tibet.
Then, you can either take the tour to Lhasa and head out on your own from there. Or cancel the tour and go overland on your own.
Hope that helps.
I found this guy's blog/site really informative on the process:
You need to join one of the travel agency,they will provide you Tibet permit and also visa.
Without travel agency you can't get Tibet permit and visa.
According to other travelers advise, you should NOT get a chinese visa in your home country before arriving in Kathmandu. It will be invalidated upon receipt of your group visa (assuming you are getting in to Tibet with a group). No refund on the $$$ for you original visa.
Yes, we have heard similar information...also, be aware that the hours for the office that actually issues the visa stamp are very limited, and sometimes the office is open just one day/per week. Be sure to check the current hours, once you are there! It seems the working hours change like the wind!
Me and my girlfriend are planning on doing the trip from Kathmandu to Tibet in May. Assuming there are no problems and we're allowed in, from what I read we should be granted permits no probs, as long as we're booked on a tour.
The only issue I have is that we are working in China afterwards and have invitation letters to apply for Chinese visas already. We ideally need to be applying soon but if the Visa is going to get voided as soon as we travel across the Nepal/Tibet border I don't want to get it until we are in China. Can anyone say definitively if we MUST use this group visa issued in Kathmandu or if you can use a Chinese visa obtained in the UK? I've also read on other forums that you can cross the border with a normal china visa as long as you have the relevant tibet permits.
Thanks a lot in advance to anyone who can help :)
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