Should I go to Tibet?
- The Dalai Lama encourages foreigners to visit Tibet and to inform others of their experiences on their return.
- Tourism provides a window to the outside world for Tibetans.
- Tibetans welcome the presence of tourists.
- Tourism provides legitimacy to China's occupation.
- Most of the money you spend will go into the pockets of Chinese enterprises.
- It is hard to travel in Tibet without tacitly complying with the Chinese regime.
There is no simple answer. Ultimately, it is up to the individual traveller. If you would rather not travel, consider going to a Tibetan area of India, such as Dharamsala or Ladakh.
- Foreigners are allowed to travel to the Tibet Autonomous Region under certain restrictions.
- There are restrictions on travel to many other parts of Tibet.
- There is a heavy military presence on the streets of many Tibetan towns.
Know before you go
Be aware that any restrictions in place may change dramatically and without prior warning.
It is also important to plan your itinerary, particularly if you are going to the Tibet Autonomous Region. Up-to-date information on visa and permit restrictions may be found on travel forums such as Thorntree.
If you do decide to go to Tibet it is most important that you should be as informed as much as possible, so that you can see through the propaganda that you will inevitably encounter.
What endangers Tibetans?
- Do not take pictures of the Dalai Lama into Tibet. Possession of such photographs is banned and Tibetans can be detained for possessing one.
- Do not engage in any discussion on political topics, such as mention of the Dalai Lama or protests.
- Do not hitch-hike as heavy fines may be given to drivers found giving lifts to tourists.
- Do not depart from your official itinerary as this can cause huge problems for any Tibetans you may have met.
How can I maximise the benefit of my trip for Tibetans?
Help to keep Tibetan culture alive. It is very important to use Tibetan hotels, restaurants, guides and souvenir stalls.
When visiting temples, monasteries or shrines you may wish to leave a donation. It is best to leave it on the altar or give it directly to a monk or nun.
Free Tibet has launched a global boycott of Intercontinental Hotels Group, who are building a luxury hotel in Lhasa. This development will not benefit local Tibetans and its conference facilities may even be used by Chinese authorities to plan further repression.
See our Intercontinental campaign website for more details and join the boycott now - Intercontinental must not profit from China's tyranny in Tibet.