Tibet Travel Permits situation
As Tibet is a mysterious place and there are many restrictions on Tibet travel, it is important for visitors to check out its current situation before travelling. Here, the latest travel and tourism news about Tibet, such as flight, accommodation, festivals, events, transport, and policy, are specially selected for you to better explore Tibet.
PERMIT SITUATION UPDATE--News by Mr. Chris Jones Fe.13,2009 mcjonesy from LP under this link
OK.......just spent yesterday trying to get to bottom of the permit situation for the next few weeks. Here is what I have found out.
1. Some Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai are closed to foreigners until the end of March (I could not get confirmation of which areas...sorry!)
2. Lhasa and central Tibet (Namtso, Shigatse, EBC etc) IS open (with permits) at the moment.
3. American and European travellers are being denied Chinese visa's in Nepal. and the rumour is that this will remain until the end of March. (this means there may be NO WAY to enter Tibet from Nepal until the end of March) This news comes from friends in Kathmandu. It is tough to officially confirm this news as this decision comes from the Chinese Department of Foreign Affairs.....not from the Tourism Bureau who is low on the totem pole!
4. As usual there are a few independent travellers (usually quite travel savvy and often with Mandarin or Tibetan skills) getting into Lhasa (from mainland China...NOT Nepal) without permits. Personally I don't recommend this as there is a strong chance you would not be able to buy a train ticket or would be refused entry on a flight. BUT its personal choice and some folks are getting away with it. (if you try this route sans permit.....don't complain when your travel plans get totally screwed by an officious PSB officer or train ticket seller!!
I would also add that I am sure the govt. will be praying (OK...atheists don't pray....) there are no major incidents of unrest during the next few weeks. if this is the case then it is very likely these restrictions will be removed fast. IF there is unrest......then who knows!! But to put it in perspective......in 2008 after the biggest unrest in 50 years Central Tibet was opened again to foreign travellers with correct permits on June 25th.....so very quickly given the scale of the issues there. Once again its a wait and see game. But I would be confident to book trips again from late April onwards (which is when the weather begins to warm up anyways!)