Red tape rigmarole for entry to Tibet

I have already booked my flights (to and from Kathmandu) to Tibet with my travel agent. However, my agent has closed, thus I'll need to obtain the Tibet visa myself. I'm confused by it all and have been receiving conflicting advice as to what is required. Could you please advise how to obtain a Tibetan visa?

- D. Fagan, Logan, Qld.

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than to enter Tibet from Kathmandu, or anywhere else in Nepal. But here goes.

You need a Chinese visa but it must be obtained from the embassy of the People's Republic of China in Kathmandu and nowhere else.

This embassy is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9.30 to 11.30am for lodging applications. You also need a Tibet Entry Permit (TTB) and if you plan to travel anywhere outside Lhasa, an Alien's Travel Permit.

Since the recent civil unrest in Tibet, the Chinese government has made it virtually impossible for solo, independent travellers to obtain permits to visit Tibet.

You need to join a tour and the most practical way to organise all of the above is via a Kathmandu-based travel agent with expertise in Tibet.

See travelwestchina.com and tibettourstravel.com for more information and help with obtaining permits.

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