The distinctive geographical location of Tibet and its high altitude make unique climate of Tibet. The climate of Tibet is generally more harsh with thin air, insufficient oxygen, intense sunlight and ultraviolet radiation. While it still can be touched to experience its breath-taking views and rich cultural heritage. In summer it tends to be very cool, though in winter it is not as cold as people imagine due to the strong sunlight. Temperature extremes occur during both day and night due to the thin atmosphere being unable to either absorb or retain heat.
Most annual rainfall in Tibet comes from June to September. During this time it will usually rain at night in Lhasa, Shigatse and Chamdo areas. The rainfall may block roads and make it difficult to go through, but it is also one of the more beautiful seasons for sightseeing.
The central Tibet, including Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse and Tsedang, generally has very mild weather from April to November, though July and August can be rainy – these two months usually see around half of Tibet’s annual rainfall.
October and November often bring some dazzling clear weather and daytime temperatures can be quite comfortable at Tibet’s lower altitude.
The coldest months are from December to February. It is not impossible to visit Tibet in winter. The low altitude valleys of Tibet (around Lhasa, Shigatse and Tsedang) see very little snow.
In northern Tibet, the climate is not favorable with the average temperature is below zero and winter lasts from October through May or June. In eastern Tibet, May, June and September are the height of the tourism season. In winter, roads are all blocked by heavy snow. The best time to visit here is July and August.
In brief, the period from April to October is the best time to visit Tibet, avoiding the coldest months from December to February. Some tourists would like to travel to Tibet in winter because there are few tourists in winter and the weather is not as cold as people imagine.
Spring does not really get under way until April, though March can have warm sunny days and is not necessarily a bad month to be in Tibet. More specific information in different areas:
Lhasa – the border of Nepal/China: The Friendship highway is basically in good conditions year around. But from December to February, the thawed road could make some trouble Besides, try to avoid August – landslide could happen in the rainy season.
Mt. Everest Region: Early May and early October are the best time to visit Mt. Everest. Due to the clear weather, you have great chance to see Mt. Everest’s true face. From December to February, it’s too cold to go to this region. But the magnetism of Mt. Everest always attracts people anytime of the year.
Ali (Mt.Kailash): Even without climate restrictions, this area is already inhospitable. Big rain and snow could make the journey worse. However, for those determined tourists, the appropriate time is May, June, July, September and October.
Eastern Tibet: Don’t touch this area in July or August, the rain could ruin the road, and make terrible landslides. While in winter, the road could be frozen.
Northern Tibet: With the average altitude of 4,500m, this area offers very limited time for tourists. Summer is the prime time to enjoy the great plain in northern Tibet.