Tibet Weather

Last updated by elysees at 2016/5/3

The climate in Tibet belongs to the typical downy special climate. Climates are quite different in different places and temperatures vary greatly within a single day. Climate in southeastern Tibet (e.g. Nyingchi) is gentle and annual temperate average 8 degree centigrade(46.4 F); In western Tibet (e.g. Nagqu), the average temperature is below zero degree (below 32 F) .While in Lhasa and the central part of Tibet, the climate is normal and more suitable for traveling.   The best time to visit Tibet is  from March to October.  Most annual rainfall comes in the rainy season that starts from May to September, when the precipitation covers 90 percent of the whole year. Usually it rains at night in Lhasa, Shigatse and Chamdo area. The precipitations gradually decrease from 5000 millimeters in the lower part of southeast to just 50 in the northwest.

Temperature(C) in major regions in tibet


Month Lhasa Shigatse Tsedang
  highest lowest highest lowest highest lowest
Jan. 6.8 -10.2 5.7 -13.1 7.6 -9.0
Feb. 9.2 -3.9 8.0 -9.5 9.9 -5.9
Mar. 12.0 -3.2 11.0 -5.4 12.9 -2.4
Apr. 15.7 0.9 15.5 -0.7 16.9 1.3
May. 19.7 5.1 19.5 3.4 20.4 5.2
Jun. 22.5 9.2 22.1 7.6 22.9 8.9
Jul. 21.7 9.9 21.0 8.7 22.5 10.1
Aug. 20.7 9.4 19.6 8.1 21.5 9.5
Sep. 19.6 7.6 18.7 5.8 20.5 7.6
Oct. 16.4 1.4 15.2 -1.2 17.1 1.8
Nov. 11.6 -5.0 10.7 -8.0 12.4 -4.1
Dec. 7.7 -9.1 7.0 -12.3 8.7 -7.9
Average temp. 15.3 0.8 14.5 -1.4 15.5 1.3


Temperature in Nyingchi and Mount. Everest

Nyingchi Mount. Everest
highest lowest highest lowest
7.9 -5.3 4 -17
9.8 -2.7 -4 -15
13.0 -0.1 7 -12
16.5 3.2 10 -5
18.8 6.8 15 0
20.9 10.0 17 5
22.1 11.2 16 8
22.1 10.7 16 6
20.3 9.2 17 2
17.2 4.9 12 -7
12.9 -0.7 7 -12
9.6 -4.5 4 -15
15.9 3.6 10 -5

Geographically, Tibet is around 4950 meters above the sea level with some of the top peaks in the world. It is also called as the Roof of the World which actually attracts more tourists who are passionate about trekking, hiking and mountain climbing.

The climate of Tibet plays a crucial role in shaping the geography and the lifestyle of the locals and even controls the tourist movement in the region. Here we take a quick look at the Tibet weather throughout the year.

Tibet Monastery

November (Winter)

Weather – November marks the onset of winter and the mercury begins to fall keeping Tibet well below zero degree. November is the time when most tourists move out of Tibet, so it is a good time for those who want to avoid crowd, but still want to experience the top destinations in Tibet.

What to Wear – The dry and sunny climate combination can lead to intense sunburn and therefore use sunglasses and hats and even wear long sleeve clothing to avoid any sunburn issues. If you’re heading to higher areas, carry winter gear for better protection.

Things to Do & See– Visit cities south of Friendship Highway like Shigatse, Gyantze and Kathmandu in Nepal. Visitors can visit Mount Everest Base Camp before the temperature drops further in December. Check out the Potala Palace and Jokhang Monastery in Lhasa.

Potala Palace

December (Winter)

Weather – Dry and sunny climate during the month of December keeps the temperature below freezing point. The maximum daily temperature is 8 degree Celsius and night temperature is around -9 degree Celsius.

What to Wear – The temperature in December is extreme and it is recommended to dress well in layers to keep away from cold and wear a sun hat or sunglasses to avoid UV radiation.

Things to Do & See – Visit Lhasa and cities towards the south of it along the Friendship Highway like Shigatse and Tashilhunpo Monastery. Go shopping at the Barkhor Street in Lhasa.

Potala Palace in Winter

January (Winter)

Weather – Winter is at its peak during the month of January in Tibet and therefore it is recommended that you keep yourself warm with the right kind of clothing. The weather is not just below the freezing point, but also dry and windy. Heavy unexpected snowfall can block roads leading to Lhasa.

What to Wear – Dressing in layers is recommended at all times to avoid any sickness. Since Tibet has a higher altitude, tourists have to keep their physical activity to minimum to avoid altitude sickness.

Things to Do & See – Visit places south of Friendship Highway like Shigatse which is the second largest city west of Lhasa. Explore the colorful Tashilhunpo Monastery here in Shigatse founded in 1447. Celebrate the Losar holidays and Chinese New Year where Tibetans come up with dance, dramas, feast and traditional horse racing and wrestling competitions. Explore the Potala Palace and Jokhang Monastery and shop at Barkhor Street in Lhasa.

Jokhang Temple

February (Winter)

No foreign tourists can travel in Tibet from 15th February to 31st March for the politically sensitive time of Tibetan New Year due to which Tibet permits are unavailable during these two months.

March (Winter)

No foreign tourists can travel in Tibet until 31st March due to unavailability of Tibet permit.

April (Spring)

Mount Everest

Weather – With April, Tibet begins to warm up and it is considered to be one of the best months to be here. It also marks the start of inbound tourism in Tibet after complete closure for few weeks in February and March. The season is dry and good time to visit for sightseeing as the weather is clear and there is no snowfall. Most tourists visit Tibet during April to view Mount Everest and also to visit Lhasa.

What to Wear – Dressing in multiple layers is recommended along with sunglasses which are extremely important during the month of April as UV radiation index is extremely high.

Things to Do & See – It is a good time to acclimate in Lhasa before going higher. Namsto Lake, Shigatse, Tsetang, Yamdrok Lake, Mount Kailash and Mansarovar area are few attractions that one can visit in April.

May (Spring)

Weather – Bright sunshine is finally everywhere in Tibet and therefore long distance is recommended during the month of May. This is the month when the trees go green and flowers bloom all over the places.

What to Wear – Light winter clothing should be good, but keep the sunglasses and hats on as the UV radiation index is very high. Wear full sleeve clothing to avoid sunburn.

Things to Do & See – Visiting the Namsto Lake is must recommended and one can decide to stay overnight to experience the night time landscape. Visit Tsetang to explore the much popular Samye Monastery. Visitors can travel south on the Friendship Highway to explore Yamdrok Lake, Shigatse, Mount Everest Base Camp and Mount Kailash and Mansarowar area.

Yamdrok Lake

June (Summer)

Weather – The month of June offers a mix climate as the first half is pleasant, dry and warm, but the second half welcomes the monsoon. It is a great month for travelers and hikers that get pleasant climate and less rain during this month. The max temperature is 20 degree Celsius and lows are around 6 degree Celsius.

What to Wear – Light winter clothing along with hats and sunglasses are recommended. Wear gloves and coat for higher altitude climbing and trekking.

Things to Do & See - Celebrate the Saga Dawa Festival. To visit Yamdrok Lake and Jokhang Monastery in Lhasa,  June is a good touring month and therefore you can head to Lake Namsto, head to Tsetang, Shigatse and hike to Mount Everest Base Camp and Mount Kailash.

Lake Namsto

July (Summer)

Weather - Tibet experiences most rainfall during the month of July and therefore it is not the right time for hiking and trekking in the mountains. The maximum daily temperature is 23 degree Celsius, but the night time temperature can drop due to snow and rainfall. It rains around 20 days a month, mainly at night.

What to Wear – Water resistant shoes, jackets and rain gear are something that should be handy. Coats and gloves are necessary for higher elevation trekking and climbing.

Things to Do & See – Explore Lake Namsto and Tashilhunpo Monastery. Visit various outdoor market fairs and sports contests like Gyantse Horse Racing Festival.

Tashilhunpo Monastery

August (Summer)

Weather – It is rainy and snowy in Tibet in August that can hamper long distance travel, hikes and trekking adventures. Tourists can visit the towns during the day time for shopping and enjoy outdoor festivals. The maximum temperature is 21 degree Celsius and lows at 10 degrees.

What to Wear – Dress in multiple layers to protect against the night time temperature drop. Cover yourself with sun hat, sunglasses and full sleeve clothing to avoid sunburn and UV radiation.

Things to Do & See – Visit the Namsto Lake and Tashilhungpo Monastery in Shigatse. Participate in Shoton Festival, shop at Barkhor Street and celebrate Ganden Thangka Festival.

September (Autumn)

In July 2015, it was announced that for some reasons international tourists have to leave Tibet before August 31, 2015 because it was the 50th anniversary of the Tibet Autonomous Region. However, on September 15, 2015 the restriction has been lifted and all Tibet permit is back to normalcy.

Weather – The monsoon season decreases in September keeping the weather relatively warm and comfortable. The warm climate gives way to the dry climate signaling the onset of autumn season.

What to Wear - Multiple layer dressing and sun hat, sunglasses are recommended to keep you safe from wind and UV radiation. Coats and winter gear is recommended for higher elevation trips.

Things to Do & See – Visit Lhasa, Shigatse and Yamdrok Lake. Go hiking from Ganden Monastery and Samye Monastery, Everest Base Camp, Mount Kailash and Mansarowar area.

Yandrok Lake

October (Autumn)

Weather – In October, as the autumn season steps in, Tibet gets more sunshine, but at the same time it is pleasantly cool for touring and travel activities. Tibet receives 9 hours of sunshine which keeps the highs at 17 degree Celsius and lows at 2 degrees.

What to Wear – You can wear light winter clothing at times, but the UV radiation is high, so keep your sunglasses and hat handy.

Things to Do & See – Visit Yamdrok Lake, Shigatse, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Ganden Monastery, and Samye Monastery. Since the weather is clear and there is less rainfall it is also a good time to visit Mount Everest Base Camp and Mount Kailash and Mansarowar area.

Tibet Prayer wheel

Overall, the best time to visit Tibet is from May to October when the sun is up and warm and the temperatures are not below the freezing point. It is also the time for long distance travel, touring, hiking, trekking and camping across the region. For those heading to Mount Everest can travel from April to October during the clear weather, but skip the month of July and August when it rains.

However, those who are interested in festivals and fairs can visit Tibet in August. The climate of Tibet is usually cold and dry and combined with strong sunshine at times. Hence, it is recommended to

wear winter clothing at all times and carry sunglasses or sun hat to avoid sunburn and UV radiation issues.

Tibet is on a higher altitude and therefore has less oxygen content which means visitors should limit their physical activities to avoid altitude sickness.

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