As the beginning of autumn, October stands as the transitional month between the rainy season (July and August) and the windy season (November to April). Dry and least windy in most parts of Tibet, the October average temperature ranges from 3.8℃ to 21.2℃, with the average daily maximum reaching 21℃, and the minimum dropping below zero at night. It is basically suitable for visiting all attractions in Tibet during this month, except for the first week, which can be ranked as the busiest tourist week because of the 7 Day China National Day Holiday. Most rainfall occur at night and come as drizzle or light rain, which normally won’t do big harm to the sightseeing of the following day.
Compared with the weather in September, Lhasa temperature in October is around 4℃ lower, and the precipitation drops to single digit from around 64mm. It feels all right in the daytime wearing a lightweight packable jacket and a long-sleeved shirt; Night feels cold and you may need to put on a thick down coat.
Try to avoid touring Lhasa during the first week-the longest holiday for all Chinese domestic tourists. If you’re only available at that time, and you do not want to miss out Tibet, then you could consider visiting other towns within easy reach from Lhasa which are also attractive with rich culture and beautiful nature scenery, and much less crowded. Such towns can be found in Shanna and Shigatse. The former is the “cradle of Tibetan civilization”, and the latter is the second largest city of Tibet, the home of Panchen Lama for many generations, and where the highest mountain Everest is located.
Shannan City: this is one of the seven prefecture-level cities in Tibet, located in the east of Lhasa city. It is situated at the south of Gangdise Mountains and Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains, which is how the name came into being (The components of this name “shan” means mountain, and “nan” means south). With the suitable climate and land, and irrigation from Yarlung Tsangpo river, it is believed that the very first farm land of Tibet was ploughed here. And the residents in Shannan created the Yarlung culture, wrote the first Tibetan Buddhism scripture, and invented the first Tibetan opera. The first Tibet palace Yongbulakang and the oldest monastery Samye, and the sacred lake Yamdrok, are all in Shannan. Less touristy but not inferior in any respect is the humble Shannan.
October is one of the three best months to tour Mount Everest thanks to the arid yet not intolerably frigid weather; the other two are May and September.
The rainy period in the northern slope of Mount Everest (in Tibet part) is in mid-June to mid-September, during which July and August see the most rainfall. Same as May, October is another transitional month between wind season and rainy season, and thus it is a great time to do sightseeing at Mount Everest in October because of the higher chance of clear views.
Apart from sightseeing, mid-October is also ideal for mountaineering at Mount Everest. Because the wind speed reaches the maximum in the period of January to March and November to December, high up in the air of 7,000m to 9,000m. In such case, it is not suitable for any climbing and ascending attempt.
Days：According to historical data, there were 10 sunny days, 14 cloudy days, 1 overcast day and around 6 rainy days in October.
Great Time to Admire Mount Namcha Barwa
Namcha Barwa is the 15th highest mountain among the world and was selected as the most beautiful mountain in China by Chinese National Geography in 2005. It is the holy mountain in Bon Religion and also reputed as the Father of Tibet Mountains. Most of the year, the clouds and mist linger around the peak, can very rarely be seen, and thus got the name of Heaven in the Clouds.
A little superstition never does Chinese domestic tourists harm. Most residents in Mainland China are educated and brought up with mutual simple guidelines, such as “good deeds bring forth good luck”, in reverse, “bad behaviors lead to dreadful karma”, which resembles the precepts of Tibetan Buddhism as well. A saying adding the mystery to Namcha Barwa is that only people with kind heart can see the peak. Some dedicated tourists may have visited many times with anticipation but left with apprehension. Others who only come for the first time yet have been shown its true colors, and left happy and feeling blessed. This may not make sense or hold any significance to you. Because there are variables of the beauty of Namcha Barwa. For some people they even like better the mountain image with the companionship of the clouds and mist.
Mount Namcha Barwa
If you are traveling to Mount Namcha Barwa in October, you’d be more likely to see it with a clear view. If not so, we hope the legend that the mist and clouds covering the peak is the deities who gather around Namcha Barwa, may console your disappointment, and that you can enjoy the unique beauty that you’d be seeing at your very moment with it.
Average temperature: 10℃-18℃
Autumn Colors along Sichuan Tibet Overland Route
Travel overland by Sichuan Tibet Highway is an adventurous and popular way to reach Tibet. It consists of two routes, which both start from Chengdu and end in Lhasa. They are the Southern Route and the Northern Route.
Sichuan Tibet Highway-Southern Route: Chengdu-Ya’an-Kangding-Xinduqiao-Litang-Daocheng-Yading-Daocheng-Xiangcheng-Deqin-Feilaisi-Mangkang-Basu-Ranwu-Bome-Lulang-Bayi-Lhasa.
Sichuan Tibet Highway-Northern Route: Chengdu-Ya’an-Kangding-Xinduqiao-Litang-Batang-Mangkang-Zuogong-Basu-Ranwu-Bome-Lulang-Bayi-Lhasa.
The southern route of Sichuan Tibet Highway belongs to 318 State Highway, of which the starting point is in Shanghai. It has been regarded as the most beautiful route in China. Autumn is thought as the best time to take this route to travel from Chengdu, Sichuan to Lhasa, Tibet. The monsoon season has come to an end, ensuring the road conditions stable and safe from being flooded by downpour or threat from potential landslide in summer months. Apart from the good condition of roads, the autumn foliage along the route makes the multicolored journey seem dreamlike.
There are dozens of big towns along the route, where you can stop for a bite of local delicacy or have a sound stayover. This route starts from the middle Sichuan Province where the dominant population is Han Chinese, via the west Sichuan, home of Qiang people and Kham Tibetan, and finally enter the Tibet Autonomous Region. It presents to you not only diversity of culture, but the real life and their vividly alive custom passed down generation to generation. You can take your time to visit local museums, have a stroll in the town, experience the local markets to purchase some local specialties, or have a cup of tea or small meal in a restaurant to get your first-hand knowledge about the Kham Tibetan people and Qiang people.