Tibet Weather in December

The average high temperature in December in Tibet is -11.6°C to 5°C. Even in the warmest region of Tibet, in Nyingchi, the temperature ranges from -4°C to 10°C. Compared with November, the temperature in December is about 4°C lower. Except for the temperature, the humidity and precipitation in December are quite similar to the situation in November because it is very dry while hardly raining. Therefore, you’ll find that doing a sunbath in the squares across from the Potala Palace and in the street of Barkhor is popular among both the locals and the tourists.

Tibet Weather in December-Past Weather Data

Cities/Data Lhasa Shigatse Nyingchi Shannan Nagqu Ngari Chamdo
Ave. High 8°C 7°C 10°C 9°C -2°C -2°C Not open for foreign tourists
Ave. Low -8°C -12°C -4°C -7°C -20°C -19°C
Precipitation 1mm 0mm 1mm 0mm 3mm 1mm
Humidity 19% 19% 46% 19% 28% 22%
Sunrise (Dec 1st) 8:32AM 8:40AM 8:19AM 8:29AM 8:32AM 9:22AM
Sunset (Dec 1st) 6:56PM 7:05PM 6:43PM 6:54PM 6:48PM 7:33PM
Length of Day(Dec 1st) 10h23m 10h25m 10h23m 10h25m 10h15m 10h10m

The data about Shannan weather is collected from Tsetang (pingyin:Zedang) Town;
The data about Nagqu weather is collected from Xainza (pingyin: Shenzha) Town;
The data about Ngari weather is collected from Shiquanhe Town.

The above information is collected from past weather data mainly from 2018 or 2019. A different weather pattern may occur in the future.

Clothing Tips:

1) Sunglasses can protect your eyes properly under the strong high plateau UV radiation.
2) Sunhat or cap can give you shade as well as help maintain your body heat.
3) Outdoor clothing (fleece lining/windproof jacket), or heavy winter coat is essential to keeping yourself appropriately warm.

Traveling Tips for December

About Outdoor Activities

For mountain or lake lovers who would like to explore Tibet’s natural beauty completely, December might not be the best time. It is in the wind season, which compounds the winter coldness you may feel. High snowfall is very likely to happen in December, which results in risky icy roads and low invisibility, especially making the travel to the regions near Namtso Lake, Mount Everest, and Mount Kailash more hazardous than in other seasons. In conclusion, December is not a good month to go trekking or do other strenuous outdoor activities in Tibet. But if you’re really a nature fan and keen to experience Tibet’s natural landscape, then we’d suggest going on some easy hike routes around the city areas.

Yamdrok Lake in December
Yamdrok Lake in December

About Saving Budget

Besides, December is great for having a Tibet culture trip because of the reduced number of tourists and the preferential policy for traveling Tibet in winter, which clearly states “except for monasteries and temples, all scenic spots in the Tibet Autonomous Region with 3A level or above, are free of entrance fees; and state-owned scenic spots with 3A level or below, or non-state-owned A-grade scenic spots will reduce the entrance fees by half.”

Note: The period of validity for the preferential policy for winter usually starts from November 1st to March 15th of the next year.

About Accommodation

Book your hotel room with a comfortable level if your budget permits. Considering the 30% lower room rate during the winter months and the extra need for coziness in the winter, we may suggest that you spend money on accommodations.

Suggestions on Where and How to Have a Great Vacation in December in Tibet

Travelling to multiple destinations in December in Tibet can be arduous and risky because of the potential for heavy snowfall and the higher chance of encountering severe altitude sickness in your travels during this cold month. In addition, the iconic Tibetan attractions in the remote areas are not suitable for travel in December, based on weather, which is inclusive of Mount Everest in Tibet’s side, Mount Kailash and Namtso Lake, etc. We certainly would suggest that travelers stick to one destination or take a combined trip with two locations in short distance. It is also because we truly believe it is easy to feel the vibrancy of Tibet in one single place.

#1 Lhasa-the Holy City

Lhasa is easy to get to by air, train or road from all the gateway cities. However, we advise not to take a road trip during December to Lhasa. With most days in December being sunny and clear, Lhasa will prove to you how the nickname “City of Sunlight” came to be. As long as you get well prepared for the chilly night cold, you’ll definitely have a great winter vacation in Lhasa.

Barkhor Street
Barkhor Street

Things to do:

  1. Have an abundance of Tibet’s culture and history by visiting the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery;
  2. Try Tibetan cuisine or shop for Tibetan souvenirs in the oldest traditional commercial street, Barkhor Street.
  3. Immerse yourself into the real Lhasa citizens and the pilgrims who travel from other Tibetan-inhabited areas in winter, and observe or join their ritual walk politely. You may not actually need to do anything for a particular purpose. Have a cup of sweet tea or slightly salted yak butter tea to take the stress out of your travel planning.
  4. Lhasa in December is also ideal for birdwatching. You can find the migratory birds in Norbulingka Park, and Dzongyab Lukhang Park, Lhasa River, and Lalu Wetland.

#2 Lhasa-Yamdrok Lake-Gyantse-Shigatse

Unlike Namtso Lake, which gets completely frozen in December, Yamdrok Lake only gets partially frozen even in the coldest month January or February. What’s more, it only takes two hours to arrive at Yamdrok Lake from Lhasa. It is also easy to reach Gyantse and Shigatse via Yamdrok Lake, the other two towns rich in fantastic culture that is worth paying a visit.

Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse
Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse

#3 Nyingchi-Ranwu Lake

With an average altitude of 3,000 meters, Nyingchi is considered the ideal option for the first destination of Tibet travel for acclimating to a high-altitude environment. The Mainling Airport of Nyingchi sits at an altitude of 2.949 meters above sea level and has flight routes from several gateway cities. Nyingchi is also the warmest region in Tibet due to the impact of the ocean climate rather than the continental climate, which has a dominating influence on most of Tibet. Here are the recommended scenic spots in Nyingchi: Mount Namcha Barwa; Basumtso Lake; Ranwu Lake.

Related articles
Tibet Weather in November As the early winter in Tibet, November has the comfortable temperatures ranging from -5°C to 12°C, with dryer and clearer weather. You’ll feel warm in daytime because of the bright sunshine on the plateau as always!
Tibet Weather in October With the highest temperature up to 17°C, October is still a great time for Tibet travel. Sun cream is essential as the UV rays are strong all year around. Snows may block the way to remote areas from end of the month.
Tibet Weather in September Rainy season comes to an end from this month, and the weather is delightfully cool. Grab the last chance to travel to Tibet before Tibet gets cold. Just be aware of the huge temperature difference between day and night.
Tibet Weather in August Summer continues in August. You’ll enjoy a warm and pleasurable weather while traveling in Tibet. On the other hand, August has the heaviest rainfall throughout the year, so an umbrella should be in your packing list.
Tibet Weather in July Here summer comes! The temperature can get as high as 23°C in daytime. However, it will drop below 10°C at night. So, don’t forget to bring a jacket or sweater for nights. A down coat is also needed for the Everest tour.
Tibet Weather in June June is a pleasant month for all routes in Tibet. Monsoon season hasn’t come yet, so you’ll still have a big chance to have a stunning view of the Everest peak. At the same time, it’s also good for a tour to Mount Kailash.

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