Tibet Weather in February

General Climate Feature of Tibet

As Tibet has a large geographical size (1,228,000 sq.km.), different regions in Tibet have distinctively different climate features. Most areas of Tibet are under the influence of continental climate. However, the Nyingchi Prefecture, which is in the southeastern region of Tibet, is affected by the Indian Ocean current. This means it possesses a sub-humid climate.

From southeastern Tibet to northwestern Tibet, the obvious change of landscapes can be observed. You’ll see luxuriant forests and meadows in the southeast, grasslands and steppes in the transitional zone throughout the Lhasa/Shigatse area, and tundra in the remote western and northern areas. Besides that, there is a distinct trend of decreasing rainfall and dropping temperatures from the southeast to the northwest.

In conclusion, Nyingchi is the warmest and moistest area in Tibet, which enables the growth and abundance of forests; the three neighboring cities Lhasa (the capital city), Shigatse (the second largest city), and Shannan (the cradle of ancient Tibet civilization) share very similar climate features. The Ngari Prefecture (in the west) and Ngaqu City (in the north) are the coldest and driest regions of Tibet.

Yamdrok Lake in February
Yamdrok Lake in February

February Weather in Tibet?

Temperature: February is almost as cold as January in Tibet.

Wind: February and March see the strongest wind of the year in Tibet. So, when the day is heavily windy, the temperature can feel much colder than it actually is.

Clear and Wind Free Days: Similar with January, it barely rains in February. If a day is clear and wind free, the dryness and abundant sunlight make the winter coldness quite bearable. Actually, the daytime temperature in February is much higher than that in Beijing and Shanghai.

Large Temperature Difference between day and night: The daytime in February has experienced a record high temperature of 18°C, while the lowest recorded temperature before sunrise was -7°C. You may have a pleasantly warm day while roaming joyfully outdoors, but then later snuggle closely in your warm room at night to keep away from the frigidity.

Summary: Dryness, coldness and wind chill are the three dominant weather features in February in Tibet. Occasional snow will occur in Lhasa. Roads leading to the northern scenic sites, such as Namtso Lake (in Nagqu City), and to the scenic spots, such as Mount Kailash (in the Ngari Prefecture), are frequently blocked due to heavy snow. Therefore, it’s generally not advisable to travel to these remote regions (where severe weather is also a hazard) in February, but it is recommended to take a historic tour or culture trip because severe weather will have less of an impact on it.

Past Weather Data of Seven Cities in Tibet, China-- February 2018

Cities/Data Lhasa Shigatse Nyingchi Shannan Ngaqu Ngari Chamdo
Ave. High 9.2°C 8°C 9.8°C Very similar with Shigatse Not advisable to visit in February Not advisable to visit in February Not open for foreign tourists
Ave. Low -6.9°C -9.5°C -2.7°C
Ave. Wind Speed 8 km/h  km/h km/h
Precipitation 0 mm 0 mm 4 mm
Humidity 14 % 15 % 18 %
Time of Rise(Feb.1st) 8:45am 8:54am 8:31am
Time of Set(Feb.1st) 7:32pm 7:42pm 7:18pm
Length of Day(Feb.1st) 10h47m 10h48m 10h47m

Note: The above information is collected from historical data and differing weather pattern may occur.

Weather-based Tips for Traveling Tibet in February

  1. The Tourist Destinations/Locations to avoid: Mount Kailash—the holy mountain located in Ngari Prefecture, southwestern Tibet; Namtso Lake—the sacred lake located in Nagqu city, northern Tibet;
  2. The Tourist Destinations/Locations that are not recommended: Mount Everest—the highest peak in the world, located in Shigatse city, which is in the southwestern part of Tibet. Although there is a high chance of experiencing clear days in the Mount Everest region in order to have clear views of the peak, the base camp usually pulls out of the most ideal destinations in February because that is a cold time in this region.
  3. Clothing Tips: Wear all necessary clothing that keeps you warm. This is the most essential part of preparing for the weather in Tibet. Besides wear a down coat or wind-proof outdoor jackets, other clothing such as beanies, scarfs, gloves, and proper trousers are also vital.
  4. February is one of the driest months of the year in Tibet. Lip protectors and moisturizers are essential to pack for this reason.
  5. Most days in February are clear, which means you may experience intense UV radiation on the plateau. Neckerchiefs, face covers, or sunscreen to protect your skin should be taken with you.
  6. The most important thing is to prevent yourself from getting cold prior to your visit and during your time in Tibet. Because the oxygen content of the winter air in Tibet is the lowest among the four seasons, it can increase your chances of suffering from high altitude sickness. Getting cold surely will put your physical health at a much bigger risk.

An Encounter with Real Tibet in February

1. Immerge yourself in the authentic Tibet with the most pious people:

In Lhasa, you will find that in February, there are more pilgrims than tourists. Most of them live in other Tibetan-populated areas besides Lhasa. They’ve accomplished their farming or husbandry chores and have traditionally taken the “off season” to do their maybe once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage journey to Lhasa. These are the most devoted Tibetan people who you’ll find in all the iconic sites, such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Ramoche Temple, Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery, and Barkhor Street, or along the roads leading to Lhasa.

Pilgrims in front of the Jokhang Temple
Pilgrims in front of the Jokhang Temple

2. Explore Winter Delicacy in Tibet

  1. Yak Butter Tea—salty, warm, yummy, and is believed to be helpful with easing your acute mountain sickness (high altitude sickness).
  2. Sweet Tea—sweet as the name indicates and tastes very similar to the milk tea (bubble milk tea).
  3. You can try out the Tibetan highland barley wine, but only a small amount is recommended after you’ve acclimatized to the altitude and have experienced no serious health problems.
  4. Tibetan cuisine and Sichuan cuisine are the main types of dishes served. Nepali cuisine can also be found but not as much as the previously mentioned cuisines. Western restaurants or quality cafes are also available.
  5. The Tibetan hot pot with Tasmpa can make a good Tibetan meal.
  6. There are not as many veggies and fruits in Tibet as there are in inland China. However, they are sufficient enough to meet all the nutritional needs of vegetarians.

When the heart tells us it’s time to go, then weather, distance, budget, and other relevant preparation factors turn out to be our second consideration. The name of that very destination just pops into our heads. If Tibet is the place for you, and you need some help with information or guides regarding Tibet travel, then we are always happy to provide our first-hand knowledge about Tibet to those people who are interested. Simply contact us by sending an email to inquiry@gototibet.com.

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 December In December, the temperatures drop as low as -9°C at night. But you’ll also enjoy agreeable sunny weather during the day, with the highest temperature up to 9°C. A moderate tour in central Tibet would be a good choice.
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.

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