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Tibet Weather in December – What to See in December

Tibet Weather in December – What to See in December

December is the beginning month of the severe winter in Tibet while the temperature starts to get much colder all over the whole Tibet region. Yet it is not so cold as many people in the west think of because there is bright sun and strong sunlight which can neutralize the low temperature for somehow and make people feel a lot warmer.

The average monthly temperature of Tibet is between 6 degrees and 9 degrees or so. And because of the high altitude and sunny dry weather which can neutralize the relatively low temperature, you can only feel very cold during morning and evening time. And because of the dry weather, it is completely devoid of rain in December and instead it snows.

It is not exactly right that winter is not a good time to travel in Tibet which is believed by most of people. Instead, the plateau weather in December is a fantastic time for tourists to travel in because there is still plenty of attractions to see and do in winter month, and even there are distinct advantages in the low season, which far more off-set the disadvantage brought by the colder weather of the plateau in December.

Overall Tibet weather in December

  • Average Lowest Temperature (℃): -6
  • Average Highest Temperature (℃): 9
  • Tibet Average Temperature (℃): 3
  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 0
  • Wet Days (>0.1mm): 3
  • Relative Humidity (%): 37

Most popular scenic resorts in Tibet and the route of road trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu

As we know, the weather in December is colder and more abominable. Under this weather condition, spending a night on a snowy evening in the Lhasa tea houses with warm fire and drinking tea will be a lovely choice. Yet it is by no means the only thing that we could do. The attractions across the region can be visited because many roads and passes are still free from snow cover.

In fact, there is a very distinctive advantage for travelers to Tibet, which makes it an ideal place to visit, which is the lower travel cost. The hotels and guesthouses offer staggering discounts for travelers in the winter low season. Train and flight tickets can also be cheaper in the winter months. Except the lower travel cost, you can enjoy your road trip without clamour and traffic jam because of fewer tourists on the way.

Lhasa Tibet Weather in December

  • Average Lowest Temperature (℃): -8
  • Average Highest Temperature (℃): 8
  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 1
  • Rainy Days: 0
  • Relative Humidity (%): 71
  • Average Wind Speed (kmph): 12.6

The temperature of December in Lhasa are dropping to around 8 degrees in the daytime and around -8 degrees at night. Nevertheless, it feels warm in Lhasa because of the abundant sunshine provided for this “City of Sunlight”. Except the warmth brought by the bright sun in Lhasa, the low latitude of Lhasa also makes it an ideal place to visit in December in Tibet. Even in rainy or snowy weather in December, you can still enjoy the wonderful sight around this city and a different sense of beauty is represented by the Tibetan-style architectures and temples in the snow.

It is mostly free for many tourists to visit in Lhasa, which makes it easier to visit the attractions. And there is no limited visiting time sometimes. For example, the Potala Palace in the summer months will be opened all the day. Frost in the early mornings envelops the palace, enhancing the view of this stunning 16th-century building. And down in the hub of Lhasa, the Jokhang Temple is surrounded by local Tibetan pilgrims who make the journey to this capital to pray and give offerings at the most sacred building of this region, which makes December the most quiet time of the year.

Namtso Tibet Weather in December

  • The weather in Namtso of Tibet in December
  • Average Lowest Temperature (℃): -20
  • Average Highest Temperature (℃): 8
  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 3
  • Rainy Days: 2

The temperature in northern area is around 8 degrees in the daytime while it drops to -20 degrees at night, which makes the waters of saline lake such as Lake Namtso freezes, despite it has a very high salt content. Though the heavy snow will block the roads to the lake, with new road paved over the high pass, Lake Namtso can still be accessible to visit by vehicles.

However, it’s no longer possible to camp at the lake shore in winter season. And hotels and restaurants at Tashi dor Peninsula will be closed( or even not be closed, it is also not open for business during this period). Therefore it is better to accommodate in the surrounding Damxung County or Yangpachen, the latter of which is more recommended because you can enjoy the refreshing time in the hot springs there.

Nyingchi Tibet Weather in December

  • Weather in Nyingchi of Tibet in December
  • Average Lowest Temperature (℃): -4.6
  • Average Highest Temperature (℃): 9.6
  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 0.99

It is less rainy in Nyingchi in winter and temperature in Nyingchi in winter is lower, especially very low at night though it is warm in the daytime. And though the most beautiful scenery of Nyingchi region is still in seasons of spring and autumn, winter is the off season when fewer people visit this “Swimland of Tibet” so that you could enjoy the beautiful scenery without clamour. And if you are lucky, you can see the spectacular snow view of the Namcha Barwa Mountain. And there is a tip for touring in Nyingchi area in December that you’d better take skin care moisturizers because the climate is very dry.

Shannan Tibet Weather in December

  • Average Lowest Temperature (℃): -11
  • Average Highest Temperature (℃): 8
  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 2

Though the weather in Shannan area in December is snowy and chilly, it is almost sunny everyday with blue sky and white clouds. The characteristics of the temperature in this area in December is the big temperature difference between morning and evening when the temperature drops to minus 20 degrees. Yet, in most cases, the climate in Shannan is comfortable for travelling around and during this time. The famous Samye Monastery and Chongye Valley are recommended for you to visit when you travel to this region.

Yamdrok Lake Tibet Weather in December

  • Average Lowest Temperature (℃): -11
  • Average Highest Temperature (℃): 8
  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 2

The Yamdrok Lake is much more accessible during the winter months compared with Namtso Lake, as there is a smoothly-paved asphalt road connected to the city of Lhasa. You can appreciate the charming blue water surrounded by snow-capped mountains though the lake occasionally becomes frozen in December. And because of fewer tourists pay a visit during this time, you can take photos freely in any shooting angle.

Gyantse Tibet Weather in December

  • Weather in Gyantse of Tibet in December
  • Average Lowest Temperature (℃): -13
  • Average Highest Temperature (℃): 5
  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 0.4
  • Rainy Days: 2
  • Relative Humidity (%): 41

It is rather cold in Gyantse in December but the sunshine can still shine across this ancient town during this time. Because it is very dry in Gyantse, there is little rainfall and it hardly snows. Therefore the weather condition in Gyantse is ideal for travelling around in December. Except the Gyantse Fortress, the famous Pelkor Monastery and Gyantse Kumbum, which are characteristic religious resorts in Tibet, are also good choices for you to visit when you visit Gyantse.

Weather in Shigatse of Tibet in December

  • Average Lowest Temperature (℃): -12
  • Average Highest Temperature (℃): 8
  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 0.02mm
  • Rainy Days: 0
  • Relative Humidity (%): 37
  • Average Wind Speed (kmph): 8.9

Though the temperature in Shigatse drops to as low as -22 degrees, it can reach as high as 12 degrees in the daytime, plus the frequent sunny days, it feels even warmer. Except for the strong wind, the warm and sunny weather makes Shigatse a great place to visit in December. And the city of Shigatse is slightly warmer than Lhasa while it also has some stunning attractions such as the Tashilhunpo Monastery which is one of the most stunning and important monasteries in Tibet, and is the seat of the Panchen Lama who is the second Highest religious incarnation in Tibetan Buddhism.

Weather in EBC of Tibet in December

  • Average Lowest Temperature (℃): -18
  • Average Highest Temperature (℃): 6
  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 2
  • Average Wind Speed (kmph): 8.9

Since December is the mid-winter, the area around Mount Everest also starts to freeze and the temperature at the Base Camp (5000 m) can drop to -18 degrees at night. Yet the temperature in daytime can still be as high as 6 degrees which is not so low-temperature as many people assume. Though the wind is strong and many road sections are snow-covered, the sunny days takes a large proportion in the whole month. And the clear skies at Base Camp in December plus makes it one of the best months to get a great and clear view of the Everest peak.

Though it is dangerous and adventurous, it is still possible to make the trip to Everest Base Camp from Old Tingri. The road to EBC is mostly paved with asphalt, right up to the Rongbuk Monastery at the foot of Rongbuk Glacier which extends down from the north face of the world’s Highest mountain. And the scenery covered with snow is more beautiful than the dry and dusty landscape in Autumn, which can offer you much better photos.

Mt. Kailash Tibet Weather in December

  • Weather in Mt. Kailash of Tibet in December
  • Average Lowest Temperature (℃): -20
  • Average Highest Temperature (℃): -7
  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 5
  • Rainy Days: 2.8

The snows around Mount Kailash region are much heavier and the daily average temperatures are as low as -20 degrees. Even the temperatures during the daytime are mostly below zero. The roads to Mount Kailash will be closed in December because of the heavier snow and high passes, and will be resumed until around March or April. Hence you could experience the Mount Kailash trekking in late spring or Autumn.

Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland in December

  • Kathmandu Average Lowest Temperature (℃): 5
  • Kathmandu Average Highest Temperature (℃): 21
  • Kathmandu Average Precipitation/Rainfall (mm): 4
  • Kathmandu Rainy Days: 0.6
  • Kathmandu Relative Humidity (%): 0
  • Kathmandu Average Wind Speed (kmph): 6
  • Gyirong Port Average Lowest Temperature (℃) : -12
  • Gyirong Port Average Highest Temperature (℃): 8

It is cool and dry in December in Kathmandu. The average temperature in Kathmandu is up to 21 degrees in the daytime and the precipitation for the whole month is very small, also the daytime can last more than 10 hours each day. Hence it will be more interesting to visit Nepal during this time than during summer season.

Actually December is the ideal time to take road trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu. Because the highway in friendship keeps open and is hardly closed due to heavy snows. Moreover, this road is mostly well-paved with asphalt surface, with which tourists rarely have problems in driving. Also you can enjoy a clearer view of the Himalaya ranges along the way owing to the dry weather in winter months.

Insider Tips:

Supposing that you would like to travel by road trips from Kathmandu to Lhasa, China Group Visa is also needed to issue in Kathmandu with your original passport though you have got the Tibet Permit. Our staff will help you get the China Group Visa which needs 3 business days to be processed. Please leave enough time for it, and our travel consultants will help you detailedly.

Tibetan Festivals in December

The Tsongkhapa Butter Lamp Festival, which is also known as the Ganden Ngachen Chenmo Festival, is celebrated to commemorate the death or “Parinirvana” of the founder of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, Je Tsongkhapa. When the day of 25th October of Tibetan Calendar which is normally in December of Solar Calendar arrives, a great number of butter lanterns will be lighted up on alters and outside the doors of the monasteries and temples across the entire region. All the local windows sills are adorned with odd numbers of flickering lanterns when night falls.

The carry-on items for traveling to Tibet in December

Undoubtedly, the weather in Tibet in December is very cold, so those warm sweaters and thick down or fleece jackets are necessary to take along with you. Take the clothes with good warm layers to keep you warm under the cold weather of the plateau, and take the long underwear to keep out the intense chill. Warm hats, gloves, thick and woolen socks, boots and thick pants are also needed to keep your whole body warm.

Though it is very cold in December, the sun in December is just as damaging as it is in August. Therefore you’d better take a pair of good UV filtering sunglasses, a protective hat and sun block for all exposed skin. Not only the sun is damaging, but also the biting cold winds on the plateau can damage your face and lips, lip balm and moisturizers are also strongly recommended to take along.

Conclusion – GO! Don’t Be Afraid of Winter Chill

Please do not avoid traveling to Tibet in December for worrying about the cold weather because the weather on the plateau can be very surprising to you. Despite it is very cold at night, it is always warm in daytime and very pleasant for tourists to travel.

Though the Ngari Areas including Mount Kailash are blocked by snow in winter, there are still many other attractions in Tibet accessible. Lhasa and Shigatse are the best choice to visit during this time. Everest Base Camp is also accessible though sometimes the road to EBC may be blocked. You’d better know about the road condition in advance by listening to the weather broadcast in case you plan to visit the mountain areas.

The traditional Tibetan festival such as the Tsongkhapa Butter Lamp Festival in December are also an attraction to tourists. Additionally, plenty of discounts in the off-season can save the expenditure for tourists traveling in Tibet. So, December is a very good time for tourists to travel in Tibet.

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