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  • Writer's pictureMariane

Tibet December Guide: Weather, Top Destinations, and Winter Travel Tips

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

A snow-covered mountain with clouds at the summit, capturing the winter allure of Tibet in December.
Yamdrok Lake in Winter, Tibet, China.

December marks the onset of winter in Tibet, bringing a noticeable drop in temperature across the region. Contrary to common belief, the cold isn't as extreme as one might think, thanks to the bright sun and intense sunlight that can make the weather feel warmer than the thermometer suggests.

Throughout Tibet, the average monthly temperatures range from -6 degrees to approximately 9 degrees. The high altitude and dry, sunny weather contribute to a feeling of warmth, with the most significant cold experienced during the mornings and evenings. December is characterized by the absence of rain, with precipitation turning into snow across the region.

While some may consider winter an unfavorable time to visit Tibet, it offers a unique and less crowded experience. There are numerous attractions to explore, and the advantages of traveling during the low season, such as reduced costs for accommodations and transportation, outweigh the colder temperatures. This article will review the Tibet Guide for December, featuring Tibet's weather, top destinations, and winter Travel Tips!

🌟Tibet Weather Guide in December: Overview

  • Average Minimum Temperature: -6°C

  • Average Maximum Temperature: 9°C

  • Average Temperature: 3°C

  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall: 0mm

  • Wet Days (>0.1mm): 3

  • Relative Humidity: 37%

🌟Tibet Weather in December by location

1. Tibet Weather in December: Lhasa
  • Average Minimum Temperature: -8°C

  • Average Maximum Temperature: 8°C

  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall: 1mm

  • Rainy Days: 0

  • Relative Humidity: 71%

Lhasa, known as the "City of Sunlight," experiences a drop in temperatures during December. However, abundant sunshine makes daytime exploration comfortable. Attractions like the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple offer a unique charm with frost-covered scenery.

2. Tibet Weather in December: Namtso

  • Average Minimum Temperature: -20°C

  • Average Maximum Temperature: 8°C

  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall: 3mm

  • Rainy Days: 2

Namtso Lake starts freezing, presenting a stunning winter landscape. While lakeshore camping is restricted, nearby areas like Damxung County or Yangpachen offer alternative accommodations.

3. Tibet Weather in December: Nyingchi

  • Average Minimum Temperature: -4.6°C

  • Average Maximum Temperature: 9.6°C

  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall: 0.99mm

Nyingchi experiences a drier winter with lower temperatures. Although not as popular as spring or autumn, winter in Nyingchi offers a quieter experience.

4. Tibet Weather in December: Shannan

  • Average Minimum Temperature: -11°C

  • Average Maximum Temperature: 8°C

  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall: 2mm

Despite snowy conditions, Shannan enjoys sunny days, making it suitable for winter travel. Highlights include the famous Samye Monastery and Chongye Valley.

5. Tibet Weather in December: Yamdrok Lake

  • Average Minimum Temperature: -11°C

  • Average Maximum Temperature: 8°C

  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall: 2mm

Accessible with a well-paved road, Yamdrok Lake offers picturesque views in December, with occasional freezing and snow-capped mountains.

6. Tibet Weather in December: Gyantse

  • Average Minimum Temperature: -13°C

  • Average Maximum Temperature: 5°C

  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall: 0.4mm

  • Rainy Days: 2

  • Relative Humidity: 41%

Gyantse experiences cold temperatures but boasts strong sunshine. Ideal for exploring attractions like Pelkor Monastery and Gyantse Kumbum.

7. Tibet Weather in December: Shigatse

  • Average Minimum Temperature: -12°C

  • Average Maximum Temperature: 8°C

  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall: 0.02mm

  • Rainy Days: 0

  • Relative Humidity: 37%

Despite chilly nights, Shigatse offers warm days, making it a great December destination. Tashilhunpo Monastery is a must-visit.

8. Tibet Weather in December: Everest Base Camp (EBC)

  • Average Minimum Temperature: -18°C

  • Average Maximum Temperature: 6°C

  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall: 2mm

EBC experiences frigid nights but relatively warmer daytime temperatures. Clear skies offer excellent views of the Everest peak, and the road to EBC is mostly accessible.

9. Tibet Weather in December: Mt. Kailash

  • Average Minimum Temperature: -20°C

  • Average Maximum Temperature: -7°C

  • Average Precipitation/Rainfall: 5mm

  • Rainy Days: 2.8

Heavy snowfall and low temperatures make Mount Kailash region challenging to visit in December. Trekking is not recommended until late spring or autumn.

10. Tibet Weather in December: Kathmandu & Gyirong Port

  • Kathmandu Average Minimum Temperature: 5°C

  • Kathmandu Average Maximum Temperature: 21°C

  • Kathmandu Average Precipitation/Rainfall: 4mm

  • Gyirong Port Average Minimum Temperature: -12°C

  • Gyirong Port Average Maximum Temperature: 8°C

The Friendship Highway from Lhasa to Kathmandu remains open in December. Travelers can enjoy clear views of the Himalayan ranges during the dry season.

🌟Tibetan Festivals in December:

The Tsongkhapa Butter Lamp Festival - celebrated on 25th October of the Tibetan Calendar (usually in December) - sees locals illuminating monasteries with butter lanterns to honor the founder of the Gelug school, Je Tsongkhapa.

🌟Where to go?

In December, you can still visit most places in Tibet (as long as there is no big snowfall blocking the road) including Lhasa, Shigatse, Yamdrok Lake, Everest Basecamp (no hike)

🌟🌟Recommended tours:

🌟Where NOT to go?

With these temperatures, it would be too dangerous to hike and camp in Tibet so forget about Kailash and EBC treks for the whole winter. 

Additionally, avoid Namtso lake as that road is often blocked due to the winter weather. 

🌟What to Pack and Wear for Traveling Tibet in December:

In general, you will need to prepare mostly warm winter clothes. Since temperatures can vary a lot within a day in Tibet (due to sun, wind...), we recommend dressing with layers. That way, you can add or remove layers depending on the situation. 

-Top Layers: Normal shirt + insulated long sleeve shirt underwear (for EBC), fleece or sweater, down jacket or winter coat.

-Bottom Layers: Insulated or fleece legging underwear (for EBC), trousers and winter pants, warm socks. 

-Shoes: Sneakers + warm and waterproof pair of shoes and thermal or warm socks (gaiters are optional). 

-Adds on: Scarf, warm winter gloves, woolen hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and lip balm with SPF protection.


Despite the cold, Tibet in December offers surprising warmth during the day, making it an excellent time to explore. Many attractions remain accessible, and with fewer tourists, there are ample opportunities for unique experiences. Traditional festivals, lower costs, and the chance to witness clear views of iconic landscapes make December an ideal time to visit Tibet.

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