Tibet is a land of sparkling snow and ice during January. This is the coldest month of the year, with an average temperature of -2°C across the country, and strong winds that can make it feel even frostier. Yet there is little chance of rain, and the scenery is arguably at its most magnificent, with clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine the order of the day. UV-protective sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat are essential wherever you travel.
Getting beyond the main cities is difficult in January due to the weather conditions, and many of the more remote landmarks will be out of reach due to substantial snowfall. The pass leading to Lake Namtso will be closed, and the lake, like most others at these high altitudes, is fully frozen. But in Lhasa, where daytime temperatures can reach a comfortable 7°C even in January, major attractions such as the Potala Palace are free of crowds.
In the far west of Tibet, trekking around Mount Kailash is not possible during January. But there are astonishing views of Mount Everest to be had, provided you can cope with temperatures that sink to -21°C at night. Many Tibet hotels do not have in-room heating, so thermal underclothing is a must.
Trekking across the ‘roof of the world’ in Tibet, at an average elevation of 4,500m, is and adventure hard to beat. It’s not the easiest destination to get to, but the unparalleled rush of standing in one of Earth’s rawest landscapes is like nothing else.