China’s postal service is generally inexpensive and efficient: airmail letters and postcards take around a week to 10 days to reach most destinations. Writing the country of destination in Chinese can speed up the delivery. Domestic post is very swift, often reaching the destination in one or two days. Lhasa is the only place in Tibet from which it’s possible to send international parcels by air or surface mail.

Post offices are very picky about how you pack things; do not finalise your packing until the parcel has its last customs clearance. If you have a receipt for the goods, then put it in the box when you are mailing it, since it may be opened again by customs further down the line.

China Post operates an express mail service (EMS) – a worldwide priority mail service – that is fast and reliable. Documents to most foreign countries arrive in around five days.