Travel Conditions Tibet 2018
Likely Weather Conditions:
Chengdu: sultry, rainy and hot. Average 30C/86F
Lhasa and Shigatse: sunny and rainy at night. Average daytime 23C/73F Kailash: average daytime 17C/63F
Tibet Permit: The special permit needed to travel within the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) will be delivered to Sangha Journeys in Chengdu. We must board the flight to Lhasa together as a group, showing this permit. Once we reach our destination, this permit will be carried by our guide and shown at road check points.
You must carry your own passport and China visa. It will be required for check-in at hotels and guest houses. We recommend you also carry a photocopy of these documents and a file on a flash drive. Also, we recommend leaving a copy with someone back home.
Baggage & Customs: The baggage allowance for the domestic flight between Chengdu to Lhasa is less than international flights. The domestic allowance is one bag weighing 20kg. If you have more, you will be required to pay the excess baggage fee at the airport.
We advise you to carry your essentials, medications, reading materials, cameras, flashlights, and other necessities in your carry on.
Foreigners are generally not subject to more than perfunctory baggage checks on entering and leaving China and TAR. However, certain items such as photographs of the Dalai Lama, critical literature and Tibetan national flags should not be carried.
A small back pack is indispensable.
Transportation in Tibet: We will most likely be traveling in a 19-seat bus with our guide.
Accommodations: We are staying in a variety of hotels. A sleeping bag liner is always nice to have in the lesser quality lodgings.
Meals: Good food in Lhasa and just about everywhere. Not spicy. You will enjoy eating in Tibet if you like vegetables, particularly leafy greens, tomatoes and mushrooms. My fav is called troma…tiny yams with butter. You'll also find lamb and yak on the protein menu. Eggs are delicious and the dri yogurt is heavenly. There are lots of fruits...grapes, watermelon, Asian pears. Cooking styles are basically stir fry and Nepalese, hot sauce and white rice on the side. Noodle soup in the evening. Lhasa has Western food as well.
To supplement your diet, bring energy bars, instant oatmeal, protein powders, coffee, tea chocolate, and so on. Hotel rooms provide an electric kettle or a large thermos of boiled water.
Health: No vaccinations are required. Altitude discomfort is to be expected the first day or two but not actual altitude sickness. You must keep your water-bottle filled at all times. Drinking lots of water goes a long way in preventing headaches, light- headedness, nausea, or sleeplessness — the common symptoms of altitude discomfort—and if they do occur, the first remedy is plenty of water, an aspirin and rest.
Oxygen only relieves discomfort. It does not help your body adjust. Small canisters of oxygen can be purchased.
It’s important to pace yourself when walking. Move slowly and in a relaxed manner to minimize discomfort. It’s likely that for the entire duration of the trip you will experience breathlessness when climbing stairs or walking uphill. Just slow down.
Apart from paracetemol and mild sleeping tablets or melatonin, the following have been recommended: Coca 30 and Phosphorum 30, both homeopathics.
Diamox is a prescription drug that you can consider before leaving home. It is our experience that it helps some people and harms others. We do not have a pro or con recommendation about Diamox. Check the Internet.
Apart from altitude discomfort, the major irritant is the dryness of the atmosphere which can cause respiratory problems or cracking of the lips. You are advised to carry throat lozenges and an expectorant as well as an effective sun-screen lip-salve.
Immodium, Tetranizadol and other laxatives are helpful.
If you can procure an antibiotic such as Cipro, it’s good to have.
Clothing: A flexible system of layered clothing is recommended. You must always cover your arms and legs because the UV radiation is intense. A warm jacket, a light wind-proof jacket, light rain-gear such as ponchos are essential. A sun hat is very important and sunglasses. Sturdy tennis shoes or walking shoes. Hiking boots are not needed.
Tibetan Dharma clothing is not advisable but a zen is okay.
Phone: In advance, purchase an international roaming plan for data, texting and if you like, phone calls. Check that your phone will work in China. There will be Internet everywhere. Please download WeChat and create an account. During the pilgrimage, Sangha Journeys will be keeping you updated on what’s happening through WeChat. It’s also good to have if you get separated from the group.
Money: US dollars in clean, undamaged $100 bills and travelers’ checks are easily changed at banks in Chengdu, Lhasa, Tsetang, and Shigatse. Credit cards are widely
accepted and you can withdraw cash from bank machines in Lhasa, Tsetang, Shigatse and Chengdu.
Remember to advise your bank that you will be travelling to China and find out the maximum withdrawal amount per day using your debit card. Make sure your debit card pin number will work in China.
Okay Now – Let’s Pack! The following items are important:
sun screen 70SPF
facial and body moisturizer
vaseline for inside your nose (try this on the plane too) sun-screen lip salve
personal hygiene items (you can always shop in Lhasa): body wash, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
extra eye glasses and/or reading glasses Kleenex stash
Meal supplements (protein powders, power bars, instant anything (I like Trace Minerals Greens Pak)
Instant coffee (Starbuck Via!) and/or your favorite tea bags, stevia, etc.
pain relievers inflammation relievers upset stomach relievers
melatonin and/or heavier sleeping pills if you get insomnia (typical at high altitude) cough medicine and expectorant
antibiotic – if you have Cipro with you it’s not a bad idea
for altitude discomfort (Diamox, Tibetan rhodiola, not rhodiola rosea, etc.) nutritional supplements as usual
neti pot with saline solution (this is my favorite)
electronics: camera and camera charger, cell phone & charger, ipad/tablet do not require a converter or an adapter. Electrical adapter is needed for any electrical appliances (hair dryer or shaver) but not needed for electronics
sun hat and a warmer hat
warm gloves, warm socks for the evenings layered clothing especially for Kailash
good quality flashlight
tennis shows or walking shoes – don’t need hiking boots
walking staff/trekking poles for Kailash
small backpack or hold-all that will be with you at all times (never leave documents and money, camera etc. in your hotel room)
camping towel(s) and sleeping bag insert