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Tibet Travel Essentials-Tibet Tour Preparation
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Good Preparation for travel to Tibet

What is Acute Mountain Sickness and how to avoid it when travel in Tibet?
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), also known as altitude sickness or altitude illness which commonly occurs above 2,400 meters (8,000 feet) because of acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude. There are some symptoms one may have at high altitudes. E.g. people may have headache, dizziness, and lethargy, loss of appetite, nausea, breathlessness, irritability and difficulty sleeping which reflect our bodies' intolerance to the low oxygen environment at high altitudes. Generally, these symptoms will not prevent travelers from participating in normal activities; however, taking a few steps can really go a long way for those who want to get the most out of their time in Tibet.
 
Tibet’s high altitude environment certainly is not something to be feared! Within a couple days nearly all travelers will fully acclimatize. It may be a good idea to talk to a doctor about medication for adjusting to the altitude. In any case, staying hydrated and taking it easy for the first couple days can really pay off in the long run.
Be altitude sickness free! Here are some suggestions for you to prevent it AMS.

  • Avoid catching a cold before entering Tibet;
  • Try to have a good sleep at the night before flying to Tibet;
  • Drink lots of water-This is a must; begin drinking more water than normal before arriving in Tibet;
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol;
  • Avoid intense physical activity on the first couple of days after arrival in Tibet;
  • Walk slowly and drink extra fluids after getting off the airplane;
  • Light and high carbohydrate meals are recommended for more energy; Don't drink    alcohol or smoke;
  • Climb up to higher altitude slowly;
  • Avoid sedatives;
  • Prepare some medicines as per doctors’ suggestion.

 

What are the altitudes of main travel destinations in Tibet?

 

Altitude of Main Cities and Towns in Tibet

City

Altitude (m)

City

Altitude (m)

Lhasa

3650

Pomi

2750

Shigatse

3836

Nyingchi

3000

Gyantse

4040

Tsedang

3500

Chamdo

3240

Tingri

4300

Amdo

4800

Shiquanhe

4300

Nagqu

4507

Purang

3700

Damxung

4200

Rutog

4250

What shall I do if I catch cold in Tibet? Is it too dangerous to continue my travel in Tibet?
If you get a serious cold before getting to Tibet, it may result in pulmonary edema or other serious mountain sickness which are quite dangerous without timely treatment. However, if you catch cold after arrival in Tibet, it usually won’t be too serious because you have already had some acclimatization to the high altitude environment and the doctors here in Tibet have much experience in treating altitude sickness or cold on high altitude. Meanwhile it is good to take some medicines you often take in the past to against the cold.
 
What kind of clothese shall we bring with us for travel to Tibet?
There is a great variation of temperatures from day to night in Tibet so casual attire style and layered clothing are recommended. Warm clothes are always necessary when travelling in Tibet. Feather down clothes and woolen underpants are necessary if you travel to places outside of Lhasa, such as Mt. Everest or Mt. Kailash in Ngari. Read more on Tibet clothing essentials.
 
Is it safe to travel in Tibet?
Yes, it is safe of course. Most Tibetans have religious beliefs and they usually will never do anything unfaithful or harmful to others. However when travelling in countryside or remote villages, you d better watch out the dogs.
 
What currency is used in Tibet and is it convenient to bring cash or credit cards in Tibet?
The main currency in Tibet is Renminbi (RMB), ie CNY-Chinese Yuan. It is more convenient to take along enough RMB or USD or EURO cash with you than using credit card in Tibet. Credit cards are usually accepted in large shops, supermarkets or top end hotels only. There are ATMs in Lhasa, Tsetang, Nyingchi, Shigatse and Zhangmu and some of them sometimes can not work properly. Read more on Tibet money and currency exchange.
 
What gifts shall I prepare for my tipping to Tibetan tour service staff, or school students or local family?
Usually travel service staffs such as Tibet tour guides, drivers, hotel staff, and porters expect to be tipped from you; this is especially true if they have worked very hard to provide you with the best service possible. While cash is appreciated very much indeed, the great part about tipping practice in Tibet is that small gifts from your own country are equally appreciated. This can include a wide variety of items such as music CDs, perfumes/colognes, hats or t-shirts. Many items with brand name labels that are common in the western world can be highly coveted items for local Tibetans. As for gifts for students, stationeries, such as pencils, notebook, and ball pen are welcome. For local family, some snacks such as biscuits, candies and chocolates are also welcomed.

Read more practical Tibet travels Advice.

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