Tibet Travel Check List
Domestic flights of China allow only 20 kilograms in checked-in baggage and a piece of carry-on luggage in the plane. You would like to make a light backpack of your valuable belongings like camera, wallet, passports etc while other stuffs like clothing, equipments will go in the checked in baggage. If you are trekking, you are recommended to use a heavy-duty duffel bag. The bag should be comfortable and tough as there will be frequent loading and unloading and there is chance that your luggage is dragged, thrown around and stuffed.
Prepare for exposure in cold and harsh weather
The high altitudes of the Tibetan plateau make the climatic conditions extreme. During the day time, the temperature looks pretty fine with warm sun shine but the temperatures at night can drop to freezing point or even below. The sunlight has strong ultra-violet rays and it's very windy particularly in the high passes and the air is very dry. Since July and August receives much of the rain of the year and if you are traveling during these months, you will have to carry rain gears as well. It is best to be prepared for cold weather even though much of the time it will be quite comfortable. Because the sun is quite intense at high altitude, a hat, UV protection sunglasses and sun block (at least SPF 50) are essential.
If you are traveling in winter or spring or late autumn, of course you will need warm cloths but don't stuff your baggage with thick down jackets all the way from your country, as the baggage allowance is very much limited.
It is best to pack as few things as possible and stuff only what you need. Down jackets, Sleeping bags etc are available in Lhasa but quality, size, and style are unpredictable. Pants should be loose and comfortable and shouldn't be patched. Both men and women are encouraged to dress with legs and shoulders covered. While Tibetans in general do not mind if you wear western clothing or even if women wear pants, it is important that your clothing be neat and clean.
Because the temperature/weather can change quickly and often, the 'layering' system is excellent for travel in Tibet. It is better to have several smaller layers that can be added and removed when necessary than to have one enormous heavy jacket.Women:
Skirts are comfortable to wear, even while trekking. (They are also useful for roadside pit-stops.) Shorts are culturally inappropriate, although pants may be worn.Men:
Clothing should be neat. Blue jeans should not be ragged, faded, or patched. Shorts are culturally inappropriate in most situations.Shoes:
It is very important to have a strong comfortable pair of boots. Lightweight boots are fine, but Tibet can be wet and since we will do extensive walking, please make sure your shoes fit well and are suitable for cold and puddles. You should also have a pair of comfortable and tough sandals.
Some trekking supplies (down and fleece jackets, boots, bags, etc.) are available in Lhasa but it is better to be prepared before departing since supplies are unpredictable.Medical supplies:
Take an adequate supply of any prescribed medication you use regularly, including any kind inhalers you use. Most over-the-counter medicines, such as aspirin and anti-diarrhea pills are available in Lhasa but are more difficult to obtain outside of urban areas. If you wear contact lenses, be sure to bring enough cleaning solution for the term since this is hard to find and expensive. Please refer to the Health Guidelines (which is issued by your country’s health authorities). Bring diamox pills which are believed to prevent the altitude sickness.Water:
Water purification equipment such as hand pump filters is not necessary, as bottled mineral water and thermoses of boiled water are available everywhere throughout Tibet. Water purification tablets can be useful during excursions.Electrical current:
The electrical current in Tibet is 220v, AC 50 Hz. There are numerous different plug types used in Tibet so it might be easier to purchase an adapter once you get there.Clothing:
- 2 pairs of neat, loose pants.
- 1 pair of sweat pants or fleece pants (optional).
- 1 long, full skirt for women (optional).
- 2 long sleeve shirts.
- 2-3 T-shirts.
- 1 woolen sweater or fleece.
- 1 week's supply of socks ("Smartwool" or "Thorlos" are both excellent).
- Underwear (1 week's supply).
- 1 pair shorts, for the possible hot springs.
- Bandana or scarf.
- Boots - can be lightweight but should be sturdy and comfortable.
- Rain jacket (rain pants optional).
- Warm jacket (fleece or down).
- Long underwear (1 set, not cotton).
- Vest (optional).
- Hat(s) - it would be good idea to bring warm and sun hat one each.
- Travel duffel bag or internal frame backpack. Doesn't need to be high-tech but should be very sturdy. Best without too many outside pockets.
- Day pack.
- Sleeping bag (good to 20 Fahrenheit, down recommended but not necessary) and comfortable sleeping pad.
- An adequate supply of any prescribed medication.
- Camera and film.
- Good UV protection sunglasses (this is very important against strong high altitude sunrays).
- Pepto-Bismol tablets.
- Combination padlock (for storing your belongings).
- Extra pair of eyeglasses or contact lens and plenty of cleaning solution, if used.
- Flashlight and batteries (for our many monastery visits and camping).
- Luggage locks.
- Handy travel alarm clock.
- Sun block (at least SPF 50).
- Spiral notebook (small and medium sizes recommended).
- Study journal and pens.
- Tampons/sanitary napkins.
- Water bottle (at least one liter and be sure to check for leaks).
- Water purification tablets.
- Ace bandage.
- Acidophilus tablets (yogurt culture) are good non-chemical treatments for stomach problems.
- Small first-aid kit (band-aids, ibuprofen, decongestants, tape, etc.).
- Hair brush/comb.
- Dental floss.
- Iron supplements (for women).
- Moleskin-type blister protection.
- Novels (bring a few and trade with classmates).
- Swiss Army knife or multi-tool knife.
- Tape recorder and batteries (can be invaluable for field work, recording interviews, music, street sounds, etc.).
- An umbrella or raincoat.
- Vitamin supplements (available in Lhasa but are of lower quality and dosage than those found in the US).
- Plastic bags in varying sizes (zip-lock bags are useful for storage in dusty/wet environments, plastic garbage bags are useful to protect sleeping bags etc. from wet weather).
- Supply of "happy food" (favorite chocolate, trail-mix, candy etc. - good after a long day trip).
- Sleeping tents, mess-tent, kitchen equipment and other "group" camping equipment will be provided on camping trips.