Tibet Travel in One Adventure
Go to Tibet for an adventure and not for luxury
Tibet is the land of overwhelmingly beautiful landscapes, rich culture, ancient religion, amazing myths and gorgeous mountains. Renowned as the last Shangri La in the world, Tibet is isolated by the high Himalayas and is one of the least developed parts of the world. Facilities are being upgraded and professionalism is still underway. So travelers are warned that they should not expect a luxury and a full fledge professionalism in Tibet. Its extreme remoteness, harsh weather and difficult geography makes the journey ever challenging.
Only Cities like Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse have hotels with private toilet, hot shower and some modern amenities. Lhasa Hotel (Formerly Holiday Inn) is the only 4 star properties in Lhasa. Other hotels that we use are Shambhala Hotel (3 star) and Xionbala Hotel (3 star). We use Gyantse Hotel (3 star) in Gyantse and Shigatse Hotel (3 star) in Shigatse. Electricity and hot water supply may be disrupted although the hotels of cities promise them. Hot water availability in some hotels may only be for a few hours of the day. You will have to check out that at the reception.
Guesthouse accommodation and dormitories with very basic facility are available in the rest of the part of Tibet. In such places, you will not expect private toilet, hot shower, TV or any other amenities. In Mount Kailash and Trekking region, we have to set the tented camps. You will adjust in a two-person tent, furnished with mattresses and pillows. Besides, there will be a dinning tent, a kitchen tent and a few toilet tents installed.
Depending on the group size, route and the road condition, we use good conditioned 4WD land cruiser jeeps of 4500 or 80 models, Toyota Hiace Microbus and Toyota Coasters for transportation. Mountain Biking trip, Western Tibet and trekking trips have to be supported by trucks for the supplies and gears. Because of remoteness and difficult road conditions, mechanical problem with the vehicles can come up from time to time. In such case, we request you for your patience and co-operation. You can keep yourselves busy in photography or playing cards or engage in some other kind of fun while the drivers fix the vehicles. In an event of landslides or road blockade by any reason and service of porters are required to carry your luggage or hire another means of transport between the two landslides or for onward journey, your cooperation is very important.
Tibetan guides are reported to have limited English and you may not expect a fluent explanation about culture and religion or any other academic topics from them. They find their job well done in dealing with the bureaucracies and clearing with the checkpoints. However, we try out best to assign trained and knowledgeable guides, certified by Tourism Authority of Tibet. We distinguish ourselves from other companies in that because we choose the best guides: knowledgeable, flexible and the ones who are proud and passionate about the job. On a big size group tour, Nepalese tour leader will accompany the group from Kathmandu who will make sure that everything is handled carefully.
Food in Central Tibet, the trip includes daily breakfast in the hotels. While trekking and in Mount Kailash trip, there will be a team of Nepalese and Tibetan crews to prepare 3 meals a day for you. Most of the supplies come from Nepal and some vegetables are purchased locally. The cook changes the menu every day, from Nepali to Tibetan to Continental with whatever possible from the limited supplies that they bring from Nepal. The major cities like Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, Tsetang and Zhangmu have choices of restaurants serving Continental, Chinese and Tibetan dishes. Besides, you may want to bring energy bars, dry foods like chocolates, cookies, dry fruits etc with you to munch on the way.
Photography at the airport, bridge and government establishment is not allowed. On violation of this rule, it's not only the penalty that you will pay but you will lose the film also. Inside the monastery, you can take pictures with permission only from the Lamas or monks or look for the signs around and you may have to pay 10 to 20 RMB in each chapels/chambers.
Many areas of Tibet are without communication facilities, including telephone and postal services. In Western Tibet, there is no telephone facility after Saga, the small city near the famous Brahamaputra River. In case of an emergency, please ask your family and friends to contact staff/staffs at our Kathmandu office who will provide information and respond to their needs accordingly.
Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
Travelers to Tibet are reported to exhibit mild symptoms of altitude sickness. Complaints of headache, breathlessness, fever, loss of appetite, unrest, stomach disorder etc can come up before acclimatization. So, proper acclimatization is very much important before you head on trekking trips to a higher elevation. If you choose to take flight into Lhasa, you will stay for minimum 3 nights there to get properly acclimatized. When you drive in to Central Tibet via Zhangmu, you will gain the altitude gradually. You will drive over the passes of 5,000m or more but you will be descending to a lower elevation for the overnight stay that minimizes the chances of getting altitude sickness. If you are heading to Western Tibet, you will halt two nights in Nyalam and you will get properly acclimatized. Travelers with heart, lungs and blood diseases should consult with their doctors. Consumption of enough liquid food (not liquor!) and enough rest is indispensable if you feel some symptoms. If the symptoms persist, you will have to descend as low as possible. No smoking, no alcohol, no love making in higher altitudes! Diamox is believed to be a help against the sickness. Our kitchen crews prescribe “Garlic Soup" to cure the AMS and it is quite remediable. Other medical kits necessary are - Band Aids or plasters, thermometer, scissors, multivitamins, antibiotics and antiseptics, water-sterilization tablets, chap sticks, pills against diarrhea, pain killers, antihistamine etc.
Clothing and important articles recommended
Since the weather is cold, harsh and dry, here, you have the list of clothing recommended to bring along. Tracksuits, woolen shirts, pullovers, high-neck sweaters, wind and rain proof jackets with hoods, loose fitting pants, trousers, muffler, woolen hats (Balaclava), woolen socks, thermal under garments, shawl, slippers, hiking boots, sport shoes etc. Alarm Clock, flashlight and batteries, Swiss Army knife, reading materials, cameras with extra batteries, notebook and pens, water bottle, sunglasses, sunscreen lotion, lip guard, sewing kit, pollution mask, and similar items are other important needs.
Tibet Books, Audio, Video & more
To enhance your travel experience in Tibet; to learn more, prepare better and enjoy the country better as a whole, you have to be well informed. At High Asia, we do provide you with tons of information, but even then, we could not tell you enough. Therefore we encourage people going to Tibet to read as many books as possible before the trip to get a realistic idea of the country.