Tibet Travel FAQ
What to Expect
The Tibetan Plateau has been opened to foreign visitors since 1980. Due to the difficult transportation conditions, this vast area has poorly developed tourist infrastructure, as well as other supplies. However, it is the untouched quality that adds charm and mystery to this Himalayan Kingdom.
Our tours have included the most attractive and spectacular monasteries, scenic sites. We work hard to minimize the hassle and uncertainty of traveling to such an area. Every tour offers fantastic perspectives of the vast land of the Tibetan Plateau and see the amazing ecological contrasts.
Our tour itineraries are made to satiate your travel appetite as we aim to include as many experiences as possible from photography opportunities to cultural sightseeing. Most of the activities let us interact with the minority tribes in Tibet, including the Miao and Bai people of China.
What is involved in the Trekking Tours and how are they organized?
Treks are camping based where you are fully supported and accommodated in tents. A full support crew provides you with toilet facilities and all meals. Tibetan Trekking will have on hand all of the things you will need on your trek. We provide you with extensive advice on the equipment to take with you and what to expect. The support team is fun and there is generally a couple of nights where you can experience the local songs and dances in Nepal, when porters and the crew are in the mood.
Trekking grades are indicated for each trekking tour to assist travelers in selecting appropriate treks for their level of adventure and fitness. They are as follows: Easy, Moderate, Moderate to Strenuous, Strenuous, and Very Strenuous.
A trek with an easy grade is suitable for all levels of fitness and age groups. It’s ideal for couples traveling with children. The trails will be easy without excessive long hills or steep gradients. An easy trek is normally at lower altitudes and in milder weather so less equipment is used. These treks are normally within easy access of roads and main towns in case of an emergency. On an easy trek a day walking is rarely more than 5 hours. Easy treks are normally short lasting from one to five days.
A moderate trek will include longer climbing and greater distances covered during the day. The trails may include steep rocky stair cases or scrambling through closed forests. These treks require a basic level of fitness and can also be suitable for families with children of an older age.
Moderate to Strenuous trek:
A moderate to strenuous trek requires a medium level of fitness. During these treks you will be required to walk up to 6 hours or more in one day. The trails will not always be clear and may at times be narrow and steep. You will at times be high in altitude so you should prepare for colder conditions and occasional snow. Moderate to strenuous treks are normally in well facilitated areas but at times you should be prepare for minimal facilities and amenities, especially if it is a camping trek. Also, you will be more isolated from major roads and towns.
A strenuous trek requires a high level of fitness and some basic mountain trekking experience will be of benefit to you. You should expect the trails to be steep and narrow in some areas. It may involve scrambling over rocks or through tree roots. It will involve extended periods of up and down hill trekking. A strenuous graded trek usually means you will be trekking up to higher altitudes so you should be prepared for walking in snow and extreme weather conditions. On some days you may be required to walk extended periods of time due to the remoteness of villages and suitable camping sites. Amenities and facilities will be less and you will be further away from main roads and towns.
Tibet has an average altitude of about 4,000 meters. Therefore, it is important to take precautions before arriving in Tibet as well as on the rest of their trip. When entering the Tibetan Plateau, participants may feel altitude symptoms including headaches, nausea, and lack of appetite. This may last for a few hours to a couple of days depending on the individual.
Please keep in mind the following tipsc:
- Drink plenty of water.
- You may lose your appetite, but force yourself to eat as much as you can.
- Symptoms should disappear or weaken within a couple days. If they get worse quickly, or do not go away, tell your guide.
- Diamox (Acetazolamide) has been found to help alleviate symptoms, but participants should consult their physician before using this medication.
If necessary, there are good altitude sickness hospitals in Lhasa that provide treatment services, which is often rarely needed.
We aim to assist you as much as possible during the trek. If you have a special interest in a region or activity please contact us and we can guide you to the right tour option. We are accepting of customized tours can make arrangements according to your departure schedule, interests, budget, among other factors. You are welcome to contact us to discuss the best options for you.
It is no joke that Tibetan travel is an adventure, including the tourist facilities, but it is because of the uninhibited landscape that the experience is so rich and unique. Accommodations in Lhasa, Shigartse and Tsetang have improved a lot over the years, and are adequate for most people. Many of the other hotels throughout Tibet, though, are poorly kept, of which most have bathrooms but do not have hot and cold water working at the same time. Electricity can be limited to certain hours of the day or night. Central heating outside of Lhasa is also not available, so be prepared to wear a coat throughout the day in the cold season.
Catering has been well developed in the past few years in central Tibet, as well as in the eastern tibet of Kham and Amdo. Once there was no ‘cuisine’ in Tibet, but now there is. There are now restaurants throughout Tibet, both central and in the remote regions. These restaurants offer local cuisine styles but ‘Sichuan Cuisine’ is the most popular and is delicious. There is also one of the ‘4 Great Cuisines of Chinese,’ in central towns including, Lhasa, Shigartse, Tsetang, Kangding, Xining, etc. Delicious local food is available and can be supplied in most of Tibet however Western food is still difficult to find except for in central towns like Lhasa and Xining.
Roads can sometimes be blocked by landslides or washed out during the monsoon season. Bring hiking boots for rough terrain, luggage that can get beaten up and wet without breaking open or leaking. In some rare cases travelers may need to hike several kilometers along the road near Zhangmu, because landslide occurs almost every year in the summer. Porters will carry your luggage during the hike for a modest additional charge.
Our guides are all kind and well trained. If you happen to know any of them from a previous trip, you can choose your guide beforehand. The Tibetan Plateau is an unpredictable land and we use every tour experience to improve our services.
How to Tip
When traveling in tibet one of the most asked question is how to tip?
“Tips” were not approved in China before 1992 since it is quite common to see a sign of “No Tip” at reception, hotel rooms, among other places then. Since the opening of China and the exchange with foreign countries have increased tips have slowly become a custom for those that provide good services to customers.
It is good to tip a hotel porter 30–50 RMB when your baggages are carried to your room. A high quality guide and a driver are both vital in helping you enjoy your trip in Tibet, so a 100-150 RMB per day tip is good for a guide, and a 70–100 RMB per day tip is good for the driver.