FAQs

With many years' experience of organizing tours in Tibet, we have come across lots of questions that are frequently asked by our esteemed customers. Here we have collected the most important questions, as well as precise and comprehensive answers, to ensure our customers get the right information without spending their precious time sending emails for every single question. All the questions and answers have been well selected, according to their importance, and are updated from time to time. We are pretty sure that from these 66 questions and answers, you will find answers for all questions that come into your mind while planning your trip. If, however, you don’t find the answer to your question, then please feel free to fill the 'Want a Quick Answer' form and we will reply you within one working day.

Tibet Travel General FAQs

1. Are independent travelers allowed in Tibet?

Independent travel has been prohibited in Tibet since 2008, so all the travelers should come part of an organized tour group or a private tour from a local Tibet based agency, because all foriegn travelers should have the Tibet travel permit to travel into Tibet, so only the local Tibet based travel agencies has the authority to obtain the related permits that issues from the Tibet Tourism Bureau and other corresponding departments.

2. Do you sell Tibet permits separately?

No travel agency in Tibet sell Tibet Travel permits separately, because it is against the local tourism policy, but when you book your tour with us we will arrange all the travel permits for your group according to the tour.

3. When is the best time to travel to Tibet?

Generally speaking, from April to October are the best time to visit Tibet, as in these months, we have a warm and beautiful sceneries. However, having a winter tour from November to February can be pleasant if you are interested to experience local activity and culture. by travel Tibet during the winter, you can avoid the tourist crowds and costs are comparatively much cheaper. Nevertheless, you can experience the mass of local pilgrims around the monasteries and temples, because winter is a best travel season for Tibetan pilgrims. Choosing the best season to travel to Tibet mainly depends on the tour you are interested in. If you are interested in Mt.Everest Tours, the best time to visit would be in May, June, the beginning of July, September and October. In these months, EBC is warmer and clear, blue skies allow you to view the mighty peak of Mt. Everest clearly. If you are interested in Mt. Kailash and far Western part of Tibetan plateau, then May, June, July and September is the best time to travel. In these months it is warm and you will have no rain during your Kailash trekking days; you will also have the opportunity to see local pilgrims doing the Kora (trek). If you are interested in experiencing Tibetan festivals, then August is the best time to travel, in which there are numbers of popular festivals both ritual and cultural celebrated in Tibet. and best time for Trekking in Tibet is from May to Sept.

4. When is the high or peak travel season?

The peak travel season is from May-September, these are the best and most popular months to visit. The rainy season starts at the end of July and lasts almost all of August; fortunately, most of the rain falls during the night and there is not much heavy rainfall in the day. Despite the rain, there are many festivals in August you can't miss if you are interest in Tibetan culture and tradition.

The tourism seasons in Tibet are defined below:

High season: June 1st to October 30th

Shoulder season: March 1st to May 30th and November

Low season: November 1st to February 30th

High season marks the best time of the year to travel in Tibet; the climate is comfortable, there are many festivals, local activities, holidays and lush green surroundings. During this period, all the hotels and airlines will be at their busiest making traveling costs higher than the rest of the year.

If you are taking a train in Tibet, you should try to avoid the first week of May (May Days Holiday), the first week in October (China National Day), and late January/early February (Chinese Spring Festival). Train Tickets during these times are heavily booked by mass Chinese tourists and you will probably have to pay an expensive surcharge to acquire the tickets or you might not even be able to get the tickets at all

5. How to get into Tibet?

There is only one international flight to Tibet, which is from Nepal (Kathmandu), but China domestic flights are available from most of the major cities in mainland China like Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Kunming, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Zhongdian(Shangrila), Xian and so on.
If you like to take the Qinghai - Tibet train, then trains are available from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Xian, Lanzhou, Chongqing and Xining, but trains from Xian are comparatively harder to get because it is not an originating station and all trains passing through are in transition, so from Xining is comparatively the easiest and shortest train ride.

If you are interested in Overland Tours in Tibet, you will only be able to travel from Chengdu, Qinghai and Yunan from within China or from Kathmandu in Nepal. The overland drive takes longer but can add an element of adventure. When you decided your traveling dates, please check with us regarding the availability since parts of the Chengdu-Tibet and Yunnan-Tibet routes are frequently closed due to political sensitivity and landslides during the monsoon season.

6. What are the easiest gateway cities to Tibet?

Flying from mainland China is the easiest way to getting into Tibet. If you want to take the train to Tibet, Xining is the best option as the train from Xining takes only 24hrs and affords all the best scenery through the northern plateau, it also cut through the might Thangula range and snatch the highest railway in the world.

7. How can I book a Tibet tour?

In order to make it ease, we have categorized three way to book a tour based on your requirements. 1. Those who don’t enough knowledge of Tibet or not very sure what to do in Tibet, then we have Tailor-made Form that require to fill some basic information and we will customize a tour that meet your interest. 2. Those who know little about Tibet and having a rough travel plan, we have Design Your Own Tour Forms, from where you can choose different destinations and activities, then we will emend it in the best way to achieve your requirement. 3. Those who have clear Tibet travel plan can choose one of our well designed Tibet Private Package Tours and summit it to get a quote.

8. Can I have some free days in Tibet?

Currently it is not allowed to have free day exploration in Tibet and at least you should have your guide with you to explore in Tibet.

9. What currency is used in Tibet?

The Chinese RenMingBi (RMB), also called Chinese Yuan (CNY) is the currency using in Tibet. You can’t use other foreign currencies for shopping, but the Bank of China accepts credit cards and travelers checks in exchange for cash. You can also withdraw cash from ATM in Tibet and it is easy to find in bigger cities like Lhasa, Shigatse, Tsedang, Gyantse, Nyintri and so on.

10. Can I withdraw cash from the local banks in Tibet?

Credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, JCB, Master and Visa are accepted at the local, large hotels and tourist stores. You also can withdraw cash from the Bank of China ATM machines found easily in Lhasa, Shigatse and Tsedang. Sometimes, the China Constructional Bank also works with these credit cards, but a $2-4 (USD) surcharge is applied for each transaction. Obviously, there will be no ATMs or banks in rural villages, so when we visit you'll need to carry some cash with you.

11. What do I do when approached by beggars?

Religious beggars are an accepted part of society in Tibet. Giving money or food to a pilgrim is considered an act of merit. Donations of one cent to one Yuan (Chinese currency) are appropriate. But many young beggars in the street are professional beggars and you should wave them off as the locals do, Giving money to these young beggars discourages their own self-reliance.

12. What should I bring for the plateau weather?

Tibet's high altitude and clear atmosphere allow solar radiation to strike the earth with unusual intense radiation. It's very easy to get sunburnt here so bring sunscreen with a high SPF, a good quality pair of sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. Calamine lotion is great for a mild sunburn. Having a good moisturizer is also helpful as the dry air may cause your lips and the tissue in your nostrils to crack. A detailed Packing List can be found in the logistic guideline that we will send you before your trip.

13. What should I concern during my stay in Tibet?

Tibetan people are very kind and friendly, but there are some things that you should be aware of:

·         Do not take photos of anyone without their permission; always ask permission first!

·         Do not discuss sensitive topics like political matters!

·         Do not wear hats or caps when you enter a chapel!

·         Do not touch Buddha statues or ritual offerings inside of a monastery!

·         Do not kiss or hug in public places, especially in monasteries!

·         Do not step across someone’s feet, cups or cooking gears!

Tibet Visa & Permit FAQs

1. What documents do I need to visit Tibet?

To visit Tibet you should have a valid passport, a Chinese visa and Tibet Travel Permit, it is also called a Tibet Entry Permit or Tibet Visa. When you book the tour from us, we will obtain the Tibet Travel Permit for you from the Tibet Tourism Bureau, so all what you need to do is send us scan copies of your passports and Chinese visa by email and we will take care of the rest.

2. What documents do I need to send you to apply for TTP?

Once you have confirmed your tour with us, we need you to send us clear scanned copies of Passports and China Visas for every member of the group to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit. If your China Visa is not an “L” visa, then you must also provide additional documents such as student certificates, work permits, residence permits and so on.

3. How do I obtain the Tibet Travel Permit?

To obtain Tibet Travel Permits, it is necessary to make your travel arrangements through a genuine local travel agency, providing clear scanned copies of you passport and China visa. Please note that it’s impossible to board any flights or trains to Tibet without the Travel Permit. The permits themselves specify every destination and all the towns that you would visit during the tour and cannot be changed once you have arrived in Tibet; therefore, be sure to detail all possible destinations as well as the route before you decide your trip. It usually takes 3 working days for the Tibet Travel Permit to be issued. I can take 5 to 7 days if your particular tour requires the Military Permit and PSB permit.

4. What kind of trip requires the Military Permit, PSB Permit and Alien's Travel Permit?

Military and PSB Permits are only needed for those trips going through sensitive areas or a border region; these trips include the Mt. Kailash trip, Sichuan-Tibet Overland Tour, Tibet-Kashigar Overland Tour and so on. Alien's Travel Permits are necessary if you are going to Mt. Everest Base Camp, Samye Monastery (southern part of Tibet), Nyinchi (Eastern part of Tibet) and Mt. Kailash, but these can be issued from the local PSB just before you enter the region.

5. How long does the Tibet Permit application process take?

Normally, Tibet permits can be issued in 3 - 5 working days, but if your tour itinerary covers some restricted or unopened areas like Everest Base Camp, Mt. Kailash, Sichuan-Tibet highway and Yunnan-Tibet highway, it need several different permits, then it would take around 7-9 working days.

6. How and when do I receive the Tibet Permit?

Normally, we are able to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit 10-15 days before the trip’s starting date. If you are going to fly into Tibet, you should have the original permit to board the flight to Tibet, so you should provide us with details about your hotel or residence address in China (including the correct name under which the booking is made) and we will send the original permit to you by EMS which takes 24hrs to 3 days within China, we never mail it abroad as it takes longer and could be delayed or lost. If you don't have a long layover or overnight in China, you can send us your detail international flight information and we can arrange someone to deliver the permit to you at the airport.

If you take the Train to Tibet, we will send you a copy of the permit by email and you can print it and bring a copy to board the train.

7. How we can enter Tibet from Kathmandu, Nepal?

There are two main ways to get into Tibet from Nepal, either through a direct flight from Kathmandu to Tibet (normally available on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) or by an overland drive to Tibet. The overland drive poses a greater risk of getting Altitude sickness due to the extreme increase in elevation along the way.

8. What documents are needed if we enter Tibet from Nepal?

If you plan to enter Tibet from Nepal, you must get the TIBET GROUP VISA from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu despite whether or not you already have a Chinese Visa. The Tibet Group Visa is an A4 size sheet of paper, with the name, sex, nationality, passport number, date of birth and occupation of each member of your group listed. The dates of entry and exit are precisely recorded. Usually, the visa is valid only for the length of the trip you have booked but it's possible to get the visa extended for few additional days, for stays in Lhasa only. There will be two original copies of the Tibet Group Visa, one for immigration at the entry and one for the exit. We can easily help you with the Tibet Group Visa application. We also highly recommend if you enter Tibet via Nepal not to apply for an individual Chinese Visa in your country; when you arrive in Kathmandu, you will need to apply for the Group Visa to enter Tibet and the Chinese Embassy will cancel your individual Chinese Visa when you receive the Group Visa.

9. How much does the Tibet Group Visa cost?

Category

Number of Working Days to Obtain it

Cost for American Passport Holders

Cost for other Nationalities

Normal

5 days

$140.00 (USD)

$50.00 (USD)

Urgent

3 days

$155.00 (USD)

$65.00 (USD)

Top Urgent

1 day

$175.00 (USD)

$85.00 (USD)

Note: You can only apply for the Tibet Group Visa on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (three days a week). Also, the local Nepalese agencies have a service charge of $20-50 (USD) per person normally based on group size.
Above information are updated on Aug.20th, 2011.

Please click HERE to check more detail of the Tibet Group Visa and its application.

10. How do I apply for Chinese Visa?

To avoid any problems you might encounter to obtain the Chinese visa in other countries, we suggest you to obtain the Chinese Visa from the Chinese Consulate in your home country before you leave. Explore Tibet also strongly suggest you not mention your trip to Tibet on your visa application form, because Tibet is a politically sensitive area and mentioning it as a destination on your application might reject the visa. You can use your return flight tickets and hotel reservation in other cities of China to get the visa

11. Do we need a Multiple-Entry China Visa to visit Tibet middle of our China tour?

No, it is not necessary to have multiple China visas to visit Tibet. Tibet is under Chinese sovereignty and the China Visa is valid in Tibet. Example: Chengdu-Tibet-Beijing, only a single entry China Visa is required.

Tibet Train FAQs

1. What documents are needed to board a train to Tibet?

If you are taking the train to Tibet, then you will only need a copy of the Tibet Travel Permit, we will send a copy of the permit by email that you can print out and take with you on the train.

2. What types of seats are available on the train?

There are three main types of seats on the train: hard seat, hard sleeper and soft sleeper. Hard seat is just a metal seat where all passengers sit next to each other; it is rarely used by westerners, especially for long train rides. In hard sleeper, there are about 6 berths to a cabin where you will have your own bed. Soft sleeper is the most deluxe seat on the train with 4 berths in each cabin equipped with its own TV. Soft sleeper is about RMB 400 more expensive than soft sleeper. Toilets on the train are shared and are located at the end of each carriage.

3. Can I book the train tickets myself?

Yes, you can book your train tickets to and from Lhasa (Tibet), but you should know that train tickets to and from Tibet starts sell 10 days before the departure date and can only be purchased from the train ticket counter located in the departing city; you can’t book your tickets online. Buying your own train tickets is very hard and generally only possible during the low season (Nov. - March).

4. Why do I have to pay a few hundred more than actual to get a train ticket?

Train tickets to Tibet are in very high demand and are nearly impossible to acquire in the regular way. First off, there are limited trains to Tibet and most of the seats are under state control, especially in soft sleeper. There are only 48 soft berths in each train and the government occupies most of them when they are needed. Secondly, there are numerous ticket-dealing agents that sell the tickets for a higher cost; so during high season, all tickets come with a very expensive service fee.

5. What are the risks if I try to book my own train tickets during the high season?

We should always book train tickets from the ticket dealers in advance. If you would like to book your own ticket, then we wont’ book your ticket for you and you will have to get in line at the train ticket counter to purchase them. It is very common that all the train tickets are sold out before they even begin to be sold from the ticket counter. In this care, we will try to purchase the tickets for you but because of the late booking, there might be an expensive surcharge.

6. How far is the Lhasa Train Station from the city?

The Lhasa Train Station is only 15km south of Lhasa. It is separated from the main city by Lhasa River. It should only take around 20 minutes to get to the center of the city.

7. How do I receive the train tickets if I booked them with you?

f you book the train tickets with us along with the packaged tour, then we will arrange for the train tickets to be delivered to your hotel in China. You will need to send us the address of your hotel and your booking number. Usually we will make the delivery 5-10 days prior to departure.

8. When should I arrive at the train station?

For the most part, trains depart on time and you are advised to arrive at the train station 2 hours before your departure time. You will need to fill out a health record form prior to departing and there are often many people in line so it may take some time to check into the train.

9. Are meals served on the train?

Each train has a dinning car with a capacity of 40-50 seats. The dining car mainly serves Chinese cuisines, noodles, soups and some Tibetan dishes. If you don’t want to eat in the dinning car, then there is a delivery cart that will bring dishes around to each car every meal. If you need to purchase dishes, the cost will increase by RMB 20-25. For breakfast, they generally serve pickles, eggs, bread and rise porridge for RMB 10-15.

10. Is there boiled water available on the train?

There is water boiler in each car and you can get boiled water for free, but you need to bring your own mugs.

11. Can I take a shower on the train?

There are no showers on the train so you will have to wait to until you get to Lhasa.

12. Can I charge my camera or electronic devices on the train?

Yes, you can charge your electronic devices on the train. There are electric outlets in the corridors of each car, but remember the sockets and plugs used in China are A, C, and I. You can buy adapters in China.

13. Is Oxygen available on the train?

The train is well pressurized for the plateau environment, but if you get a headache when crossing the mighty Thangula Ranges (5700m), the train has two main oxygen supplying systems. The whole cabin has an oxygen-releasing outlet and there are individual oxygen pipes right over your bed. Before the train reaches the high plateau, train attendants will distribute oxygen masks that you can use by connecting them to the outlets on your bed.

14. Is taking train to Tibet reduce the risk of getting AMS by allowing me to acclimatize along the route?

It remains a question for many travelers whether taking the train to Tibet helps with Altitude sickness or not, but many experts says that taking the train doesn’t really provide that much help since the train itself is well designed and pressurized to prevent altitude sickness in its passengers. Moreover, many passengers have trouble sleeping on the train and will be very tired when they arrive in Lhasa, which will increase the risk of getting altitude sickness. The best way to prevent the Altitude sickness is to spend at least 2 days in Lhasa doing mild activities before heading to higher altitude places.

15. What is the train ticket cancellation policy?

Normally the train ticket cancellation fee costs 20% of the total ticket fee.

16. How do I pack for the train ride and what should I bring?

The train ride to Tibet from mainland China range anywhere from 24 – 50 hrs. It is not a short trip and you will need to pack properly in order to fully enjoy the train ride and scenery along the way. We suggest you pack all of your unnecessary items in a larger bag and put all necessary items in a smaller, handy bag that you can access easily. Here is a brief packing list for your smaller bag:

1.         Slippers

2.         Toiletries

3.         Mug or cup for boil water

4.         Flash light (train cabin lights go out at 10pm)

5.         Snacks and cookies

6.         Ear plugs and eye mask

Tibet Flight FAQs

1. What documents are needed to board a flight to Tibet?

If you are flying into Tibet from Mainland China, then you should have the original Tibet Travel Permit with you. We will mail the permit to your hotel in China before you fly into Tibet. If you fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa, you will need a Tibet Group Visa which we will help you obtain it.

2. How can I receive my flight tickets if I booked them with you?

We usually book e-tickets so you won’t need to get any paper tickets from us. We will send you the detailed flight information when we book your ticket and you can get the boarding pass from the airport by providing your flight information and passport.

3. When I can get discounted flight tickets?

Discounted flight tickets to Tibet are available from many different airlines during the low season, which is from November to March. It is very rare to find discounted tickets during the rest of the year, but you can always double- check with us when confirming your tour.

4. Can I fly directly to Tibet from my home country?

No, there is only one international flight to Tibet, which is from Nepal. You should fly to any city in Mainland China where you can acquire your Tibet Travel Permit and then fly to Tibet.

5. What is the China domestic flight luggage weight allowance?

Luggage type

First Class

Business Class

Economy Class

Baggage size

Carry-on baggage

5kg * 2 pieces

5kg

5kg

55cm/20cm/40cm(L/B/H)

Checked-in baggage

40kg

30kg

20kg

100cm/60cm/40cm(L/B/H)

 

The maximum carry-on baggage allowance is 5kg. First class passengers can have 2 pieces of carry-on luggage but passengers in other classes can have only one. The size may not exceed 55x20x40cm. Passengers with carry-on baggage in excess of the above limits will have to check their bags and will be charged an extra baggage fee.

The checked-in baggage allowance for all First Class passengers is 40kg; Business Class is 30kg, and Economy Class is 20kg. Passengers traveling with infants are allowed to check an additional 10kg.

Groups can combine their baggage allowances if they check their baggage on the same flight.

6. Can I fly to other parts of Tibet rather than Lhasa?

In TAR, there are five airports in different regions that include: Lhasa Gonga Airport, Chamdo Bangda Airport, Linzhi (Nyintri) Airport, Shigatse Airport and Ali Airport. Shigatse and Ali airports were opened in 2010 and only have flights available from Lhasa for the time being. Flights to Chamdo and Linzhi airports are only available from Chengdu and Lhasa, but not frequently so please check with us when you need exact information or schedules because they can change from time to time.

7. What is the flight fare for kids?

For domestic flights in China, kids from ages 2 to 12(exclude 12) cost 50% of the adult flight fare. For International flights, kids tickets cost 75% of the adult fare. Infants under 2 years cost 10% of the adult fare but are not allowed to occupy a separate seat.

8. How far is Lhasa Airport from the city?

Lhasa airport is 68km southwest of Lhasa and takes about a one and a half hour drive upstream from Lhasa River.

Health & Safety FAQs

1. What is the rates of Altitude sickness cause?

Altitude (meters above sea level)

Percentage of those Affected

3,000

40%

3,700

57.3%

3,900

63.8%

4,520

89.24% -

5,300

100%

The rates of acute altitude sickness 3,000 m, 3,700 m, 3,900 m, 4,520 m and 5,300m above sea level are 40 percent, 57.3 percent, 63.8 percent, 89.24 percent and 100 percent, according to a survey Although these values are typical, experts point out that the human body is very adaptable and has a magical capability for acclimation. As breakthroughs have been made in determining the cause of altitude sickness and in the treatment, the cure rate of the two most common forms of acute altitude sickness -- high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) -- has reached 99%. Therefore, altitude sickness is not that scary and should not be a major concern.

2. What are the causes of Acute Mountain Sickness?

Altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low air pressure (usually outdoors at high altitudes). It usually occurs around 3,000 meters above sea level. Cold temperatures, high fever and extreme fatigue can all lead to altitude sickness.

Altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low air pressure (usually outdoors at high altitudes). It usually occurs around 3,000 meters above sea level. Cold temperatures, high fever and extreme fatigue can all lead to altitude sickness.

3. What are the symptoms of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness)?

Symptoms generally associated with mild to moderate altitude illness include:

·         Difficulty sleeping

·         Dizziness or light-headedness

·         Fatigue

·         Headache

·         Loss of appetite

·         Nausea or vomiting

·         a href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003077.htm">Rapid pulse (heart rate)

·         a href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003075.htm">Shortness of breath with exertion

 

Symptoms generally associated with more severe altitude illness include:

·         Bluish discoloration of the skin (cyanosis)

·         Chest tightness or congestion

·         a href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003205.htm">Confusion

·         Cough

·         Coughing up blood

·         a href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003202.htm">Decreased consciousness or withdrawal from social interaction

·         Gray or pale complexion

·         Inability to walk in a straight line, or to walk at all

·         Shortness of breath at rest

4. Is there any way to prevent the Altitude Sickness?

To prevent the occurrence of altitude sickness, visitors should have a proper rest and avoid strenuous activities days before you go to Tibet. After getting off the plane, you should try not to carry heavy things or run and avoid outdoor activities. Nifedipinum, Nuodikang Capsules and Suoluomabao Capsules (known as Hongjingtian Capsules in Chinese) may help some people prevent the occurrence of altitude sickness when they are taken three days before arrival to a highland. Note: Acetazolamide (Diamox) is a drug used to stimulate breathing and reduce mild symptoms of mountain sickness. This drug can cause increased urination, so when taking this medication, make sure you drink plenty of fluids and do not drink alcohol; if you don’t drink enough water, it may result in serious dehydration, which can worsen AMS.

5. What kind of people should avoid traveling high altitude places?

Visitors with a severe cold, a high fever, acute or chronic pulmonary diseases, severe cardiovascular diseases, women with an advanced pregnancy and children under three years of age should avoid traveling to regions with a high altitude.

6. What do I do if I get Altitude Sickness in Tibet?

Getting adequate rest and administering oxygen can help alleviate some of the symptoms of altitude sickness. The main form of treatment for all kinds of mountain sickness is to climb down (descend) to a lower altitude as rapidly and safely as possible. Extra oxygen should be given if available. If a patient does not show any sign of improvement after 3 to 4 hours, he/she should go to a hospital for treatment.

7. What medicines should I bring for the high elevation?

It is very important to consult your doctor before you leave your home country. Useful medications include: cold and flu tablets, throat lozenges, nasal decongestants, and Aspirin. Diamox is good for the altitude sickness, but remember to ask your local doctor for instructions and suggestions. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water after you take the Diamox,to prevent serious dehydration.

8. I am very concerned about AMS(Acute Mountain Sickness); is it serious?

AMS is very common for most tourists when they first arrive on the high plateau. It can affect individuals differently based on their own health situation. Most people need 2 to 3 days to acclimatize in Lhasa; we have designed all our itineraries with this in mind. We suggest our clients drink plenty of water, especially for the first few days, and do as little physical exertion as possible upon arrival. Most people are better after a couple days of acclimatization.

Food & Lodging FAQs

1. I am a Vegetarian, will I have a problem finding meals in Tibet?

Buddhism is strongly practiced in Tibet so many Tibetans prefer to be vegetarian. You can find good vegetarian restaurants in cities like Lhasa and Shigatse. In small towns and villages, you can order vegetable noodles or dishes at local restaurants.

2. What are the meal options in Tibet?

In cities like Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, Nyintri, Tsedang and Zhangmu, you can easily find clean restaurants that serve continental, western, Indian, Nepalese, Tibetan and Chinese dishes. Chinese Cuisine and noodle restaurants can always be easily found in even some small towns during your trip.

3. What kinds of food can I find at EBC?

At EBC, there is no special restaurant and all the tent guesthouses have their own kitchen. They serve noodles, fried rice and some simple dishes to order. For breakfast, they can make pancakes and omelets. You can also get a cup of instant coffee for a higher cost.

4. What is the approximate cost of a meal in Tibet?

The cost of food is different in each region of Tibet. In the cities, it will generally cost about RMB 50-90 or USD 10-15 per day for lunch and dinner. Outside of cities or in towns along the road, it should cost about RMB 30-60 or USD 5-10 per day.

5. Will our guide show us where to eat?

Yes, all our guides are local and know the restaurants well. They will show you which places to eat and will stop at restaurant where you can find good food when driving outside of Lhasa.

6. Do we need to pay for meals for the guides and drivers?

No, you don’t need to pay our staff’s food and lodging expenses.

7. What kinds of food I can get during the trekking days?

During the trekking days, your private cook will make dishes like Chinese Cuisine, noodles, pancakes, fried rice and fruit salad. If you have any conditions, please let us know so we can prepare materials before the trek and your cook can make the appropriate dishes for you.

8. What are the hotels like in Tibet?

In recent years, due to the rapid development of the tourism industry in Tibet, the number of hotels and hostels, ranging from St. Regis to Youth hostels, has increased. The services in Tibet are still under western standards but hotel owners are trying their best to meet their customer’s needs. In major cities, there are clean hotels with some English speaking staff available but in some remote areas, like EBC, there are only guesthouses available and squat toilets are hard to find.

9. What are the differences between standard hotels and budget guesthouses?

The major differences between hotels and budget guesthouses are that hotels are generally cleaner, have better services, private bathrooms, comfortable beds and furniture and include breakfast. Some high-end hotels provide free internet access and phone calls as well, but these hotels are only available in cities like Lhasa, Shigatse, etc.

10. Do hotels have hot water for showers 24 hours a day?

You will be able to get a hot shower at most hotels from April to Oct., but some hotels may have poorer shower conditions due to a weak heating facility and water pressure. We try our best to use selected hotels that have better shower and service standards from Nov. to Mar. (almost the winter season so less tourists due to cold weather). Therefore, most of the hotels don’t have hot showers and even some guesthouses in remote villages don’t have running water.

11. What are tent guesthouses like in Tibet?

Tent guesthouses are available at EBC (Everest Base Camp). They are rectangular, black tents made of Yak wool with a few beds (2-5 beds). All beds are covered with Tibetan carpets and can be used as bench seating during the day. There are also small tables inside. In the middle, there is a Tibetan-style stove that keeps the whole tent warm by burning cow dung and wooden blocks. Solar cells are the only source of electricity and it is very hard to find a place to charge your electronic devices. At Namtso Tashi Do Peninsula, there are both tent guesthouses and cardboard guesthouses are available for your option, so far both are clean but cardboard guesthouse is recommended as it is much silent at the windy night.

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