Tibet Travel Logistic Guidelin
Purpose: Tibet is a unique travel destination with some special considerations.  It is highly recommended that you undertake some background reading before you travel to Tibet. The more you learn about your destination, the more rewarding your travel experience will be. While we include a recommended reading list in this Tibet travel logistic guideline, which you can refer to for in-depth information, the following is a summary of what we believe to be the most important and helpful information

When you travel into China and Tibet, it is very important to know whether you can use gmail or not? Gmail is well known free email provider for many users, but if you using gmail for work and need to access gmail frequently when you traveling in Tibet and China, then it is better to have a alternate email accounts like Yahoo or others, because Google is hardly accessible in China and gmail is can not open in mainland China as well as in  Tibet, specially if you have business or work emails through gmail, then it is important to rethink to have an another email account that you can use during your stay in Tibet and China.

If you use gmail for many years for work and there is no way to use an alternative email, then there is a solution of buying a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and set up the account on your computer or mobile.  generally the VPN charges about USD6 per month and when you have that there is no problem to access your gmail account from mainland China as well as in Tibet.

Many travelers uses Gotrusted and they provides one week free trial and then once your credit card or paypal accounts connected, then it charges the monthly cost automatically.

Responsible Tourism Initiative: Tourism has the potential to have positive and negative effects on the local environment and peoples. Making a conscious decision about how you travel can make a difference. Whether you are traveling to the Amazon rain-forest or to Mt. Everest Base Camp, taking the initiative to reduce negative impacts and help sustain local communities is the responsible thing to do. Here is how most experts characterize responsible tourism: 

How to Prepare for the Tibet Tour:
Physical Preparation: Being physically prepared for your Tibet tour is essential. We recommend you begin a regular exercise program well in advance of your Tibet tour, especially if you live at a low elevation. Include some day hikes in your regimen, working up to the maximum suggested number of hours for your intended trek. Wear the gear that you plan to take on your trip, so you know you will be comfortable in it. In particular, break in any new equipment (boots and pack, for example) before you go. Even if you do not plan to go on extended treks, regular exercise will help protect you from altitude sickness.
If you are planning to take more challenging treks, you should have a high level of physical fitness. You should be engaged in regular aerobic exercise - for example, swimming, cycling, running, or hiking while carrying a load on your back. Stamina is a key aspect - both physical and mental. Remember that altitude is a significant factor, and a slow but steady pace is the best way to endure in the mountains. 
What is Acute Mountain Sickness (Altitude Sickness): Average altitude in Tibet is 4000m. Its geological features and rich culture and tradition attracts travellers from everywhere. More and more visitors are longing to travel to the mysterious highland. Meanwhile, they are worried about altitude sickness. Experts advise that tourists to Tibet should have a better understanding of the disease in order to prevent and treat it. 
Most travelers acclimatize in Lhasa for a few days and slowly increase their altitude tolerance from there. High altitude tea and herbal pills are common antidotes against altitude sickness and are available to purchase in Lhasa. While you will also find small oxygen tanks for sale, sometimes these are not very effective, and we discourage travelers from purchasing them. You should consult a travel clinic before you leave and come prepared with your own remedies. 

Causes of Acute Mounain Sickness (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 3,000 meters above sea level. Cold, high fever and extreme fatigue all could lead to altitude sickness. 
The rates of acute altitude sickness, 3,000m, 3,700m, 3,900m and 4,520m above sea level are 40 percent, 57.3 percent, 63.8 percent, 89.24 percent and 100 percent, according to a survey. However, experts point out that human bodies are capable of adapting and acclimatising. In China, as breakthroughs have been made in the causes and treatment of altitude sickness, the cure rate of the two most common acute altitude sickness -- high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) -- have reached 99 percent. Therefore, altitude sickness is not a big threat. Altitude sickness is divided into acute and chronic altitude sickness according to the length of the time a person stays on highlands. 
Acute altitude sickness refers to the illness that happens on the spot or within the days following a person's arrival in a highland area. The symptoms include low-oxygen symptoms like ache, dizziness, palpitations, lack of strength, nausea and vomiting. 
Clinical symptoms include acute altitude reaction, acute high altitude pulmonary edema and high altitude cerebral edema. HAPE and HACE can exist simultaneously. 
Acute altitude reaction usually occurs within hours or days after a person goes to a highland above 3,000 meters above sea level from a region with a lower altitude. The symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, palpitations, shortness of breath, lack of strength and appetite, sleeping problems, peripheral edema and oliguria. The symptoms can be reduced or can disappear after a person takes a rest or receives proper treatment. 

Prevention of Acute Mounain Sickness (Altitude Sickness):
To prevent the occurrence of altitude sickness, visitors should have a proper rest and avoid strenuous activities days before you travel to Tibet. After getting off the plane, you should try not to carry heavy things or run and avoid outdoor activities. 
"The only altitude sickness prevention medication that has proven to be effective in medical tests is acetazolamide, which is commonly known as Diamox. You may want to speak to your doctor to see if he or she thinks you would be a good candidate for a Diamox prescription. 
There are many herbal medications that are used for altitude sickness prevention, such as Nifedipinum, Nuodikang Capsule and Suoluomabao Capsule (also known as Hongjingtian Capsule) and these may help some people prevent the occurrence of altitude sickness when they are taken three days before arriving at high altitude. But please note that there is not yet sufficient clinical testing results that show any medicine except Diamox is effective in preventing altitude sickness.
Visitors with a severe cold, a high fever, acute or chronic pulmonary diseases, severe cardiovascular diseases, long-pregnant women and kids under three years old should avoid traveling to high altitude regions."

Treatment of Acute Mounain Sickness (Altitude Sickness):
Proper rest and taking in oxygen can both help relieve altitude sickness. If a patient does not show any sign of improvements after three to four hours, he/she should go to a hospital for treatment.

Health Concern:
Due to the high altitude, semi-arid climate, and a plethora of very remote destinations, traveling in Tibet presents a unique set of health concerns. Malaria and odd strains of para-typhoid are of no concern here, but you should definitely take precautions to cope with the high altitude and coincident exposure to sun. We recommend you visit your doctor or health-care provider well in advance of your departure date to get the most up to date health information. Many cities have designated travel clinics that specialize in vaccinations and provide travel-related health information. Your health-care provider will prescribe the appropriate vaccines and medications depending on your health and immunization history, regions you will be visiting, and your planned activities. To ensure optimal preparation, see a health-care provider at least 4–6 weeks before your departure date. This will allow sufficient time for your vaccines to take effect by the time you leave.

Travel Insurance:
We have basic business liability insurance. However, it will be wise for you to obtain your own travel insurance from your home country that may cover trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical evacuation, and medical expenses, etc. In case of a medical emergency in remote places of Tibet, you will most likely be taken to the nearest medical facilities or airport by a car, where you can catch the next flight to a better equipped hospital in Mainland China. If your travel insurance company is not able to send you a rescue helicopter, you want to make sure that you can at least receive reimbursement for all your expenses. If you don't have any idea from where to buy your travel insurance then try World Nomads (www.worldnomads.com), one of the first choices for many of the world’s leading travel brands such as Lonely Planet and National Geographic Adventure.

Weather in Tibet:
In fact, the Tibetan climate is not as harsh as many people imagine it to be. It is suitable for travel to Tibet from April to the beginning of November, and the best time is August and September. But if you only stay in Lhasa, you can go there anytime of the year. Sun radiation is extremely strong in Tibet. The sunlight in Lhasa is so intense that the city is called Sunlight City. The thin air can neither block off nor retain heat so that the temperature extremes can be met in daytime and the same night respectively in Tibet. May, June, September and October are the tourism season in Tibet. Most annual rainfall comes in the rainy season that starts from July to August. Usually it rains at night in Lhasa, Shigatse and Chamdo area. The rainfall may block roads and make travel difficult but the scenery at the time will be the best. Summer temperatures in Tibet range from cool to warm, with average temperatures ranging from 14°-15°C. While summer is the rainy season here, the rain comes in spurts, and generally doesn’t last too long before the sun comes out. The mild weather in April through October lends itself well to trekking. You can also trek during the winter, but it can be quite cold (-1°-- 4°C), and you should only venture into the mountains if you are a very experienced mountaineer. 

Festival in Tibet:
Tibet is rich with its own ancestral Buddhist faith and culture, so they are lots of traditional and religious festivals around the country; most of the festivals are based on our Tibetan lunar calander which is totally different from the Gregorian calander. Here are most popular festivals, listed in the table with the Gregorian calender dates.
Check the latest Tibet lunar calendar and festivals here http://www.exploretibet.com/Essential-Info/Tibet-Festivals/ 

Chinese Visa:
The visa to enter China can be obtained from a Chinese consulate that has jurisdiction in your residential area. All individuals entering China must hold a passport that is valid for а least six months for a single or double entry visa and at least nine months for a multiple entry visa. There are two ways to apply for your visa: (1) you, a family member, or a friend can go directly to the consulate or (2) you may use a visa service agency. 
Tip: It is better not to list Tibet as your destination on the visa application. Just list Chengdu or Beijing, whichever is your in-bound city is as your travel destination.

Accessing Money and Making Payments in Tibet:
Accessing Money and ATM in Tibet: The currency used in Tibet is the Chinese Yuan (CNY). Money can be exchanged at airports, hotels and banks. In Tibet, the only place to change foreign currency and travelers' cheques is the Bank of China. The top end hotels in Lhasa have exchange services available and exchange rates can be lower. The sensible thing to do is to change as much money as you think you need in Lhasa or in Chengdu. There are only a few other places (such as Shigatse) to change money. If you travel to remote places, try and get your cash in small denominations. 
Several ATMs in Lhasa and Shigatse accept foreign cards. The Bank of China accepts Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, American Express and Plus. The Agricultural Bank accepts Visa, Plus and Electron. Check before trying your card as some ATMs can only be used by domestic account holders. The maximum amount you can withdraw per transaction is Y2000 with the Bank of China and Y1000 with the Agricultural Bank. Cards are sometimes destroyed by ATMs, so try to make your transaction during bank hours. Credit payments are not accepted in all places so you should not count on this option. 
Travelers cheques are safe to carry and can be exchanged the way you would exchange cash. However, Bank of China, for example, charges a 0.75% commission to cash travelers cheques. In some cases, exchange rates for travellers’ checks are a little better than cash so you will offset the fee. Cheques from the major companies such as Thomas Cook, Citibank, American Express and Bank of America are accepted.
Travelers' cheques are safe to carry and can be exchanged the way you would exchange cash. However, the Bank of China for example, charges a 0.75% commission to cash travelers cheques. In some cases, exchange rates for travellers’ checks are a little better than cash so you will off-set the fee. Cheques from the major companies such as Thomas Cook, Citibank, American Express and Bank of America are accepted. 
Travel Guidebooks:
Depending on which areas of Tibet you plan to visit, there are a few quality choices to pick from. 

Lhasa and the TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region): 
- Tibet: The Lonely Planet Country Guide
- Trekking in Tibet: A Traveler's Guide by Gary McCue
- Tibet Handbook: Moon Travel Guide
- Fodor's Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan: Expert Advice and Smart Choices: Where to Stay, Eat, and Explore On and Off the Beaten Path 
- To a Mountain in Tibet by Colin Thubron
- The Mount Kailash Trek by Constance Roos/Sian Pritchard-Jones
- Trekking Tibet by Gary McCue/George Schaller
- The Heart of the World, A Journey to the Tibet's Lost Paradise by Ian Baker
- My Journey to Lhasa by Alexandra David-Neel
Kham and Amdo regions:
- Footprints Tibet Handbook by Gyurme Dorje                                                                                
- Lonely Planet China (See Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu Provinces) 
- Bradt Guide Tibet by Michael Buckley

Tibetan Buddhism and others
- Photographic Guide to Birds of Himalayas by Bikram Grewall
- Essential Tibetan Buddhism by Robert Thurman
- Tibet, An Inner Journey by Matthieu Richard
- Tibet, An Enduring Civilization by Francoise Pommaret
- Tibetan Book of the Dead by Graham Coleman/Gyurme Dorje
- My Tibet by Galen Rowell
- It's Easier Than You Think, The Buddhist Way To Happiness by Sylvia Boorstein
- Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism by John Powers
- Buddhism, A Very Short Introduction by Damien Keown

Luggage Size & Allowances:
There are specific baggage allowances for the trans-pacific and intra-Asia flight paths, each slightly different. The US trans-pacific allowance is two pieces of checked baggage. The maximum weight/size for each piece is 50 lbs /62 inches (sum of weight, height and depth). One carry-on not exceeding 45 inches is also allowed. 
Within China and for most intra-Asia flights, travelers are allowed one piece of checked luggage weighing up to 44lbs, plus one piece of carry-on luggage per person. Baggage in excess of this amount is charged approximately $5 USD per kilo, which is collected by the airline at each airport. You should check with your airline for luggage sizes as they might be different or could have changed.

Travel Gear:
How lightweight can you pack? Depending on the length of your trip and where you go, you can get away with a minimal amount of clothing. One medium-large backpack or rolling duffle and a day pack should be just right for a 2-4 week trip. We recommend packing your bags and walking around the block with them several times. If it feels heavy, figure out what you can eliminate! 
Tibetans dress fairly conservatively, and while many Tibetan women wear long skirts, females should not feel obliged to dress up. However, shorts are not appropriate for men or women, so don’t get too comfortable. If you plan to do your own laundry, select quick-drying material, as the climate is humid and you cannot always rely on the sun to dry your clothes. 

Here are the essentials to pack: 
- Hiking Boots/Sturdy Sneakers
- Sleeping Bag and Mat 
- Rain Gear (light-weight trousers and jacket)
- Towel
- 3-5 T-Shirts
- 1 Lightweight Fleece or Wool Sweater
- 2 Pair of Nylon Travel Trousers 
- 5-7 Pair of Socks
- 3-5 Pair of Cotton Underwear
- Sunglasses
- Personal Toiletries (you may want to carry toilet paper and some zip-lock bags, as bathrooms are often primitive or non-existent) 
- Personal Medication
- Camera, Batteries and Film/Digital Memory Cards
- Adapter and Surge Protector (Tibet uses 220V/50Hrtz)
Many of you may be wondering what type of power socket is being used in Tibet.  For Class 1 appliances, a Type 1 3-pin plug and socket is being used.  In Tibet, plugs are rated as 220V/50Hrtz. 

Why is it important to bring these plugs?  For one, this age is also known as the cloud-computing era, meaning more and more people are bringing their electrical devices overseas to use and enjoy.  Whether it be a mobile phone, palm or PDA device, laptop, or other electrical device, all these use batteries and many need to be recharged.  It is very important to bring along the right pin plugs because most often, the power socket type is not the same type as in your own country. Although these plugs are just a small item, it will save you lots of time upon arrival if the right adapters are brought.

Not only will you need to bring along a power socket adaptor, it is essential that you also bring a 2-pin adaptor socket to fit nicely into either a wall socket or shave socket. This type of adaptor and socket is available at your local electrical or travel shop.
If you can’t get these items in your own country, they are most likely available at the Chinese airport and will save you a lot of time and hassle later on.  According to the travel blog, ‘Travel Feeder’, these items are essential for a smooth trip.  
Please note that if you are embarking on an extended trekking trip, you should leave room in your pack for a camp stove, water bottle, down jacket, tent, etc. If you need to borrow or rent any equipment, please let us know beforehand.  Most likely, Explore Tibet can lend you these items for the extent of the trip.  
In addition to the essential items listed above, you may also want to include the following: 
- Personal Music Player
- Journal
- Binoculars
- Wide-Brimmed Hat
- Swimming Suit (for hot springs!)
- Bandannas of Handkerchiefs
- Gloves
- Scarf
- Sunscreen- SPF 30+
- Money Belt
- Snacks- Long days on the trail or road will warrant some energy boosters (Cliff/Luna bars, trail mix, jerky and dried fruit are good options)
- Other Personal Items as Desired 

Etiquettes and Taboos in Tibet:
Food: Traditional Tibetan food is pretty basic, and stems from the staples of barley and yak products. The most common main dishes are Tsampa (roasted barley flour, yak butter and tea mixed into a dough), Momos (steamed dumplings filled with meat or vegetables), and Thugpa (a noodle stew with meat and/or vegetables). Tsampa is an acquired taste – ask your guide to show you how Tsampa is mixed with tea in a bowl. Momos are quite good, and Thugpa is great comfort food. A special treat (with a slightly acquired taste), if you are lucky enough to find fresh yogurt is superb taste, that nomads make from yak milk
You will also probably be offered Tibetan tea at some point; a salty tea made of yak butter, milk, salt and tealeaves. While Tibetans love it, it is an acquired taste for most foreigners. Tibetans are very hospitable and will serve you tea continuously. You are welcome to take a sip or two out of respect and the host will keep refilling your cup. It is also OK to ask for hot water or sweet tea if butter tea is not to your liking. 
There are just a few Tibetan restaurants specializing in local fare, and the further you go from Lhasa, the less traditional food you will find. Most restaurants in Tibet are Chinese, and serve spicy Sichuan-style fare. The food is hot and many dishes are stir-fried, eliminating most safety concerns. Most restaurants are safe to eat in, but if it looks deserted, dirty, or you just feel uncomfortable, you should probably seek another option. 
Guesthouses catering to backpackers and the occasional hostel or hip restaurant will offer a western breakfast menu of pancakes with honey and bananas, yogurt or cereal. Otherwise, most hotels will serve a Chinese-style breakfast, including steamed dumplings, eggs-boiled or scrambled with tomatoes, hot veggies, a bland form of rice pudding and tea. 
Vegetarians will have no trouble finding vegetable, noodle and tofu dishes in Chinese restaurants. While you may get tired of the same dishes over and over, you are bound to find a favorite; whether it is spicy eggplant, fried green beans or spicy tofu (watch out for tofu and meat combinations). 
Water: Tap water is not considered safe for drinking for most Westerners, but is fine for brushing your teeth with. We recommend purchasing bottled water, bringing purification tablets or boiling your own water if trekking. Note: There are no recycling facilities in Tibet, so please be mindful of your waste. You may be able to save your plastic bottles and turn them in at a convenience store, where they have a slightly better chance of being carted off to a landfill or one of the few recycling plants in China. 
Shopping Tips: The culture of bargaining is strong in Tibet. If you are planning to shop alone, be sure to bargain. The most popular place to shop in Lhasa is the Barkhor Market for Tibetan paintings, handcrafts, jewelry, and ritual objects, etc. Support the local economy by eating and shopping in local restaurants and stores. Buy handicrafts and artwork directly from the artisans when possible, but do not buy wildlife or other endangered flora and fauna products. Most of the market stalls in the Bharkor Square are Tibetan run. Many of the larger shops that sell Thankas, carpets and jewelry may not be Tibetan owned although will have some Tibetan employees. If you are hassled by street vendors, there is no need to be angry or aggressive. A firm 'No' will get the message across that you are not interested. 
Cultural Considerations: Be aware that your cultural values may differ from those of locals. These may include different concepts of time, personal space, communication, etc., which are not wrong or inferior, just different. Making the extra effort to respect local customs and cultural differences will enhance your interactions with locals during your time in Tibet and contribute to building mutual respect between locals and tourists.
Appropriate attire: Most Tibetans are pretty conservative from our western perspective so it is always polite to wear long pants at all times (guys and girls). If you wear shorts in rural villages or in the Barkhor district in Lhasa you will definitely get stranger looks than normal! Women should wear long pants or skirts. Shirts should not be revealing and bras should be worn. Unfortunately, many tourists ignore these cultural norms and can be seen in towns and villages wearing shorts and revealing summer attire; while it may be comfortable, it is not appropriate, especially when visiting monasteries. Don’t be shy to inform other tourists of the proper dress for monasteries; perhaps they are not aware of the cultural considerations and etiquette.
Taking Photographs: Most Tibetans don’t mind having their picture taken; however, it is always appropriate to ask for permission first. Some enterprising locals may ask for payment for photos. Don't always assume that giving money to ordinary people to have their picture taken is honorable (it is often not appropriate) and never take pictures of people who do not want their picture taken. Many Tibetans in rural areas have experienced Polaroid pictures so you may have to explain that your digital camera will not deliver images on the spot! If you promise to print and deliver images please follow through with your promise. Pay close attention to where you can and cannot take photos. Photography is prohibited in places such as inside some monasteries, at sky burial sites and around military bases.
Beggars: Giving money to beggars is considered as a form of generous practice and is accepted in Tibetan society. On the road you'll often see pilgrims traveling towards Lhasa or Mt Kailash. They finance their pilgrimage through alms. Giving food or money to these hardy folks is considered an act of merit. However, especially in towns, you'll find quite a few pushy monks and pilgrims who may or may not be legitimate. You'll also find opportunistic kids and some adults in popular tourist sites. Please do not give into their demands. Encouraging begging in this context is not appropriate and leads to dependency. Handing out sweets or pens to kids also leads to a very unhealthy local – tourist interaction where local kids see tourists as a source of free handouts. If you want to make a contribution, find a worthy organization such as a school or orphanage and donate money where it can be accounted for and used effectively to help those truly in need.
Visiting Monasteries: Most monasteries welcome visitors. The larger urban monasteries will be set up to receive tourists and entrance fees will likely be in place. During certain times of the year some Eastern Tibetan monasteries may not accept visitors if it is retreat time. Central Tibet has no restrictions on women entering monasteries although certain protector chapels may be off limits to women. Visiting monasteries is often one of the most fascinating experiences of travelers’ time in Tibet. When entering monasteries it is appropriate to wear modest clothing: long pants and shirts or tops that are not revealing. Always remove your hat but you may not always have to remove your shoes. Ask your guide or check with the caretaker monk. It is inappropriate to smoke in or close by a monastery. It is not common to be able to stay overnight in monasteries in Central Tibet.  However, in more remote rural places or in Eastern Tibet it is possible to stay a night. Monasteries are not hotels and monks are often going out of their way to put you up for the night. Payment may or may not be requested but it is always appropriate to leave a donation especially if food and drink was provided.
Visiting Homes: It is not unusual to be invited into someone’s home (or tent) for tea or a meal. Tibetan culture is renowned for its hospitality even in the most remote and harshest of places; in fact it can often be hard to refuse hospitality!  Families will invite you in, sit you down and ply you with butter tea. It is polite to refuse a number of times but your host will insist on drinking up. Don't be afraid to put your hand over your cup if you really don't want anymore! In remote villages you'll find kids and adults alike very curious and while theft is not common it is advisable to keep your belongings safely tucked away in your backpack. These kinds of interactions are where your guide can be invaluable and will enable you to have fascinating conversations, learning about Tibetan culture and sharing your own culture too. If you do have the opportunity to stay in a local house it is appropriate to offer a small payment for food and lodging. It is always best to establish a price before you stay to avoid any confusion. In the T.A.R. foreigners generally aren't allowed to stay in local residences but in Eastern Tibet (Kham and Amdo) you'll find wonderful homestays tastefully set up for bed and breakfast accommodations.
Communicating Home: As much as you want to get away from things like computers and enjoy your trip in Tibet, finding ways to stay in touch with family and friends back home are essential. Most cities like Lhasa and Shigatse have Internet cafes where you can send and receive emails before leaving for remote areas. You can make phone calls from public telephones (VOI) that cost as little as 10-cents per minute. If you need to be able to receive more frequent phone calls, purchasing a local SIM card for your unlocked phone (or you can buy a basic phone in China for ~ 500CNY) would be the best option. Surprisingly, cell phones have decent reception in most major towns and even in some surrounding villages of Lhasa. The Chinese cell phone companies (mainly China Telecom and China Mobile) keep installing more cell phone towers. Alternatively, you may want to send family members the phone number of your tour guide where you can receive phone calls. Remind callers of information censorship in China and be careful about what you say or send.

Code of Conduct for Responsible Tourism in Tibet
~Do’s and Don’ts for Travelers~
Tibet is a unique and special travel destination that needs your help. Ancient cultures and traditions, fragile mountain environments, rare and endangered flora and fauna are worth protecting for generations to come. As a traveler in Tibet you can make a difference and ensure that your clients have a positive impact on the places they go and the people they meet. Being a Responsible Traveler is not very hard, but it does require you to think about the way that you travel and the impact your actions have. Below is a list of ways to practice responsible tourism in Tibet:
- Buy Locally: Use a travel company that employs local guides and staff. Eat in local restaurants; buy handicrafts that are authentic and locally made. Don’t be shy to ask directly about the source of the products you purchase.
- Be openminded and aware that your cultural values may differ from locals. This may include different concepts of time, personal space and communication etc.
- Make the effort to learn about local cultural sensitivities: For example - wear full length trousers or skirts and modest tops that are not revealing. Avoid wearing shorts or short skirts and tops which bare shoulders. Point with an open palm and not your index finger. Avoid patting or touching children on the head.
- Be sensitive when taking photos: Ask permission before you photograph local people, and don’t interfere during monastic ceremonies or private activities. Don’t take photos of sky burial sites or in monasteries where photos are not allowed. Many monasteries request a fee for photography and it’s always appropriate to make a donation. 
- Minimize your waste: Carry reusable cups, plates, cutlery or chopsticks. Try to purchase produce which is not wrapped in plastic. Avoid using disposable plastic shopping bags.
- Dispose of waste appropriately: Most local villages don’t have environmentally sound trash management systems. Pack your garbage out to larger towns or cities when it can be disposed of appropriately. If there is no toilet, dig a hole at least 25cm deep and bury human waste. Burn or bury toilet paper. 
- Make the effort to learn some local language: Learning even a few words will break down cultural barriers and demonstrate your interest in local language and culture. You’ll gain respect from locals and it’s fun too! 
Tibetans are generally very easygoing and may not make it clear if you are behaving inappropriately. Here are a number of things you can easily avoid to ensure your presence is respectful and interaction with locals will have a positive long-term impact.
- Never buy products made from endangered wildlife or endangered plants.
- Don’t intrude on local people’s homes, tents, land or private activities (such as sky burials). Show respect for local’s private property and personal space. Always ask for permission before entering private property or land.
- Don’t be disrespectful at religious sites or family homes by wearing shorts or revealing clothing or kissing or touching intimately in public. Remove your hat and shoes unless instructed otherwise and don’t step over people or people’s legs - feet are considered dirty. Don’t relax by putting your feet up on tables or chairs.
- Don’t swim in holy lakes, sit on holy objects such as mani stones or walk on or step over prayer flags. 
- Don’t encourage inappropriate begging by giving large amounts of money to beggars, or sweets or pens to kids. Begging is accepted in Tibetan society and is part of Buddhist practice so subtly giving a small amount is appropriate. 
- Don’t create dependency on handouts: Encourage self-reliance, if you want to help, donate to a trustworthy non-profit organization or charity and make sure locals are involved in the decision-making processes and that they are indeed the beneficiaries of your donation.
- Don’t hand out medicines without detailed and proper explanations of usage. Often it is better to encourage the use of local medical care if available.
- Avoid perceived political discussions or activities. You may get yourself or others in trouble.
- Don’t break local laws and regulations: Remember that you are a guest in Tibet. Make sure you have the correct travel permits. Your travel agency and tour guide or host could be fined or may even lose their license if you break the law.

Being a Responsible Tour Operator will not only ensure you have a positive impact on local communities and the environment but will also enhance your travel experience. Spread the word by communicating these Responsible Traveler guidelines to locals. Set a good example of environmental awareness and positively encourage your guide, drivers and other travelers to do the same.
We are happy to be at your services and looking forward for your arrival in Tibet!


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