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Some questions about travel to Tibet

1. When is the best time to go to Tibet?

2. What should I bring when traveling to Tibet?

3. What is the best way to visit Tibet? Join a pre-packaged tour or do-it-yourself?

4. What currencies can be used in Tibet? Can I use credit card and ATM cards?

5. How can I get a Tibet permit?

6. What do I need to submit when applying for a Tibet Travel Permit?

7. How do I get to Lhasa from Bangkok or other international cities?

8. Is it safe to travel in winter time, especially from Tibet to Kathmandu (my port of exit)?

9. Is it safe in Tibet?

10. What medicines should I bring during the visit to Tibet?

11. I have a cold, but my trip to Lhasa starts tomorrow. Can I join the trip as scheduled?

12. What could I do to avoid mountain sickness?

13. Can we take our kids to Tibet?

14. What are the do's and don'ts when visiting religious sites in Tibet?

15. Can I wear my contact lens in Tibet?


 

1. When is the best time to go to Tibet?

Answer: It is recommended that one should visit Tibet around May to July, and September to October. Lhasa, Tsetang and Shigatse are suitable for sightseeing tours all-year round. The harsh climate makes it unsuitable to visit the Everest Base Camp area from October to April. During winter, roads might be blocked by heavy snow in east Tibet and Ngari. While in August, heavy rainfall makes travel in those areas very difficult.

2. What should I bring when traveling to Tibet?

Answer: Besides the detailed information given on what to pack, we suggest you bring some fresh fruit for your consumption as upon arrival, you might lose your appetite and this might be the only food you would like to eat.

3. What is the best way to visit Tibet? Join a pre-packaged tour or do-it-yourself?

Answer: Independent travel is prohibited in Tibet. To travel in Tibet you have to join an organized group or have a private tour arranged by a travel agency.

4. What currencies can be used in Tibet? Can I use credit card and ATM cards?

Answer: Besides Chinese Yuan, only US dollars can be accepted. Also shops that accept American currency are very limited and you might not be able to get a good deal for an exchange rate. Credit cards can only be used at some hotels. The Bank of China also accepts credit cards. ATM is not widely available. Exchanging your money to Chinese currency will be the best option for you, which can be done at the Bank of China.

5. How can I get a Tibet permit?

Answer: You can not visit Tibet without the Tibet Travel Permit. The travel agency will arrange for the Tibet Travel Permit. The travel permit is checked and issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) and is usually issued two weeks prior to your entry to Tibet.

6. What do I need to submit when applying for a Tibet Travel Permit?

Answer: You must provide us some of your pertinent information and documents prior to your applications for a permit. You must give us your name (as appears on your passport), nationality, age, sex, occupation passport number as well as the photocopies of your passport and visa.

7. How do I get to Lhasa from Bangkok or other international cities?

Answer: At present there is no flight operating between foreign cities and Lhasa other than Kathmandu. People need to go to a certain city in mainland China, like Chengdu, Beijing and Guangzhou or go to Kathmandu to take a flight to Lhasa.

8. Is it safe to travel in winter time, especially from Tibet to Kathmandu (my port of exit)?

Answer: The Chinese-Nepal Highway is often blocked by heavy snow during winter. Therefore, it is not safe to travel along this route.

9. Is it safe in Tibet?

Answer: Generally, it is quite safe in Tibet. Almost all Tibetans are devout Buddhists who believe good deeds will accumulate merit in their next lives; crimes are rare.

10. What medicines should I bring during the visit to Tibet?

Answer: Medicine is a must for travelers to Tibet. We suggest that you take some pain-killing pills with you and enough medicine for cold, diarrhea, nausea and fever. Some nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills will greatly be of help for those who are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions. Please consult your doctor prior to your travel to Tibet.

11. I have a cold, but my trip to Lhasa starts tomorrow. Can I join the trip as scheduled?

Answer: We suggest that you postpone your trip and not take such a risk. People with respiratory problems will have great difficulties to recover from cold. The chilly weather might cause pulmonary edema or even death. People who are suffering from colds, heart/cardiac illnesses, severe respiratory problems, hypertension, liver or kidney problems, anemia and other serious health problems are advised not to travel to Tibetan plateaus. The traveler suffering from such illness might have a hard time to adapt to the Tibetan environment which might worsen their illness.

12. What could I do to avoid mountain sickness?

Answer: Before your visit to Tibet, seek advice from people who have similar experiences. The most important thing is that you should never be nervous or worried about your trip. Regard the trip to Tibet like a trip to any other cities. It will help to be optimistic. If you have respiratory problems, we advise you to postpone your trip till you are fully recovered.

A thorough physical examination is necessary if you have problems like anemia or hypertension, or suffer from heart problems and other illness of lungs, liver or kidney, you should not go to Tibet. You need to bring enough water or drinks and fruits. Snacks with high caloric content, like chocolate, will come in handy.

Rest right after your arrival in Tibet. You should not do anything strenuous on the first day. Brisk walking and running are not advised. We suggest that you stop smoking or drinking alcohol. Do not eat too much at dinner. It quite often happens that people feel short of breath. If it is not serious, please do not rely on oxygen equipment all the time so that you can acclimate yourself to the high altitude as early as possible. Do not take showers or bathes too frequently especially on your first night in Tibet. This will help you avoid catching severe colds. If you feel chilly or feel very uncomfortable, you need to tell your guide about this. You guide could send you to the best hospital available in the area.

13. Can we take our kids to Tibet?

Answer: Age has nothing to do with the occurrence of mountain sickness. Anxiety is the common cause of mountain sickness. You may get more information on avoiding mountain sickness. Always remember that if you have any problems or feel uncomfortable, you need to tell the guide about this immediately.

14. What are the do's and don'ts when visiting religious sites in Tibet?

Answer: All Tibetan are religious Buddhists, and respect for their beliefs is very important. Here are some tips for your reference. Your guide in Tibet will give you more information:

1) You need to walk clockwise in or outside of religious facilities, like temples, monasteries, pagodas, and mani stones.

2) You are not allowed to touch Buddhist statues, sutras or take pictures of them inside temples or monasteries. Smoking is strictly prohibited.

3) Prayer wheel can not be rotated contrarily.

4) You cannot step on the threshold of any tent, house, temple or monastery.

5) Do not teach the head of anyone.

6) Eating meat is strictly prohibited.

15. Can I wear my contact lens in Tibet?

Answer: Wearing contact lens might make you very uncomfortable because of Tibet climate is usually dry and sandy.

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