TRAVELLING TO THE TOP OF THE WORLD: Here’s What to Pack! (Latest & Ultimate Version)
So you’ve booked your journey to Tibet, the China visa and travel permit is on schedule and you’ve found a professional local tour operator. The next step is knowing exactly what to pack. First things first, don’t panic. Unless you’re heading out of the capital Lhasa, it won’t be too much of a stretch to pack efficiently for the roof top of the world!
Paying a visit to Tibet in winter
Obviously, everyone wants to make sure they pack the right clothes when they travel and more often than not, it can be a bit of a gamble. In Tibet, the days are usually clear and crisp. Under the strong rays of the sun, at the highest point in the world, the sunlight packs a mean punch. Don’t be fooled though, because at night the temperatures can drop drastically. This may not be music to your ears because essentially you need to pack for both warm and cool weather.
Sneakers or good hiking boots will be a must, with lots of walking required and some steep mountain sides to climb.
This obviously depends on the time of year you go but during summer it can be 30 degrees celsius during the day, falling to as low as ten at night! The best time to go Tibet, weather-wise is between May and September but this means it’s also peak travel time and prices are at their highest. October to November is getting a little cooler but prices can be discounted by up to as much as 50 per cent, so it’s worth considering this shoulder season.
My advice is to layer up. Pack pants of some description with lighter tops (even sleeveless) for during the day and some long sleeve tops and a coat at night. A light rain coat could also come in handy during the summer wet season. If you are travelling outside of Lhasa it’s bound to be a lot cooler and you’ll need thick coats and comfortable boots. In northern Tibet the highest temperature is 4 or 5 degrees. At Everest Base Camp you’ll need extra warm clothing for camping in very cold, dry conditions.
It is also important to be aware that Tibetans dress relatively conservatively, therefore try to dress appropriately. During your Tibet trip you will also visit a number of Buddhist temples so it’s considerate to cover your shoulders and remove your hat.
FOOD and DRINK
It can be hard to come by what is possibly normal food and drink to you, on some of your expeditions, so be sure to take drinks/bottled water and snacks out with you for the day. If you like a morning coffee, BYO! Drinking water from a tap is not recommended at all in Tibet but sometimes no matter how careful you are, you can still get an upset tummy.
Foods and drinks for Tibet tour
Getting medications in Tibet is possible but given the language barrier and probable lack of area knowledge, I would suggest bringing a broad spectrum antibiotic like Ciprofloxacin that works well against bacterial pathogens responsible for respiratory, urinary tract, gastrointestinal, and abdominal infections.
First aid kit for visiting Tibet
Take the usual Panadol/Tylenol for headaches, cold and flu tablets and Lomital or equivalent for traveller’s diarrhoea, as well as medicine for stings and insect bites. If you suffer from coughs or asthma, be sure to pack enough inhalers. Ladies, don’t forget to pack tampons because most women in Tibet use pads only.
You can also get altitude tablets from your doctor which may help with sickness. These are called Diamox and are to be started before you arrive in Tibet. Most of all remember to rest on arrival and refrain from alcohol. Check with your doctor to make sure you are up to date with all the necessary vaccinations for Tibet.
It’s always handy to have tissues and toilet paper at the ready because many public toilets will be devoid of such luxuries. Hand sanitiser is also important to have, in the event there is no soap. Hotels in some areas are very simple, without towels, soap etc. You need to bring your own items such as a cup, a small towel, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and slippers.
You'd better bring your own toiletries to Tibet.
Bring plenty of moisturiser and a good lip balm because it’s likely your skin won’t be used to such a harsh climate. The sun is strong and the wind is sharp so your skin can become easily dehydrated and extremely dry. At least SPF 30 Sunscreen is also a must, to avoid sunburn, along with good sunglasses and a hat!
ATM’s are not common so be sure to have the appropriate amount of cash as well as credit cards, which are often used in the bigger hotels.
If you travel outside of Lhasa to more remote areas, it’s vital to have trekking equipment like sleeping bags, mats, cookware, water filters, tents, first aid kits, etc. Depending on your Tibet trekking tour, this may be provided for you. Check first what is required.
A cozy tent plays an important part in Tibet trekking.
Many hotels/hostels will have oxygen tanks/bottles on hand or that you can purchase, but some may not. Hospitals also sell these. It’s good to have some on standby or know where to get it.
Portable oxygen bottles in Tibet trip
Tibet’s electrical current is 220v, AC 50 Hz. There are a number of different plug sockets (either two pin or three pin) in Tibet, so take an adaptor with you. In case of a power cut, which isn’t out of the question, a small torch is always handy.
Electrical adapter for Tibet journey
In a place as photogenic as Tibet, a good camera is essential. Don’t forget your memory card, spare batteries and/or a charger and a backup camera! This is one place you don’t want to be without one. Binoculars are also great to have in such a stunning location.
Gears for Tibet photography tour
Of course, your passport, China visa and travel permit are your number one essentials! There you have it… you’re ready for Tibet.
Tibet travel permit, the entry pass for Tibet
Don’t forget your sense of adventure! Tibet is the trip of a lifetime and you will create some amazing and lasting memories in this fascinating place at the very top of the world!