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Tips For Trekking in Tibet

August,21 2018 BY Lobsang Tsering 0 COMMENTS

Tibet Trekking is not a risky affair to those who is at good physical condition. Nevertheless, to have a thorough medical checkup before you start trekking can save you from unexpected danger. Since at the remote places of Tibet, you can not get medical treatment as in hospital and the rescue and evacuation take in days, it is important to prepare necessary basic drugs and accessories as your traveling paraphernalia before trekking in Tibet.

Trekking at Mount KailashThere are a lot of trekkers to trek in Tibetan holy mountain-Mt. Kailash.

In case of serious illness, injury or high altitude sickness, prompt evacuation to Lhasa or lower attitude city to have better treatment is necessary. Tooth fillings sometimes loosen in cold temperature and at high altitudes, so it recommended to have them checked.

Fitness for Trek in Tibet

You have to be at a level of fitness that will enable you to complete a day’s walking up and down in the hill. A normal trekker can endure 5-8km in one day above 3000 meters. it is quite a taxing job to do while you are in mountain area of Tibet with an average altitude at 3800m-4200m. you need to do some physical exercise at your home at least one month before you enter Tibet, the best sport for preparing trekking is cycling, swimming, jogging.

The best preparation for trekking is cycling, swimming, jogging and long walks involving up and down in the hill. A Good physical conditioning will help complete the 4-5 days trek in high mountain area and maximally enjoy the trekking.

Altitude Sickness

We considered the Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is the most important medical problems while trekking in Tibet. Altitude sickness means the effect of altitude on those who ascend too rapidly to elevation above 3000 meters. The initial symptoms of AMS are as follows:

·Lose of appetite
·Nausea, Vomiting
·Dizziness, Light headiness, Confusion, Disorientation
·Persistent Headache
·Weakness, Fatigue, Lassitude, Heavy legs
·Breathlessness and breathing irregularity
·Slight swelling of hand and face
·Reduced urine output

Please consider to stop ascending if any of the above symptoms appears, otherwise the more serious problems may occur that can even cause death sometimes within just a few hours. The only remedy for the Altitude Sickness is to walk to a lower altitude. As the experience of most trekker, ascending no more than 300-500m per day above 3000 meters and having plenty of rest during trekking are the best methods for prevention of AMS.

Tibet Trekking Preparation

Before starting a trek, we have to plan and prepare things we need for trekking. The trekking travel agency has enough qualified equipment like tents, sleeping bags, mattress provided, and can help us arrange all the things we need for trekking.

We take a well equipped trek in Tibet for example: it includes yak or horse porters, trekking guide, cookware, canned gas, food, water, tents, mattress, sleeping bags, small bottles of Oxygen, the transport to and from trekking starting place, the flight and train tickets arrangement, the permission, insurance, the hotel booking in the base city, and so on.

Tibet Travel Permit

Foreign travelers must apply for Tibet Travel Permit before travelling to Tibet. Visiting some closed areas like Mt. Kailashi, or Mt. Everest requires additional permits, which need to be approved by several Government departments. Usually your Travel agency can help you apply for relative permit.

Porter Service

To hire a porter with few yaks and horses is very important because the trek always last for 4-5 days, besides your traveling paraphernalia like clothing, camera, drug, and sleeping bag, you have to carry 10-15kg supplies for 4-5 days consumption.

Tibet Yak Porter To hire a porter with few yaks during trekking could help tourists a lot.

Most of trekker can not complete the trek without the help of horse and yaks, the trekkers should be aware that the trek is in high mountain area and we could not take the heavy backpack for so long.

Cost and Travel Agency

The cost of an all inclusive trek ranges from about USD 120-200 per person per day depending on the region of the trekking, the quality of service, number of days and number of persons in the package. The all inclusive trekking provided by travel agency cost more dollars than backpacking but it guarantees comfort and security, especially for trekking at high altitude mountain area, the possibility of facing danger is much higher than trekking in low altitude place, to use the full inclusive service are quite necessary.

Actually the individual backpacking is quite limited in Tibet. To travel with well trained and experienced guide is helpful in the remote wilderness and is enjoyable to talk to on the trail. It is strongly advised not to employ freelance guides or use travel agency which has not enough experience of organizing trekking tour.

Clothing for Tibet Trekking

·Lightweight walking boots or hiking shoes, if you plan to buy a new one, please ware it for some days at home to avoid blisters. Also bring spare laces and cotton shoe-pads. The women’s sanitary pad is a very good material to put into your shoes to take the sweat away.
·A pair of normal walking shoes. You can wear them in the camp at night.
·Warm jacket. Fiberfill or down should be adequate. If you trek in April, May, late September or October, the down jacket is a must. Sometimes the temperature at night is Zero or even before Zero. November to next March is winter, it is too cold and not suitable for Trekking.
·A rain-proof jacket with hood or a poncho. Get the one that is guaranteed waterproof. Don’t forget to prepare a rainproof bag for your backpack as well.
·Woolen shirts and thick sweaters.
·A pair of light weight trousers, the loose cotton pants are best. jeans are unsuitable to wear on treks. Windproof/waterproof trousers are necessary on all treks.
·Wear warm trousers in the morning and at night.
·Thermal underwear: these are excellent to sleep in at night. In the winter month thermal underwear are quite invaluable.
·2-3 cotton t-shirts, and it is better to have one long sleeved-Shirt for avoiding sun burn.
·1-2 towels, use it to remove the sweat on your back and head.
·Wear a woolen hat in the morning and at night. During winter it is an essential item. A sun hat and ensure it has a wide brim to cover the face and neck.
·A pair of gloves.
·Several pairs of thin and thick woolen socks.
·Cotton underwear.


·Duffel bag to carry to gear while trekking.
·Day pack: this is a small rucksack to carry personal requirement for the day e.g., toilet items, camera film, towel, soap, a boat etc.
·Water bottle.
·Sunglasses and snow glasses.
·2-4 large plastic bags to separate clean clothes from dirty ones. 6-10 smaller plastic bags to dispose garbage.
·Wallet and/or money belt with compartment for coins.
·Toiletries with large and smaller towels. Toilet paper can be bought in Lhasa and some villages in the mountains.
·Small headlamp or torch with spare batteries and bulbs, a box of matches or lighter to light the fire while cooking or burn the garbage.
·Snow gaiters is essential in April, May and October, December at the beginning and the end of the winter, the snow on the mountain somewhere is deep to your knee.
·A sewing box with needle and thread can help you sew something.
·Camera, enough batteries(the batteries runs fast in low temperature.), note book pen, a pocket knife, an inflatable sleeping mat, trekking map, GPS, etc are optional if you want to take them.

Trekking TentTrekkers could bring or rent tents for camping during trekking.

Advice on Food and Water

On route of some famous trekking route, like Ganden to Samye trek, the water can be found in camp place or on half way. The water comes from the ice mountain so it is clean, but it is better to boil the water before you drink. The fresh food must be cooked as well.

Do eat or drink some unusual food like fresh yak milk before cooked them. If you follow these simple rules, you should not experience any severe stomach problems or diarrhea. By the way, the drug made in China is safe and qualified, but it is better to buy them in big drug shop in Lhasa.

We will prepare enough food for trekking, cause it is too difficult to boil water at high elevation, the instant and easy cooked food will be the standard during your trekking. The tour guide will help you to cook instead of cooking for you. The meals in the wild are usually quite simple, such as bread, milk, dry beef, fruit, vegetable, canned beef or pork, as well as special cake made by corn.

You can make a simple meal with the out-door cooker. A well prepared lunch or dinner can be obtained if you pay money to take a professional cook with you. A trekking cook is available who can make perfect western food. If it is over 5 person in your group, you'd better to hire a cook for delicious meals after your long distance trekking.

Lobsang Tsering

About the Author - Lobsang Tsering

I am a tour guide in Tibet an was Born in Kham Tibet, I am the father of 2 little girls, bachelor's degree. I have more than 7-years experience of being a tour guide in Tibet. I am a warm, friendly, knowledgeable and attractive guy.

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