For most people the chance to visit Tibet is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and experience. When such a situation presents itself, it’s important to plan appropriately. It would be a travesty to have such a potentially amazing trip ruined by a little bought of laziness.
Here are five very important tips for ensuring you’re going to make the most of your visit to Tibet.
Understand You Will Need Help
A big part of the excitement of internal travel for many people is all of the planning and pre-trip arrangements you have to manage. Some people can’t stand to be bothered with this, but some people absolutely love it. If you are one of the latter, your trip to Tibet is going to be different than what you are used to.
In order to have permission to travel to and within Tibet, you need a Chinese visa as well as special Tibet specific permits. You also need a licensed tour guide. There’s simply no realistic way to do this without enlisting the help of a professional.
Choose a Good Time of Year
There’s not really a wrong time to go, but if you prefer more moderate weather, you should aim for a trip between the months of April and October. This is when you get the warmest weather and the daily temperature swings, though still there, are less extreme.
Aside from the weather, you might want to consider skipping the busy season. That tends to be August and September. So, spring and early fall are the true sweet spots.
Learn Some Basic Etiquette
It’s going to take a little time to properly plan your trip. You may as well use that time to learn some of the local customs. A little effort on your part will go a long way in showing the local population you respect their culture.
For instance, understanding how to properly greet someone and knowing that it’s not OK to wear shorts will make for a much more pleasant visit. So, spend a few minutes researching the culture and spare yourself days of cultural friction.
Packing for a trip to Tibet is not like packing for a trip to Paris or Disney World. You are headed to literally the highest place on the planet.
The main idea is to try and keep what you decide to bring with you to a minimum. That doesn’t mean under pack, it just means leave excess unneeded clothing and items behind. They only thing they are going to do is weigh you down.
For example, you will need large backpack instead of a suitcase, and you’ll want to pack appropriate clothing for the weather and all of the time you’ll be spending outdoors. Plus, you should include sunscreen and altitude sickness medication.
Get Your Money in Order
When you head to Tibet, you should have your currency situation worked out beforehand. It’s not like heading to a place like Beijing where there will be a bank on every corner.
First and foremost, you will not be able to use USD or Euros. You need to change your currency into Chinese currency, which is the RMB, beforehand. They do have several banks in Lhasa ifyou really need to change some currency last minute but being prepared ahead of time will save you a big headache.
Lastly, credit cards are OK for an emergency situation, as in getting a cash advance from the Bank of China. Other than that, you won’t find much use for them.
Your future trip to Tibet is going to be like no other you have previously experienced. To make the most of it, don’t rush the process. Spend plenty of time researching the trip, requirements, and culture and plan accordingly. All of the prepetition will be worth it in the end.