Lhasa Warnings and Dangers

  • Warnings and Dangers
    by blueskyjohn
  • That's me on drip for altitude sickness
    That's me on drip for altitude sickness
    by AspirantSG
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by mavl

Most Recent Warnings and Dangers in Lhasa

  • blueskyjohn's Profile Photo

    Man Hole traps!

    by blueskyjohn Updated Jun 19, 2013

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    There is a lot of construction going on around Lhasa. However it is complete chaos to the average tourist, or anyone else that has worked construction in a developed country. In Tibet, there is somewhat of a disregard for safety of others. The workers know there's no man hole cover...why should they tell anyone else?

    There are so many of these holes on sidewalks or in walking streets that locals accept them as a part of life. A total danger to the tourist looking around at the sights and not pay attention where they are stepping.

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  • AspirantSG's Profile Photo

    How to prevent Altitude Sickness when at Lhasa

    by AspirantSG Written Apr 3, 2012

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    That's me on drip for altitude sickness

    For full experience write up & photos, please visit my blog: http://www.aspirantsg.com/travel-holidays/surviving-altitude-sickness-tibet/singapore or follow me on twitter for food reviews: https://twitter.com/AspirantSG

    When you are in Tibet:
    1. Go right back to your hotel and rest immediately after your arrival. Strenuous activities such as brisk walking and running should be avoided. In fact, try to follow the local old folks and walk slower.

    2. Smoking and drinking alcohol is a no no. But the guides do tell us that you can get 'high' faster in high altitude. Test it at your risk.

    3. Keep meals light. Do remember that the air in your body and the air outside of your body might be of different pressure. Involuntary gasing may occur.

    4. It is normal to short of breath on the first few days. If it is not serious, do not use oxygen equipment so that you can acclimate to the high altitude as asap.

    5. Do not take showers frequently especially on your first night in Tibet. This will help you avoid catching severe colds. Just use a wet towel and cleanse yourself.

    6. Forget dieting and make sure you have a ready supply of sugar rich candies or chocolate bar. Take one immediately once you feel giddy.

    7. Tell your guide immediately if you feel chilly or feel uncomfortable, they are well trained to arrange for doctors to come to the hotel.

    You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations in Lhasa here: http://www.aspirantsg.com/travel-list-singapore

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    • Arts and Culture

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  • AspirantSG's Profile Photo

    Surviving Altitude Sickness at Tibet

    by AspirantSG Written Apr 3, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Miracle Chinese Herb 'Hong Jin Tian'

    For full experience write up & photos, please visit my blog: http://www.aspirantsg.com/travel-holidays/surviving-altitude-sickness-tibet/singapore or follow me on twitter for food reviews: https://twitter.com/AspirantSG

    Here's a list of reasons why one should visit Tibet at least once in their lifetime:

    The absolute thrill of setting foot on the top of the world at over 5,000m above sea level.
    One of the few places on planet earth where one get to enjoy crystal clear sky, beautiful sunshine, clean & fresh air, vast grassland and grand snow-capped peaks.

    A culturally exotic state relatively untouched by globalization where one is free to explore the richness and beauty of the culture, lifestyle and architecture of the indigenous people.

    Shoppers can indulge in the exquisite handicrafts, jewelleries, murals drawings and other souvenirs at a very favorable currency exchange rate.

    Last but not least, the beautiful landscape and architecture provides endless angles for great photography. You have to be really bad to snap a lousy photo.

    Having said that, visiting Tibet is no mere feat and I have to learn it the hard way. The high altitude which gives Tibet its unique charms also gives its visitors Acute Mountain Sickness(AMS) or commonly known as Altitude Sickness.

    AMS is common at high altitudes and its impact is dependent on the elevation, the rate of ascent and individual susceptibility. Most visitors to Tibet will suffer from headache, dizziness, lethargy, loss of appetite, nausea, breathlessness, irritability and sleeping difficulties which will generally disappear through acclimatization in several hours to several days.

    Here's what you can do to hopefully reduce the AMS impact:

    At least 1 Week before flying over:

    Being one who gives absolute trust in Western medication, I went to my company clinic to request for a prescription. The doctor recommended Acetazolamide also known as Diamox.

    The doctor emphasized that acetazolamide is not an immediate fix for acute mountain sickness; it merely speeds up part of the acclimatization process which in turn helps to relieve symptoms.

    Clinics usually do not carry it themselves as demand for it is generally low in Singapore. I have to made calls to different Guardian Pharmacy outlets before securing a week's dosage at the outlet in Citylink Mall.

    Diamox was not really useful. On hindsight, I should have gone to Chinatown and purchase pills made from a tibetian herb called Hong Jin Tian. These pills really go along way in aiding my recovery in Tibet and tour members who have taken them a week before the trip were generally fine.

    It helps to protect the heart muscle from damaged caused by lack of oxygen (less than 15% oxygen in air in Tibet) by increases the flow volume of oxygen carrying blood to the heart muscle.

    prevents hypoxia-induced biological changes by either increasing intracellular oxygen diffusion and efficiency of oxygen utilization or reducing hypoxia-induced oxidative damage with its anti-oxidative ability hence making it extremely effective for height altitude prevention.

    You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations in Lhasa here: http://www.aspirantsg.com/travel-list-singapore

    Related to:
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Religious Travel
    • Historical Travel

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  • MikeySoft's Profile Photo

    High Altitude Medical Advice for Travelers

    by MikeySoft Updated Jul 11, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tibet

    High Altitude Medical Advice for Travelers.

    The below web site has good information for traveling at high altitude.

    Everyone if different. I had very little problems with high altitude. I think I was just lucky and also drank a lot of water. A travel nurse recommended taking multiple vitamins with iron for at least 6 weeks before the trip. I don't know if it helped but I did what she recommended.

    But my friend was like an altimeter and had problems every time we went over 4,000 meters. My friend got use it over time, I think going up and down in the car as we drove to Lhasa helped. We were touring so took about 2 weeks driving up and down at altitude.

    Please rate this and my other tips when you find useful, interesting, or like the pictures.

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  • John195123's Profile Photo

    Police and Military

    by John195123 Written Aug 12, 2008

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    Keep an eye out for the military that doesn't exist. At the time of writing, July 2008, foreigners had a 9:00 pm (2100) curfew. I don't know how well it's enforced, they didn't seem to mind us out a little later, but it's something to keep in mind. There are police under umbrellas at most street corners. By police, I mean police and military dressed as police. You know, the ones Beijing said aren't there or something... hehe... anyway, keep cool with them.

    This is fun...

    Anyway, the police don't seem to care too much about foreigners, and they don't have ill or mean expressions- more like the decent, jovial people they are doing their jobs... at least until there's a problem.

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  • budapest8's Profile Photo

    Riots in Lhasa

    by budapest8 Written Mar 31, 2008
    Gansu

    Nothing like a real tragedy or crisis where people are suffering to bring
    those couch potatoes out of the woodwork and offer up second hand opinions of things they sadly do not have a clue about! Does Google and TV make us all well informed citizens now? I lived in Israel in the '70's and had Israeli and Arab
    friends, saw the conflict first hand, almost got blown up twice, after many
    trips around Asia in the '80's spent 5 years in Russia and travelled all over former Soviet Republics, saw Abkhazia in Georgia just before the war, had many Russian, Tartar, Jewish, Chechen, Ingushetia, Armenian, Georgian and Kazak friends. Then moved to Hungary in the '90's where have I have many friends from Former Yugoslavia, I have Roma neighbours in the small town where I live and
    hear a lot of anti-Semitic banter and slander. Know people who survived the Holocaust and from more recent massacres in the Balkans...
    One of my friends who is half Bolivian and half Hungarian fought in Vucovar to
    save the trapped residents as the Chetniks and Arkans, infamous Tigers were massacring them. He has a car door hanging on his wall, riddled with bullet holes and shrapnel to remind him how lucky he is to be alive! He can sit on his couch and look at it!
    I don't care if the people are Chinese or Tibetan, just want to know how things are in Lhasa? Someone who is there or was there or has friends there and heard first hand from them!
    There will always be victims and aggressors! Thanks.

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  • mim95's Profile Photo

    Using your ipod/laptop at your own risk

    by mim95 Updated Jan 14, 2008

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    There has been incidences where high-capacity ipods and other hard drive based devices such as laptops fail to work at high altitude (above 10,000 feet or 3,048 meters). Some damages are permanant and irreversible, while some have reported that their device worked again after decending to lower altitude. See the link below for examples. Having said that, I have seen travellers using their laptop in Lhasa (3650 meters) and they didn't encounter any problems. But there is no doubt that the higher elevation you are at, the more likely your device will fail to work.

    The scientific explanation has to do with the atmospheric pressures at high altitude as most disk drives are not made for usage at high altitude, unless it is specially made with a pressurized enclosure that creates a sealed space like inside an airplane cabin.

    My suggestion is bring a flash-based mp3 player such as Ipod Nano for entertainment instead, especially if you are planning to go beyond Lhasa, which mostly likely will be on even higher grounds. eg. Everest Base Camp: over 5,000 meters; Shigatse: 4,000 meters; Namtso Lake: over 4,500 meters.

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  • A Bad experience with Tibet FIT at the Kailash Hos

    by bigguyoz Written Sep 10, 2007

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    Our group was organising one of the bog standard trips from Lhasa to the Nepal border and after shopping around we chose the FIT at the Kailash Hotel (on Beijing Donglu) as not only did they have a competitive price but we found the sales guy very helpful and informative.

    We organised the itinerary, discussed lead times for permits and agreed on the next step, that we come back into the office a few days before we leave so they can copy our documents for the permits. So far all good.

    3 days before departure we all went into the office to finalise the deal but our sales guy wasn't there, so we dealt with the manager, Migmar.

    Migmar asks us how much we were quoted and when we tell him he says he cannot stand by that price - he now wants to charge 800RMB more.

    We produce the previous written quote, he bangs away on his calculator and says "no I do not make enough profit at this price".

    He did not care that we had agreed upon, and written down a price only 2 days earlier.
    He was making a profit from our business but 'not enough' to honour the agreement.
    He was very unprofessional and rude when we asked him to explain why he wont stand by his previous quote.

    Overall we ended up with a very sour taste from our dealings with Migmar and took our business to the Banok Shol where the Manager was courteous, fair and friendly.

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  • sugarpuff's Profile Photo

    Altitude Sickness

    by sugarpuff Written Aug 5, 2007

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    Altitude sickness affects everyone. There are rumours about who is most susceptible to the condition, but it's impossible to predict how a person will react until they reach Lhasa. I went with a group of people of all ages and I was the youngest. And guess what...I was the only one who got ill! I couldn't believe it! Especially as I was their guide! But, I was also the only person who hadn't taken any medicine leading up to the trip to combat the illness. Well I tell a lie...I DID take some Chinese medicine, but it apparently did not work!

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  • mim95's Profile Photo

    Beware of high altitude sickness

    by mim95 Updated Mar 15, 2007

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    Lhasa's elevation is 3650m, which is high enough to develop high altitude sickness. Most people will develop some degrees of some symptoms, which include: headaches, fatique, shortness of breath, insomnia, etc. Have lots of rest when you arrived on the first day. Drink lots of water, but NOT alcohol. Many people can be acclimatised in a few days. And you can ask your doctor about medication that can help ease the symptoms. There are also Chinese herbal remedies in capsules (Hong Jing Tian) that you can obtain at pharmacies in Chengdu, Sichuan province.

    If you do not feel well, go to the 24-hour emergency room at the People's Hospital, located about 1km north of Jokhang Temple, on Linkuo Bei Lu, #18. This is the best available hospital in Tibet, with English speaking staff. It is very important to have good health before heading farther away from Lhasa, as I mentioned in the intro page, it is very difficult to find a good hospital outside Lhasa, which can mean life and death.

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  • mavl's Profile Photo

    TOILET PAPER + MAGAZINE - PRIDE = NO PROBLEM

    by mavl Written Feb 21, 2007

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    when going around lhasa, make sure you:

    1. bring your own supply of toilet paper.
    2. bring one magazine (at least 'time magazine' size, reader's digest just won't do).
    3. leave your pride at home.

    the toilet paper is needed as most toilets/comfort rooms/loos in tibet don't have any. they usually don't have partitions and doors as well. mostly, there will be a hole in the ground.

    if you're lucky, a hand rail will be provided (pls. see photo). thing is, i guess to save on wood, only one hand rail is usually provided for two holes in the ground. users will have to do their business sitting across each other and FACE TO FACE!!!

    this is where the magazine comes in - you won't need it to catch up on the latest news, you'll need it to cover your face!!! (now you know why reader's digest just won't cut it)

    now, you also know why you'll need to leave your pride at home!

    if you find yourself in this situation, just try to take comfort in the fact that you'll probably never see that person across from you ever again - hopefully, anyway!

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  • mavl's Profile Photo

    CLIMB HIGH, SLEEP LOW

    by mavl Updated Feb 19, 2007

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    if you want to avoid symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS) during your stay in tibet even after you've followed my two previous warning/danger tips, all you need to do is follow this golden rule of high altitude trekking: "climb high, sleep low."

    this simply means that you should spend the night at elevations lower than the highest elevation you reached while going around that day, significantly lower if possible. this way, your body won't be struggling to adjust anymore during your rest and sleep hours.

    follow this rule and you won't have any problems!

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  • mavl's Profile Photo

    ACCLIMATIZE BEFORE HEADING OUT

    by mavl Written Feb 19, 2007

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    make sure you acclimatize at lhasa's 3595m elevation for at least three days before heading out to higher elevations - this is a must!

    spending significant time at higher elevations before proper acclimatization will almost surely result in acute mountain sickness (AMS) so don't risk it!

    AMS, on average, kills one tourist in tibet a year. if you follow acclimatization guidelines, you don't have to end up as that statistic.

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  • mavl's Profile Photo

    FIRST DAY IN TIBET? TAKE IT EASY!

    by mavl Written Feb 19, 2007

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    whatever your itinerary may be, be sure to take it easy during your first day in lhasa. allow your body to gradually acclimatize to the low oxygen environment, don't do anything strenuous and drink lots of water.

    i remember walking very slowly off the plane and into the airport - watching myself for any adverse signs of acute mountain sickness (AMS). all i noticed was feeling a bit light-headed about thirty minutes after arrival. i just made sure i kept breathing deeply the whole time.

    the more you take things easy on your first day, the more likely you'll be ok to get your tour of tibet going the following day.

    during your first night, you're likely to wake up gasping for breath every so often - this is pretty normal. just keep taking deep breaths and have your bottled water ready nearby so you can drink some during these bouts.

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  • bignick's Profile Photo

    Acclimatisation

    by bignick Written Feb 15, 2007

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    Ariving in Lhasa 2 days before Christmas is the arse end of the tourist season so to speak. Following a weeks trekking in China's Yunnan Province, starting in Lijiang, the trip to Tibet was a lucky one. 5 weeks of working and living at altitudes around 3000m, firstly near Kunming (2800m), then Zhaotong (3200m). A trek through Yunnan and Tiger Leaping Gorge around 3500m, then higher up to Zhongdian, with a highlight in that area of going to a natural hot spring at 3900m!

    All of this culminated in acclimatisation up to 4000m. The river near Lhasa is at about 3950m, and any little venture out of the city means you’re heading easily towards 5000m. We both encountered a few hours feeling the effects of increased altitude, but fortuntaely short lived. We encountered a few individuals, who after flying directly from USA to Shanghai, Chengdu and straight to Lhasa looked like death incarnate. A grey complexion and tiredness had these folk almost bed bound for the duration of their trip. Its not worth it, so please take care and consideration to acclimatise somewhere else in China for example before you arrive in Tibet. When you get there, you cannot get lower, unless you start digging!

    Do not take the effects of altitude (AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness) lightly, it can severely affect you, and you can’t pre-empt it. As in our case, re-acclimatisation to above 4000m was sudden, but fortunately limited to a few hours. You need to drink lots of water, and rest frequently. We found that we were getting back to either hotel or restaurants and drinking loads of soft drinks, but then we’d being doing that for a few weeks on our other treks. A can of sprite is remarkably refreshing at 4000m when the temperature is –20 degrees C! More often though, we were mainly drinking ginger and/or mint tea, having a similar revitalising effect. Carrying a flask at all times is a great option for hydrating on the go, and keeping it topped up with hot water is essential given the coldness of your surroundings.

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Lhasa Warnings and Dangers

blueskyjohn's Profile Photo

Crime is relatively low in Lhasa.  That's not to say there is no crime at all.  Simple precautions when traveling abroad would suffice. 

There are other concerns you should...

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