Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Something to really keep in mind with all the long drives in Tibet. Many passes and road side stops have toilets however there is no toilet paper. If you have to go, remember to keep some in your pocket. Also, hotels will give a limited supply of toilet paper. Check to see that the hotels have enough in the room before you are in an awkward situation.
Drinking water from a tap is not recommended at all and many hotels will even have a sign posted over the sink. However, even if you are careful you can still get a case of diarrhea. Check with your doctor about a prescription for Ciprofloxacin. "Cipro" is a broad spectrum antibiotic. It works well against bacterial pathogens responsible for respiratory, urinary tract, gastrointestinal, and abdominal infections.
This is not a preventative medication. Check with your doctor when to administer. Nothing can ruin a trip faster than travelers diarrhea or other bacterial infection.
Acetazolamide is usually sold as, and better known as, Diamox. This is a diuretic used to help acclimate to high altitude. Diamox is not a cure for Acute Mountain Sickness! A short explanation of how it works is it tricks the body into thinking there is an increase of CO2 levels, thus deeper breathing to compensate. Diamox can be taken as a prophylactically, several days before arriving at altitude. The drug helps speed up the acclimation process. Of course, check with your doctor about dosage and if this drug is right for you. It is only available by prescription.
For me, I have had good success just staying as hydrated as possible. I take Diamox if my AMS symptoms become unbearable. Some side effects that may occur, extreme tingling in the hands an feet and all people will experience increased urination so it is important to drink plenty of water when taking the drug.
My old (2005) travel guide gave the general impression that taking a debit/credit card to Tibet, and especially replying on it, is nothing short of madness. And if you're going outside of Lhasa without a ready supply of cash you must be certifiable. Thankfully, Tibet has gone a long way since then - I've visited Tibet relying entirely on plastic and managed to survive and tell the tale.
There are plenty of ATMs now in Lhasa, with several in Shigatse as well. Some of the smaller banks will not take foreign cards and may refuse to dispense money, but I've always found the Bank of China a safe bet in this regard in both cities. Most of the handicraft shops will also take credit and debit cards. The only potential problem is that ATMs will tend to dispense 100 RMB notes (a bottle of green tea costs 2-3 RMB, so they're not very handy for small purchases) - thus it's still a good idea to carry smaller local notes if you want to buy items from stalls or pay the monasteries' interior photography fees.
Warm clothing for mornings and nights
Clothing for hot noons
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Diazomid, Diamox or a similar pill against altitude sickness
Sun blocking products with high UV factors (cream, clothing, hat, etc.)
Dermatologic or cosmetic creams against dry skin. The climate is so dry; it sucks the water of your body
Lubricant eye drops: Again, climate is dry and sun is bright
Photo Equipment: UV filters for the camera. I’ve never seen a brighter country
Toiletries and Medical Supplies:
Necessary: Hepatitis A, 3-in-1 vaccination for Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio
Recommended: Hepatitis B, vaccination against typhus, as the hygienic condition is not always good. If you are planning adventure trips through the countryside lasting more than 4 weeks you should consider vaccination against Japanese encephalitis and Rabies.
Luggage and bags:
If you are travelling Anywhere and using a Rucksack / Backpack as your luggage then I would Strongly recommend that you use some form of Rucksack / Backpack Pro-tector !!This tip is from my own personal experience, as I have had Big Problems having my Rucksack damaged or even destroyed by airlines, particularly on Airport Carousels,
What can happen is that one of the straps can drop in-between the lats on the moving Carousel and then as your Rucksack goes around a corner, the strap gets ripped off, I lost the entire back and carrying system from one of my rucksacks !!
I have tried many of the Rucksack / Backpack Protectors that are available on the market and was disappointed with how they performed, So after having many problems with these decided to design and manufacture my own.
Full details of how this came about are written up on my Nepal page.
So, Obviously my own recommendation would be to get your Rucksack / Backpack Protector from Pro-Tector
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Also, after successfully designing, producing and selling the Rucksack Pro-tector for several years, I have now introduced some new lines such as a Pro-Tector Travel Wallet and a Pro-Tector Document / Valuables Travel Pouch.
If you think that any of the above would be of benefit for yourself on your own travels then please take a look at my web-site at . Pro-Tector
Luggage and bags:
Bring a bag you won't mind getting dusty. Even inside a bus mine got covered in dust!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Tibet in Spring and Summer can get very warm during the day and really cold at night. Dress in layers.
Be aware many hotels do not have heating and it can be freezing at night, altho they usually provide lots of duvets and blankets.
Bring sunglasses as the glare from the sun is intense
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: There are plenty of chinese shops selling toiletries if you run out. Take all the medicine you need with you, plus a high factor sun cream as you can burn really easily at altitude.
Miscellaneous: Basic hotels often have a kettle of flask of boiling water. Take a few teabags for an early morning cuppa.
If you like Marmite take some of the little one serving pots with you,(you can buy them in supermarkets in the UK) its a boon for breakfast if you can't face noodles or cake.
Luggage and bags:
For the hard seat from Golmud to Lhasa, large luggage can be stored at the end of the rail car and smaller bags can go up in the overhead compartment. I recommend travelling with a maximum of two bags; one that's carried on your shoulder or back and the other with a single hand.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Polarized sunglasses are a requirement for Tibet, and you might even need them on the train.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring two extra rolls of toilet paper. One for yourself and the other as a spare to be given away to friends in need.
Photo Equipment: Bring something that will help shield your camera from the train window's glare. Definitely bring sufficient spare batteries and memory disks. There is an electric outlet at the end of the soft seat rail cars that you can use for recharging camera batteries. You will be constantly taking photographs from the moment your train departs until dusk.
Miscellaneous: 1. Tibet guide books and map, especially helpful is a Qinghai-Tibet rail map showing all stations and elevations
2. Instant noodles and any other "just add hot water" food items
3. Binoculars are optional, but a very good idea for viewing wild animals and distant peaks
Luggage and bags:
I have a backpackers soul. I like to travel as light as possible and as packed as necessary.Which means on a trip for a month I only travel with my small army backpack.It is 50x35x25cm only!(If you are travelling with your girl things look different of course.Romantic travelling is more convinient travelling)Medicine is most important.Toiletpaper comes second in China.A LP guide is never a mistake.But I reduce it to the most necessary information of my route on a seperate paper in case I lose the guidebook(transportation,alternative places to stay,copies of some maps).Youth hostels are always a breeding point of the latest travel information.It is a big backpacker family.I only have just a few things of clothes,two trousers,a few t-shirts ,a few socks,one or two pullover and so on to change.Jacket on my body.If you need new clothes you can buy them very cheap or if you stay at a place for a couple of days wash your used clothes.I hope you are not too much disgusted. Always have something to drink with you.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Part II
Money, traveller cheques, passport, tickets - everything important is in my moneybelt.
My wallet is just for some little money you need every day. It does not hurt when you lose it or it gets stolen, or even robbed. But I normally wear it
in a front pocket while I? travelling. (China is one of the safest countries I have travelled to. It is more dangerous to take the wrong exit in a major US city;-)
The weight is right when you are able to walk with it for at least half a day - everyday ;-)
Nomally when you reach a city, I look for the place to stay first. But that can take some time. Than you can reduce the weight, leave everything in the hotel you can afford to lose and start your exploration!
I hope this is a help for everyone who wants to experience a little bit more andvanturous travelling independently.
Comfortable shoe and warm clothes.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: all the drugs you need, toiletries available in Lhassa supermarket
Miscellaneous: PONCHO : I like to take a poncho with me because I feel it comfortable, light, efficient and strong against the rain but in Tibet my friend used it as a hideaway when she used nature for toilet !!! Ladies, Don't forget it !!!!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring some wet tissues and toiletpaper. Because the tibetan toilets are very basic. There is only a hole in the ground, no flushing, no water to wash your hands and certainly no toiletpaper. The picture is showing a very good model, this one has dividing walls. If you bend over the hole your neighbour can't see you.
Luggage and bags:
Dragging along a sleeping bag is a MUST. Make sure it's covered because if you're doing a roadtrip over land like we did, you'll see more dust than you can ever imagine. Even though your bag is piled on top of the vehicle, it's not exempt from the dirt and dust that kicks up from any living thing passing over the roads. And believe me - you'll want your bag to snuggle in when you're holed up in some Communist dump called a "hotel" along the way.....a small refuge from the cold nights at altitude.
When our trip was done, we gave our sleeping bag to Dawa. Maybe she'll use it on one of her pilgrimages to a monastery in the interior of the country.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Layer, layer, layer. And protect your skin from the sun! You're up high, so slather on the lotion AND the sweaters. As long as you're in the sun, you can be reasonably warm...we went in mid-October and the temps required jacket and sometimes just a sweatshirt or long sleeve shirt. But along those high-passes as you're traveling the Plateau - yikes - windy and C-O-L-D ! You can see the Tibetans' cheeks are windblown and ruddy. Yours will be too if you don't protect yourself. Wear comfortable shoes - tennis shoes or my personal faves, my trusty Timberland hiking boot-shoes. They loved my feet and vice versa.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Ahh, that saline nasal spray will really come in handy because the air is so dry, your nose is likely to bleed. If you keep it moist, however, you'll be winning the battle. Plus, you'll breathe better.
Make sure to get a prescription for Diamox (250 mg should do) from your doc, just in case you have an uncomfortable night of altitude sickness. We were somewhat bothered maybe one night and one day during the entire 8 day trip, and we each took half a pill. Sleep is about the only thing that will help, plus a pill - if used with caution and the approach that it's a precautionary measure - not a panacea. Altitude sickness is a serious ailment and if left to continue, can KILL.
Oh - DRINK PLENTY OF WATER!!!! Staying hydrated will help your body deal with the altitude.
Note: if you fly directly into Lhasa, forget the above...you'll need at least a full 24 hours of absolute REST. No eating - just sleep and water. It's the only way to help your body build those extra red blood cells needed for precious oxygen!!
For those who happen to be browsing these pages (and for those of us, myself included, who may need occasional reminders), I offer the following:
Bring some patience. Things don't work here like they do at home--wherever home may be. If you're from the US (in particular), the whole notion of time is often quite different and not at all what you may be used to.
Bring some generosity of spirit. To Tibetans, if you come from almost anywhere else, you come from a rich country. A little reading on your part before you come is highly recommended: the culture is fascinating. Tibet is primarily a Buddhist country and religion permeates life. Their entire world view is markedly different from what many of us in the West are familiar with.
Finally, don't forget those two most important items: an open mind and an open heart. If you bring these, you cannot help but have a wonderful time.
Tashi delek ("auspicious goodness" or "good luck") is the standard greeting in Tibet.
Layered clothing since the day & night temperature differs quite a great deal. Also, at certain time of the year, esp. during season changes, most hotels do not have their heater on! So, thermal is a necessity if you want to sleep well.
In addition, hot water supply is restricted to only certain time of the day. Take note of this.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Do bring your own medication for headaches & altitude sickness. Alternatively, you might want to get these capsules of liquid (made from natural herbs as per claimed by the Chinese) from your hotel. It's v. effective & you must take them as soon as you arrived. Cost = RMB 20 - 30 depending on where you get them.
Photo Equipment: Zoom & wide-angle lens.
Lots of films.
Digital camera if possible. It's easier to take photos from the bus with this.
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