Trekking in Tibet is not that risky in the event that your physical condition is good. Even so, it is important that you first go for a medical checkup. You will go to a destination that is quite remote and you want to be prepared. If something bad happens, medical treatment may not be immediate. With this in mind, you will want to take all the basic accessories and drugs that you may need.
Necessary Fitness For Tibet Trekking
The fitness level that is necessary is the level at which you can easily complete a walking trip up and down a hill for one day. Around 7 kilometers per day should be seen as a necessity at altitude of over 3,000 meters. It is recommended to go through a fitness preparation for around 1 month before you will reach Tibet. Perfect sports to prepare include swimming, jogging and cycling. Long walks are also good but they have to involve hills.
Altitude Sickness Problems
The most common medical problem that appears with people that trek in Tibet is AMS (acute mountain sickness). Altitude sickness is basically what effect altitude has on you as you ascend at a rapid pace at an elevation of over 3.000 meters. AMS has some initial symptoms that you can be on the lookout for. These include appetite loss, vomiting, nausea, persistent headaches, light headiness, disorientation, confusion, hand or face swelling, heavy legs, fatigue, weakness, irregular breathing and a reduced urine output.
When the symptoms appear, you want to stop going up on your trek. If you do not do this, you can end up with the problems getting more serious. Unfortunately, the only real remedy is to go to a lower altitude. You should only climb around 300 to 500 meters per day when over 3,000 meters, even if you are an experienced trekker.
Planning Before The Tibet Trek
You want to plan your entire itinerary and you want to get the equipment you need before you go. Based on the trek route you will take, you may need a trekking guide, canned gas, cookware, horse porters, tents, water, food, sleeping bags, oxygen bottles and mattresses. Focus on getting all the train and flight ticket arrangements done and do get the insurance, hotel booking and trekking permissions you will need. In most cases you will be able to get all done if you contact a specialized Tibet trekking travel agency.
Make sure that you hire porters with horses and yaks in Tibet. You will find it really tough to complete a trek if you do not have the assistance of yaks and horses. All inclusive trek packages normally cost around $150 per person, sometimes going as high as $200 per day.
We recommend that you always travel with an experienced and highly traveled guide, a person that knows everything about the area. This will help you to make the entire experience better.
Necessary Equipment When Trekking In Tibet
Obviously, you will need hiking shoes or walking boots that are lightweight. Make sure that you wore the shoes before so that blisters can be avoided. Spare laces are recommended and women should have a sanitary pad with them. Normal walking shows can be work during the stay at the camp during nights.
You will have to take a warm jacket with you. Down jackets are necessary during October, late September, May and April. Night temperature can reach zero and go down. The period between November and March should be avoided as this is winter in Tibet, with conditions that are not great for trekking. Rain proof jackets with ponchos or hoods are needed and you will want to pack thick sweaters and woolen shirts. Warm trousers are normally necessary and you will want to also take thermal underwear.
When talking about equipment to trek in Tibet, we recommend the following:
- Duffel bag – for gear carrying.
- Water bottles.
- Day pack – a small rucksack that carries all the personal requirements you need daily.
- Snow glasses
- Plastic bags to separate the dirty clothes from the clean ones
- Toilettries – make sure you have small and large towels. You can buy toilet paper in Lhasa and in some mountain villages.
- Snow gaiters
- Sewing box
- Camera – you surely want to take pictures
Water And Food
Famous trekking routes in Tibet like Samye or Gandem will not be problematic as water will be found in a camp right at the middle of the trek. You get clean water since it comes from ice mountains. However, it is always recommended that you boil the water. Fresh food needs to also be cooked. Never drink or eat unusual food like yak milk before you cook. By respecting this simple rule you can easily avoid most of the problems that can appear.
Remember that it is hard to boil water at a high altitude. That is why you will need to prepare food for your trip and plan ahead. Tour guides normally help you cook but will not actually cook for you. Wild meals are simple like milk, fruit, dry beef and similar.