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# How to enter Tibet?
By air, there are several routes are available now: Beijing-Lhasa, Shanghai-Lhasa, Chengdu -Lhasa , Xi'an-Lhasa, Xi'ning-Lhasa, Guangzhou-Lhasa, Chongqing-Lhasa, Kathmandu-Lhasa. By land, the possible routes are: Qinghai-Lhasa, Sichuan-Lhasa, Yunnan-Lhasa and Kathmandu-Lhasa. However, land transportation takes much longer time, and can be very tough, especially the Sichuan-Lhasa route.
# Do the travelers need the travel permits to visit Tibet?
Except Chinese visas, the travelers (including those of Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and other countries) need to obtain the Travel Permits issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau or other Tibet local authorities before entering Tibet. The permits are issued only to the travelers taking the individual and group tours operated by China-based tour operators. The tour operators can assist the travelers to obtain the travel permits. The following information is required for the Tibet Travel Permit applications, names in full, nationality, passport number, sex, date of birth and occupation. The normal application procedure for Tibet travel permits takes 3 -7 days.
# Can anyone travel in Tibet by bus, if he/she can’t afford the car?
Yes, but very limited, only Golmud (of Qinghai Province)-Lhasa. And this route is subject to change, not always available.
# What tour routes are now available for Tibet? What is the accommodation capacity of Tibet?
In 2000, Tibet started to organize its tourist resources into one center, five areas, five arteries and three ring routes. At the center are the cultural and sightseeing tours around Lhasa. The five areas refer to the mountaineering and trekking area of western Tibet, the ecological tourist area of eastern Tibet, the sightseeing area around the Yalong River Valley, and the wildlife and prairie tourist area in northern Tibet. The five arteries include the Sichuan-Tibet route through Chengdu, Qamdo, Nyingchi and Lhasa, the Yunnnan Tibet route through Xiaguan, Mangkam and Qamdo, the Qinghai-Tibet route through Xining, Golmud, Nagqu and Lhasa, theSino-Nepalese route through Lhasa, Xigaze, Zham and Nepal, and the Xinjiang- Tibet route through Urumqi, Yecheng and Shiquanhe. The three ring routes refer to Lhasa-Nyingchi-Shannan-Lhasa, Lhasa-Xigaze-Ngari-Nagqu-Lhasa, and Lhasa-Nagqu-Qamdo-Nyingchi-Lhasa toure. All these programs, are open to tourists. Some are being expanded. Today, Tibet has more than 30 travel agencies of different categories and over 50 tourist hotels, including seven star-rated hotels. It has more than 400 tourist vehicles, and 3,000 or sp people working in the tourist industry. Tibet has affiliated hotels in Beijing, Chengdu and Xi'an and has set up travel agencies and offices in Hong Kong, Nepal, Beijing and Chengdu. Before 1978, there was no tourism in Tibet, but by the first half of 2000 a total of 185,000 domestic and international travelers had been to Tibet.
# What to pack for Tibet tours?
Sunglasses, sun lotions, chapped stick, hat, layered clothing and down-filled coat (the sun is very strong during the day but the temperature drops at night). Wear comfortable walking shoes. High-calorie snacks like cookies, chocolate and candies also should be packed in advance.
# What is the weather like in Tibet?
In southern and eastern Tibet, the Himalayas act as a barrier against the rain-bearing monsoons, with rainfall decreasing as heading north. There is no rain from mid-September to May. Temperatures can vary from below 40 F in the early morning and evening to 85 F at midday. In the spring, dust is a problem.
# What is the best timing for Tibet tours?
Generally speaking, the period from April to October is the best timing. However, traveling in a winter tour can still be pleasant because of saving your tour budgets and avoiding the tourist crowds.
# What is high altitude sickness?
High altitude sickness, also called mountain sickness, is a problem that occurs when people travel from lower elevations to about 8,000 feet or more above sea level. Serious types of altitude sickness include high-altitude pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) and high-altitude cerebral edema (swelling of the brain). With altitude sickness, the travelers may first feel like having the flu or a hangover, with symptoms such as, headache, fatigue, appetite loss, nausea, insomnia and difficulty breathing during exercise.
# How to avoid and treat the high altitude sickness?
- Please try not to strain yourself and avoid excessive working before taking Tibet tours.
- Take the prescribed medication before reaching Tibet and continue to take the medication upon arrival there.
- Avoid drinking coffee or alcohol, and taking sleeping pills in the high altitude areas.
- Drink plenty of water or tea.
- Eat high-carbohydrate foods (rice, pasta, cereal) while avoiding fatty stuff.
- Avoid active movements and try to relax in the first one or two days upon arrival at the high altitude areas.
- Diamox® 125 mg. tablets taken twice a day is F.D.A. approved for prevention and treatment of A.M.S. Although it originally was released as a diuretic (water pill), it also helps you breath deeper and faster. This allows you to get more oxygen. Diamox is especially helpful with the sleeping problems and other symptoms of A.M.S. Avoid sleeping pills because they may cause shallow breathing at night and make it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.
- Use Oxygen to relieve symptoms.
- If nothing else works, return to the areas with the lower elevation.
# What medical preparations the travelers need to make before Tibet tours?
Most Tibet tours are not highly demanding physically. However, the travelers need to be in good conditions and able to walk up and down moderate hills on a daily basis. In some cases they may be a day or more away from modern medical facilities. So it is better for the travelers with a pre-existing heart and lung problems to consult the doctors before taking Tibet tours. According to the scientific studies, high altitude sickness has nothing to do with the age, sex or state of fitness of the travelers and can affect anyone who travels to the areas with the elevation of over 10,000 feet. Consult the doctors for getting the prescribed medicines for the possible high altitude sickness.
# Do the travelers need travel insurances?
The travel insurances for Tibet tours are mandatory. Tibet tour packages offered by www.tibettravel.org include the travelers insurances with an amount up to a maximum of USD36, 000/per person. However, the comprehensive travel insurances for Tibet tours purchased from the home countries are highly recommended because the bureaucratic China insurance companies always have the inactive responses to the emergencies. The comprehensive insurances purchased by the travelers shall offer coverage for trip cancellation, travel interruptions and delays, emergency medical and health expenses, lost baggage and more.
# What are the norms if I contact with the Tibetans?
You will find Tibetan people very kind and friendly, you can feel free to talk with them. Do not go around photographing the people, ask first, show some respect. Buy some local products and encourage them, they are cheaper. Don't talk the sensitive topics like the political and the religion things!
# What should I keep in mind when I contact with the Tibetans?
- Do not photo them without permission, please show respect to them !
- Do not talk about the sensitive topics like political or t religious matters!
- Do not eat dog, donkey or horse in Tibet!
# How much should I tip?
Tipping is not a custom in China, thus in Tibet. However, as the tourism develops, tour guides, drivers, and hotel staff do expect tips. If the service is satisfactory, a few dollars to the guide and the driver will be appreciated. While in restaurants and taxis, tips are not necessary.
# What should I do with Tibetan beggars?
Religious beggars are an accepted part of society in Tibet. Giving money or food to a pilgrim is considered an act of merit. Donations of five fen to two jiao(Chinese currency) are appropriate. Please note: if the beggars are the old men and women who dress in shredded, bulky clothes, while the younger ones may have a monkey on a chain, it is a spectacle of great interest to the Tibetans. These beggars are professionals, having less meritorious intentions than religious pilgrims. Just wave them off as the locals do if you don't want give anything.
# Do the travelers need to ask the permissions before taking the photos of Tibetans?
It is always good to ask permission first. Tibetans are very friendly. However, it might arouse the upset feelings of local Tibetans by photo-taking without asking the permission first.
# Is it easy to get the cash money from ATMs in Tibet?
Basically it is pretty hard to find ATMs in Tibet. The only place to get the cash money is from the local branches of Bank of China, Lhasa. For the sake of the convenience, it might be good to bring some cash money along the trip.
# What are the commonly used phone numbers for emergency in Tibet?
The following phone calls can be directly made from any other telephones in Tibet once the emergency happens.
- Police emergency: 110
- Medical emergency: 120