Though weather conditions can vary greatly from region to region, the climate in Tibet is considered generally to be cold, dry and harsh. The regions outside of the fertile southeastern area are desert steppe and tundra, while the conditions are generally warmer and wetter in the lower elevations. Tibet is affected by the monsoon from June to September, bringing occasional rain and warmer temperatures. The summer months between June and August are considered the best time to visit due to the pleasantly warm temperatures and generous sunshine.
It is advisable to have a valid travel insurance policy from your host country to cover the costs of emergency medical treatment or evacuation. Travelers should keep their policy number and insurance company contact details with them while trekking. Trekking without insurance is possible, though participants who choose to do so will have to submit a written statement to Outdoor Expeditions stating their intention to do so.
Fitness for Trekking
Although people of all fitness levels can find a trek or tour that suits their abilities in Tibet, keep in mind that the general high elevation of the Tibetan Plateau means that even activities such as sightseeing can sometimes be strenuous. The key is to be prepared for the trip you intend to undertake. Consult with Outdoor Expeditions before your departure if you're concerned about physical preparedness for your intended trip. All of our itineraries are designed to provide maximum enjoyment by allowing proper time to acclimatize at higher elevations and adequate rest. While we recommend preparing for your journey with an appropriate fitness routine, we won't fail to mention the importance of a positive attitude and willingness to challenge yourself both physically and mentally. It is wise to see your physician for a complete checkup before arriving in Tibet.
Equipment and Clothing
Equipment needed for your trek will vary greatly depending on seasonal factors, trekking route and means of accommodations (tea-house or camping). The most important things to consider are staying warm and dry. We recommend using a layered clothing approach, starting with a moisture-wicking insulating layer, followed by warming layers, and an outer shell to protect from wind, sun and rain. Don't forget quality trekking boots, socks and adequate head covering, as well as basic essentials like sunblock, sunglasses, torchlight, water bottles and personal care items. Outdoor Expeditions can provide you with a detailed equipment list upon booking your trip.
While Chinese immigrations do not require any vaccinations to enter Tibet, concerned travelers should consider being immunized for Rabies, Meningitis, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephilitis, Polio, Tuberculosis, and Cholera.
The Chinese Renminbi is the major currency of Tibet. Currency and traveler's checks can be exchanged at Bank of China branches in Lhasa and Shigatse. Nepali rupees can be exchanged for yuan at the land border crossing in Zhangmu. ATM machines are found in Lhasa and Shigatse, though it is advisable to check before attempting withdrawal, as some machines will work only for domestic account holders.
Tibet is considered a generally safe place to travel, though it's advised to exercise caution with personal belongings like in any country frequented by tourists. Beware of stray dogs both in big cities and in the countryside, there have been occasional reports of dogs becoming aggressive towards strangers. Stay away from any situation regarding political demonstrations in any form. Though rare, demonstrations are suppressed firmly by authorities, and becoming a spectator (especially with a camera) is ill advised.