On this page:
- What to wear
- Packing list
- Remote Area: Everest, Mt Kailash, Western and Northern Tibet tours
- Medical kit
Planning what to pack for your trip to Tibet shouldn’t be stressful. To help you with it, we put together packing lists for different tours and seasons.
Most of the things that you might need for your tour are also available in Lhasa. If you start your tour in the capital, you can easily stock up on all necessities.
If you are traveling to remote areas, selection might be limited, and it is better to plan what to take in advance.
Pay attention to the season and to the altitude where you will be traveling. If you are trekking at high altitude, you might encounter snow even during summer months. Another thing to consider if you are trekking is the weight of your pack. If you, on the other hand, travel in a car/minivan, the weight won’t be an issue.
On overland journeys in Tibet, you will be traveling in an SUV, van or minibus. That means, that luggage size and weight is generally not an issue. You can choose whether to bring suitcase, duffel bag or backpack. The wheeled options are usually more convenient to use. Since usually your luggage is stored in a trunk or in the back of the minivan, you should consider bringing a daypack.
WHAT TO WEAR
Tibetan plateau weather can vary greatly depending on the altitude, season and even time of the day. In the Central Tibet, weather conditions are usually good, with warm summer, chill fall and spring. Even in summer temperatures can change fast. In the daytime, it is usually warm and can get hot. It is essential to protect yourself from strong sunlight. In the evenings and mornings, it might get chilly. Wearing layers is the best choice. It will allow you to adjust to changing conditions quickly.
Chances of rain are higher in summer, consider wearing waterproof shoes and waterproof jacket. Snow is very rare in the Central Tibet unless you go above 5,000 m/ 16,500 ft. Wind can be very strong, so it might seem to be colder than it actually is.
When packing for your trip to Tibet, please consider Tibetan culture and traditions. Tibetan society is conservative and we don’t recommend wearing clothes that are too revealing. Visitors are not allowed to wear shorts when they visit monasteries. For women, it is usually the best to wear pants that are not too revealing. Yoga pants are generally not a good choice unless you are wearing a skirt over it. A skirt should be around ankle-length.
- Comfortable shoes or sneakers for city tours. On most of the tours in Tibet, we spend a lot of time walking outdoors. It is the only way to see old streets of the cities and spectacular nature views. Additionally, Tibetan monasteries are built on the mountains and stone stairs lead to them. Consequently, comfortable shoes are essential. Break in the new shoes before you start the trip. If possible, bring two pairs in case one gets wet during rainy days.
If you are traveling outside of Lhasa or doing some hiking/trekking, we recommend bringing hiking boots. The choice of hiking boots is a matter of personal preference and comfort. Boots with ankle support are great on uneven terrain and can protect you from spraining an ankle. Gore-Tex boots can withstand rain and snow.
- Hiking pants are an optimal choice. Summers in Central Tibet are typically hot during daytime, it might, however, get cold in the evenings and early mornings. Hiking pants would also provide ideal flexibility and breathability since visiting monasteries requires climbing stairs.
- Base layer is not necessary during warm months but can be helpful during colder months.
- T-shirts to wear as a base layer. It can get very hot during summer months. If you are wearing a short sleeve t-shirt, be aware of the sunlight and use sunscreen.
- Sweater/fleece jacket can serve as a second layer for colder weather and evenings/mornings
- Jacket: we recommend taking a light jacket even if you are traveling in summer. It will protect you from wind, rain, and sun.
- Wide brim hat or baseball hat for sun protection.
- Gloves for colder months.
- Scarf for colder months.
REMOTE REGIONS: EVEREST, KAILASH, WESTERN AND NORTHERN TIBET
In addition to your packing list for city tours, you should bring warm clothes. It might be snowing at the Everest Base Camp and near Mt Kailash even during summer months. In addition, it becomes very cold at night and wind is usually very strong. Be prepared and wear multiple layers. You will be staying in guesthouses for the night.
Accommodations in Remote areas
Everest Base Camp
During the warm months, usually from May until mid-October there is a tent camp near Rongbuk monastery. The tents are large with several twin beds on the sides of each tent and a stove in the middle. The bedding is very simple, but there are many blankets that you can use. For more comfortable stay you can bring a sleeping bag, or inner sheet for a sleeping bag or even any kind of cover to use between yourself and blankets. There is a stove in the tent house at the Everest Base Camp. It can still get very cold at night and we recommend bringing your sleeping bag. There are many blankets, you might, however, prefer the comfort of your sleeping bag.
In winter tent camp is closed and we are staying in Rongbuk monastery guesthouse. The guesthouses is simple with a combination of dormitory and twin rooms. There are many blankets for you. In the guesthouse there is a kitchen with a simple Tibetan restaurant where you can warm up and rest.
Mount Kailash and Manasarovar Lake
There are no hotels near Manasarovar lake and Kailash Region, only simple guesthouses. Accommodations in guesthouses where you are staying are very basic. There are dormitory rooms with twin beds. There is no shower or hot water, and toilet is outside with a pit hole. However, from these places we can get some of the best views in Tibet: spectacular Everest, gorgeous Manasarovar lake and sacred Mount Kailash.
We highly recommend bringing your sleeping bag for Kailash tour. If you don’t have sleeping bag, you can bring any kind of cover to use with blankets in guesthouses. There are always many blankets, but they are rarely washed.
Prior to 2019 there were guesthouses by the lake. Starting from 2019, we can only stay in a nearby small town Damshung, about 100 km away from Namtso. There are simple Tibetan hotels with all basic amenities: hot water, private bathroom, and shower.
- Sleeping bag for some tours outside of cities. Might be useful if you are staying at the Everest Base Camp since the blankets there are rarely washed. Alternatively, you can use the inner sheet for a sleeping bag (instead of bringing the sleeping bag) with the blankets that are plentiful. For trekking around Kailash, we highly recommend bringing your sleeping bag. Aside from keeping you warm during cold nights, the sleeping bag will offer better comfort.
- Inner sheet for your sleeping bag (optional). As suggested earlier, can substitute sleeping bag on short trips.
- Day backpack for sightseeing in the cities. Also can be used while grocery shopping. There are no recycling facilities in Tibet and we highly encourage you to use reusable bags or backpack instead of plastic bags.
- Rain gear (optional): poncho, backpack cover, waterproof jacket
- Water bottle or thermos (optional). Using your own bottle will allow you to minimize the waste. You can fill up the bottle in hotels with boiled water.
- Small first aid kit and medications
- Camera with spare memory card and battery
- Power bank. Some areas outside of main cities might not have a reliable source of electricity.
- Sunglasses and sunscreen: sun radiation is very strong in Tibet due to plateau’s high altitude. It is very important to protect your eyes and skin from the sun.
- Lip balm for sun and wind protection.
- Towel if you are staying in tents or guesthouses
- Swimming suite if you make stops at hot springs
- Personal toiletries, such as toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, wipes, hand sanitizer, shampoo, toilet paper, etc. Even in the cities, public restrooms won’t have toilet paper and soap. The situation is usually better in restaurants, however, it is better to be prepared.
- Money: Chinese Yuan is the only currency accepted in Tibet and there are virtually no ATMs when you leave the cities. Be prepared in advance and take necessary amount for all the duration of your trip outside of Lhasa
- Passport and copies of your passport photo and visa pages that you can keep separate from your documents.
- Personal Journal for making notes and writing the diary
- Umbrella (optional)
- Flashlight or headlamp if you are staying in tents or guesthouses. Restrooms tend to be at a distance from guesthouses and flashlight might be your only chance to locate it after dark.
WHAT TO WEAR FOR TREKKING
- Hiking boots, ideally waterproof. Gore-Tex could work great in a range of temperatures and even in snow.
- Snickers or comfortable boots to wear in cities and around camp
- Base layer: light for summer months and wool or heavy type for colder months. Can double as pajamas.
- Socks: wool hiking socks with cushioning and several pairs of cotton socks
- T-shirts: short and long sleeves
- Hiking pants: 2 or 3 pairs
- Sweater: wool or fleece
- Jacket: can be waterproof
- Down jacket for cold months or high elevation
- Scarf and/or bandana
- Hat and/or baseball hat for sun protection
PACKING FOR TREKKING
- Bring your tent only if you wish so, we provide our tents for your convenience at no extra charge (based on double occupancy)
- Sleeping bag
- Inner sheet for your sleeping bag (optional)
- Mattress pad, such as Thermarest, only if you are more comfortable using your pad. We provide our own mattress pads at no extra charge
- Backpack and a day pack for short day trips and sightseeing in the cities
- Rain gear, particularly for trekking in summer: can include poncho, backpack covers, gaiters for boots, waterproof jacket, and pants
- Water bottle/ thermos/ camelback. Camelback is particularly useful during long treks.
- Hat and/or baseball hat for sun protection
- Gloves for colder months or if you are trekking above 4500 m /16000 ft
- Flashlight or headlamp (can be more convenient in camps)
- Band-Aid and Moleskin: bring extras, different sizes
- Allergy medication
- Diarrhea medication, such as Loperamide
- Motion sickness prevention if you are going on long trips. Mountain roads make a lot of turns.
- Painkiller medication, such as Ibuprofen
- Prochlorperazine for nausea/vomiting
- Cold/flu medications
- Throat lozenges
- Hydration vitamins with electrolytes
- Antibiotics: visit your doctor to get a prescription
- Altitude sickness prevention: your doctor can prescribe Diamox, but be aware that some people experience side effects and discuss it with the doctor. You can consider using some herbal supplements instead.
Please, note: these are general suggestions. If you have any health-related concerns, you should discuss it with your doctor. And, please, let us know if we can assist you in any way.