For most travelers, Tibet is a far-away place that needs a long way to reach. It is also a mysterious place with unique religion and culture. Despite of its high altitude and complicated terrains, the land is actually a safe place to visit, just like other popular tourist destinations. Let’s check the following top issues about travelling safe in Tibet.
1. Altitude Sickness in Tibet
Altitude sickness has always been the biggest concern for tourists who want to travel to Tibet. Many tourists fear that they will not adapt to the plateau and will have serious plateau reactions, which will endanger their health and even their lives.
In fact, tourists do not need to worry so much. Altitude sickness is the normal physiological reaction similar to motion sickness, and not occurs to everyone. Normally, for most people, the symptoms of altitude sickness will be gradually decreased after a couple of days’ stay in Lhasa, resulting no effect in subsequent trip.
Staying in Lhasa for a couple of days to get adapt to high alititude
Nowadays, the medical conditions in Tibet are very good, even if there are serious symptoms of altitude sickness, the patient can get timely medical treatment. If you do feel serous discomfort before leaving for higher elevation areas, you can propose to change the itinerary or leave Tibet.
Tips on dealing with altitude sickness in Tibet
1. Take some medicine like Rhodiola rosea for prevention in advance.
2. Do not catch a cold, which will aggravate the symptoms of altitude sickness.
3. Drink enough water, but refrain from alcohol and coffee.
4. Get enough rest and refuse vigorous exercise.
5. Do not take a shower for the first three days after entering Tibet.
6. When the symptom get worse, move to a lower altitude immediately.
2. Crime and Theft in Tibet
Tibet is a Tibetan-dominated ethnic group, and each ethnic group has its own customs and habits. As long as you observe the local folk customs and do not do anything that violates the local customs, there is usually no danger. For our group of tourists, your guide and driver are local Tibetans, they will tell you what you can and can't do. If you are not confident about what you are about to do, you can ask your guide and driver first.
Most Tibetans in Tibet are devout Buddhists, they are humble and kind natured, taking stealing, killing as taboos. They are friendly to tourist, if you need help they will be eager to help; they are hospitable, if you come to their home, they will be warm hospitality guests, let you feel at home.
3. Traffic and Road Safe in Tibet
The road condition inside Tibet is better, and nowadays, tourists from Hong Kong and Macau can travel freely within Tibet and can drive themselves there. Overseas Chinese tourists still need to travel with a group.
Well-paved road around Lake Manasarovar in Tibet
There are well-paved roads between main cities and tourists destinations. One of great examples is the road stretching from Lhasa to Gyirong Border, following the Friendship Highway, being broad and smooth for travel. Even for the route leading to the Everest Base Camp, it is no longer gravel road any more.
On the other hand, no aggressive driving will be permitted inside Tibet. There are many checks and rate limiting sections throughout the overland. But considering they are mostly mountain roads, which are relatively narrow, driving safety is very important and should be paid extra attention.
We suggest that tourists who are new to Tibet should not choose to travel by car, as the roads in Tibet are complicated and only local experienced drivers are more familiar with the road conditions and safer to drive. The drivers and guides we choose for tourists are all local Tibetans, they are familiar with the road conditions and the speed limit conditions of the road, so it is very safe to choose our Tibet tour with a group.
4. Natural Disasters in Tibet
Tibet is one area with the most severe natural disaster, weather and climate in China for Tibet is located at an average altitude of more than 4,000 meters. When you travel to Tibet, the most likely natural disasters you will encounter are landslides and mudslides. Especially in summer, Tibet receives a large amount of rainfall, which may cause torrential flood, landslide, snowslide and mud-rock flow.
But there is no need to be panic, as the road maintenance along the way in Tibet are doing very well. The regular tourist routes in Tibet have been managed very well. And as long as you are aware of emerging risks and take appropriate precautions, like check the weather forecast before you go to mountain areas, you can rarely encounter the natural disasters.
5. Cultural and Religious Taboos in Tibet
Tibet is a region where Tibetan Buddhism is the main faith, and most of the attractions here are related to Buddhism, especially the monasteries, palaces, relics, etc.. Many natural landscapes such as Mount Kailash, Lake Manasarovar, etc. are also related to the beliefs of the Tibetan people.
Tibetan people all have religious belief.
There are more taboo issues in Tibetan Buddhism. Many temples do not allow photography when visiting. When the camera will be aimed at Tibetans or pilgrims, please first obtain the consent of the people being photographed...
The Tibetan people are basically very warm and friendly, and will agree to take pictures. When entering a Tibetan family as a guest, the guide will inform you of the precautions to take, and if you can't speak the language, you can ask the guide to convey it.
Etiquette and taboos that need your attention in Tibet
1. Don't make loud noises in the temple, or touch the Buddha statue with your hands;
2. Don't put your arm around the shoulders of Tibetans and touch their heads;
3. Locals are forbidden to kill and don't eat dog meat, horse meat, donkey meat, some places don't eat fish meat;<
4. Don't step on the threshold when entering the door;
5. When you see Mani piles, stupas, temples, you should go around from left to right, and the direction of kora should be around clockwise;
6. Greet Tibetans with your both hands when they offer you tea, and bow to accept the when offer you Hada;
6. Safety for Solo Female Traveller in Tibet
For female travelers, travel safety is a very important factor to consider. There are some regions of the world where women need to pay extra attention to their personal safety issues, but this is not the case in Tibet, especially within the formal tourist areas that have been developed. As long as you travel in Tibet, the places you visit are regular tourist attractions, whether you travel with a group or on your own, it is relatively safe.
International tourist needs to join in an organized tour, either in a private tour or a group. Therefore, for solo traveller, you will be accompanied by your guide, or other group members during the tour. Even you are alone, you are relatively safe. Tibetan social security is very good, one can travel with confidence.
7. Safety during Camping and Trekking
In Tibet, we have well-designed trekking routes, such as Everest Base Camp Trek, Mount Kailash Trek, Andes to Samey Trek etc. Generally short distance trekking does not need to stay in tents, but during the trekking the road is bumpy, so you must pay attention to safety, beware of falling rocks and slippery feet.
For long distance trekking such as Gama Valley trekking, we will arrange special cattle workers to carry your luggage, and the guide will arrange your itinerary and accommodations, and the camping will be set up in the safest and windproof area to ensure warmth and comfort. There are temples for accommodation along the trekking route of Mount Kailash, so tourists do not have to worry about camping safety.
To sum up, travelling in Tibet is relatively safe nowadays. For group tours, our drivers and guides will ensure your safety throughout the trip; for solo traveler, the social security in Tibet has also improved greatly. If you encounter safety problems or dangers, you can turn to your driver and guide; or turn to the local police. If you choose our tour itinerary, we will guarantee your travel safety and let you enjoy the beautiful scenery of Tibet with peace of mind.