10 Things Not to Do When Visiting Tibet

10 Things Not to Do When Visiting Tibet

By Candice SongUpdated Sep. 13, 2021

After you are ready for a Tibet tour, keep the following 10 don'ts in mind during your trip. They will help you cope with high altitude sickness, learn about the taboos or monastery manners, and avoid other problems. 

1. Don't Run, Overeat, or Take a Shower at First

It's very common to get altitude sickness on the first or second day when you arrive at Lhasa, at an altitude of about 3,650 m (12,000 ft).

To help yourself adapt to the high altitude, you are suggested not to run or walk fast, or otherwise exert yourself, and not to eat too much.

The advice against taking a shower in the first 2 days is to avoid catching a cold, which can greatly worsen high-altitude symptoms.

>>Read more Altitude of Tibet

2. Don't Forget to Prepare Medicine for Altitude Sickness

As it's common to get altitude sickness, you'd better prepare some medicine for it. You can ask your doctor for suggestions. Or see below for our medical advice.

  • Aspirin for headache
  • Acetazolamide (Diamox) for short supply of oxygen
  • Dexamethasone for brain swelling. Take it for several days before any serious climbing.
  • Ibuprofen for minor headaches and bodily maladies
  • Nifedipine for high blood pressure and aiding breathing at high altitude
  • Frusemide for extreme cases of pulmonary swelling

As well as medicine you should bring some snacks, like chocolate, on the journey to Mt. Everest, since it's a long drive of about 10 hours from Shigatse. >>Read more Dealing with Altitude Sickness.

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3. Don't Use the Oxygen Bottle Until Necessary

You can expect to have a headache or have difficulty falling asleep at night on the first couple of days. But suffering these will let your body get used to the high altitude.

Don't resort to oxygen bottles unless it's very necessary (e.g. if you're very sick at Everest Base Camp, or if you will be relying on bottled oxygens and you don't plan to allow your body to get used to the high altitude.

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4. Don't Forget to Drink More Water and Bring Sunscreen

The climate at Tibet is dry, even in the “rainy season”. You might have less of an appetite, but you should definitely drink more water, to prevent dehydration.

The sunlight is very strong, so wear sunscreen to stop your skin being damaged by UV rays.

5. Don't Wear Hat or Sunglass When Visiting Monasteries

As UV radiation is very strong in Tibet, you will need to bring a hat and sunglasses with you. But remember to take them off them when visiting monasteries in Tibet. >> Read more What to Pack for a Tibet Tour

6. Don't Go Round Buildings Counter Clockwise

According to Tibetan Buddhism, no matter whether you are a pilgrim or a casual visitor, all people should walk clockwise when visiting Tibetan monasteries.

No matter you are visiting a monastery, Barkhor Street, or following the pilgrims doing a kora (a worshipful walk around), don't go counter clockwise.

And if you are using a prayer wheel, don't turn it counter clockwise. >>Read more about kora

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7. Don't Point at Buddha Statues with One Finger

It's quite rude to point at a person with one finger in Tibet, let alone the Buddha's image. So, to show respect to Buddha and local monasteries, never point at Buddhist idols or shrines with one finger.

8. Don't Forget Your Passport and Tibet Permit

To be on the safe side you'd better have copies for your passport, Tibet Entry Permit, and China visa for entering Tibet. To go to Shigatse and Mt. Everest you will also need a Tibet Travel Permit. >> Read more about Getting Tibet Permit

Your documents will be checked en route. If you don't have them, you will have to return to Lhasa. But don't be too worried, your compulsory tour guide will remind you the day before departure.

9. Don't Forget to Bring a Thick Coat to Mt. Everest

If you are visiting Mt. Everest Base Camp and camp there during your Tibet tour, don't forget to bring a thick coat. Even in hot summer, it's quite cold at the base camp (altitude about 5,200 m, 17,060 ft), especially at night.

If you forget the coat, you will probably have to stay in your bed hiding from the cold and miss the beautiful starry view at night.

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10. Don't Talk About Political Topics

Don't try to talk about political topics with your tour guide or local Tibetans. The people and government are very sensitive in Tibet.

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