Last week two of my colleagues returned from their observation tour of the Tibet, and they brought back plenty of travel experiences, tips and photos.
I will present here a few Tibet tips and experiences that favor me or amuse me most.
The very first question a potential Tibet visitor wonders is when is the best season to visit Tibet?
The particular months in the answer might vary from different travel agencies in order to accommodate the on sale travel deals, but usually they would recommend the seasons from the spring to the fall. The reason seems quite obvious. The assumed treacherous cold weather in the winter is too risky for the travel agency to plan a satisfactory tour for their clients.
However the concerns over weather factors are exaggerated and mostly blind worries. Most people ignore the fact that the outstanding altitude and the thin air of the Tibet Plateau not only drop the temperature, but also preserve the energy contains in the sun light rays before it land. As a matter of fact, the average day time temperature during the winter Lhasa is more comfortable than that of Beijing or London. The temperature after sunset drops fast because the thin air cannot provide enough reflections to sustain the heat. Nevertheless the day time is long in the Tibet, and there is nowhere you have to visit at night.
It is true that many Tibet traditional festivals and religious ceremonies are only available in warm season. Thus, together with the fact that Tibet has a short warm season, travelers around the world fill into the streets of Lhasa, squeeze in the bus, and jam in the road toward the famous attractions of the Tibet. The locals, even some monks, are busy at making money in this flourishing tourism industry, and the backpackers might have difficulties to get the hotel reservations.
But, as my personal opinion, the beauty of the Tibet lies on her primitive, tranquility, and eternity. ‘Touristic’ is the thing I want to avoid when visiting a place like Tibet. And this is the major reason that I am recommending you to visit Tibet at winter… before it gets hot.
Table of the average temperature of Lhasa:
In °C Jan. Feb. May Apr. Mar. June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.
12.8 15.6 18.8 21.5 24.9 28.0 27.5 26.1 24.6 21.3 16.9 14.1
-14.2 -12.0 -8.9 -4.6 -0.2 4.9 6.5 6.4 4.5 -4.3 -9.2 -13.4
0.5 1.7 5.9 10.1 13.5 17.2 16.5 15.7 14.1 8.9 3.8 1.0
The bonus advantages of visiting Tibet in the winter also include patient driver, guide, and attraction managers, no queuing needed outside restaurants, no crowds in the attractions… and so on.
Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is due to a combination of reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes. Oxygen packs can solve most problems arising from low air density, but extra oxygen can only ease the symptoms caused by dramatic air pressure drop. It is better for travelers to play around locations of general high altitude (2000M-3000M) and have your body adjusted to the changes before entering into places over 5000 meters altitude.
And one has serious hypertension, respiratory disease or heart trouble should reconsider the risk. However there is no need to worry if you always feel tired after climbing a mountain; vehicles and oxygen packs are always available during your journey.
- Only 14th floor of Potala Palace is open to visitors, and the length of each stair are short. Be prepared to walk, and do not wear high heel shoes.
- The bottled water and snacks in your hotel room charge, and you can purchase same stuff cheaper in the local store.
- If you are planned to visit some attractions in long distance, you should get up early instead of driving fast, the driving speed in most roads are strictly limited.
- You can have quick stop for photos.
- Do not eat too much when your journey of the day would experience big altitude change.
- Snow is not going to block the access because it melts fast under the sun light in Tibet, even in the winter.
- Do remember to back up oxygen packs as it relieves almost all the AMS symptoms. Usually we will prepare for you.
The mysteries of Tibet are left to your exploration.
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