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Things you need to know before Tibet Trekking




For the greatest adventurers trekking in Tibet is one of the must-do things on the list. In recent years, more and more tourists are coming to Tibet only for the unique treks and the majestic landscapes and scenery. Tibet is the highest region in the world, with an average altitude of 4,800 meters. Often is regarded as the "Roof of the World" or the "Third Pole." The reason for that is the number of glaciers and the volume of ice that lies within the Himalayas.


Trekking is the perfect way to get in-depth and truly explore Tibet. There is no doubt that trekking on the famous Tibetan trekking paths will give you the most incredible experience of a lifetime that you can't get anywhere in the world.

Tibet has several trekking routes, but seven are the most popular for tourists. We will start this article with the most popular treks in Tibet that you should know.

The best Tibet trekking routes

Before booking a Tibet trekking tour, you should know the trekking routes, and choose the best for you. If you are not an active trekker that we advise you to choose one of the shortest treks near Lhasa. However, if you have a high level of fitness condition, then select one of the challenging routes and test yourself on this new adventure.

Ganden to Samye Trek

This trek route from Ganden to Samye is the most popular trek in Tibet. It's one of the closest trekking routes to Lhasa and also one of the shorter treks at four days, so it the best option for those with less time and even for those who aren't active trekkers. This trek route is the best way to feel the spirit of Tibet in a short time.


On this trek, you will see beautiful lakes, majestic alpine forests, and meadows. Despite being the shortest route, there are still challenges that include crossing over Chitu La and Shug La, and both these passes exceed 5000m.

The best period for this trekking route is from March to May and September to mid. October.

Mount Kailash Trek

Mount Kailash is the most sacred mountain not just in Tibet, but in the whole world. Mt. Kailash is a holy mountain for four religious Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Bon. Every year thousands of pilgrims circle the mountain believing that this walk will free them from their sins.

The tourists can also join the pilgrims in circling. The trek is about 52km long, and it takes three to four days to finish. It is not the hardest but surely is the most enlightened trekking route. During the trek, you will visit the Manasarovar Lake, which is the most sacred lake in Tibet, and also five monasteries. The best period for this trek route is during Saga Dawa Festival, which is in June next year. If you can't set the dates for the festival, you can trek from May to October.

Gyama Valley Trek

This trekking route is the favorite for the greatest adventurers. Also, this route is one of the most beautiful treks in Tibet. Gyama Valley trek is eight days and includes crossing four beautiful valleys, and you will have a view over Mount Everest.  The region is known how its numerous wildflowers and orchids as well as forested slopes at the lower elevations. The high point on the trek is Shauwula Pass at 4900m. The best time to trek this route is from April to June and from September to mid-October. Avoid the summer months for trekking because from July to the end of August is the rainy season, and the tracks are slippery and muddy, which can be quite tricky.

Tsurphu to Yangpachen Trek

Tsurphu to Yangpachen trek is an excellent choice for those who want to get close contact with the Tibetan herders and their lifestyle. This trekking route lasts eight days and includes rugged walk crosses several alpine valleys like Leten valley, Bartso valley before emerging into the broad and windswept Yangpachen valley. The majestic views of the snow-capped Himalayas in the distance are a permanent inspiration. It is a high elevation trek passing 4400m for the entire duration and a maximum elevation of 5400m at the Lasar-la. The best time for this trek is from Mid- April to Mid of October.

The Advanced Everest Base Camp Trek

The Everest Advanced Base camp trek is the most spectacular trekking route in the world. This trek route is a choice for the most prepared physically and mentally adventurers. Do go on this trek you must be healthy, and to have an outstanding level of fitness preparation.  It is the highest trek in the world, it starts from Lhasa at 3,656 meters, and it ends at the Advanced Everest BaseCamp, which is situated at 6500 meters above sea level.


Among the elevation, there is also the harsh weather that makes this trek more difficult for trekking. Also, to climb Mount Everest, you must have a climbing permit.

Shalu to Nartang Trek

Shalu to Nartang trek route is also one of the best short trekking routes in Tibet. This two or three-day walk is an excellent opportunity to get a feel for trekking in Tibet. There are two passes en route, Showa-la, and Char-la. This trek begins at the historic Shalu Monastery and crosses west over a couple of small areas to Ngor Monastery. From Ngor, it is a downhill slog to Narthang Monastery. The route passes through several villages as well as isolated dry canyons. The best time for this trekking tour is from April to the end of October.

Everest Base Camp trek

Everest Base Camp trek is also one of the most popular trekking routes in Tibet. Unfortunately, from January 2019, the Everest Base Camp is closed for tourists, and the highest point that you can get is Rongbuk Monastery. If you want to go beyond this point, you will need a special permit, which is hard to get. China's government is putting a limit on the number of climbing permits that will be issued. However, the trekking route from Lhasa to Rongbuk Monastery is impressive, and the view from the Rongbuk over Mount Everest is majestic and breathtaking.  If you want to book this Tibet trekking tour, you won't regret it. And the best time to do this trek is from April to June and September to December.

Can't Travel alone in Tibet

An essential part of traveling in Tibet is that you can go alone without being accompanied by a licensed tour guide. Also, you must have an organized tour, with transportation and a driver. To have all of this, you need to book a trip via a travel agency. We recommended a Chinese travel agency or local Tibetan travel agency. If you choose a reliable and professional travel agency with decent years of experience, you will have the most relaxed trip in Tibet. The professional travel agency will give you the most necessary information about your journey. 

Travel Documents

Once you choose the trekking route that you want to trek in Tibet, next is to prepare the necessary travel documents for this trip. First, you must apply for a Chinese Visa at the Chinese Embassy in your country, and for that, you will need a valid passport. The cost for a Chinese visa for US Passport holders is US$160 for a regular application. The second most important document to enter Tibet is Tibet Travel Permit. You cannot apply for TTP. On your behalf will apply your chosen travel agent.

Depending on which trekking route you choose, you will need to have a few more permits for visiting those areas.  Alien's Permit will need you if you want to trek in the areas near Samye Monastery, Sakya Monastery, or if you choose trek route to Mt.Everest, Mt.Kailash, and Lake Manasarovar. Military entry permit will need you if you visit sensitive military areas in Tibet, such as Like Mount Kailash.

Acclimatization

It is a crucial thing when you are traveling to Tibet for trekking. You cannot start trekking without being good acclimatized. You should spend a few days in Lhasa, before start trekking on a high altitude. The best way to get gradual acclimatization is to travel by train from mainland China to Lhasa. The traveling by train takes approximately 43 hours, but it's a fantastic experience. However, you can get to Lhasa in short time by traveling by plane, but you won't get the acclimatization. Most of the trekking tours are made that tourists spend 2-3 days in Lhasa to get acclimatization, which is also an excellent opportunity to visit Lhasa's most popular attractions.

Packing List

Trekking in Tibet is a once in a lifetime experience, but also required a special packing list. The active trekkers might be familiar with part of this list, but some items are special to pack for trekking in Tibet.
The critical thing for Tibet trekking is to dress in layers. The weather condition variates in different areas that you will cross, and you will not have a place for changing the clothes. So, the best way is to dress in layers.

Below is the packing list for Tibet trekking:

Clothing and shoes

●       Hiking boots and walking shoes
●       Wicking T-shirts
●       Fleece tops
●       T-shirts both long and short sleeves
●       Hiking pants (1 pair of waterproof hiking pants)
●       Thermal underwear
●       Cotton and woolen socks
●       Warm winter jacket
●       Raincoat
●       Windproof jacket
●       Warm hat and sun hat
●       Warm gloves
●       Scarf
●       Bandana
●       Sleeping bag
●       Backpack (70l or bigger)
●       Trekking poles

Hygiene and Toiletry items

●       Sunscreen
●       Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer
●       Lip Balm
●       Feminine products
●       Shaving items
●       Shampoo and soap
●       Wet wipers
●       Toilet paper
●       Towels

Accessories 

●       Sunglasses with UV protection
●       Torch or headlamp
●       Thermos

Optional accessories

●       Camera
●       Extra batteries
●       Electric outlet adapters for Tibet
●       Bags for dirty clothes
●       Zip bags

Medicine

●       Diamox
●       Medicine to treat diarrhea
●       Painkillers
●       Antibiotics
●       First aid kit, which must include all necessary items and extra bandages and antiseptic cream

Food and drink

●       Dry food such as dried fruits, nuts or chocolate bars
●       All kinds of snacks
●       Canned food if it's possible
●       A lot of water