Deciding what to pack is not always easy, but do try to remember this principle: Pack the minimum wherever you travel! Planning a trip to Tibet is just the same as in any other places. But remember Tibet is on the roof of the world and most part of it is remote area. The things to pack should be in your consideration beforehand. As Tibet is on the highland with a special climate, you need to prepare suitable clothing and travelling paraphernalia.
1. Most Important Ones
The passport with all necessary visas and Tibet travel permits.
The temperatures change greatly on the altiplano. In the north part of Tibet, people wear thick coats all year round (including July and August which are the hottest months in most of the areas in China). The highest temperature is 4-5 degrees centigrade in northern Tibet. It also snows in July and August.
The temperature difference in a single day is big. In Lhasa, the temperature in July arrives at 30 degrees centigrade at daytime, but falls to 10 degrees centigrade at night. Sometimes it will snow or sleet at night, so you'd better take some down garments (those with hats will better), woolen sweaters, warm gloves, warm and wind-proof shoes and socks. Wearing several layers of clothing that can be easily added or removed is the wise choice since temperatures may vary greatly within a single day.
Most hotels in Tibet have no central heating. The air-conditioners in single rooms do not work well in the cold night. In winter, from November to next March, of course you need bring down jackets, warm sweaters, gloves, warm pants, woolen hats. It is very cold in the morning and evening. In summer, wearing a T-shirt in day time but the Jacket is necessary at hotel in the morning and evening.
During the peak tourism season, April, May, September and October, you need to prepare T-shirts, overcoats and jeans, warm sweaters. Besides, frequent rainfall in this season makes waterproof clothing and raingear absolute necessities.
Even in summer, a down coat is necessary for those who are traveling beyond Lhasa and Shigatse into more remote areas such as the Everest Camp. A windbreaker plus a sweater will work nicely for strolling around Lhasa in summer.
Other essentials to pack include four or five pairs of cotton or woolen underwear, four or five pairs of woolen socks, long sleeve cotton or lightweight wool shirts and T-shirts. Women should avoid skirts or dresses.
Also, whenever you visit Tibet, if your plan includes overnight at Everest Base Camp or Namtso Lake, or a several days outdoor trek in mountain area, to keep warm is very important. The winter clothes are a must, However, you do not worry too much about clothing, you can buy any kind of what you need in Lhasa and clothes is quite cheap.
It is very important to have a strong comfortable pair of boots, specially your travel covers remote area and you have to walk for a long distance. For example, if your travel reaches Everest Base Camp, you need to cover 8 km from Rongpuk Monastery to EBC and back. Lightweight boots are fine, but Tibet can be wet and we will do extensive walking, so make sure your shoes fit well and are suitable for cold and puddles. You should also have a pair of comfortable and tough sandals.
A large backpack, a smaller one, plus a waist bag make it perfect. The smaller one can be used for daily activities and can also be put into the big one when necessary. The waist bag is for take some small and important things with you. Please do not take any big suitcase with you, as a wise traveler knows, the outdoor backpack is the best bag for travel because you can move more freely.
5. Daily articles
Hotels in some areas are very simple, without towels, soap etc. You need to bring your own items such as a cup, a small towel, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and slippers. Or you take some disposable items in better hotel you stay in Lhasa. It is not convenient to wash clothes when traveling at remote places, you can buy some disposable underpants.
Take an adequate supply of any prescription medication you use regularly, including medicine for cold, headache, stomach ache, and insect bite, diarrhea and so on. Most over-the-counter medicines, such as aspirin and anti-diarrheal pills, are available in Lhasa, but are more difficult to obtain outside of urban areas. If you wear contact lenses, be sure to bring enough cleaning solution for the term, since this is hard to find, and expensive. Bring diamox pills which are believed to prevent the altitude sickness. Please consult your doctor prior to your travel to Tibet.
7. Skin care products
Wind and solar radiation are quite strong in Tibet. The skin care products are quite necessary, such as lip balms, sun block, and skin creams,sunglasses. Ladies should take the high SPF sun-cream. By the way, do not forget to wear a hat and a long-sleeved T-shirt which can effectively protect you from being exposed under sunshine. Please pay much attention to this advice. Many people just neglect it and are seriously burnt on the trip.
8. Cash and credit cards
In Tibet, credit cards can only be used in big hotels in big cities such as Lhasa and Shigatse. Remember to bring some cash in different denominations and prepare enough cash for the days you are out of Lhasa since ATMs are few in the more remote areas.
9. Trekking equipments
Most areas in Tibet are extremely remote, with few inhabitants. It is necessary to prepare trekking equipments beforehand, including sleeping bags, sleeping mats, stoves, cookware and camp kitchen, water filter and purifiers, backpacks, dry bags, pack liners, trekking poles, hydration system, headlamps and lighting, camp bathroom, tents and tarps, first aid kits, emergency shelters, random handy gear, navigation, expedition food, hammocks, multi tools, lock knives, Swiss army Knives, etc. Some trekking supplies like down and fleece jackets, boots, bags are available in Lhasa, but it is better to be prepared before departing since supplies are unpredictable. But if you choose Tibettravel.org, we can help you to prepare trekking equipments in advance.
10. Food and drinks
When traveling to remote areas of Tibet it is a good idea to pack some food, snacks, and drinking water. It is not always easy to find food or drinkable water in these areas. Water purification equipment, such as hand pump filters, is not necessary, as bottled mineral water and thermoses of boiled water are available everywhere throughout Tibet. Water purification tablets can be useful during trekking.
It is a good idea to take a good quality multivitamin to supplement your diet since a supply of vegetables and fruits may not be readily available.
11. Electrical current
The electrical current in Tibet is 220v, AC 50 Hz. There are numerous different plug types used in Tibet , so it might be easier to purchase an adapter once you get there.
12. Oxygen bag
Oxygen bag is also necessary, for there are lots of places of high elevation. To avoid anoxic accidents, you can buy some oxygen bags in Tibetan hospitals or some of the hotels.
Other Useful Notions
I) Bring a sturdy padlock with you since some of the rooms in the hostels located in the more remote areas do not come equipped with locks on the doors.
II) Candles may also be useful in these hostels.
III) Maps of the areas that you plan on visiting can be very helpful.
IV) All necessary toilet items including small packages of tissues and either a battery operated shaver or razor.
V) Plastic bags, a flashlight, extra batteries, sewing kit, lighter, and a pocket knife.
VI) Don't forget your camera and plenty of film and spare batteries.
VII) There is really a lot to remember but if you forget something many of these items are available in Lhasa.