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"Acclimatisation" Lhasa Warnings Or Dangers Tip by bignick

Lhasa Warnings and Dangers: 32 reviews and 25 photos

Ariving in Lhasa 2 days before Christmas is the arse end of the tourist season so to speak. Following a weeks trekking in China's Yunnan Province, starting in Lijiang, the trip to Tibet was a lucky one. 5 weeks of working and living at altitudes around 3000m, firstly near Kunming (2800m), then Zhaotong (3200m). A trek through Yunnan and Tiger Leaping Gorge around 3500m, then higher up to Zhongdian, with a highlight in that area of going to a natural hot spring at 3900m!

All of this culminated in acclimatisation up to 4000m. The river near Lhasa is at about 3950m, and any little venture out of the city means you’re heading easily towards 5000m. We both encountered a few hours feeling the effects of increased altitude, but fortuntaely short lived. We encountered a few individuals, who after flying directly from USA to Shanghai, Chengdu and straight to Lhasa looked like death incarnate. A grey complexion and tiredness had these folk almost bed bound for the duration of their trip. Its not worth it, so please take care and consideration to acclimatise somewhere else in China for example before you arrive in Tibet. When you get there, you cannot get lower, unless you start digging!

Do not take the effects of altitude (AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness) lightly, it can severely affect you, and you can’t pre-empt it. As in our case, re-acclimatisation to above 4000m was sudden, but fortunately limited to a few hours. You need to drink lots of water, and rest frequently. We found that we were getting back to either hotel or restaurants and drinking loads of soft drinks, but then we’d being doing that for a few weeks on our other treks. A can of sprite is remarkably refreshing at 4000m when the temperature is –20 degrees C! More often though, we were mainly drinking ginger and/or mint tea, having a similar revitalising effect. Carrying a flask at all times is a great option for hydrating on the go, and keeping it topped up with hot water is essential given the coldness of your surroundings.


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  • Written Feb 15, 2007
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