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Old 12-02-2007, 11:20 AM   #1
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Default Finalizing a trip to Tibet, need advice

Alright guys, I will be headed to Tibet in May for a month ... already have plane tickets and visa situated, so that end of the deal is a go.

However, I've never gone backpacking before and am hoping for some assistance on what kind of gear and clothing I should be bringing with me. I've lined up stays in some monasteries in Lhasa, though I'll be wanting to rough it for a couple days, so will be brining a sleeping bag and tarp.

I understand the weather in May during the day will be fair though I should expect sharp drops in the temperature during the night.

I'm expecting to have access to cleaning clothes about once a week or so, even if that involves finding a river.

So, I'm hoping someone thats been in the area can help me out here as far as selecting a solid backpack, daypack, suitable clothes, etc.

I'm a novice and looking forward to getting my traveling cherry popped by going to Tibet.
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Old 12-02-2007, 01:18 PM   #2
 
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Don't have any advice for you, but I just wanted to comment. Sounds like it would be an amazing time. Please let us know how it goes, because this is something I have been looking into myself.
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Old 12-02-2007, 01:38 PM   #3
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wow, good job with providing yourself with adventure

ok, what gear do you already have? have you spent much time camping in wild places before? or are you totally going out their to face frontier adventure and have that peak experience?

to be honest i wouldn't plan on washing my clothes in a river, not unless your setting up a base camp, because of issues with weight/drying etc so i'd prob just be a scruffy bastard. that said base layers do get stinking, so maybe take three sets (tops and bottoms) since they are very lightweight and pack down Really small.

your trip sounds like its including an exped element to it, so i kinda like the principle smaller is better. so a wash kit i'd take would be:

a face cloth, but rather using it as a face cloth use it as a towel (no joke, it works a treat)

small tube of tooth past,

a cut down toothbrush (so just you've got the head and a little bit of handle)

small bar of soap

and thats about it, deff enough to commando wash (pits, sack and crack, you know, the sweatiest areas), you could take a second face cloth if you fancy a proper scrub.

for the wild side of it i do like traveling with small bags 35-40 litres, so that would hold
2 spare sets of base layers,

1 spare set of mid layers (if its really cold)

water proofs

hat, gloves, buff (usually if i've got a buff i wont bother with a hat)

wash kit

basic med kit.

down sleeping bag

Bivvy/survival bag (basically a Big plastic bag)

some food

its going to be pretty cold in tibet, so i'd say a down sleeping bag since they are pretty warm, plus sleeping in thermals, hat gloves etc, and having stuff to make a warm drink as soon as you wake up to get you core temp up.

your trip sounds awesome, make sure you come back to us with pics and stories
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Old 12-02-2007, 06:19 PM   #4
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I've gone camping before and done some hiking in the Appalachian and Rockies but don't have my own gear. So this one will be my first solo trip.

Thanks for all of the wonderful advice Rozza, do you have any suggestions as far as gear brand or the best locations to buy at? I'm in Iowa currently.

I know I need a backpack, sleeping bag, base layers, etc ... however there are so many brands, websites, and stores that I'm not sure where to buy from.

I will keep some food on me, though I'm hoping to survive off local cuisine. I've got a really strong stomach and after seeing reviews of some of the cuisine in Tibet - sea cucumbers, pig stomach, sea urchin, etc, I can't wait to give it all a try.
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Old 12-02-2007, 07:25 PM   #5
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Hi there and welcome back here !

Nice first solo trip you have there. I spent months on the other side of the Himalayas, Nepal, during winter time. Even though the weather gets mild during day time, think of bringing warm, very warm socks or slippers. The temperature can drop to around O celsius during the evening, and there is no heat inside. Well, I assume it'll be like in Nepal. If you intend to stay at locals, you aren't allowed to keep you shoes inside.

Also, a friend of mine traveled by bus, from Lhasa to Kathmandu (2-3 dayish trip), and she had the "best spot" : the rooftop! Cooooooooold !!!! Just thought this might be of interest...

You could consider buying part of your equipment in Tibet. It'll be cheap and you won't overload your backpack from home. In Nepal, the only item that wasn't recommended to buy, because of its bad quality, was boots.

Have you read this page ? There's a lot of good infos, example : bring a lock because hotels in remote areas might not have one.
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Old 12-02-2007, 07:56 PM   #6
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I was actually just looking into Tibet last week. What kind of budget do you have set for that month?
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Old 12-02-2007, 08:14 PM   #7
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Add me to the list of people interested. I am going to China next year and would love to make a Lhasa pitstop

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Old 12-02-2007, 08:27 PM   #8
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Slightly off topic: I did a search for Lijiang on this forum and got no results, but i'm told it is a very popular tourist destination for China.

Has anyone been?
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gheid View Post
I've got a really strong stomach and after seeing reviews of some of the cuisine in Tibet - sea cucumbers, pig stomach, sea urchin, etc, I can't wait to give it all a try.
Hmm... I've had a lot of Tibetan/Nepali/Sikkimese cuisine while in the area and can't remember ever seeing anything even remotely resembling seafood. Tibet is pretty much hell and gone from any body of salt water so I'd guess most of the sea cucumbers and urchins are recent Chinese influence. Pig stomach, tripe, tongue, various yak parts etc are all pretty common though.
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Old 12-05-2007, 09:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by space virgin View Post
Hmm... I've had a lot of Tibetan/Nepali/Sikkimese cuisine while in the area and can't remember ever seeing anything even remotely resembling seafood. Tibet is pretty much hell and gone from any body of salt water so I'd guess most of the sea cucumbers and urchins are recent Chinese influence. Pig stomach, tripe, tongue, various yak parts etc are all pretty common though.
You are accurate in that most of the food in Tibet is of Chinese influence, in fact most of Lhasa now is Chinese and no longer Tibetan. If you want to see the real Tibet you've got to travel outside of Lhasa, though with the Olympics coming the Chinese gov't is making that harder to do.

My contact is an old professor who has studied and lived there for years. He's already warned me to heavily watch my tongue and stay away from sensitive subjects, i.e. Dali Lama and Panchen (splg?) Lama, as he said he can attest to, spending time in a Chinese prison is no fun.
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Old 12-05-2007, 10:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathma View Post
Slightly off topic: I did a search for Lijiang on this forum and got no results, but i'm told it is a very popular tourist destination for China.

Has anyone been?
I've been to Lijiang, what do you need? If you're looking for specific places to go, I'd say anything in old town would be a sight for sore eyes. It's absolutely beautiful.
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Old 12-05-2007, 10:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathma View Post
I was actually just looking into Tibet last week. What kind of budget do you have set for that month?
I've set aside $5000 tentatively for the trip. I managed to secure a flight from Chicago to Beijing for $1100, from there I'm taking the new train they just built to Lhasa.

Keep in mind that I'm also having to buy gear now too as I don't already have some. So in reality, I'll be looking at closer to 6-7k, which isn't too bad. This is a once in a lifetime trip.
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