When packing for a Tibet trip you need to take into account the weather; comfort; dressing to respect the local traditions and the size and weight of your bag if you will have to carry it.
The size of your bag – If you are taking one of the tours to remote areas or to the Everest Base Camp or Mt. Kailash then it is important that you are comfortable carrying your bag and that it is not too heavy or too big.
Dress for comfort – In Tibet there will be no need for high heels or fancy evening wear! You need to be comfortable, casual and warm. Take walking shoes or hiking boots rather than shoes with heels. Don’t take any expensive or delicate clothing as Tibet is a down-to-earth, rough and natural travel destination.
Respect the locals – In Tibet the locals are modest and conservative so they do not reveal too much skin. On your tour to Tibet you will probably be visiting religious sites and in these places modesty is also important. For this reason it is recommended to choose skirts or pants (jeans) rather than shorts. The skirts should not be too short; preferably at least up to your knees and long pants/jeans are preferable over skirts. There is no problem if women prefer to wear pants rather than skirts. For the top half of the body it is preferable to dress modestly as well with tops that are not sleeveless or see-thru.
Packing for Tibetan weather – As with all travel it is best to dress in layers so you can peel off a layer of clothing if it gets too hot and add a layer if it gets cold. Even if you are traveling to Tibet in the summer it is recommended to take a warm jacket and a light waterproof jacket. In winter and if you are traveling to remote, colder parts of Tibet it is recommended to invest in thermal underwear and a very warm down coat. Also remember the importance of keeping your extremities warm so take gloves and a hat.
Here is a recommended packing list for Tibet; not all travelers will need all the things on this list but they are worth considering. Some of the items only apply if you are female and some are specific to a particular season or part of Tibet. We recommend a backpack/duffle bag rather than a suitcase and a small day pack.
Recommended Packing List of Things to Take to Tibet
Documents – passport, insurance, air/train tickets, visa etc (check with your tour operator)
Cash and credit cards (ATMs only in Lhasa and very few in other areas)
Hiking boots/solid sports shoes (invest in good quality walking shoes)
Waterproof suit (rain suit pants and jacket)
Towel (quick dry, microfiber)
Long sleeve T-shirts
Thermal underwear (top and bottom)
2-3 pairs jeans/sweat pants/synthetic fabric pants (you don’t need a different pair for each day)
5-7 pairs of socks (1-2 pairs per day of your trip preferably polypropylene or wool)
3-5 Pairs underwear (for each day of your stay)
2-3 Bras (women)
Sunglasses/snow glasses (essential even in winter when the sun reflects off the snow)
Camera, batteries, recharger, film/digital memory card
Mobile phone, recharger, spare battery, ear phones
Electrical adaptors (Tibet uses Type 1 3 pin plugs and 220V, AC 50Hrtz
Wide brimmed sun hat
Warm wooly hat
Journal (Not essential)
Binoculars (not essential)
Swim suit (depending on your itinerary)
Snacks (There is little Western food in Tibet and you might not like local food. You also might need snacks to take with you on day trips and treks to replenish your energy fast)
Reading book (for long bus journeys to remote locations)
Personal music player (for the long bus journeys to remote locations)
Tips/gifts for locals – pens, candy etc (rather small gifts than money)
Toiletries and First Aid
Shaving equipment (razor, shaving cream or electric shaver and recharger)
Moisturizer (Tibet has a dry climate)
Toothbrush and paste
Altitude sickness pills
Vicks vapor rub
Hand gel disinfectant
Washing powder (for long trips where you might want to wash your clothes)
For some tours which involve extended trekking/camping you could need additional items. It is best to consult with Tibet Discovery:
Camp stove (high altitude fuel stove as due to the low oxygen levels some fuels won’t light)
Sleeping bag and insulation pad (ask tour operator if you will need)
Ground cloth or tarp (not essential for all Tibet tours, ask the tour operator)
Trekking pants with zip off bottoms
2 fleece tops – one light and one heavy
Portable charger/solar charger for your electrical gadgets.
Down jacket with hood
Matches and lighter
Water purification tablets
Cup, spoon, pan (ask your tour company if you will need)
Swiss army knife