Frequently asked questions about Tibet

Can I exchange currency in Tibet?
Yes, you can. Euros for example can be easily exchanged at banks, exchange offices and sometimes at hotel receptions. This only applies to the larger towns however.
Can i withdraw money in Tibet?
Yes, in Lhasa and Shigatse, you can withdraw money at the Bank of China. Your debit card must have a cirrus logo.
Is a sleeping bag necessary for Tibet?
For our Tibet trips, you do not need sleeping bag. A sleeping bag liner is handy because although there will be enough blankets, sometimes they are not very clean and therefore a sleeping bag liner is a good idea.
Is a visa required for Tibet?
A permit is required for Tibet. This is arranged by Shoestring and is included in the tour price.

For the Tibet and Nepal (STN) trip, Please send a copy of your passport to us at info@shoestring.com no later than 4 weeks prior to departure*:

*The passport copy is also required in order to book your flight to Lhasa, again no later than 4 weeks beforehand. You should ensure that you have at least 6 months validity on your passport, beyond your intended return date.


For the China & Tibet (STI) trip, After receiving back your passport with a Chinese visa, we need an immediate copy of both your passport and your Chinese visa. These copies are required four weeks in advance of travel to Tibet. They are best emailed to us at the relevant address: info@shoestring.com

*You should ensure that your passport has at least a further 6 months validity beyond your return travel date.

What clothing should i take to Tibet?
Take plenty of layers of clothing that can be easily added or removed since temperatures in Tibet may vary greatly within a single day. The sun can get quite strong during the daytime, similarly at night it can get pretty cold. During the peak season (summer months), frequent rainfall makes waterproof clothing and raingear absolute musts.
What is the best time to travel to Tibet?
The best time to travel to Tibet is in spring, early summer and late autumn. July and August bring heavy rains and obscured views of the mountains.
What is the risk of altitude sickness in Tibet?
Altitude sickness occurs especially if staying above 3500 meters, something which in Tibet is frequently the case. This can be partially prevented by drinking plenty of water and calmly acclimatizing in Lhasa.

Altitude sickness is a reaction of the body to the increasingly low oxygen levels in the air. The main problem is the emergence of fluid accumulation in the lungs and/or brain. Altitude sickness is potentially life threatening. You should be alert to the symptoms yourself and of those with whom you are traveling. Before the symptoms are described, it is first important to note that  getting altitude sickness is not dependent on physical fitness routines or walking at high altitudes. Even experienced hikers can after many treks become susceptible. People under the age of thirty, who previously had altitude sickness and people with lung and heart problems are at greater risk. Those people who needlessly heighten the pace of the group are also putting themselves at greater risk.

There is a whole range of symptoms resulting from altitude sickness. Symptoms include nausea, headache, insomnia, dizziness, vomiting and headache that does not respond to aspirin. Enormous fatigue, shortness of breath or tightness without effort are all symptoms. With these symptoms you can slowly go up, but it is better just to wait until symptoms are gone. Symptoms suggestive of severe altitude sickness, whereby you should immediately descend are: foamy/spitty cough, blue lips and tongue, inability to lie flat, constricted consciousness. In this case descend to a lower area, take on more the oxygen and if possible, visit the hospital.

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