China tours; altitude too

Jul 31st, 2005, 03:11 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 815
China tours; altitude too

Need lots of feedback for a trip being planned this Spring. Can anyone recommend a Tour outfit that uses hotels "with character" rather than those anonymour high-rises?
Also, regarding Tibet - was the altitude a problem? We're pretty fit, but are pushing 70.
NGail is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 06:41 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Altitude affects different people to various degrees. When my parents went there about 12 years ago (my dad was about 58, my mom 50); my mom had a lasting headache and didn't sleep well. It didn't affect my dad much.

The most important thing is to take it slow and easy. Do not rush things. Walk slowly. Especially during the first 24 hours or so.

If the tour includes going to higher places than Lhasa, then make sure there's oxygen available. Chances are you don't need it, but still get it as an insurance.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 03:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Our hotel in Lhasa provided oxygen tanks in room and you could purchase a prepaid card to insert into it for so many minutes/hours of use. They also sold portable oxygen bottles and all manner of stuff to aid with altitude adjustment, although I don't know how effective any of these products are.

I took a ginkgo supplement starting 5 days before arrival and during my stay which I feel helped, but what worked for me might not work for you. Also you can't take ginkgo if you're taking any other blood thinning medication. I used the dosage listed here -

There's lots of other advice about high altitude on that site as well. You can also look into getting a prescription for Diamox. I ran into some people who were taking that, but there are some side effects to be aware of and you should probably discuss this with your physician.

Take it very easy the first day or two and stay well hydrated.
Patty is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 05:55 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I was 56 when I went to Lhasa on a tour and I think I am reasonably fit. I was adversely affected by the altitude -- bad headache and nausea. The hotel was supposed to provide oxygen but was out. Finally, my husband & our guide bought an oxygen container the size of a large hair spray can, and with that I was able to make the trek up to Potala Palace! I do not plan to travel to any other high altitudes, unless I change my mind! By the way, I did the Gingko thing, but guess it didn't help me. On the same trip I learned that I am allergic to sulfa drugs and that also means I should not use Diamox.
Marsh is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 06:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,352
I took Diamox for a recent trip to Cuzco, Peru. The altitude didn't affect me although I can't be sure it was the Diamox or that the altitude just didn't affect me. The only side effect I had was some slight tingling in my toes, almost like my foot was falling asleep. I got this every morning and it lasted about 10 minutes. My husband said that on the first day of taking Diamox, carbonated beverages tasted like metal but this was only for the first day and it went away. After seeing how the altitude affected some people, I was glad to have the Diamox. Some people I spoke to said that they had such pounding headaches and dizziness, they just stayed in bed the whole time. Not a very good use of vacation time.
laurieco is offline  
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