7 Ways To Avoid Lhasa Altitude Sickness

Lhasa Altitude Sickness

Are you planning a trip to Lhasa Tibet, altitude sickness is commonly a huge concern. As one of the highest cities in the world, our guide will teach you everything you need to know about Lhasa altitude and seven ways to avoid Lhasa altitude sickness.

Lhasa Altitude

Lhasa altitude sits at 11,995 feet above sea level. As not only the highest city in Tibet, Lhasa is considered one of the highest cities in the world.

  • Lhasa altitude - 11,995 ft (3,656 m)

Located in Tibet in the southwester region of China, Lhas is the capital city and home to ancient Buddhist temples and stunning natural landscapes. Lhasa meaning is the "land of the gods", and is surrounded by the Himalayan Mountains. Due to its rich history and proximity to many Tibetan mountains including Mt Everest and, Lhasa is a popular destination for mountaineers, climbers, and vacationers.

Lhasa isn't alone in height, Tibet altitude averages around 14,000 feet and is home to some of highest mountains in the world.

  • Tibet altitude (average) - 14,000 ft (4,380 m)
  • Namtso Lake altitude - 15,479 ft (4,718 m)
  • Mt Everest altitude - 29,031 ft (8,848 m)
  • Shigatse altitude - 12408 ft (3,782 m)
  • Gyantse altitude -  13,050 ft (3,977 m)
  • Nyingchi altitude - 9,974 feet (3,040 m)

At 11,995 feet above sea level, you should be well prepared for Lhasa's high altitudes.

Is Lhasa The Highest City In The World?

Yes, considering its population, Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world.

While there's some towns higher, not many populated cities get close to Lhasa's height. La Paz in Bolivia has one of the closest elevations at 11,942 feet.

Is Tibet At High Altitude?

Yes, Mountain medicine recognizes Tibet as very high altitude.⁸

On the Tibetan Plateau, Tibet is considered the highest region in the world with an average elevation of 14,000 feet.

What Is The Highest Altitude Tibet?

Mount Everest is the highest altitude in Tibet at 29,031 feet above sea level.

In addition to Mt Everest, many mountain ranges and peaks in Tibet exceed 20,000 feet high — including Himalaya Mountains, Kunlun Mountains, Karakoram Range-Tanggula Mountains, Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains, Namcha Barwa, Makalu, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Namcha Barwa, and Shishapangma.

Do You Get Altitude Sickness In Lhasa?

Yes, you can get altitude sickness in Lhasa.

With approximately only 13% oxygen in the air, the risk of altitude sickness in Lhasa is very high. It's estimated that up to 50% of people sleeping at an altitude over 10,000 feet will experience altitude sickness. At Lhasa, this number of cases could be even higher.

For perspective, altitude sickness in our state of Colorado can be bad, and most of the destinations don't come close to the height of Lhasa.

You should be well prepared for altitude sickness if traveling to Lhasa, and symptoms could be more on the severe side.

Lhasa Altitude Sickness

Lhasa altitude sickness (or Tibet altitude sickness) is caused by the lower oxygen levels in the air and body's inability to adapt.

High altitudes are proven to cause oxidative stress on the body, and increased respiration leading to fluid loss (or dehydration). This can lead to a range of symptoms including headache, extreme fatigue, and shortness or breath.

Symptoms of Lhasa Altitude Sickness may include:

  • headache
  • fatigue or tiredness
  • nausea or vomiting
  • difficulty breathing
  • dizziness or confusion
  • feeling of weakness
  • loss of appetite
  • feeling ill
  • trouble sleeping or insomnia

Be aware of these potential altitude sickness symptoms in Lhasa, which can develop within 6-24 hours upon arrival.

7 Ways To Avoid Lhasa Altitude Sickness

With the natural beauty of Lhasa, it comes with a really high risk of altitude sickness for travelers.

As a company with years of high-altitude experience being based in Colorado, we'll share with you our top researched ways to avoid altitude sickness and be best prepared.

Here's 7 Ways To Avoid Lhasa Altitude Sickness:

1. Get Plenty Of Hydration

At high altitudes in Tibet such as Lhasa, your body will increase respiration. The Wilderness Medical Society shows that you can lose fluids twice as fast at higher altitudes, which can lead to dehydration.¹¹

It's commonly recommended to drink half your body weight in ounces of water. You can monitor your hydration by paying attention to your urine, as yellow or dark yellow is usually a sign of not enough water.

TIP: To maximize your hydration, add sea salt (electrolytes) to your food, and take Zaca hydration chewable tablets to enhance water absorption.

2. Acclimate Slowly

As you ascend to higher altitudes, your body needs time to adjust to the lower oxygen levels. The general rule of thumb is to slowly go up in altitudes, however, this is difficult in Lhasa as the Lhasa Gonggar Airport is 11,713 feet high and many of its surrounding towns are too.

Xining at 7,464 feet, is a great destination to hit before Lhasa to help acclimate. After you stay a few days to get acclimated, you can venture on a popular train ride or a straight flight into Lhasa.

3. Drink Yak Tea

Yak tea is a traditional remedy used by Tibetans. The high fat content of the yak butter is known to be good for high altitudes, energy levels, electrolytes, and keeping the body warm.

Yak tea is made by steaming tea bags, churning yak butter, and adding salt, which is drank often by the locals. It is a good idea to try it if you are staying in Lhasa or any of its surrounding high-altitude destinations.

4. Maximize Sleep

Sleep is an important step to helping your body adjust to altitude as it's known to be a secret ingredient to recovery. Research has shown sleep to enhance oxygen and blood flow.¹³

It is recommended that you get plenty of restful sleep, preferably 7-9 hours per night. One way to help maximize your sleep is to get ample natural sunlight during the day that can assist your melatonin production and therefore sleeping cycling.

5. Limit Alcohol

Alcoholic drinks are one of the worst things you could have on your first day in Lhasa. Alcohol not only causes dehydration by being a diuretic, it can lower your oxygen saturation levels, and decrease sleep quality.¹⁴

Limit alcohol during your first few days of visiting Lhasa, or wait until at least you feel free of any negative effects of the high elevation.

6. Avoid Strenuous Activity

Avoiding strenuous activity is another key step in when traveling to Lhasa or other Tibet high-altitude destinations. With less oxygen, it can make physical activity more difficult and increase the risk.

Take it easy for the first few days after arriving, and avoid any strenuous activities such as hiking, climbing, or intense exercise. If you do plan to engage in physical activity at high altitude — don't push yourself too hard, listen to your body, and take breaks as needed.

7. Take Glutathione

It has been shown in research that oxidative stress occurs at high elevations.¹⁵ One study alone in India revealed high altitude conditions to decrease glutathione in the body by 45%. Glutathione is considered the body's master antioxidant.¹⁷

Taking antioxidants, including glutathione, is shown to be a promising solution.¹⁶ This can equip your body with the ability to fight off oxidative stress and free radical damage.

To summarize, follow these tops ways to avoid Lhasa altitude sickness to make your trip more enjoyable — including getting plenty of hydration, acclimating slowing, drinking yak tea, maximizing sleep, limiting alcohol, avoiding strenuous activity, and taking glutathione.

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1. Lhasa Elevation
2. Tibet Elevation
3. Namtso Lake Elevation
4. Mount Everest Elevation
5. Shigatse Elevation
6. Gyantse Elevation
7. Tibet Altitude: Lhasa, Highest, And Lowest Elevations
8. Effects of high altitude on humans
9. Oxygen Levels at Altitude
10. High-altitude illness (including mountain sickness) (Beyond the Basics)
11. Why Do You Need to Drink a Lot of Water at a High Altitude?
12. Tibetan Butter Tea: Get to Know the Most Favored & Essential Drink in Tibet - Altitude Sickness Too
13. Sleep: The Secret Ingredient of Injury Recovery
14. Effects of Alcohol
15. High altitude and oxidative stress
16. Oxidative Stress and Diseases Associated with High-Altitude Exposure
17. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione