Tibet is a unique and special travel destination that needs your help. Ancient cultures and traditions, fragile mountain environments, rare and endangered flora and fauna are worth protecting for generations to come. As a traveler in Tibet you can make a difference and ensure that your journey has a positive impact on the places you go and the people you meet. Being a Responsible Traveler is not very hard, but it does require you to think about the way that you travel and the impact your actions have.
Buy Locally: Use a travel company that employs local guides and staff. Eat in local restaurants, buy handicrafts that are authentic and locally made. Ask directly about the source of the products you purchase.
Be open-minded and aware that your cultural values may differ from locals. This may include different concepts of time, personal space and communication etc.
Make the effort to learn about local cultural sensitivities: For example - wear full length trousers or skirts and modest tops that are not revealing. Avoid wearing shorts or short skirts and tops which bare shoulders. - Point with an open palm and not your index finger. - Avoid patting or touching children on the head.
Be sensitive when taking photos: Ask permission before you photograph local people, and don’t interfere during monastic ceremonies or private activities. Don’t take photos of skyburial sites or in monasteries where photos are not allowed. Many monasteries request a fee for photography and it’s always appropriate to make a donation.
Minimize your waste: Carry reusable cups, plates, cutlery or chopsticks. Try to purchase produce which is not wrapped in plastic. Avoid using disposable plastic shopping bags.
Dispose of waste appropriately: Most local villages don’t have environmentally sound trash management systems. Pack your garbage out to to larger towns or cities when it can be disposed of appropriately. If there is no toilet, dig a hole at least 25cm deep and bury human waste. Burn or bury toilet paper.
Make the effort to learn some local language.Learning even a few words will break down cultural barriers and demonstrate your interest in local language and culture. You’ll gain respect from locals and it’s fun too!