A little bit on the geography of Tibet, it is located just north of the Himalayans, bordering Nepal and Bhutan. Tibet is often referred to as the "roof of the world". Several of the world's tallest mountains including Mount Everest of the Himalayas can be found on the southern border with Nepal. Due to the high average altitude of the region of about 3500 metres above sea level with the lowest parts being ~2900m, the region is very dry all year round. Temperature can plummet from +20oC during the day to -10oC or colder at night, because the thin atmosphere at such high altitude does not reflect a lot of sunlight during the day and doesn't trap heat very well over night time.
You might think Tibet is a little behind in terms of development because of its remote location. But in fact, they are really modern in many aspects. For example, they have 4G! There isn't 4G coverage even in Durham where I go to university! I suspect development really took off since being connected to other parts major cities via railway since the Qingzhang Railway opened in 2006.
Altitude sickness is a big problem when visiting areas of high altitude. It starts to kick in from 3000m. onwards, and the severity varies from person to person. (see the NHS page on altitude sickness) For the most part of my journey I was above 3550m in Lhasa and we climbed to 5019m when driving over a mountain pass. At these altitudes there was only two thirds, dropping to a little over half the amount of oxygen at 4500m compared to at home! I had a packet of biscuits which puffed up like a balloon up there! (see photo below)
The reduced oxygen level was quite a pain up there. We were told to move slowly otherwise your body demands too much oxygen and altitude sickness hits you in the face. Fortunately I only had a mild headache for the first couple of days apart from one episode of a really bad headache that lasted a whole afternoon and evening, triggered by running to get back on the coach at 5019m when we were driving through a mountain pass. Strangely, coke (the beverage, the red original and best flavour) soothed the headaches a lot, probably because of the high sugar content and a little caffeine in there?
This trip to Tibet really makes me wonder how people climb the Everest, particular those without oxygen tanks when I couldn't run a hundred metres at Everest base camp altitude. Not that I tried, I didn't dare because my body just couldn't cope with it, I couldn't hold my breath for longer than 15 seconds due to the lower amount of oxygen in the air.
Anyway, onto the photos. It's been difficult choosing a set of 50 photos from 2500 shots that I took over only 9 days, my favourite photos from my trip in Tibet last summer: