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Explore Tibet on Tight Budget

How To Travel Tibet On Budget in 2021-2020 Tibet Tour Season?

We are sad to see many people around the world are suffering from COVID19 in the year of 2020. Many families are struggling to work and save hard to be able to travel abroad. Here, just follow local China guide travel service, we help bring down the tour costs in Tibet and many other parts of China. It is absolutely right in the world economy down turn. 

Due to the lack of local Tibet travel information, I can say that all overseas travelers were ripped off on Tibet tour prices in the past decades. No mater which agencies you have booked the trip with in the past, the price should not be WAY EXPENSIVE. Even for the Tibet group tours which got popular since 2015, the prices are still way too high. Let me give you one sample and the mature 8 Days Everest Group tours, the price over 850 USD per person is still quite high considering you have 8-12 travelers in one tour group.

Well, Local China Guide travel service (together with our Tibet headquarter Tibet Local Guide – Tibet Ctrip Tours) is here to help you save every penny of your hard working money.

Top 8 Tibet Travel Tips Tell you how to have a lower Budget Tibet Tour

The good news is that our experience has shown us that to explore Tibet and China on a budget you do not have to sleep on crappy beds and starve yourself (although I guess that would technically save you money). But you can remain comfortable traveling to Tibet & China and save money at the same time. We can spend hours time telling you the different and detailed ways you can use to pinch a penny during your travels but instead we’ve compiled the Top 8 Tips to Travel in Tibet on a Budget for you as listed below. Enjoy and let me know if you know of any other ways!

Tip #1: Limit your tour itinerary distance and tour duration when travel out of Lhasa

You know why? Tibet tour vehicle is absolutely the most expensive section because China local authorities regulated high and outrageous vehicles prices based on driving distance. The company charges by kilometers and if your tour of Lhasa involves long time but quite short distance, no drivers would love to be at your service. However you need to find the balance point, when your group has 4-6 people, the vehicle price will be cost efective and you can consider to travel further in a leisured and reasonable itinerary. Please be noted that this does not mean that you have to cut many days from trip out of Lhasa, as you do need some time for altitude acclimatization. So your reliable TripAdvisor can design the most suitable itinerary.

Tip #2: Avoid private car use when not necessary

Use public transport of taxi, pedicab, airline shuttle bus, bicyle or schooter in Lhasa. There is cheap airline shuttle bus between Lhasa and airport. It is always available when there is a flight landing or taking off at Lhasa Gonggar Airport. The fee is RMB 30 per person only. Taxi to or from Lhasa costs RMB 250-280 per way (and it can host 2-4 passengers). And taxi between Lhasa downtown and railway station costs around RMB 50 per transfer as well. When you are travelling in Lhasa, try to walk, or take pedicab, or taxi and local bus. There is no offical papers which says you can not take these public transport “DURING STAY IN LHASA”, and actually many travelers did.

Tip #3: Avoid hiring a tour guide for your whole trip in Tibet, only hire guide when necessary

The fact is that you may just need to book one day guided highlight tour covering Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor streets sightseeing, while you can explore most other places by yourself. If you want to save time doing attractions research or study, you can book mini group tours. Example, you may have half day free on your own to walk in Lhasa, do your own shopping, but just book 2-3 hours group tours to see Norbulinka, or Sera Monastery, Drak Yerpa Hermitage cave monastery, Ganden Monastery, or the day tours nearby Lhasa city.

Tip #4: Do not always ask travel agency to book hotels

Nowadays everything is on internet. You can book hotels in Lhasa easily. However most online booking platforms such as or have commission rate as high as around 15%. As a knowledgeable and experienced Tibet tourism insider, I know all hotels in the small city of Lhasa and many other cities or small towns or villages out of Lhasa. Some nice hotels are not good at promoting themselves on internet. Many travelers cannot find where to book those nice smaller hotels. As local tour operator, we are more than happy to offer the best prices for many reputable Tibetan accommodations. If you can find cheaper prices for the identical hotel rooms from other bookable platforms, we will refund you price difference.

Tip #5: Tour price is the core point. So try to avoid “Sky High Prices”

There are about 100 tour operators based in Lhasa and most of them may not have tourism websites. Tibet tourism is competitive. Most tour operators (more than 95%) can operate the Tibet inbound tours very well, more or less with the same or similar quality, since as you know, most Tibetan travel guides are freelancers and they work for any agencies when there are tour groups available for them to take.

Tip #6: Try to avoid crowded and peak Chinese tour season of July and August

As you know, China has 2 months school summer day holiday and most families or students rush to Tibet for cooler weather. This boost the tourism and everything becomes touristy and expensive. If you do come in July or August, you may skip the touristy “1 hour Potala Palace” tour which costs you around 100 USD per person. This is not a joke. However, you can consider to join the day tours and it helps you get the trip cheaper.

Tip #7: Try to have your own group of at least 4 people for a quality private tour

Tourism policy is not transparent in Tibet and many other parts of China. It is not full marketism driven tourism. The most expensive parts of Tibet tour is the Tibet vehicle rental, so once you have your own group of at least 4 people to share a car, the tour price will go down and it is cost effective per person. We do not suggest solo travelers to book a private tour, as it is not affordable for many.

Tip #8: Try to book quality Small Group tours of Tibet if you are solo or couple!

If you can not have 4 or more people from you own side for a private tour, it is the best to book a join-in fixed departure tour in Tibet. There are many options to choose, however most group tours are almost the same in Tibet, since many agencies and travel operators join together for group tours, no single website can collect enough travelers to shape up group tours. Due to the comprehensive restrictions from authority (e.g, independent travel is not allowed), solo travelers may have less options, so try to make your departure dates flexible and find the Tibet tour you really want. Read more on Tibet Group Tours now! Please feel free to email us: or for Tibet tour customization.

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