While it is all very exciting to travel Tibet, the land of snows & the roof of the world, one can never be too careful with money spending in a foreign land where you don’t speak the local tongue. As one would expected that the norms of day-to-day life in Tibet varies drastically from where you are from and what you are used to. Whether it be paying for a merchandise or ordering food at a restaurant, navigating these differences can be challenging! While many of these challenges lead to fun adventures, when it comes to accessing or using money no one wants trouble. Lhasa based travel agency Explore China Tibet shares some Tibet travel tips of avoiding money hassles.
- Travelers should expect to make nearly all of your purchases in cash of RMB while travelling in Tibet. With the exception of a few high-end hotels, credit/debit cards are not accepted anywhere. However the Bank of China, in Lhasa, can process cash advances from many major credit cards.
- Reliable ATMs are available in a variety of locations of Lhasa; travelers have reported successful using of ATMs of Bank of China and International Construction Bank of China. Not all banks process international ATM transactions. To avoid problems accessing funds it’s best to withdraw cash before leaving Lhasa city to smaller towns and cities.
- The local currency is the Chinese Yuan (RMB). If arriving from Mainland China its best to spend Yuan coins before a Tibet tour, coins are typically not accepted in Tibet. For those arriving from Nepal, currency exchange services are available at a variety of locations although banks usually offer the best exchange rates.
Trouble when trying to access or use money can be a nightmare, keeping in mind ECT’s tips for avoiding money related hassles can go a long way in preventing unnecessary frustration. In general credit/debit cards are not accepted but reliable ATMs are available in Lhasa city. Also, travelers are encouraged to exchange money at banks and spend any Yuan coins before coming to Tibet. Many challenges adjusting to day-to-day life in a new place lead to the discovery of charming cultural differences. However most travelers would agree that accessing or using money is usually not one of those challenges. For specific Tibet travel related questions travelers are welcome to contact ECT directly.