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How to Enjoy a Budget Tibet Tour: 7 Insider Tips to Reduce Your Cost

Last Update: June 20, 2023

If you are considering a trip to Tibet and have a limited budget, then there are some things you should know about a Tibet tour to make your budget stretch to accommodate all your needs. There are several ways to reduce your travel costs for a trip to Tibet to be more affordable, and our travel expert explains the best of them here.

Tips 1: Join a Group Tour rather than Private Tour

A good way to reduce the cost of your trip to Tibet is to join a group tour instead of taking a private tour of the plateau. Private tours can be expensive, as you would have to pay for all the facilities and resources yourself. On a group tour, you join other travelers on a pre-arranged tour that starts on a pre-set date and pay only a fraction of the cost.

Join our Tibet Small Group TourJoin our Tibet small group tour to reduce the cost of your trip to Tibet.

Group tour is an ideal option for solo travelers and couples, as it allows you to save money on some of the most expensive costs of a tour in Tibet. The costs of your guide, driver, vehicle, and fuel are shared equally among all members of the tour party. This can significantly reduce the cost of your trip by up to 50%. Moreover, if you choose to share a room in your hotel with another group member, you can also save on the mandatory single-room supplement if you are traveling alone.

All our Small Group Tours have set departure dates that you can choose from to maximize the best departure dates for you. Additionally, these tours are limited to a maximum size of 12 group members. Our tours cover all the most popular routes in Tibet, including 8-day Lhasa to EBC tour and 15-day Mount Kailash tour, etc., so you can usually find the perfect Small Group Tour that suits your preferences.

Tips 2: Choose a Trustworthy Travel Agency with Professional Guide

One of the most important decisions you will make regarding your Tibet tour is which travel agency to choose. While there are hundreds of tour operators and travel agencies out there to choose from, we believe that we can give you a much better experience than most. A travel agency must be registered with the Tibet Tourism Bureau, which we are, and must be trustworthy and professional in their dealings with tourists to Tibet.

With our long years of experience in handling tours in Tibet, we have accumulated ample expertise in providing travelers with the best tour experiences on the roof of the world. Tibet is our home, and unlike certain travel agencies, all our guides, drivers, and staff are directly employed by us and exclusively work with us. We do not outsource your tour to a third party for the actual trip, as some agencies do. This ensures transparency and eliminates hidden costs associated with intermediaries.

Customers Choose Our Tibet Travel AgencyOur travel agency has long years of experience in handling tours in Tibet.

All of our guides are professionally qualified as tour guides in Tibet, and they are local Tibetans with personal knowledge of the places you will be visiting. They possess insights into hidden secrets and off-the-beaten-track destinations that guidebooks don't typically cover. Furthermore, they are equipped to address any inquiries you may have regarding our people, religion, culture, and land. During your time with us, they will ensure an authentic Tibetan experience, even arranging visits to real Tibetan homes.

Tips 3: Plan Your Travel During Low Season

Knowing the best time to visit Tibet is essential for any traveler, and it's possible to visit the region throughout the year. However, traveling during the low season is an ideal way to reduce costs to some extent.

Tibet has four seasons for travel: a peak, a low season, and two “shoulder” seasons when travel is relatively less expensive but not at its cheapest. The low season for Tibet tours is typically during winter, roughly from November to February of the next year. This period is usually the most affordable time to travel to Tibet, although it can be colder than other times of the year, it is not as extreme as many people expect.

Visit Potala Palace in WinterTibet winter tour has a lot of discounts to offer, including the Potala Palace.

Winter travel can provide good discounts on various expenses for your Tibet trip. Hotels generally reduce their room rates during the low season to attract off-season travelers, making it easier to find a reasonably priced accommodation option. The cost of transport in the region can also be a little lower, as demand is low and prices are reduced a little.

For those that are inclined to visit the region during the peak or shoulder seasons, then it is important to avoid the Chinese national holidays. Times such as the Spring Festival, May Day Celebrations, and the National Day holiday (which runs for a week in October) are when a higher number of Chinese domestic tourists travel, including to Tibet. These periods tend to be busier, more crowded, and often more expensive than usual.

Tips 4: Get to Tibet by Train instead of by Flight

Flights to Lhasa are the fastest way to get to the plateau, but they are not necessarily the most affordable or cost-effective option. To save on travel expenses, it is recommended to consider taking the train instead of a flight.

Departing from seven gateway cities across China, train journeys to Tibet have become increasingly popular for accessing the plateau region. They typically offer more budget-friendly fares compared to other modes of transportation, often costing less than a flight from the same departure city. However, it's worth noting that train ticket prices remain consistent throughout the year, so in certain cases, such as during the low season, they may be more expensive than discounted flights.

Take a Train to TibetTaking a train to Tibet proves to be cheaper than flying to Tibet.

Trains provide three classes of tickets: soft sleeper, hard sleeper, and hard seats. Among these options, hard sleeper berths are the preferred choice for most travelers as they offer a comfortable sleeping arrangement at a reasonable price. If you desire a more luxurious travel experience on the Tibet train, you can opt for the soft sleeper class, which comes at a higher cost and sometimes even surpasses the price of a flight.

Furthermore, the train journey includes the convenience of a dining car for meals, and allows you to see some of the most outstanding scenery and landscapes in the world out of the large train windows. Although trains may take a longer time to reach your destination, they offer a more pleasant travel experience at a much lower cost.

Tips 5: Stay in Cost-efficient Guest House

When it comes to accommodations in Tibet, hotels in Tibet can often be more expensive than you might expect. However, this doesn't mean that staying in a hotel is your only option.

Lhasa Hada God HotelStaying in a guest house will save a lot for your Tibet budget tour.

Tibet has a huge number of guesthouses where you can stay for less cost, though usually with lower-quality facilities. However, while the guesthouses may not have star ratings, they are normally of good quality in most of the major destinations, and have heating, running water, and showers in all rooms. Some will have shared bathrooms, but these are also clean and well-kept, so are not a huge inconvenience for travelers.

Tips 6: Dine in Local Restaurant in Tibet

If you're looking to avoid the high prices of hotel meals that are not included in your accommodation package, Tibet offers a wealth of local restaurants and teahouses where you can enjoy delicious meals at significantly lower costs.

Enjoy Tibetan local teahouses sweetEnjoy Tibetan sweet tea in local teahouse.

Your knowledgeable guide can be your trusted ally in discovering these hidden gems frequented by the locals. These establishments, often tucked away from the more tourist-oriented areas, provide an authentic dining experience and are known for their affordable prices.

By dining in local restaurants, you not only save money but also have the opportunity to savor traditional Tibetan cuisine and immerse yourself in the local culinary culture. So, let your guide lead you to these culinary treasures, where you can indulge in delectable dishes without breaking the bank.

Tips 7: Prepare Personal Items before You Go

Items that you may need for your trip, such as personal items of toiletries, etc., are best bought before you depart for the trip. While these items may not be overly expensive in your home country, and can even be relatively cheap in mainland China, they are much more expensive in Tibet. And there may be some items that you need that you cannot get in Lhasa or Shigatse, the largest cities on the plateau.

Tourist arrival Lhasa Railway StationPrepare personal items before you travel to Tibet.

You should also make sure that you pack any regular medications that you need before you depart from your home or resident country, and bring enough to last the entire tour, plus several days just in case. Many of the medications that you may require are not available in Tibet, and you will not be able to use your own doctor’s prescription, even if the drugs are available.


Traveling to Tibet doesn't have to be an expensive endeavor. With so many options to choose from to make your trip less costly, you can make the tour more affordable. If you are looking for ways to reduce the costs of your next Tibet trip, come and talk to us. Let us arrange your lifetime tour on the Roof of the World, tailored to your needs and budget.

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