Traveling to Tibet can be expensive, but with some smart planning and expert advice, you can make it happen for less than you think. Whether you're planning a private tour or joining a group, understanding the cost breakdown of a Tibet tour can help you make informed decisions about your travel budget. In this article, we'll provide a general breakdown of the average cost of a Tibet tour, so you can start planning your adventure with confidence.
Transportation Fees of Tibet: the Largest Cost of Your Tibet Tour
Transportation is the most expensive part of your Tibet tour, as with almost any trip you take. This includes your flights to China or Nepal, as well as your transport by train or flight to Lhasa and your tour vehicle while traveling in Tibet. These costs combine to make up the single largest expense of your trip.
(1) Cost of Getting to Tibet
Getting to Tibet from mainland China or Nepal can be done by train or flight. Flights are usually the most expensive option, with costs varying depending on where in China you are flying from. On average, you can expect to pay from $130 to over $500 for a one-way ticket, and you'll need to book a round trip.
On the other hand, Tibet trains are generally cheaper than flights. There are seven gateway cities in China with direct departures to Lhasa Railway Station, ranging from Guangzhou to Xining. The cost of train tickets varies according to the distance, with hard sleeper tickets being cheaper than soft sleeper tickets. The hard sleeper ticket price ranges from $72 to $126 per person for a one-way trip.
The train is one of the most important ways to get into Tibet.
(2) Cost of Tour Vehicle in Tibet
For international tourists, private vehicles are the only option available for traveling between cities and attractions in Tibet. Tour vehicle fees in Tibet will not be cheap considering the region's unique geography, and the further or remoter the area you visit, the higher the cost. Therefore, your tour vehicle in Tibet is a major part of your overall trip cost, and is included in the price you pay to your travel agency.
Our tour vehicles are all new and of high quality, ranging from 7-seater Buick minivans and 9-seater Hyundai MPVs to 11-seat Ford Transit vans and 17 to 23-seater buses for larger groups. We also use Mahindra 4x4 vehicles for our transfer services from Kathmandu to the Gyirong Port border entry point.
We choose the vehicle size based on the number of people in your party and always leave a few seats empty in each vehicle for your comfort. Additionally, we conduct daily maintenance checks on your tour vehicle, including tire, oil, fuel, and water inspections, to ensure a smooth and trouble-free trip.
A regular tourist bus used during a booked tour in Tibet.
Accommodation Cost in Tibet: Various Choices from Luxury to Budget
The cost of accommodations in Tibet can vary greatly depending on your preferences. You have the freedom to choose from a luxurious five-star hotel in Lhasa or a small local guesthouse. Your choice of accommodation is included in the overall price of the tour, which your tour consultant will discuss with you, making it easy to match your budget.
Hotels in Tibet are generally more expensive than those in other parts of China due to the region's altitude and remoteness, and prices can vary by season. Outside major cities, guesthouses are the most common type of accommodation, with limited facilities. However, if you are working on a budget, you can still find decent guesthouses for as little as $15-30 per night.
Tourists can choose the hotel type of different levels in Tibet.
Food Cost in Tibet: A Little More Expensive Yet Acceptable
Dining in Tibet offers a unique experience that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The delicious cuisine and delightful treats of the plateau are exclusive to Tibet. However, for those on a tour of Tibet, the dining experience can be a little more expensive than expected.
Most of the food on the plateau that is not easily grown here is transported from neighboring provinces or even from across the border in Nepal. This makes the food more expensive than in most mainland Chinese cities. Additionally, certain items like green vegetables can cost almost twice as much. The cost of food also increases the further away from Lhasa you travel.
In Lhasa, you can dine for around 10 dollars a day, with many excellent restaurants to choose from that serve local and international cuisine. However, outside of the city, food becomes more expensive due to transportation costs. On average, you can expect to pay around 15 dollars per day for food outside of the major cities.
Dining in Tibet could be a little expensive than one thought but the food iteself is worth tasting.
Attraction Entrance Fees in Tibet: Depending on the Popularity of the Destination
Entrance fees to major tourist attractions in Tibet can range from a small donation to 100-200 yuan per person. The cost generally depends on the popularity and fame of the destination and attraction. These fees are collected to maintain the upkeep of the site and ensure it remains a viable tourist attraction.
For a trip to Lhasa, you can expect to pay several hundred yuan in entrance fees on average. However, these fees are not an additional cost to you. The cost of entrance fees for popular attractions such as the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple are already included in the overall price of your trip, which is quoted by your travel agency. Your guide and travel agency will arrange for these fees in advance to save you the hassle of queuing for tickets.
Guide Service and Tipping in Tibet: Courtesy and the Amount Depends on You
Your guide and driver for the tour depend on the tour company you choose. They are dedicated to ensuring your trip is pleasant and enjoyable, and they often go out of their way to provide excellent customer service.
While tipping is not mandatory in Tibet, if you feel that your guide and driver have done their utmost to make your trip unforgettable, and you are satisfied with their service, a gratuity would always be greatly appreciated.
The amount of the tip is entirely up to you, and if you are happy with their services and think they deserve the extra recognition, feel free to offer what you believe they were worth. Based on previous experience, the average tip for a driver is around 75-125 yuan per day, while the average guide tip is around 100-500 per day.
Visiting Tibet with a local guide is needed.
Permits and Documents: Free with Us!
Permits are always obtained as part of the overall cost of the tour to Tibet, and while they may have minimal costs, they are possibly the most important aspect of the trip. Without your permits and documents, you cannot even get to the plateau, let alone travel around it.
Permits and passes required for traveling to Tibet include the Tibet Travel Permit, which is necessary for travel into Tibet and around Lhasa; the Alien’s Travel Permit, which is needed for travel to remote areas of Tibet like Mount Everest; the Military Travel Permit and Foreign Affair Permit, which are required for travel to military-restricted areas of the region, such as Mount Kailash, etc.
Fortunately, if you book your Tibet tour with us, we will handle all the permit arrangements for you. We guarantee a 100% success rate and provide free service in obtaining the Tibet Travel Permit and other necessary documents based on your itinerary. You will not need to pay anything extra for these documents.
Other Expenses: Depending on Your Itinerary
Other expenses that are not included in your tour itinerary will be charged as additional costs. Activities such as renting a bicycle for riding the plateau or an unscheduled trek will incur extra charges. You will be informed of the actual cost before participating in these activities. If you wish to cycle around Lhasa or take a trek around Ganden Monastery, you will be provided with a quote for the additional cost.
Tips for Saving Money on Tibet Tour Cost: Joining Our Small Group Tour!
To save on the cost of your trip to Tibet, consider joining one of our Small Group Tours. These tours have pre-arranged itineraries and set departure dates that allow solo travelers to explore Tibet together. We offer a variety of Small Group Tours, such as the 4-day Lhasa tour, the 8-day EBC tour, the 7-day Lhasa to Kathmandu overland tour, etc.
By joining a Small Group Tour, you can share some of the more expensive aspects of the trip with other members of the group. This includes the cost of shuttle services, admission fees, tour guide and driver, vehicles and fuel, and even the supplement for single occupancy in hotels.
Joining our Tibet group tour to save cost.
While traveling in Tibet is a remarkable experience, it can be costly. However, there are ways to lower expenses by making wise choices regarding transportation, hotels and tour options, etc. You can determine which aspects of the trip to prioritize and where to save money.
With years of experience in operating Tibet tours, we can help you minimize your costs while ensuring you have the most enjoyable experience possible. So if you are ready for booking a lifetime trip to Tibet, come and talk to our friendly and professional tour consultants now.