When you start planning visiting Tibet, you notice that some of the tours can get pricey. Although, Tibet is not one of the cheap destinations, there are some ways to make your journey more affordable. Below are seven tips to help you arrange budget Tibet tour.
1. JOIN A GROUP TOUR
The easiest way to save money is to travel in a group, as that way you can share some of the expenses (guides, drivers, transportation). You can either come with friends, family or like-minded people and create a private tour for your group or join one of the existing group tours.
2. VISIT TIBET DURING A LOW SEASON
Hotels, transportation, and some tickets are more expensive during the high season. Consequently, the tours are more expensive during that time. The high season is from June until September and during major Chinese holidays or Tibetan festivals.
Planning your visit during April-May and October-December will make your tour cheaper, than visiting during the summer months. At the same time you will be traveling during the dry season, the best time to take great photos.
3. TAKE A TRAIN TO TIBET
There are many benefits of arriving in Tibet by train. First, it is generally cheaper than flying. Even the most comfortable option – soft sleeper can sometimes be twice less expensive than the flight. But you can save even more by booking a hard sleeper ticket.
You will enjoy magnificent views on the way while traveling through Tibetan plateau on the highest railway in the world and climbing over mountain passes 5,000 meters high.
Taking a train can also help you to acclimatize to high altitude. While you don’t spend enough time on a train to fully acclimate before reaching Lhasa, it is better than taking a flight.
4. BOOK YOUR STAY IN TIBETAN LOCAL HOTELS AND GUESTHOUSES
When you book accommodation in Tibet, you have to choose among hotels when staying in the cities. However, when you travel outside of cities, you can stay in some guesthouses or simple local hotels. This way you can save some money and support small local businesses.
5. READ YOUR TOUR DETAILS CAREFULLY
Some tour agencies offer you the cheapest price, but don’t include hotel reservation, tickets to monasteries and sightseeing places. While the price might look very attractive, remember that hotels and tickets can be costly. If you have to pay for it later, the total cost could be more expensive than getting a package that includes everything.
6. EAT IN THE LOCAL TIBETAN RESTAURANTS
You can find plenty of Tibetan tea houses all around Lhasa. While most of them don’t look very fancy, the food is often delicious. Ask your guide to take you to the best ones, and he will be happy to show them to you.
Things to try are Tibetan noodles with yak meat or vegetarian, momos (or dumplings) steamed or fried, sweet or butter tea. Lunch or dinner will cost you around $2-5, much cheaper compared to restaurants. Additionally, you will try the authentic Tibetan cuisine and experience the culture.
7. BARGAIN WHEN YOU ARE SHOPPING FOR SOUVENIRS
If you travel on a budget, it doesn’t mean you cannot bring some cute trinkets back home. Just remember that when you are buying things in small stores or on the market, you have to bargain.
Bargaining is acceptable and even expected in Tibetan culture. You dont need to know any Tibetan to do it, seller will show you prices on a calculator. Please, don’t be rude to the seller when bargaining.
We hope our advice will help you to arrange an affordable and unforgettable tour in Tibet. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment down below or contact us.