How to Travel Tibet at an Economical Price?

Last updated: April,08 2020

Tibet is not a cheap tourism destination. Its remote and high-altitude location as well as its requirement for international tourist to travel with a guide and tour agency make traveling Tibet more expensive than other destinations in China. However, you can still travel Tibet on a budge with the effective and applicable tips we listed below.


    Take Tibet train instead of flight

    There are many benefits of arriving in Lhasa by train. First of all, train ticket is generally less expensive than a flight one. At present, you can board Tibet trains from several gateway cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lanzhou, Xi’an, and Xining. Usually, a Tibet train ticket can cost about half of the plane ticket, and cost less if you choose a hard-sleeper (6 berths in a cabin) train ticket instead of a soft one (4 berths in a cabin). For example, a soft sleeper Beijing-Tibet train ticket costs ¥1144, and a hard sleeper one takes ¥720.

    Tibet trainYou can cut down the cost and enjoy breathtaking scenery along the way by traveling Tibet by train.

    Secondly, you can enjoy magnificent views on the way when the Tibet train cross Tibetan plateau from north to south. You can pass through some amazing sites such as Qinghai Lake, Kekexili Nature Reserve, Yuzhu Peak, Tanggula Pass, and Qiangtang Grassland before arriving at Lhasa Railway Station.

    Last but not least, taking the train to Lhasa offers a better opportunity for altitude acclimatization and effectively alleviates the risk of altitude sickness. Equipped with two sets of oxygen supply system, a Tibet train spreads oxygen made by the oxygen generator into the train’s air to increasing the overall oxygen content of the air, and supply oxygen to individual passenger through an independent port and a disposable pipe.

    Oxygen supply on Tibet trainThe Oxygen supply on Tibet train can alleviate altitude sickness effectively.

    At present, taking Qinghai-Tibet train is one of the must-do experiences if you are traveling to Tibet, and it is not easy to grad a train ticket especially during the peak season. If you are planning a Tibet train travel, you can ask us to book the tickets for you with a reasonable amount of service fee.

    Join a group tour instead of a private one

    You can make the trip even more economical by simply booking your tour as a group tour, instead of customizing a private one. Being different from big group tours in many cities, the maximum size of our Tibet group tours is 10-12. Small group tour of this size can guarantee that every member can be taken good care of on the high-altitude and less-developed Tibetan plateau. With the cost of flight or train ticket remaining the same, you can share the cost of the more expensive aspects of the tour, such as driver, guide, and vehicle with group members during a group tour.

    Potala PalacePotala Palace, a masterpiece of Tibetan architecture, is dubbed the "Perarl on the Roof of the World".

    What’s more, you can cut down the cost further by sharing a room with other members instead of staying at a single room by yourself. Just tell your sharing-room requirement to our travel expert and we will arrange it for you.

    Visit Tibet in winter

    When it comes to visiting Tibet in winter, many people conjure up pictures of heavy snow and extreme coldness. Contrary to this popular opinion, Tibet weather in winter is not that cold in the winter. While there are some remote areas of the plateau where the daytime temperature can drop to ten below freezing during the daytime, most of the tourist areas of Tibet are relatively warmer.

    Visit Tibet in winterTourists enjoying the warm sunshine in winter in the City of Sunshine, Lhasa.

    In Lhasa, the City of Sunshine, the weather is relatively mild, with daytime temperatures of around 8-10 degrees and only dropping below freezing at night. With the sun shines strongly and warmly during the daytime, the winter of Lhasa is warmer than Beijing. And in Nyingchi, to the east of the capital, the lower altitude means that freezing temperatures are rare, except in the coldest part of the winter months, in extreme conditions. Even Mount Everest is not too cold to visit in the depths of winter. Temperatures can hit below freezing, but during the day, it is warm enough to be comfortable, with the right clothing.

    Visit Everest Base Camp in winterEverest Base Camp in Tibet is accessible in winter and all year around.

    Visiting Tibet in winter (November to February) can save a lot than usual. You can find flight tickets at a considerable discount, or book Tibet train ticket with a little service fee in winter. Many of the hotels, hostels, and guesthouses in Tibet are offering discounts throughout the winter months, as they have few customers to cater to. This means that you can often find your accommodation is much cheaper than in the peak season, so you can save money on the cost of the hotel, or even upgrade to a better hotel that is still within your budget in winter.

    What’s more, many attractions reduce the admission fee in winter. And some even waive the entrance free to attract more people to visit at times when the attractions see very few tourists.

    Tsongkhapa Butter Lamp FestivalIn winter, you can celebrate important traditional festivals like Tsongkhapa Butter Lamp Festival with the Tibetans.

    Another big but usually ignored advantage is the festivals in winter which can offer a great opportunity for tourists to experience Tibetan culture and local customs. Tibetan New Year, known locally as Losar, is the most important festival in the Tibetan calendar. Gaden Ngachen Chenmo Festival, also known as Tsongkhapa Butter Lamp Festival which falls on the 25th day of the 10th month of the Tibetan calendar is another important festival in Tibet. You can also celebrate festivals like Butter Sculpture Exhibition and Spring Sowing Festival in winter.

    Bring medicine for the potential cold and altitude sickness

    Traveling can be very inconvenient and expensive once you have to see a doctor or even stay at hospital. And this situation becomes worse when traveling Tibet due to its remote and high-altitude location. With fewer medical facilities across Tibet, hospitalization and medical needs can be quite expensive, and your insurance may not cover the cost for minor requirements.

    To ensure that you do not have to pay for mild illnesses and ailments while in Tibet, we advise that you consult your doctor before heading for Tibet and bring your own medications and first aid needs with you. Medication for colds and the associated symptoms is a useful thing to have, and it is more convenient to buy it at home with the instruction of your doctor instead of overcoming the language barrier and trying unused medicine in Lhasa. And you should bring medication to help alleviate the symptoms of altitude sickness, which include headaches, nausea, dizziness, and general feelings of being exhausted. If you are planning on using the medication for altitude sickness, such as Diamox, then check with your doctor first of you can use it safely.

    Prepare your food and snacks if you stay overnight at EBC

    For those traveling across the plateau to visit Everest Base Camp (EBC), it pays to bring your own food and snacks with you from Lhasa. EBC is located in a remote part of western Tibet and situated at 5,200 meters above sea level. Most of the food and ingredients that can be found there are shipped in from the larger cities, such as Lhasa and Shigatse. Due to the high transportation cost, commodity and food sold at EBC is more expensive. Bringing your own food can save on the cost of meals at the base camp.

    Food at EBCIt is a good idea to bring your own food and snacks for EBC overnight stay because food there is at a relatively-higher price.

    Find a reliable Tibet-based tour operator

    International tourists are not permitted to travel alone in Tibet, and are required to be on a pre-arranged tour from tour operator with a private tour guide, driver, and vehicle. International tourists also need a variety of permits and passes in order to enter Tibet and travel to the various areas of the region. These permits and passes include the Tibet Travel Permit, which is the main permit to allow foreign tourists to enter the region. Without this, you cannot even board a train or flight to Tibet, and the permits can only be obtained through a travel agency.

    Tibetan guidesOur Tibetan guides and staff in Lhasa office are confident to arrange a professional and satisfying Tibet tour for you.

    With an average altitude of 4,500 meters above sea level, tourists are prone to suffer from altitude sickness when traveling the Roof of the World. And this situation becomes worse when traveling at desolate and remote place without adequate medical service. So a professional and reliable tour operator is important for an economical and comfortable Tibet trip.

    With more than ten years’ experience in Tibet travel and our own office in Lhasa, Kathmandu, and Chengdu, we are confident to arrange a satisfying Tibet tour for you. We will arrange your trip without any hidden fees and costs, and all of our guides are local Tibetans, who can give you all the information you need on the scenery, landscapes, and culture.


    Traveling to Tibet can be done on an economical basis, whereby your trip is actually much more value for money. The low season helps with this, as does traveling by train instead of flights, joining a group tour, and bringing certain items with you rather than buying them at higher prices in Tibet. So come and talk to us about arranging your lifetime economy tour of Tibet.

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