When travelling in Tibet, here are some important information about using money and going shopping which you need to know.
Use money on a tour in Tibet
Use Money in Tibet! By being aware of the situation in advance, travelers can avoid many of the most common last minute hassles. First and foremost, the local currency is the Chinese Yuan (RMB). With the exception of a few high-end hotels in Lhasa, travelers should not expect credit cards to be accepted. ATMs can be found easily in Lhasa and are, for the most part, reliable.
Many travelers choose to withdraw cash at major banks such as Bank of China. Several travelers have reported luck using Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) ATMs while some foreign ATM cards have been rejected at banks such as the People’s Bank of China and China Construction Bank (not to be confused with ICBC). At Bank of China it is possible to take out cash advances via Visa/MasterCard, although this may not be possible at other banks. To avoid problems, it is best to visit the bank before a group’s Tibet Tour leaves Lhasa.
If arriving in Tibet from outside of China, travelers can exchange currency at the major banks mentioned above. A passport will be required and, if necessary, a group’s native Tibetan guide can assist travelers with the exchange procedure. Many hotels also offer currency exchange, however, the currencies accepted may be limited and the exchange rate may be lower rate than the rates at a bank. When purchasing items on a tour of Tibet, coins are generally not accepted. Travelers with coins from other parts of China may want to spend them before entering Tibet.
It is important to remember that credit cards are, in most cases, not accepted. Many ATM/debit cards have security features that require the bank to alert before the card is used internationally. Since this can be easy to forget, most cards have an international collect phone number in addition to the regular customer service phone number. Tibet Ctrip’s native Tibetan guides are happy to show travel groups to an ATM or help with currency exchange. To save time, it is best to let them know upon arrival in Lhasa. By taking the time to prepare accordingly, visitors can enjoy travelling in Tibet without worrying about money related hassles! Read more about money and currency in Tibet.
Tibet Lhasa Shopping Tips-Travelling in Tibet
Tibet is a “Cultural Shopping Paradise”. There are plenty of opportunities to shop while engaging with the rich Tibetan culture and local life. Some of the most famous local products are Tibetan carpet and Textiles, Tibetan Thangka, Tibetan medicine and other unique items such as wooden bowls, jewelry, jade, prayer wheels, knives, local boots and beads. Tibet Ctrip Travel Service encourages travelers to shop responsibly by doing business with Tibetan souvenir shops. Many Tibetans depend on money from tourism and this is, by far, the best way to give back to the Tibetan community.
Please be advised that you'd better buy some practical and necessary items in Lhasa, before you leave Lhasa for next travel destination. There are many department stores and supermarkets in Lhasa, mostly on Yuthok Lu (road), East and Middle Beijing Road that will supply your everyday needs. Lhasa Department Store which is the oldest suparmarket in Lhasa, locates at the west end of Yuthok road which is quite close to Potala Palace. It is the largest and best known department store in Lhasa. It sells such practical items as sun lotion, cotton clothing, mugs, canned food, towels, and toothpaste, plus local handicrafts.
Barkhor is a more traditional Tibetan shopping market. It is a circle market where shopkeepers with small shops and stalls on the street sell many unusual and fascinating items, for both religious and secular uses. Shopkeepers sell items such as prayer flags, wheel-prayers, conch-shell trumpets, rosaries, amulets, fur hats, horse bells, bridles, copper teapots, wooden bowls, inlaid knives, and jewelry inlaid with turquoise and other gems. Read more on Tibet shopping.