What is the budget for traveling Tibet? This is the most popular question asked by travelers. Traveling Tibet will be more expensive than any other places in China as there are many regulations for foreigners travel to Tibet.
Here are some regulations for foreigners trip to Tibet which may increase the budget.
1. According to the regulations, foreigners are not allowed to travel Tibet alone. It means all foreign tourists need to hire a guide or join a tour organized by the travel agency.
2. Permits: Before you head to Tibet yomake sure you have applyed for all the required permits. The basic permit for all foreign tourists traveling Tibet is the Tibet Travel Permit also called Tibet Visa. Normally, it takes at least 7 working days to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit. The travel agency can apply for the Tibet Travel Permit after you book the tour with them. If you will go to sensitive border areas such as Nyinechi, Ali and Mt.Everest, you need to apply for the Restricted Area Permit, or ‘military permit’. You will spend at least 30 working days in waiting for all your permits. That means if you have a plan to visit Mt. Kalish and Manasarovar lake, you would better book the tour 45 days in advance.
3. Accommodation: All foreign tourists are supposed to stay in the hotels which are having the qualification to accommodate the foreign travelers. That means, you are allowed to stay in 3-star and equivalent local hotels. This is the reason why the accommodation of traveling Tibet is more expensive than in other cities.
The cost of joining a small group tour in Tibet
The cost of doing the popular route tour, the 8 Days Lhasa Gyantse Shigatse Mt. Everest Tour in a small group is about $1000 p.p. If a travel agency quote you much cheaper than $1000, you would better ask more detial about the inclusions and exclusions. Especially, which the hotel and what kind of vehicle they use. The price for another popular route to Mt.Kalish is about $1800 p.p. In the peak season, the price may go up to $2000 p.p.
The option for traveling time and group size
The time for traveling
If you travel to Tibet in the peak season usually from July to the end of October, not only service fee but also the accommodation and transportation fee will go up. In other words, if you want to keep your cost down in a Tibet trip, you would better traveling Tibet in the off season. The off season is winter.
The goup size
For the group tour the departure date and price is comfirmed. The maximum of a group tour is 12 people, usually 6-8 people. If your time is flexible, joining a group tour is a good choice to keep your budget down.
If your time is not flexible, you could do a private tour to match your departure date. For the private tour, the factor impacting your cost is the number of the people in your group. The people in a group can share the cost of the car and the fee for guide. That means, the more people in your group, the more money you can save. Bring your friends to do a wonderful Tibet trip.
Due to the harsh environment in Tibet, the cost for the food and drink is not cheap. The cost of average meals in Tibet is about $5 per meal. If you are looking for much cheaper meal, you can choose to have a basic Tibetan restaurant meal. These will keep your cost down, but it is not special. The Tibetan family kitchen is good place to eat while you are in Lhasa.