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Tibet Profile: Transportation

A transport network centered around Lhasa has taken shape in Tibet, covering various parts of Tibet. But there aren't so many public transportation vehicles. It's hard to predict which part will be the toughest in a trip.

Road conditions in Tibet have also improved significantly in recent years, especially in the cities and roads between big cities. Most of the famous sightseeing places have asphalt-paved road, such as the Lhasa area, Tsetang, Nyingchi, Gyangtse town, Shigatse, Chamdo, etc.

In Lhasa minibuses are the main means of transportation and it is easy to hire a taxi. Minibuses run to all major tourism sites nearby Lhasa. They will stop whenever necessary and the price is always 2 yuan (US$0.2) each person. There are now over 1,100 taxis in Lhasa, which are mainly Santana and Xiali vehicles. In the urban area, a trip by taxi usually costs 10-15 yuan (US$1.2-1.8). Pedicabs are unique vehicles to tour around the city of Lhasa. Tricycles will cost from 2-5 yuan (US$0.2-0.6) for two persons. In addition, many bikes can be easily rented at Lhasa at most hostels. Inside Tibet, there are now regular buses shuttling between major towns.

 

Pedicabs
Taxies
Buses

 

 

While getting to Lhasa is straightforward, transport to some remote mountain areas or other isolated religious destinations, such as Ngari prefecture, may not be convenient. Public bus routes are not developed like those you see in Beijing. The road gets bumpy and dusty. It will be even worse in rainy seasons. If you are going to those places, renting a good quality Land Cruiser from local travel agency is recommended. The price is judged by season. The conditions of minor roads are only passable by jeeps. Due to the rough road condition from Tingri to Everest Base Camp, 4 Wheel Drive plays main role for Everest Base Camp tours.

Long-distance buses commute regularly between Lhasa and other Tibetan cities or towns. Nearby major cities or towns, short-distance buses often operate on a more flexible basis. Travelers with special needs can rent vehicles with travel agencies or private owners. The rent fees will differ according to the travel distance, road condition, vehicle type, travel season and the vehicle's owner.

Riding bike across Tibet is becoming a fashion. Although it's a tough job, more and more people have favored its unique advantages. For most parts in Tibet, one can rent the bike by hour or day. For tourism sites off the road, it is necessary to rent horses or even yaks. This can be arranged at towns, local government offices, road maintenance stations, herdsmen families, villages or monasteries.

7 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour via Everest Base Camp