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Your Complete Guide about Tibet Currency

Time: 18-11-2019 This Article is Composed by BudgetTibetTour

 Tibet as a region of China where RMB is the only accepted currency. The Yuan(known as CNY), also called Kuai, is the basic unit of the RMB. Paper note and coin are two common forms of Chinese currency in daily use.

At present, the paper denominations include0.1yuan and 0.5yuan(also known as 1jiao and 5jiao), 1 yuan, 5 yuan, 10 yuan, 20 yuan, 50 yuan and 100 yuan(the smallest is 0.1yuan and biggest is 100yuan at present). The denominations of coins are 1 jiao, 5 jiao and 1 yuan. One yuan is divided into 10 jiao, one yuan equals to 10 jiao.

Currency in Tibet  
Currency in Tibet

When traveling in Tibet, overseas tourists should know two very important things:

1. You can’t use any foreign currency directly in daily life, and only Chinese currency is acceptable;

2. Coins are usually unacceptable in Tibet. Why Tibetan cannot accept coins, as coin is quite small nominal value and heavy volume, hard for Tibetan to put into robe and easy to lose in daily life. The official explain is that there is no mint in Tibet, and also inadequate transportation before, and it is costly for the banks to transport the coins from other places in China. As time passes, no coins used in Tibet at all.     

Tibet Currency Exchange

Foreign currency can not be used directly in Tibet. Foreign currency and traveler’s cheque can be converted to RMB in banks. Tips for Tibet currency exchange include:

1. Foreign currency and traveler’s cheque exchange can be done in the four major banks of China, which are the Bank of China(BOC), the Agriculture Bank of China(ABC), the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China(ICBC), and the Construction Bank of China(CCB). There are branches and several sub-branches in Lhasa. There are only a few sub-branches in Shigatse, Shannan, Chamdo, Nagqu and Nyingchi. There is no sub-branch in the remote Ngari Prefecture at present. So if you plan to travel there, please prepare enough Chinese cash.

2. The Tibet Branch of BOC is located on the opposite side of Tibet TV Station (No. 7, Linkuo West Road, Lhasa). It is a provincial branch which provides the most convenient and efficient currency exchange service.

Bank of China in Lhasa, Tibet
Bank of China in Lhasa, Tibet

3. The Opening Hours of banks are fixed, usually shorter working hours on the weekend.

4. If your hotel reservation is in Lhasa, and it is a four-star or five-star hotel, you can exchange for RMB at the hotel, but the exchange rate is quite low.

5. Your passport is required for currency exchange no matter in banks or upscale hotels.

6. Prepare some cash of low-denomination (less than 50 yuan is advisable) when traveling to other places in Tibet. People can donate 1yuan, 2 yuan or 5yuan or 10yuan, 20yuan to the monasteries or temple there to pray good luck and help more people.

7. By the end of your tour, if you want to convert the RMB left to currency of your own, you can go to banks. Original currency exchange receipt is required.

8. In someway, if you are not convenient to exchange money, you can exchange the cash with your travel agencies there directly, almost the same exchange rate with banks.

How to Use Credit Card in Tibet

You can use credit card to withdraw RMB cash in ATMs from the four major banks of China, and in some star grade hotels direct credit card payment is acceptable with extra bank service fee around 4-5%. Some notes on using credit card in Tibet include:

1. Tibet Branch of the four major banks of China are the banks in Tibet that provides the credit card cash withdrawal service, normally people prefer Bank of China with all kinds of credit card accepting. You will be charged an additional 4% commission.

2. At present, credit card payment is available in most hotels in Lhasa and Shigatse. But in other remote cities, hotels are not big enough to meet the credit card payment requirement.

Credit Card Use in Tibet
Credit Card Use in Tibet

3. In Lhasa, most four-star, five-star and even three-Star hotels accept credit card payment, but 3-4% of your payment will be added on your bill in order to pay for the fee required the bank that accepts credit card payment.

4. In some shops, you can pay for large goods by credit card, but you would probably be charged 2-5% service fee. In addition, if you use POS for credit card payment, no minimum consumption will be required.

5. In Tibet, there are at present limited numbers of shops which have POS(even they have one, but only accept domestic credit card not the international one), in particular, small arts and crafts stores and vendors along the street. In most parts of Tibet, cash has been the most convenient and effective means of consumption and payment. Therefore, it is advisable that you prepare enough cash before traveling.

6. If you work in China and have opened wechat or alipay account, that will be quite convenient, almost acceptable everywhere even in small restaurants. No need to carry any cash there.  


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The questions raised by our past customers can help you get a more clear picture about tours to Tibet, read them or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

user portrait Mr. Ju*** from: 4 Days Lhasa Holy Landmarks Express

Hi, I plan to arrive in Lhasa on the 9th of March in 2020 by train and would like to do a 4 day tour. Unfortunately there are no tours scheduled between January and April, will there be tours added or are there not any planned?

Kind regards

Julian Franz

Answered by Helen

Hello Mr. Ju***,

    Thanks very much for your inquiry. We currently have no group tour in February and March, if you would like to travel Tibet in these months, we are able to arrange a private tour for you. While there are several confirmed departure date for the group tour in January and April, if your time is flexible, you may consider joining a group tour in April. I will send detailed itinerary to your email, please check it. Warm regards.

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