Tibet is one of the most beautiful places in China, rich in culture and has amazing scenic beauty which attracts numerous tourists from the world every year. But a few factors makes the tour of Tibet bit expensive in comparison to the other attractions in China, as it is an interior place which has extreme climate and high altitude and many geographical advantages enjoy by coastal cities and other metropolitan cities in China. So if you want a budget Tibet tour then don’t postpone the plan as you can still travel to Tibet by simply cutting down the cost of your tour in several ways.
Here is a list which can help you to cut down the cost of you tour without hampering the fun and pleasant experience of your Tibet tour:
Book your international flights beforehand when there is discount online
If you have decided to tour Tibet then you must book the flight as early as you can means two to three months before, doing this will automatically avail you a cheaper ticket. The other thing you can do is check online about the flights sometimes some companies offers a good discount that can be mostly in off season and tourist season too.
Take train to Tibet
Firstly choosing train over flight itself will cut down travel expenses. You can further opt for the sleeper of your choice, hard berth or soft berth accordingly the cost of the tour is reduced. The hard sleeper berth costs very less in comparison to the soft sleeper berth, , it may sound a bit different and may seems like hard berth will be hard and will be uncomfortable also but it’s not true, it’s quite comfortable and charged only 65% as a result the cost of your transportation will be reduced by 35%.
Along the world’s highest railway several trains runs towards the Lhasa from the mainland China. Train’s heads towards Lhasa from Beijing or Shanghai to Lhasa every single day and also there are trains from Chengdu, Guangzhou and Chongqing to Lhasa every other day. Train journey will give you one more benefit it will give provide you the opportunity to appreciate and enjoy the scenery of Qinghai Tibet Plateau. The journey from Beijing to Lhasa takes 45 hours, has 6 berths accommodating six persons, two with hard berths and four with soft berths.
Take public transport or rent a vehicle to tour Tibet
It is a good idea to opt for a tourist bus as it can load around 10 travelers and would prove beneficial as the expense will be shared by every passenger and also will be cheaper than other vehicles like land cruiser etc. The other option is to seek help from your travel agency as they can make a group of people who can share the fare.
Join-in a group tour
In comparison to the private tour, group tour proves economic as the travel charges are being shared by the group members. By joining a group of few people, you can easily manage to cut down the cost on tourist vehicle, single room supplement, tour guide and even the food. If we take the example of four persons in a group, then whole group can easily hire a vehicle to tour all the attractions better. In this case, only one local guide and a single driver are required. Of course the cost will be shared by these four persons. You can go for organized group tour as these are the best in terms of guaranteed departure date and are well suited for the people who want to visit the famous and most popular tourist attractions and still want to stick to the budget.
There are other advantages of the organized group tours like they have fixed schedule for each and everything, from fixed departure dates to the fixed itineraries. The arranged vehicle say it a minivan, bus or a land cruiser it will be shared, safe and clean. Provides an opportunity to meet new people and make good friends from all over the world. When travelling alone or with friends and family, one must check for this option.
Visit in off season of Tibet tour
To stick on your budget, you can plan your tour in off season as it will offer lowest price on tour. Nov. to mid-Fed is considered the off-season of Tibet tour. At this period least arrival of tourists is observed as extreme winters and heavy snow some roads get interrupted and tourists cannot visit some sites of a Tibet like Namtso and Ngari. Due to the fewer tourists in these months the Airlines to Tibet, travel agencies and hotels offer huge discounts to attract the tourists. You can avail those discounts. In off season of Tibet tour, you are also expected to enjoy many tour promotion events, where you can find many discounts you won’t have from April to Oct.
Buy souvenirs from locals not in stalls at attractions
If you are on the tour you tend to buy a lot of things as souvenirs for yourself, for friends and family, as these will be a memory to cherish which will always remind you of your Tibet Tour. The suggestion is to buy the souvenirs from locals as they will sell you cheaper than the inside stalls of tourist attractions. You will be able to save a lot and buying from local shops will not be hard on your pocket whereas the stalls inside a tourist spot will always charge you extra offering any bargain or discounts. These stalls are mostly foreigner oriented, so always charge high in order to gain profits.
Stay in local guest house
Staying in local guest houses will be an economic option. The most suitable stay for budget tour groups will be cheap hotels like, quasi 3star hotel, two star hotel or Tibetan style with quiet and comfortable environment and 12 hours to 24 hours hot water supply and private bathroom. There are some hotels which provide complimentary morning breakfast.
Dorm bed in guesthouses is the cheapest accommodation available. These are always privately owned by hostels or hotels. They are not so hygienic and has no water supply, few backpackers choose to stay here as they are cheaper, but it’s not really recommended to stay there while on a group tour. You may opt for the guest houses run by local people as they will be cheaper and the basic facilities will be provided by them, try to choose a place near to the attractions so that you can easily approach them to save time and money.
Dine in local Tibetan restaurant
It is recommended to dine in the local Tibetan restaurants as doing this will help you in cutting down your budget. There are numerous of restaurants in Tibet be it big or small ones or like stalls or some small eating joints. There are some restaurants run by foreigners too which serve western food too. Those are really good too but are really expensive also, so choose a local restaurant will offer you variety of Tibetan or Chinese food and traditional cuisines that too in an economic amount, though you can save too much on food here as the food is bit expensive here due to the scarcity of food supply. You can go for some simple food to cut down the cost but it’s not advisable to eat too simple food as you need more energy to travel in Tibet in comparison to other places.
Bring your own food while touring
It is suggested to bring your own food while visiting the attractions because it may take some time to roam inside and you may feel hungry or thirsty. The available restaurants and shops inside the attractions are expensive and charge extra than the market price in order to earn extra profit from foreigners. And if you will not carry your food along then you will end up spending more and that may be not suitable for your budget.
Visit attractions without paid tickets needed
Tibet is expensive when it comes to the admission fee of tourist sites. You should make a proper plan to visit the sites which are not pocket friendly. So list the desirable sites to visit and you should make sure to add maximum unpaid sites to wander. Places the famous Yamdrok Lake, Lhasa River outside Lhasa city, and many scenic countryside in Tibet offer a great opportunity for trekking and gain the first-hand experience of Tibetan life.
The road trip, either by tour bus or cycling, also works for budget travelers. The sunning alpine scenery along the famous 318 National Highway to Tibet or classic route from Lhasa to EBC and further into Kathmandu, Nepal requires no ticket at all, yet bringing you the world-class Himalayan vista to your sight. Do arrange your tour route wisely and economically, when you have a tight budget.
Hopefully, this will help you to ease out your Tibet tour decision and will help you to cut down your travel expense cost. Apart from all this suggestions, the most important thing is to enjoy your tour as it may prove a worthwhile experience for you in the land of Tibetan Buddhism, Tibet the magical world.