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In Tibet, the currency in circulation is RMB (Renminbi). Foreign currency can not be used directly and can be exchanged only in big cities, such as Lhasa and Shigatse . Foreign currency can be exchanged in these cities either at the Bank of China or at some of the large hotels. Passports must be shown to exchange currency.
A bankbook (for a China bank account) or a credit card may be useful in some cases. Presently in Tibet, there are only branches of three state-owned banks, the Bank of China, China Construction Bank and the Agricultural Bank of China. You can withdraw money at these branches if you have an account at any branch of these banks, but remember that it would charge some fees for cross-bank services. Major credit cards of these three banks can be used in some supermarkets, restaurants and hotels within limited areas. ATMs of these banks are sparse in Tibet and may not work flawlessly, so it is advisable to carry both your bankbook and a major credit card. The Green Card issued by China Post is more convenient than a credit card. It can be used in some relatively remote areas, such as Shannan and Nyingchi. Traveler's checks can be exchanged for RMB in branches of the Bank of China. Be aware that banks will be open for unusually short hours during the week and will be closed on weekends. Although it has risks, the most convenient way to travel in Tibet is to take along enough RMB in cash to serve your needs.

Comments and Questions

hi... I am Danish national and living in China with my chinese wife.

We want to travel to Tibet this winter with our 2 year old son and have booked airtickets from Shanghai already.

However, I am in doubt. I need a special Tibet permit, but since we are travelling as individuals, will this be a problem to optain? or can you help


10/23/2010 9:17:00 AM


Asked by anders (Denmark)

you need to go with a tour group so that you can get the entry permit.

10/23/2010 9:45:00 PM