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Thread: Going it cheap in Tibet

  1. #1

    Default Going it cheap in Tibet

    Hi,

    I was thinking of going to Tibet for around 2-3 weeks. Would like to know, from you guys who has been there, on how to undetake this Tibet trip with the lowest budget possible.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Going it cheap in Tibet

    i was there in Sept 2004.

    My top tips for lowering costs:
    1. Stay in hostels. You can find listings in Lonely Planet(avoid the ostentatious chinese-run hotels). I stayed in cheapest, most run-down hostel for the first day in Lhasa, but couldn't stomach it as their shared communal toilets did not have working flushes and s*** was just piling all over the place. Transfered to a much better place (Banak Shol) the second day. It had MUCH better rooms, and a rooftop restaurant with a totally kick-ass view. You could even see the Potola Palace. Some costs are just not worth saving. It's only a few dollars difference anyway.

    2. Travel in a small group of 3-4 persons. This will reduce costs in two ways: accomodations (room sharing) and transport. Sharing costs for transport in particular, is the best way to save money. As you're going to be there for 2-3 weeks, you are definitely going to be travelling out of Lhasa. And the immense distances mean high transport costs. If you can find travel kakis from Singapore, that would be the most convenient. If not, the hostels are always a great place to find people going to similar destinations. Just check the hostel noticeboards. The hostel (Banak Shol) I stayed is had its own travel agency with their own vehicles and drivers. The staff was very helpful in ensuring we were able to arrange the trips we wanted (we did some prior research and knew exactly where we wanted to visit in Tibet). Ensure both sides understand where you are going to be visiting (including any side trips or locales you want to see along the way) so that there will be no arguments with the driver DURING the trip.

    3. The largest cost will come from transport to and from Tibet (airfare). So spend some effort in trying to secure the cheapest flights you can find from Singapore. It could be a difference of a couple of hundred dollars. I flew into Chengdu and settled travel permits there before flying into Lhasa, Tibet. Stayed in a very nice hostel in Chengdu (run by a Singaporean and his Japanese wife. It's called Sim's Cozy Guesthouse. Check it out on the web). They will be able to settle the flight and permits into Tibet for you.

    4. Don't stinge on things like entrance fees and jeeps. The travel agencies in Lhasa offer different types of jeeps, and it's totally worth it forking out a bit more money to get a newer, smoother model. Remember you're gonna be spending most of your time travelling in that jeep. Besides, splitting the extra cost amongst 3-4 persons will make it very much more affordable. And treat your driver well. They will probably be able to converse with you in Mandarin. If you can find out more about his background, his history, it might make a more interesting trip. And they can point out things that you might otherwise miss.

    5. Most importantly, give yourself at least three days to acclimatise to the altitude in Lhasa. I was a bit over-eager and rushed off on a trip to Nam Tso Lake by the third day, and suffered the worst headaches of my life. And that's really something for a person who suffers from migraines. I think it probably took me about a week to finally acclimatise and for the headaches to ease.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Going it cheap in Tibet

    well summarised pretty much the same sentiments. Check out local guides.. some new hotels charge the same as run down hostels.

    add on..
    6. Meals, eateries will present you with a menu that normally reflect prices similiar to sg(equivalent) prices eg:~3SGD or 15-20RMB for a plate of food. If you want to save money, ask for what other local noodles or rice are there. They usually cost only 6-10RMB or so.

    7. Not everyone who approach you asks for money. There are some who wants to "change money" usually located outside monasteries. Change as many 'yi jiao' (10 cents) notes as you can when you meet them. It'll come in handy. It is usual even for locals to give a few 'yi jiao' notes to the beggars. Their philosophy is that no one should starve to death. The other types are those that ask you for food. They do not want money but food. So keep your sweets, tibets, drinks, etc out of sight! They took my water bottle luckily it was a cheap mineral water bottle but I didn't have portable water with me for the day.
    “How fortunate for leaders that men do not think.” - Adolf Hitler

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Going it cheap in Tibet

    Quote Originally Posted by MerseysideRed View Post
    Hi,

    I was thinking of going to Tibet for around 2-3 weeks. Would like to know, from you guys who has been there, on how to undetake this Tibet trip with the lowest budget possible.

    Thanks!
    Ohhh.. tibet is not cheap.. it's the most expensive place to travel in whole of China for a backpacker .

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    Default Re: Going it cheap in Tibet

    Quote Originally Posted by boochap View Post
    Ohhh.. tibet is not cheap.. it's the most expensive place to travel in whole of China for a backpacker .
    The returns are amazing though
    Besides, there are many great photographic opportunities in Tibet that doesn't require entry passes.

    boochap, I just viewed your photos. You'ave got quite an awesome collection.

    Here are some of my Tibet photos, taken wth a humble P&S back in 2004.
    http://redox.multiply.com/photos/album/2

  6. #6

    Default Re: Going it cheap in Tibet

    Take the new train to Tibet Beijing-Lhasa is $130 one way I think. Much cheaper than the cut throat airfare. Also get the opportunity to ride on the most anticipated railway in decades and at the highest altitude in the world.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Going it cheap in Tibet

    Quote Originally Posted by skinnylatte View Post
    Take the new train to Tibet Beijing-Lhasa is $130 one way I think. Much cheaper than the cut throat airfare. Also get the opportunity to ride on the most anticipated railway in decades and at the highest altitude in the world.
    Yea man, think might be tempted to try the new train up to Lhasa, but I've heard also that price for foreigners is a few times that of what a local pays, so might be a few hundred bucks one way.

    But of cos, the scenary during the train ride would be uncomparable.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Going it cheap in Tibet

    I was there in May-jun05.

    Great place. But travel times are the worse.

    Sim cozy place is a wonderful place. In fact you can reserve a room before you go. Experience says that most taxis dun know where the hell it is. Alternative..if you dun like lodges, one of the cheapest hotels is Traffic Hotel.

    Do not book a tour if you wan to visit Tibet on a cheap. Tour packages are extremely ex esp if you get them from China. Much cheaper to travel into Tibet and source something out. I have a agency to recommend if you wan. Great service.

    Restaurants are not expensive. In fact it's something i learnt by mistake. Eating Ma La steamboat is actually cheaper than fried rice. Believe it or not.

    For hotel accomodations in Lhasa, i recommend Yak Hotel. Service excellent, not that expensive and the rooms are nice. Haha.....Cheack it out.

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