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What to Buy in Tibet - Tibet Shopping

Tibet is full of shopping treasures that are featured with rich Tibetan culture and local life, including Thangka, Tibetan jewelry, Tibetan carpet, Tibetan knife, Tibetan mask, Tibetan medicine…… There is really something for everyone! makes a shopping list here to tell you what to buy in Tibet and Lhasa.

Money Exchange and Credit Cards in Tibet

What are the facts you need to know about Tibet currency exchange? Are credit cards available to use in Tibet? Trust us, you will need the essential information after you arrive at Lhasa.


  • In Tibet, the currency is still Chinese Yuan or known as Renminbi (RMB). Notes come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 Yuan and 1, 2, and 5 Jiao. 1 Yuan (or Kuai) = 10 Jiao (or Mao).
  • Foreign currency cannot be used directly.
  • Coins are not acceptable in Tibet.

Currency Exchange

  • Foreign currency and traveler's checks can be exchanged only at the Bank of China (中国银行), which has one main office in Lhasa and a few sub-branches in Lhasa, Shigatse, Lhoka, and Nyingchi.
  • Passports must be shown to exchange currency.
  • Several up-market hotels in Lhasa offer currency exchange services, but only available for their guests.
  • To change RMB back into your home banknotes, you must keep the exchange receipt given to you at the bank or money exchange counter.
  • If you are traveling out of Lhasa, try to get your cash in small denominations (less than RMB 50).
  • Banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays in Tibet.

Credit Cards

  • Credit cards are not recommended as a way of payment in Tibet because they are only accepted by the Bank of China and few hotels in Lhasa.
  • Only Tibet Branch of the Bank of China (中国银行西藏自治区分行) in Lhasa offers credit card advances.
  • ATM is not widely available. Most of time, you couldn't get cash by ATM from branches of the Bank of China. You need to go to the Tibet Branch of the Bank of China (the main office in Lhasa).

All in all, exchange enough money to Chinese RMB in cash is the best choice though it has risks