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Money & Credit Card - Currency Guide in Tibet

08 June 2022 Last updated at 11:59

When travelling to Tibet, you are likely to carry an abundance of cash on hand and worry about losing money through carelessness or theft. So how to solve the currency exchange and cash in Tibet is an issue that can be neglected.

A new visitor like you must be curious about what kind of currency is used in Tibet, are there any banks in Tibet, where can you withdraw cash of debit card, is credit card available in Tibet, and where can you do currency exchange. Trust us, here you will find detailed and useful money, currency exchange and credit cards usage information in Tibet.

1. What Currency Used in Tibet

    1. Tibet is one part of China, thus Tibetans use the same official currency as all the other cities in China – CNY/RMB (Renminbi). The Yuan (Chinese: 元/圆/块, sign: ¥) is the basic unit of the RMB and generally refers to the Chinese currency on the international.

Paper money and coin are the two common currencies daily used in China. Notes come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 Yuan and 1 and 5 Jiao. Nowadays, one dime(角/毛 - Jiao) is the minimum value of RMB while 100 Yuan is the largest RMB denomination. Only denominations of 1 Yuan, 1 Jiao and 5 Jiao are made in coins and paper money, the rest are all in banknotes. The value relation is that one Yuan is divided into ten Jiao, that is 1 Yuan (or Kuai) = 10 Jiao (or Mao).

Foreign tourists need to know two important matters that the foreign currency cannot be used directly in Tibet only the Chinese currency can circulate, and coins in one Yuan and below are not acceptable in Tibet.

Chinese Currency RMB

2. How to Exchange Foreign Currency in Tibet

Foreign currency and traveler's checks can be exchanged only at the Bank of China (BOC). Thanks to the rapidly developed tourism of Tibet, Bank of China has one main office in Lhasa and many sub-branches in Lhasa, a few sub-branches in Shigatse, Shannan (Lhoka), Qamdo, Nagqu and Nyingchi. Currently, there are no any branches or sub-branches in remote Ngari prefecture. Prepare enough cash if you plan to travel further to Ngari.

Tibet Autonomous Region Branch of Bank of China, a first-level branch in downtown Lhasa, Tibet (west of Potala Palace) offers the most convenient and efficient currency exchange service and options. Keep in mind that not every BOC sub-branch provides the currency exchange you hold, you can contact the branch to check whether it’s available or not. Be aware that business time of BOC is fixed in some specific time period, usually closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Click the to get more detailed BOC branches' address and phone information.

If you live in one of the up-market 4 or 5 star hotel in Lhasa which offers money exchange service, you can do the exchange as a hotel guest. Passport must be shown to exchange currency no matter where you will do the exchange. And you must keep the exchange receipt given to you at the bank or money exchange counter if you want to change RMB back into your home currency in Tibet. When you travel to other regions in Tibet out of Lhasa, you ought to get your cash in small denominations, better less than RMB 50.

TibetDiscovery is always here to make your Tibet tour easy and comfortable. Our Tibet guides are ready to help you at any moment. He/she will lead you to exchange currency in Bank of China if you need. You can consult for more information and recommendations.

Bank of China
AddressPhone Number

Tibet Branch
(Bank of China)

7 Lingkhor West Road, Lhasa City 850000, Tibet, China
0891 - 6835311

3. How to Use Credit Card in Tibet

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 and some shopping malls in Lhasa.

Only the Tibet Branch of the Bank of China in Lhasa offers credit card cash advances. Most ATMs are not available for cash advance of credit cards. That means, 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.

4. Where to Withdraw Money of China Debit Card

Maybe you have studied and worked or stay in China for a long time, and already have one Chinese debit card. In Tibet, Lhasa in particular you will find many sub-branches and ATMs of different banks, such as China Construction Bank (CCB), Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) and Postal Savings Bank of China and few commercial banks including China Citic Bank, China Minsheng Bank, Bank of Tibet and etc.

Among all banks, CCB and PSBC have the most banking outlets and ATM sites in Tibet, giving you great convenience. Tourists who hold Chinese debit cards can easily take cash from one ATM of above banks in Tibet by using UnionPay card or specialized card. Rest assured that all ATMs are connected with network system.

Welcome to contact us if you have any questions about money before or during the Tibet travel, we are very pleased to help you work out the money issue and other concerns you have in Tibet. All you need to do is enjoy your fantastic Tibet journey.

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