Currency, Money, ATM and Credit Card

Before you travel to Tibet, you need to know the issue and tips about Tibet currency, money exchange, Credit Cards, ATM, and why coins are not accepted in Tibet?.


In Tibet, travelers still use the currency, Chinese Yuan or Renminbi (RMB). The notes are in denomination of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Yuan. Foreign currency can not be used directly, and Chinese coins are not acceptable.

The reason why Tibetan people do not use coins is not very clear. Different people have different opinions about it, mainly as follows:
1) there are no Tibetan words on coins;
2) public transportation in Tibet is not advanced and coins are not easy to carry around, so coins can not be used for its most popular purpose as a ticket replacement as in other cities in China.

Exchanging Money

In Tibet, Bank of China is the only place to change your foreign currency and travellers' checks. The bank have one main office in Lhasa and a few sub-branches in Shigatse, Shannan, Nyingchi, Zhangmu, Purang and Ali. The top hotels in Lhasa have exchange services, but only for guests. If you travel outside Lhasa, please prepare your cash in denominations: 10 yuan, 20 yuan and 50 yuan bills.

1. Passports must be shown when exchanging currency;
2. Banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays in Tibet;
3. At Zhangmu (by the Nepal border), travelers can also change yuan into Nepalese Repee and vice versa.

International Transfers

In Lhasa, getting money sent to you is possible, but it can be a drag. One way is to use the Bank of China's central office in Lhasa. Money should be wired to the Bank of China, Tibet/Lhasa branch, 28 Linkuo Xilu, the bank account is No.90600668341, and the SWIFT code is BKCHCNBJ900. The second way is via Western Union (, which can wire money via the Express Mail Service (EMS) at Lhasa's main post office.


In Lhasa and Shigatse, several ATMs can accept foreign cards. The ATMs of Bank of China accept Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, American Express and Plus. The ATMs of Agricultural Bank of China accept Visa, Plus and Electron.

1. Check before trying your card, for many ATMs can only be used by Chinese account holders.
2. In the Bank of China, the maximum amount you can withdraw per transaction is 2000 yuan; in the Agricultural Bank of China, it is only 100 yuan.
3. The cards are occasionally eaten, so try to make your transaction during working hours.

Credit Cards

In Lhasa, credit cards are a convenient payment in the hotels of four star and five star, even three star, which usually ask you to pay 3-4% extra bank charge. The Bank of China in Lhasa is the only bank in Tibet provides credit card advances.

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