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Tipping in Tibet: Do I Need to Tip When Traveling in Tibet?

Many tourists have inquired us these questions: do I need to give tips when touring Tibet? How much to tipping in Tibet? Well, as a part of the travel expense in Tibet, tipping is indeed an issue many tourists will concern about. So here in this article, we will give a detailed introduction to the standard of tipping in Tibet, to help you better plan your Tibet tour and travel budget.

Is It Necessary to Tip in Tibet?

Many foreigners who have never been to Tibet may not know about the customs of Tibet. Although tipping is not customary or required in most places of mainland China, it is a good courtesy to tip those in the service industry in Tibet.

In fact, many foreign tourists who travel to Tibet have tipped people who gave them assistance and services, just like in their own countries. Especially to the guides and drivers who accompany you all the time during your trip to Tibet, a small amount of tipping is expected.

Since the tourist season in Tibet is relatively short (June to September is the peak tourism season, but Tibet can be visited all year round), drivers and guides need to make as much money as possible during the peak season to support their families for a whole year.

In Tibetan traditional culture, they use their income to support not just their immediate family, but often their extended family as well. And in fact, most local Tibetans are still quite poor and need as much help as they can get.

When and How to Tip in Tibet?

Tipping to Guide and Driver

For every foreign tourist visiting Tibet, you will be accompanied by a local Tibetan guide and a driver, according to the regulation. Your tour guide and driver are usually arranged by the tour agency with which you have booked an organized tour.

The tour guide will not only lead you to every destination of the journey but also take good care of you and help you get out of unexpected troubles. They will explain the attraction you visit, so that you can better understand Tibetan history and culture. Also, they can help you to pick souvenirs, recommend good-value restaurants, and so on.

Tibet guideOur client with local tour guide at Gawula Pass

Drivers are mainly responsible for transferring you from one city to another city across Tibet by personal vehicle since public transport here is not available for foreign tourists. The road condition in Tibet is much inferior to those in other places of China mainland, therefor drivers have to put more effort to keep the passengers safe.

Therefore, if you feel your driver and guide have done a good job, you are highly recommended to give them a tip at the end of your tour in Tibet. The amount of tipping is going to vary from person to person.

In the past, for the driver, the tipping is between RMB 75 and 125 for each day of the tour. The tour guide is between RMB 100 and 500 according to how taxing the guide's work is, and how many participants are in your group. But this is just rough guidance, you can tip them as you like according to the quality of their services.

Tipping to Trekking Porters

Besides, if you are going to take a trek in Tibet, you may need to hire a porter to carry your backpack. In this case, you may tip them after their help and services.

The trekking in Tibet, like the Mount Kailash trek and Everest Base Camp trek, normally lasts for several days, and you need to pack some clothes, food, or trekking gear in your backpack. It could be very tiring to carry your luggage on your own, especially when you hike on a rough road in high-altitude mountain area. So it is necessary to hire a porter, who will use a horse to carry your heavy bags.

Trek porterTrekking porter with client at Mt. Kailash trek trail

Tipping in other Occasions

When dining in a restaurant in Tibet, you may also give tips to the waiter or waitress who serves the meals for you. There are many kinds of restaurants in Lhasa, including western restaurants. Usually, a tip of 5% - 10% of your bill amount is expected if it is not included in the bill.

Also, it is a generous gesture to tip the housekeeping staff of the hotel you stay in, as well as the bellboys. You can tip a dollar or two to them after their services.

Conclusion

It is not compulsory to tip in Tibet, but it can show your appreciation and support to the guide, driver and other people who try their best to serve you. And there is no standard on the amount of tipping, you can decide how much to tip according to the quality of the services. If you have more questions about Tibet travel, just contact us for professional consultation.

Master Kungga Dundruk

About the Author - Master Kungga Dundruk

Kungga Dundruk, often respectfully referred to as “Manager Kunga”, is the most revered and legendary Tibetan guide in our team.

Currently working as a customer service manager in Lhasa, Kunga used to study business overseas and got his Bachelor of Business in Nepal and India before moving back to his homeland. With pure passion for life and unlimited love for Tibet, Kunga started his guide career as early as 1997.

As a legendary Tibetan guide with 22 years of guide experience, Kunga was awarded the Gold Medalist of China’s Best Tour Guide in 2019, marking the pinnacle of his career. Today, Kunga loves sharing his wealth of Tibetan knowledge through travel articles and stands ready to offer prompt support whenever our guests need help in Lhasa.

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