Car Rental in Tibet
Renting a landcruiser with a driver has become the most popular way of getting around in Tibet, even though you can still travel along most of main routes by public transport. But please note that toursists are not permitted to drive rental vehicles in Tibet.
Landcruiser have room for 5 people and their luggage, but one people need to sit at back extra seat, so 4 is more comfortable. Especially for a longer trip, it's worth limiting the number of passengers according to the road conditions and the amount of luggage.
The most popular route is a leisurely and slightly circuitous journey down to Zhangmu on the Tibet-Nepal border, taking in Yamdrok-tso, Gyantse, Shigatse, Sakya, Everest Base Camp and Tingri along the way. Mt.Kailash, Namtso and Drigung Til are also popular destinations.
The following is some popular route the tourists always take:
. Lhasa - Yamdrok-tso - Gyantse - Shigatse - Sakya - E.B.C - Lhasa ( 4/5 days Landcruiser trip)
. Lhasa - Yamdrok-tso - Gyantse - Shigatse - Sakya - E.B.C - Nepal Border ( 4/5 day Landcruiser trip)
. Lhasa - Yamdrok-tso - Gyantse - Shigatse - Sakya - E.B.C - Namtso Lake - Yangbachen hotsprings - Lhasa ( 6 day landcruiser trip)
. Lhasa - Yangbachen hotsprings - Nam-tso - Reting Monastery - Drigung Til - Tidrum Nunnery - Ganden Monastery - Lhasa ( 4/5 day landcruiser trip)
. Lhasa - Basum-tso - Lamaling Monastery - Lamo la-tso - Samye Monastery - Tsedang - Gonggar airport ( 5/6 day trip)
. Mt. Kailash & Lake Manasarovar (13/14 day landcruiser trip)
. Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasarovar & Zanda Tholing ( 16/17 day landcruiser trip)
. Western Tibet loop trip ( 12/13 day trip)
Tips for renting a car
1. Considering the poor road condition in some remote areas of Tibet, jeeps like Toyota Landcruiser 4500 are the best choice when you rent a car though much cheaper alternatives are available, such as mini or medium-sized buses.
2. Inspect the vehicle closely before you pay for anything.
3. Read the odometer to know how old the vehicle is. It's better to avoid renting a Toyota 4500 if there is over 300,000 km on the odometer.
4. Four-wheel drive is necessary to make sure the vehicle can get out of deep pits on rugged roads.
5. Check the engine to make sure that the engine matches the shell of the car.
6. Check the driver's driving license to see how much experience he has. In Tibet, some drivers have not received professional driving lessons and have no driving licenses. To be on the safe side, check driver's licenses and vehicle insurance cards.
7. A contract is necessary when renting vehicles. Several points for consideration when making the contract.
First, make sure each person in the car has a copy of the contract, which is very very important.
Secondly, if you aren't renting the vehicle yourself, check to make sure there is a clause in the contract that states how many passengers will be allowed on the bus. Some drivers will overcrowd the vehicle to make more money.
Thirdly, make sure there is a clause defining how much you will pay in advance (which should be a maximum of 50 per cent of the total cost) and defining the compensation terms in case of contract violation on the part of the rental agency or driver.
Fourthly, make sure there are clauses defining where to stop to eat, stay for the night and banning driving after drinking, as is common in Tibet given the lack of professional driving training.
8. The rental price is usually set according to distance or by the day. Bargaining is necessary.
9. The best place to rent vehicles is Lhasa.
10. Get together with the driver before the trip and go through the main points of the contract verbally.
11. Reach friendly terms with your driver by treating him with respect – giving him some cigarettes or some kind of small gift – rather than waving a contract in his face, then you are likely to have far fewer problems.
Reference prices for renting cars in Tibet
The price of renting a car in Tibet depends on the price of oil, the season, the vehicle condition, the driver's experience, etc. Therefore, the following prices are just for your reference.
Price is only for reference, the acutal price need to be confirmed with travel consualtants.
|Jan. to Apr. & Nov. to Dec.||May to Jun & Oct.||Jul. to Sep.|
|Toyota 4500||4.0 RMB/km||4.5 RMB/km||5.0 RMB/km||4|
|Toyota 100||5.0 RMB/km||5.5 RMB/km||6.0 RMB/km||4|
|Mitsubishi Landcruiser||4.0 RMB/km||4.5 RMB/km||5.0 RMB/km||4|
|Business Minivan||4.0 RMB/km||4.5 RMB/km||5.0 RMB/km||6|