How to Plan a Cheap Trip to Nepal and Tibet

First of all, how to budget for a Tibet Nepal trip depends on whether you’re traveling solo or within a group. With a partner, you may double down the cost of accommodation. As a solo traveler, you may have more flexibility to decide on where to save money and when you want to treat yourself generously.

Different regions or countries have different inbound travel policies for foreign travelers. Whether you’re permitted to travel unaccompanied or travel semi-freely, this also accounts for how you plan your trip budget. In Nepal, foreign passport holders can do solo travel, while in Tibet, they have to travel on an organized tour arranged by registered travel agencies. So, a combined trip with Nepal and Tibet is a combination of free travel and semi-free travel.

As we all know, travel costs include transportation, accommodation, meals, entertainment activities, shopping, visa application fees, etc. While including all the items, calculating the future trip to break the cost down will give you a clear idea about where you’re expected to spend money during your planning and on your vacation.

Budgeting in the Planning Process

Costs on Application of Documents Required for Travelling to Tibet and Nepal

  1. Chinese visa
  2. Nepali visa
  3. Tibet travel permit
  4. Additional documents when traveling to remote area or military sensitive regions, including Border Pass, Military Pass, Alien’s Travel Permit, etc.
  5. Travel Insurance is essential for an oversea trip.

Depending on which type of visa you’re applying for, visa fees vary enormously. You can Google about single-entry, multiple-entry, or visa upon arrival, based on your own situation, to get an idea of how much you need to pay for the Chinese visa and Nepali visa. As for the other necessary documents required to travel to Tibet, they are only available with the assistance of a registered travel agency. Their application fees are normally included in the tour package price. So, you could exclude this item in your calculation under this category.

Make a Budget for Transportation

Low-cost flight options to Lhasa and Kathmandu

1) Flying from inland China to Lhasa: Flights from Chengdu, Chongqing, Kunming, Xi’an, Xining are often at a good price, as low as $88. It is also quite common that flights from Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou are offering discounted tickets.

2) Flying from Kathmandu to Lhasa: There are multiple flights every day, among which there is one daily direct flight. The price varies from $100 to $450.

3) The best time to book flights: As a norm, March, April, and late-October are the best months to buy cheap plane tickets to Lhasa for two reasons: These are low season months, and many airlines offer discounted flights during this period for the upcoming shoulder season and high season.

Lhasa Gonggar Airport
Lhasa Gonggar Airport

Buy Train Tickets

Unlike airplane tickets, train tickets have a stable price. But it’s hard to get a ticket to Lhasa during the high season, as the Qinghai-Tibet Highway is very popular among train fanatics and believed to be beneficial for adapting to the ascending altitudes. To seek help from your tour operator or a ticket agent by paying extra for booking service fee could guarantee that you won’t miss this unique railway journey. Depending on your preference from hard seat, soft seat, hard sleeper and soft sleeper, the ticket fare varies. To check the price, you can visit the official website of China Railway: https://www.12306.cn/

Note: GoToTibet has been experienced and efficient in helping our clients to book discounted flights and train tickets with reasonable booking service fees. We’re happy to help upon request.

Train to Lhasa
Train to Lhasa

3. Costs on the Tour Package of Tibet Trip and Solo Travel in Nepal

Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Tour (Tour package price from $919)

As the average altitude in Tibet is over 4,000 meters, and the average altitude in Nepal is 1,000 meters, traveling from Tibet to Nepal is more altitude friendly, leading to more travelers choosing this option instead of the reverse direction. Therefore, it’s more likely to join a group tour in this direction and traveling from Nepal to Tibet may result in a private tour with higher costs. Check out the detailed itinerary and quotation: 7-Day Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour

Biking Trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu

Biking is a very cheap way to travel in Nepal. However, in Tibet, it can be more costly for foreigners than Chinese solo bikers. Because of the policy, a foreign bike traveler should also travel on an organized tour and should include daily costs on the guide and vehicle rental. To contact several tour operators to get the quote of a bike tour in Tibet, you may have the data to add in your budget.

Compare Group Tours and Private Tours in this Combined Trip

If you’re a solo traveler, taking a group tour will definitely save money for you as the travel agency can get you discounted entrance tickets, accommodations, and cheaper car rental service as well. Flexibility is what almost all of us are opting to have. Check with your trip advisor in advance to inform them of your preferences, initials, and demands, so they can possibly arrange some free time for you in Tibet.

If you’re traveling with at least one partner, having a tailor-made private tour will also be possible to save money and at the same time provide you with much greater flexibility.

On Vacation, Spontaneous Expenditure

As per the tour package, upon arrival, you’ll pay for the balance of the tour package to the travel agency. In China, you can make a payment face-to-face with your smartphone via Wechat, Alipay, or online bank apps if available for you. While in Nepal, a cash transaction is still the most popular way to make a payment.

Setting an amount of how much you intend to spend on your vacation is important in order to have a frugal trip that results in no regrets after coming back home and counting the larger bill than expected. But to have a reasonable amount of money for spontaneous expenditure is also important to get you a more enjoyable and relaxing trip. Be wise with your budget, but never be too tight if possible. Below are some of the potential items that you may want to purchase:

  1. Unique artifacts exclusively representing the stunning culture your destination offer.
  2. Beautiful ethnic clothing or costumes
  3. Pollution-free highland medicinal products, or other yum specialties.
  4. Elaborate books that tell the history of this landscape.
  5. A hair wrap with colorful strings that were made by Tibetan girls.
  6. A cuddle with a lamb and pictures that were taken with the lamb, Tibetan mastiff, white yaks, etc.
  7. Optional attractions excluded in the agreed itinerary.
  8. Foodies’ exploration of local delicacy.
  9. Souvenirs delivery fee.

Other Money-Saving Tips

  1. A spreadsheet or a list of can be helpful to get your money-saving strategy carried out. Just write down all the necessary costs first. Then go through the upcoming trip itinerary day by day, keeping all types of costs in mind and find out whether anything is not included yet.
  2. Seek advice from your besties who’re pretty good at both saving money and spending money wisely. You may find it more efficient than squeezing your brain on your own.
  3. Read blogs about the destinations you plan to visit to get an insider’s first-hand information.
  4. There may be activities free of charge, of which the information about them may be published on the most frequently used social apps or websites which the locals are familiar with. Regularly, events for people residing in the city will be held, such as film nights, reading party, lectures, exhibitions, dancing party, folk music concerts, night running, night safari, night biking, etc.
  5. Plan a trip to your destination in Shoulder or Off-Season, you can save money on flights, accommodation and entrance fees to attractions. The winter tourism preferential policy to encourage more tourists to tour Tibet from November to February includes reducing the entrance price by half to attractions ranked with 3A or level above.
  6. Keep tracking your expenses during the journey and limit the exceeding cost out of your budget in the amount you find acceptable.

Leave a short message to us via LiveChat or send us your inquiry if you have a specific question about Tibet Nepal trip. We’re here to share our insider’s knowledge and are happy to offer our quality service.

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