Internet & WiFi in Tibet

Internet & WiFi in Lhasa:

As the capital of Tibet, Lhasa has the most complete and superior infrastructure. So, the WiFi penetration rate in Lhasa is very high. Almost all hotels offer free WiFi.

Some hotels have different WiFi signal source for each room. The wifi signal would be much stronger and the use of internet would be smoother if you are using an independent WiFi. But for some hotels, usually a few rooms or the whole floor need to share the same wifi signal source, then the network in the room might not very good. Occasionally you may need to go to the lobby or where the router is placed to use mobile phones or laptops.

St. Regis Resort Lhasa
St. Regis Resort Lhasa 

Same as other cities in China, cafés, restaurants and bars in Lhasa also have free wifi. There are many cafes in Lhasa. If you have to use computer during your trip, taking your laptop and finding a café to finish the work is far better than staying in a hotel room.

If not for work, you can also have a cup of coffee or local yak yogurt and enjoy a leisurely travel time with the convenient use of free wifi pleasantly. If you did not bring your laptop or iPad but need to reply e-mails or deal with some important work, then going to an internet café is also a good choice. Not all internet cafes allow foreigners to use the computer. Please check with the staff in advance and they would need your original passport to register. 

Makye Ame Restaurant in Lhasa
Makye Ame Restaurant in Lhasa

For many foreigners traveling or living in China, it is quite inconvenient for them to use Google, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter in China, and even cannot log in their Gmail mailboxes. Those websites or apps are unable to access to without VPN (Virtual private network). For those who need to log in those websites, VPN is essentially an easy-to-use piece of software. For guests who don't have VPN but using Gmail, we suggest that you also give us a backup e-mail address like Yahoo or Hotmail just to keep in touch. Just in case once you are in China but your email service doesn’t work.

It is also a good choice to buy a domestic phone card because international network roaming is too expensive to use in Tibet during the journey. Get a local sim card and choose a suitable internet package. It will not only be economical, bust also make your journey more convenient.

The signal of China Telecom is better than the other two telecom operators China Mobile or China Unicom. In some remote areas, mobile phone card of the China Telecom can receive the mobile signal, but not the other two. Some of the travelers bring portable wifi to Tibet during their trip. The portable wifi may be OK to use in the city area, but when it comes to remote areas, the signal should be no better than the local operator. For instance, even the local cell phone will not have a signal at times. It is not possible to use portable wifi in the condition of non-signals. Because mobile wifi just transforms 4G/3G network signals into wifi, the mobile wifi is useless without signal. 

If you are going to Mt. Everest or Mt. Kailash, there are some places during the drive without any signal at all. Even when you receive signal, it won’t last long and be on and off from time to time.

Internet & WiFi at Mt. Everest:

Tourists stay at the Rongbuk Guesthouse with dorm-bed rooms or the Everest Base Camp tent guesthouses when they stay overnight at Mount Everest. Seasonally, the tent guesthouses at EBC would be pulled out of the base camp from November to April. If tourists visit Tibet during winter, they can only have accommodation at Rongbuk Guesthouse, while the accommodation at EBC tent guesthouses is available from April to November. 

Right now, no matter at Rongbuk Guesthouse or at EBC tent guesthouses, WiFi is accessible. It is not the normal WiFi source we could easily see in the cities, which is more like a device that could transform the cell phone signals into WiFi, pretty much like the theory of portable wifi. But since at EBC tent guesthouses, usually there are 6-10 people sharing the same room. Also, the tent owner stays there too, they can also offer you food, sweet tea, yak butter tea or milk. So usually it’s about 10 people in the tent sharing the same WiFi. Considering the remote location it is in and poor internet of the portable WiFi, the internet signal there is generally not good.

WiFi at Everest Base Camp
WiFi at Everest Base Camp

Internet & WiFi at Mt. Kailash:

For tourists visiting Mt. Kailash, the trek tour would usually start from Darchen. It is a small town down the hill of Mt. Kailash. The hotel and restaurant usually provide WiFi. But since it is too far from the cities, the power of whole town would be cut for most of the day, so would the hotel and restaurant. 

Usually the hotel only has power from 9PM to 12:00AM. Of course, they cannot have WiFi when there’s no power. 

Make sure to bring power bank, since even in Darchen, there might not be enough time for you to charge your phone or power bank. Only a few hours are available for charging.

Not mention the other 2 nights’ accommodation during trek. You are going to stay in a tent or a very basic bungalow, where power and WiFi are not provided.

On the second day of trek, tourists would pass the Dromala Mountain pass at an elevation of 5630m. There was no mobile signal on the winding mountain paths. The situation lasts for several hours. But once we reach the rest area down the mountain, you cell phone would have signals and be able to use internet. 

Please check the information of internet and WiFi in different regions of Tibet as follows: 

Regions WiFi at Hotel & Café Internet & Portable WiFi
Lhasa City Free WiFi Good
Shigatse City Free WiFi Good
Everest Base Camp Free WiFi but poor speed Accessible but not good enough
Mt. Kailash No Electricity & WiFi Accessible most of the time
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