Accommodations in Tibet

Generally speaking, Tibet offers a decent range of accommodations, many with hot showers and some 3~5 star options especially at bigger cities and towns. In smaller towns of Tibet you may be limited to rooms or dorm bed with a shared public toilet, while in the countryside electricity and running water are luxuries that cannot be relied on.

Budget accommodation in Tibet generally means a room without a bathroom or, at the top end of the scale, a simple room with a hot-water bathroom. Lhasa in particular has many budget guesthouses and youth hostels. Midrange hotels generally have rooms with a private bathroom and hot-water showers, at least for part of the day. Top-end hotels are limited to the main cities and Lhasa now boasts several luxury and boutique hotels.

Hot water is provided everywhere in thermoses and even in the simplest places a basin and drum of cold water is usually provided for washing. Bedding is provided, but in the cheapest places it’s often not that clean and a sleeping bag is a nice luxury.

In some towns (eg. Gyantse, Shigatse, Tsetang, etc), and in most of Eastern Tibet, the local Public Security Bureau (PSB) keeps a frustratingly tight lid on which places can and cannot accept foreigners, and budget hotels are often not permitted to accept foreigners. Those that can host foreigners must possess a special license.

Groups are sometimes expected to share rooms at remote truck-stop places, since many only have four- or five-bed rooms, such as Everest Base Camp, Roungbuk Monasteries, Mt Kailash, etc. For example, the only accommodation at Everest Base Camp is the nomad tents. The tents usually have about 6~8 beds, often shared by not only travellers but guide, driver, and tent owner too for the night. If you want a whole tent for yourself alone, you have to pay for all beds in a tent.

Midrange and top-end accommodations in Lhasa are more expensive than elsewhere in China. You can sometimes get good deals on top-end hotels at hotel booking sites. Tour agencies don’t mind you to book your own hotel in Lhasa, knowing that sometimes you could get a better deal online even than themselves, but of other parts of Tibet, it’s better to let your tour agency book for you otherwise your guide & driver cant get free accommodation from hotels if it isn’t booked via a travel agency, and you will end up paying extra and especially for guide & driver’s accommodations. Most guides & drivers live and have their own places in Lhasa, that’s why tour agencies don’t mind you to book your own hotels in Lhasa.

 Fancy 5star in Lhasa: Shangri-La Hotel ↓  Nice 4star in Shigatse: Tashi Choten Hotel ↓
Fancy 5star in Lhasa: Shangri-La Hotel
Nice 4star in Shigatse: Tashi Choten Hotel
 Standard 3star in Gyantse: Ye Ti Hotel ↓  Twin Room in Guesthouse: Qomo Langma Hotel in Tingri Tibet ↓
 Standard 3star in Gyantse: Ye Ti hotel  Twin Room in Guesthouse: Qomo Langma Hotel in Tingri Tibet
 Dorm Bed: Nomad Tent at Everest Base Camp ↓  Dorm Bed: Rongbuk Monastery Guesthouse ↓
 Dorm Bed: Nomad Tent at Everest Base Camp  Dorm Bed: Rongbuk Monastery Guesthouse

Below is a rough summary of the availabilities of different ranges of accommodations that can hosts foreign travellers at major cities and towns of Tibet.

City & Town
Guesthouse with Private Bathroom
Guesthouse  without Private Bathroom
Dorm Bed
Lhasa & Shigatse
Rongbuk Monastery
Everest Base Camp
Lake Manasarvorar
Mt Kailash