Money & duty free for Tibet

Exchange rates:

Renminbi Yuan
C$1 = ¥5.18
€1 = ¥7.28
£1 = ¥8.61
US$1 = ¥6.95

Currency & Money

Currency information

1 Renminbi Yuan (CNY; symbol ¥) = 10 jiao/mao. Notes are in denominations of ¥100, 50, 20, 10, 5, and 1. Coins are in denominations of Y1, 0.5 and 1 jiao/mao. Counterfeit ¥100 notes are commonplace. The Yuan is often referred to as the ‘kuai’ in street slang.

Credit cards

Credit/debit cards (Visa, Diners Club, MasterCard, American Express etc) are accepted in top-end hotels in Lhasa but are of very limited use elsewhere.


ATMs are available in many towns, though those in Lhasa and Shigatse are most reliable. Cash advances from a credit card are available in Lhasa.

Travellers cheques

Chinese banks give a slightly higher rate for travellers cheques compared to cash but charge a small commission (around 0.75%). US dollars and Euros are the easiest denominations to change. Cashing travellers cheques is difficult outside of Lhasa and Shigatse, so bring a combination of cheques, cash and a credit/debit card.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0900-1300, 1530-1800, Sat & Sun 1000-1600 in Lhasa

Currency restriction

Imports and exports of local currency are limited to ¥20,000. The import and export of foreign currency is unlimited, but amounts exceeding the equivalent of US$5,000 must be declared.

Tibet duty free

For duty-free allowances for Tibet, see the China section.

Banned imports

See China section for a full list. Additionally, you may not import pictures of the Dalai Lama, political or other publications by either the Dalai Lama or the exiled government in Dharamsala or even travel guidebooks that obliquely refer to Tibetan independence. 

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.