Lhasa Tourist Traps, Tourist Scams Lhasa

Plan your Lhasa Tour? Lhasa is the capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region and has long been the center of politics, economy, culture and religion in Tibet. It is one of the most charming cities in the country.

Pray for better life

While travelling in Lhasa, there are several tourist scams that visitors should be aware of. Always be careful with what you do and with who you can trust in Lhasa.

Colorful but Dangerous Nutcakes

In Lhasa, you can see many nutcake sellers around Beijing East Road, all sellers are Ugyhur Muslims and they have beautiful and colorful nutcakes on trolleys.

If you want to buy them, they will first ask you to choose a portion, and ask you again if you want to cut the cake from one position, not too careful most tourists would say yes, then the sellers would cut a big piece and tell you to pay CNY 50 or more for it, if you refuse to pay the money, they will become very aggressive. Just don’t buy it!

Must bargain at Barkou Street for Shopping

In Lhasa, the Barkhor Street around Jokhang Temple is a place where local products and handicrafts of Tibet are clustered for sale at different streetfront vendors and shops. Tourists generally like to buy here beads, silver jewelry, turquoise and so on.

Some of the products are sold at exorbitant prices, so don’t forget to bargain with the vendors.

Charge for Taking Pictures of Animals

In some scenic areas like Namtso Lake and Yamdrok Lake, you will see some yaks or mastiff. They will charge you if snap some photos of these yaks.

So make sure to ask before taking pictures, do not make your travel experience unpleasant.

“Black” Taxis

“Black” taxis refer to the illegal taxis or cars that can be found in Lhasa. You may encounter them almost everywhere you need a taxi, including the airport, the city center, or around attractions.

The drivers will approach you and asking “where are you going”. They will not only overcharge you but there have been reports of tourists taken out into the middle of nowhere where several of the black taxi drivers friend showed up and took all of the tourists belongings. Don’t even talk to these people.

Temple Traps

Temple scams also happen in various big cities and also in Lhasa. When you are visiting a temple with a tour, tour guides may ask you to make a wish and burn an incense which ends up costing a hundred to more than a thousand.

Another trick is to ask you how much you want to “donate”. If you said 10 yuan, they will tell you that 10 yuan is for 1 day blessing but the monk has already turned an incense to bless you for 1 year, so you need to pay 3650 yuan. This scam has caused significant sentiment because of blasphemy. Don’t believe the tour guides. Just follow your heart.

“Black” Tour Guide

You can find “Black” Tour Guide almost everywhere of large cities of China, Lhasa is not an exception. An attractive male or female will approach tourists and offer to be a free or a very cheap tour guide.

They take visitors to some stores on the way to the attractions and force them to shop. The products in the stores are expensive with poor quality. Just remember, there is no free lunch in the world, so leave them far away from you.


Pickpockets always can be found in the major tourist sites of China, Lhasa is not an exception Always keep your eyes on your bags, and carry your wallets in a front pocket or a pocket inside your coat when you are walking on the street or taking the bus.

Beware of these young men and also of the ladies in whose interests they ply their trade. If you are stolen, or you find other being stolen, or you have pickpocket clues, you are encouraged to call the anti-pickpocket hotline 110.

Paying for Photos in Monasteries

Having paid your entrance fee to get into the monasteries the enterprising monks will then charge you to take photos inside.

Be warned, its not just one charge for taking a photo inside, it’s a separate charge in each of the major chapels. You can take as many photos as you like but if you visit a lot of monasteries it can add up.

Child Beggars

In Lhasa, you will have the chance to see some children beg for money, sometimes even grabbing onto your legs until you pay them some money.

There are reports that these children may have been kidnapped from other places specifically to be used for begging purposes. Just avoid those child beggars. If you give money to child beggars, you may have the risk of getting a swarm of them.

Hassle-free Lhasa Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for guided tours to Lhasa:

Lhasa Tour
Lhasa Tibet Group Tour
Lhasa Tibet Private Tour
Beijing Lhasa Tour
Lhasa China Tour

Further Readings

Best Time to Visit Lhasa
Top 10 Attractions in Lhasa
Lhasa Tourist Traps, Tourist Scams Lhasa
Where to stay in Lhasa
Makye Ame Lhasa Restaurant – Your Kitchen in Lhasa
Lhasa Airport, Lhasa Gonggar Airport
Xian Lhasa Flight Experience, Xian Lhasa Flight
Lhasa Railway Station Transportation, Taxi, Public Bus
Get around in Lhasa with Pedicab or Trishaw
lhasa Taxi
Best Places to Take Picture of Potala Palace Lhasa

4-Wheel Drive Trip from Lhasa to Ranwu
Drak Yerpa, My trip to Drak Yerpa Monastery
The Pilgrim Kora in Lhasa, Lhasa Pilgrim circuits
Monks at Sera Je College at Sera Monastery in Lhasa
Beijing Road in Lhasa
A Fun to Walk along Lhasa River in the City of Lhasa
Lhasa Great Mosque, the Mosques in Lhasa
Lhasa Yamdrok-Tso Lake Road Trip

Any questions, just drop a line.

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