Location: Places >> Central Asia >> China >> Tibet
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Local SIM card in Tibet for foreigners!
Posted June 5th, 2013 - 7:42 pm by from Delft, Netherlands (Permalink)
Hello :)

I will be visiting Tibet in the later half of June. I am gonna be staying for close to 2 weeks there and will require access to a phone and internet regularly (atleast 1-2 times a day). The best option would be to buy a local sim, right? I will be visiting Nyalam, Saga, Paryang, Darchen. Most part of my time will be spent by the Manasarovar lake.

1. What mobile networks provide services in Tibet?
2. Can foreigners get a sim easily? (I heard its little difficult but it wasn't clear) Or is there any other means to get one?
3. Does the network generally cover the towns as well?
4. Any idea of a particular mobile plan that is cost efficient?

All help would be appreciated!

Posted June 6th, 2013 - 6:21 pm by from Avignon, France (Permalink)
Hey Mihir,

1 You can buy the SIM cards by China Mobile(of course with your passport).
2 Just buy a SIM cards is not difficult i guess, but if you are going to Ngari( the Manasarovar lake the Mount Kailash ect,)ok in fact to if you are going any places in the west of Saga...you need to go to the police station to apply for a paper...
3 About the network, in the big towns, yes, but on the road between the two towns(for ex:between Sage and Sênggê Zangbo),there have No any network and any signal.
4 Come on ,every mobile will not run in Ngari...but you can use satellite phone or landline for Tibetan or the drivers......

Best wish


Posted June 10th, 2013 - 2:19 pm by from Chengdu, China (Permalink)

I would suggest you try to get the SIM before you arrive in Tibet.

It is possible to get the sim chip, but as noted your passport will be required.

If you don't need to be online all the time, I would suggest look at the hotels where you are staying. Many should have wifi for you to use. If not in your room then in the lobby.

Hope this helps.


Posted June 16th, 2013 - 11:29 pm by from Matejov, Czech Republic (Permalink)
1. China Telecom /best option - best signal everywhere/, China Mobile, China Unicom (worst option - almost no signal out of the bigger towns).
2.go to shop with your passport and that's it.
3.Best covered is Telecom, China mobile also good. Unicom only cities.
4.When you buy SIM card, tell the guy in shop you need internet, ask them what they would recommend. If you speak some Tibetan (or chinese) or have somebody who would help you translate your demands (maybe some young Tibetan people who would translate for you or Hotel stuff).

Enjoy U-tsang

Posted July 1st, 2013 - 7:30 am by from Delft, Netherlands (Permalink)
Thank you very much.

My Tibet trip had to be cancelled last minute because my sister's Chinese Visa got rejected.

Posted January 28th, 2014 - 6:59 am by from Vancouver, Canada (Permalink)
Ibought China unicom SIM card last week,they didnt ask me for passport

Posted January 28th, 2014 - 8:25 am by from Matejov, Czech Republic (Permalink)
Yes, Unicom sometimes dont want to see your passport, but during few days/weeks THEY will already know who you are and register SIM card for your name. BTW. UNICOM SIM card is the worst choice for traveling in Tibet. They have almost NO SIGNAL in most of places. Only big cities (county and bigger), no signal on the road, in villages.

Posted January 28th, 2014 - 5:21 pm by from Vancouver, Canada (Permalink)
how will they know who i am ?
i dont get it

Posted January 28th, 2014 - 7:16 pm by from Matejov, Czech Republic (Permalink)
According your calls or messages, and when you give your phone number in hotel-hostel,....they will always know who you are.