Be aware that your cultural values may differ from those of locals.

Making the extra effort to respect local customs and cultural differences will enhance your interactions with local using your time in Tibet and contribute to building mutual respect between local and tourist.

Many tourists ignore these cultural norms and can be seen in towns and villages wearing shorts and revealing summer: while it may be comfortable, it is not appropriate especially when visiting monasteries.  Don’t be shy to inform other tourists of the proper dress for monasteries; perhaps they are not aware of the cultural considerations and etiquette. Some enterprising locals may ask for payment for photos. Photography is prohibited in places such as inside some monasteries, at sky burial sites and around military bases. Handing out sweets or pens to kids also leads to a very unhealthy local tourist interaction where local kids see tourists as a source of free handouts.

Visiting Monasteries: Most monasteries welcome visitors. The larger urban monasteries will be set up to receive tourists and entrance fees will likely be in place. During certain times of the year some Eastern Tibetan monasteries may not accept visitors if it is retreat time. Central Tibet has no restrictions on women entering monasteries although certain protector chapels may be off limits to women. Visiting monasteries is often one of the most fascinating experiences of travelers ‘time in Tibet. When entering monasteries it is appropriate to wear modest clothing: long pants and shirts or tops that are not revealing.

It is not common to be able to stay overnight in monasteries in Central Tibet. Monasteries are not hotels and monks are often going out of their way to put you up for the night. If you do have the opportunity to stay in a local house it is appropriate to offer a small payment for food and lodging. In the T.A.R. foreigners generally aren’t allowed to stay in local residences but in Eastern Tibet you’ll find wonderful home stays tastefully set up for bed and breakfast accommodations.

Support the local economy by eating and shopping in local restaurants and stores. Many of the larger shops that sell Thankas, carpets and jeweler may not be Tibetan owned although will have some Tibetan employees. If you need to be able to receive more frequent phone calls, purchasing a local SIM card for your unlocked phone would be the best option.