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How to Plan a Trip to Lhasa in Tibet?

Lhasa is the capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region, also the political, economic, cultural and religious center of Tibet. Due to the abundant sunshine of more than 3,000 hours annually, Lhasa is named as “the city of sunlight”. As a holy place for Tibetan Buddhism, there are plenty of temples in Lhasa. Here you can not only enjoy yourself in the beautiful natural sceneries, but also experience the historical culture around the city.

While planning your Tibet trip, Lhasa is no doubt to be one of your destination. How to plan a Lhasa trip? You may have questions for the best time to visit Lhasa, things to prepare, attractions that must visit, etc. Here are some questions that may help you with your Lhasa tour.

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What should I know about Lhasa?

Lhasa, lies in the center of the Tibetan Plateau, with an elevation of more than 3,600 meters above sea level, it is one of the highest cities in the world. As the capital city of Tibet for decades, Lhasa has a long history of more than 1,300 years, which is considered to be one of the most famous historical and cultural cities in China.


Lhasa is even well-known around the world, the pure blue sky combined with the Tibetan style architectures form a peculiar Lhasa, numerous historical sites and the particular Tibetan local customs fulfill the historical atmosphere in Lhasa, the specific Tibetan Buddhism and kinds of temples turn Lhasa into a holy city. With varieties of views, Lhasa deserves the reputation as the most popular destination for you in Tibet.

More information about Lhasa Facts.

Can I travel to Lhasa alone?

You need to join in a group tour of a travel agency and have the Tibet Entry Permit. For all non-Chinese-passport holders who travel to any cities in Tibet are required for the Tibet Entry Permit. You may also need it when you take trains and planes.

When is the best time to visit Lhasa?

The best time to visit Lhasa is from May to October, with the warmest sunshine and the most flourish plants and flowers, very suitable for visiting. On the other side, travelling during winter and Spring is cheaper and with less tourists, meanwhile, you could have a view of the beautiful sceneries of the snow mountains.

Annual Temperature: 7.4 ℃

Rainy Season: July to September

Crowded Season: late Jan. or early Feb. (Chinese Spring Festival);

                              first week of May (Labor Day);

                              first week of October (National Day)

Read more about the Best Time to Visit Lhasa.

What can I do in Lhasa?

Find your ideal attractions to visit

Potala Palace, as the most representative landmark of Lhasa, has a long history of more than 1,300 years, originated from 7th century. With the designable architectural style by using white and red as main building color, Potala Palace also represents the Tibetan ancient architecture art which was listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This is no doubt to be a must visit attraction during a Lhasa trip.


Jokhang Temple, the spiritual center of Lhasa and even Tibet, a holy place of Tibetan Buddhism, also owns an important position among the Tibetan religious architectures due to its construction style, combining the distinguishing Tibetan features with different architectural characteristics from Tang Dynasty, Nepal as well as India.


Sera Monastery, one of the most famous temples in Lhasa, has preserved more than ten thousand statues of the Golden Buddha and varieties of colorful murals. Each day, monks in the temple will have the activity of Debating Buddhist Scriptures, which is a distinctive feature of this temple. Besides, during the famous Shoton Festival, an annual ceremony of showing the Buddha’s paintings is held in Sera Monastery.


Drepung Monastery, the largest Tibetan Buddhism temple in Tibet, is one of the three main monasteries in Lhasa, along with Ganden Monastery and Sera Monastery. There are many religious events in Drepung Monastery, the most important and magnificent festival here is Shoton Festival, showing the large Thangka of Buddha and celebrate the festival by some other activities.


Go shopping to seek for something special

It’s more than comfortable to spend some time going around and shopping for something special for yourself or for your friends, with a particular Tibetan style. Tibetan metalworks are famous, especially the Tibetan knifes, with distinctive Tibetan features. Besides, the Tibetan carpets, ornaments and hand crafts are also popular among tourists.

Barkhor Street will be a good place for you to seek something you like, with Tibetan style. It is the most prosperous commercial street in Lhasa, and also the business center of Lhasa, which well reserves its traditional features and living patterns of the local people from ancient times.


More about Where to Buy in Lhasa.

Enjoy a Tibetan Song and Dance Show

Himalaya is a famous Song and Dance show tells people about the Tibetan culture, history, and their modern life, with perfect performances, music and beautiful costumes. Or you can choose the other one. Tibetan Impression - Happiness on the Way, is another famous Song and Dance show which is full of elements of Tangka and colorful costumes in Tibetan style.


What is the best food in Lhasa?

Food in Lhasa has very different taste from other cuisines in China. Try the Tsampa, the staple food for Tibetans every day, which is made of barley flour. And don’t miss the yak beef, grilled mutton chops, as well as Tibetan Yogurt. For the drinks, the most representative one is the Tibetan Barley Wine which has a long drinking history among Tibetan people, meanwhile, the Tibetan Buttered Tea is also a kind of common drink in Tibet.


More about Eating in Lhasa.

Where are the best places to stay in Lhasa?

Around Potala Palace
  • convenient for both sightseeing and shopping
  • close to Barkhor Street, Jokhang Temple and Tibet Museum
  • with all kind of hotels for you to choose
Barkhor Street & Jokhang Temple area:
  • located in the Lhasa old town
  • with lots of delicious food
  • more characteristic restaurants and bars
Near Norbulingka:
  • more quiet, less crowded
  • around the most beautiful artificial garden in Tibet
  • with both natural and historical sceneries nearby


Read more about Where to Stay in Lhasa.


How many days do I need to stay in Lhasa?

Two to three days may be enough for visiting attractions in Lhasa only. For the first day, you can visit Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and go shopping around Barkhor Street. For the second day, go to Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery, Norbulingka will also be a good choice for you. If you have planned enough time for a Tibet tour, you can also spend a few more days in Lhasa and then visit other cities in Tibet.

Recommended Lhasa Tours:

Recommended Tour You Might Like

5 Days Tour from Lhasa to Yamdrok Lake

Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery, Norbulingka, Yamdrok Lake


Tailor-made your personal Lhasa Tour: Free Online Tailor-made Tour

How can I travel around Lhasa?

To Lhasa

By plane

Gonggar International Airport is one of the highest airports in the world. There are domestic airlines from some major cities in China to Lhasa Gonggar International Airport, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming, Guangzhou etc. But for some people, it’s easier to get high altitude sickness by plane.


By train

It’s also a good experience to take the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to Lhasa. You can enjoy the beautiful view outside the window along your trip. It’s connected with Xining, Xi’an, Lanzhou and many other stations.

In Lhasa

Taxi: flexible for your time.

Bus: 1 yuan per person, cheap and convenient.

Bicycle: rent a bicycle to go around Lhasa, have a better experience of the local life in Lhasa.

Read more about Lhasa Transport.

What do I need to prepare for Lhasa?

What to Wear

There is no severe cold or hot weather in Lhasa because of the abundant sunshine annually. Sunglasses and hats are highly recommended. Bring clothes for all seasons, because you may experience four seasons within one day. Usually the weather is cool in the morning, hot in the afternoon, cold during night time.


What to Take

  • Get ready for your Visa, and do remember your passport.
  • Keep the Tibet Entry Permit well, it’ll be checked.
  • Prepare for your SIM card to make sure the internet use in China.
  • Take some medicine with you for emergency use. Especially if you are easy to get high altitude sickness.
  • Prepare a pair of comfortable shoes if you want climbing activities.
  • A hat, sunglasses and sunscreen may be needed for the strong sunlight.
  • Prepare your moisturizer because the weather is really dry.

Read more about Lhasa Travel Tips.


What to Know

  • Read some basic information about Tibet and China so that you could know the local customs and taboos.
  • Know something about the Tibetan Buddhism, it may help you understand their local culture well.

Do I have to learn some Chinese for Lhasa trip?

Try if you have interests. Learn some basic words and phrases in Chinese so as to communicate easily. Here are some basic Chinese listed below.

Chinese Pinyin English
你好 Nǐhǎo Hello/Hi
再见 Zàijiàn Bye/See you
谢谢 Xièxie Thank you.
不客气 Búkèqi You’re welcome.
对不起 Duìbùqǐ Sorry
请问卫生间在哪里? Qǐngwènwèishēngjiānzàinǎlǐ? Excuse me, where is the restroom?
多少钱? Duōshǎoqián? How much?


Learn more about Survival Chinese Phrases.