Lhasa is one of the most well-known locations in China and is the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region. It is one of the highest cities in the world and contains many significant Tibetan Buddhists sites. Lhasa is undoubtedly one of the best locations to visit if you are interested in the history of the Tibetan religion and culture.
Tours and activities in Lhasa
Lhasa is a city steeped in history and with so many wonderful sites to choose from. However, current regulations mean it is almost impossible (and certainly not recommended) to try and visit Tibet without an organized tour. Your permit to visit needs to be applied for 200 days in advance and should be valid for your entire stay in Lhasa.
Our guides can help you organize your perfect Lhasa itinerary, and can arrange tickets for attractions and events on your behalf.
Best time to visit
Lhasa is known as the “City of Sunlight” as its high altitude means there is rarely any cloud cover. The climate is mild all year round and is divided into a dry and wet season. The best time to visit is between March and October.
Top Attractions in Lhasa
Lhasa is a magnificent city with a rich history. You can experience Tibetian lifestyle, culture, history and architecture here. There are museum, lake and a bunch of temples which can make you love the city. On the other hand, Lhasa city is famous for the hospitality of its habitats. You can meet with locals and spend a day with them.
Getting here and getting around
Most visitors from outside China arrive in Lhasa by flying to Chengdu, Beijing, Xian, Chongqing or Xining. From there, they arrive at the Gonggar Airport of Lhasa by plane. There are daily flights from Beijing, while from other cities there are a variety of flights across the week.
You can also take the road into Lhasa, with only two highways open to foreign visitors. The road is in poor condition, though, so travelers are advised to take a Land Cruiser to the city.
Lhasa has a train station that is part of the Tibet Railway system, the longest plateau railway system in the world. Due to the altitude of travel, oxygen masks and respirators are available.
You can travel around the city by minibus with a fixed charge of ¥2. Buses start late in the morning and stop early in the evening as the temperature drops. Taxis are also readily available and can be flagged down on the street. Prices are usually between ¥10-15 to get to most parts of the city.
Eating and drinking
Food in Lhasa is a combination of Tibetan, Sichuan and Western cuisine. You’ll pay more here for Sichuan dining than in most other parts of China, but there are plenty of restaurants to choose from, most of them situated in Barkhor Street.
The Crazy Yak Saloon on Beijing East Road has traditional Tibetan décor and furnishings and is your best bet for Tibetan cuisine, including Yak. They also put on a local song and dance show every evening.
Snow-Deity Palace Tibetan Style Restaurant also offers Tibetan dishes like freshly fried mutton chops and steamed stuffed buns but is a more upmarket affair than Crazy Yak Saloon.
The night market on Duosenge Road is a bustling location where you can purchase street food and drink for inexpensive prices and is the perfect opportunity to try out a number of local dishes.
Getting a good night's sleep
For high-end accommodation, you can’t miss the wonderful House of Shambala. The building itself is in a traditional style and the entire hotel, including rooms, is furnished in a traditional Tibetan style too. There’s a rooftop restaurant serving local dishes and has fantastic views of Potala Palace.
Honey Bee Hub is a great mid-priced hotel located just 10 minutes from Dazhao Temple and is close to Potala Palace and the Tibet Museum. This has more modern furnishings and a fitness center, although you’ll find Tibetan accents in the furnishings throughout.
Jixue Hotel is a budget accommodation that doesn’t skimp on luxury. Traditional Tibetan furnishings run through the building and rooms are basic but well appointed.