Why visit Lhasa?
Lhasa ལྷ་ས་, literally the “Place of the Gods,” is the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, is located in the southeast of Tibet, and in the northern part of the Himalayas. The city lies in the middle of Qinghai Tibet Plateau, and due to its 3.650 meters altitude makes it one of the highest cities in the world.
Lhasa is a city blessed with all the mystery, spirituality and majesty of an ancient tale. Whether you traverse its resplendent landscape, reflect on ancient philosophies or spend your time seeking out a new favorite dish, Lhasa will provide you with a remarkable experience.
Best time to visit Lhasa
Lhasa can travel throughout the year. Each period of the year has different climatic characteristics. The best time to go to Lhasa is from April to October. Peak season is from May to September, in that period of the year the oxygen content in the air reaches its maximum, accounting for 66.3% on average.
The festivals of Saga Dawa (varies, May/Jun) and Losar/New Year (varies, Feb) draw large numbers of pilgrims to the city. Shoton Festival (Aug) features Tibetan operas, yak racing, and Buddhist paintings.
Before you plan to take a trip to Tibet, I would suggest reading this guide about Traveling to Tibet.
Top Things to Do in Lhasa
Tibet has many festivals, and most of the celebrations occur in Lhasa, so if the time allows while you are visiting Lhasa to be part of the festivals, you will experience the incredible energy of the local people. The first festival comes the Shoton Festival – taking place from 30th June in Tibetan Calendar and lasting for five days. During the festival, a giant Buddha Thangka will be set up in the Drepung Monastery, performing admirable Tibetan operas at Norbulingka Park. Local people during the festival gather in the park and celebrate the festival by eating yogurt.
The New Year celebration begins on the first day of the lunisolar Tibetan calendar. On the first day of the festival, the local people are dressed in new, beautiful clothes and wear precious jewelry and thus welcome the New Year.
- Find your spiritual path in Lhasa by joining pilgrims on the Barkhor Street Pilgrimage route
- Experience a sensory feast at one of Lhasa’s night markets – Tianhai Night Market
- Hike at Pabongka Monastery
- Activities near Lhasa
- Explore Ganden Monastery and take a short hike around the Monastery for a nice view of beautiful valley of Lhasa Kyichu River
- Short trekking and horse riding at Thoilong village
- Following the shores of holy Yamdrok Lake
- Drak Yerpa meditation caves
- Excursion to Namtso Lake
Where to Stay in Lhasa?
- Comfortable and well rating hotels
- Shambhala Palace Hotel 4*
- House of Shambhala 4*
- Four Points by Sheraton Lhasa 4*
- The St. Regis Lhasa Resort 5*
- InterContinental Lhasa Paradise 5*
- Xuelong Zhuangyuan Hotel 5*
- TASHI CHOETA BOUTIQUE HOTEL 4*
Recommend If there are eco-friendly accommodation
- Lhasa Gang-Gyan Hotel Tibet 3*
- Yak Hotel 3*
- Lhasa Manasarovar Hotel 3*
- Tibet Xueyu Tiantang International Hotel 3*
Accomodation Tip: You can also check some Airbnb rentals in Lhasa and save up to $40 with an Airbnb First Time Booking Coupon.
Where to Eat & Drink in Lhasa?
More details, read over traditional food and drink on the Tibet page and get a reference from Where to Eat in Lhasa – Lhasa Restaurants & Lhasa Cafes.
1. Tibet Kun Phan Vegetarian Restaurant at Yuthok Road, Lhasa
2. Holy Land Vegetarian Restaurant Address: North Lingkor Road, Lhasa
3. Father Vegetarian Restaurant Address: No. 9, Cemenlin 3rd Alley, Beijing Middle Road, Lhasa
How much time do you need in Lhasa?
At least 2-3 days for better acclimatization. If you are planning to visit only Lhasa it will be enough for about three days. If you decided to visit the surroundings near Lhasa then your tour should be a little longer.
Tours offered by travel agencies usually last from 5-6 days up to two weeks, but with including more tours around Tibet.
However, if you want to truly experience Tibet with all its beauties, we recommend you choose a tour that will last about ten days.
What to avoid in Lhasa?
- Visit monasteries without your guide’s accompany. Anywhere in Tibet is not allowed to walk alone without a tour guide, especially visiting the monasteries.
- Wear short pants or revealing clothes when visiting monasteries.
- Taking photos of Buddha statues in majority monasteries.
- Take pictures of Tibetan local people without asking for permission.
- Touch the head of local people, not even children.
- Don’t spit or clap your palms behind the Tibetans.