How to Plan a Lhasa Tour
As the holy city and spiritual center of Tibet, Lhasa has a great number of attractions which are worth seeing. The most famous attractions in Lhasa contain Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery, Barkhor Street, Drepung Monastery, Namtso etc. The most popular activities in Lhasa are visiting local family, joining Tibet food cooking class, watching Princess Wencheng Drama, having a kora etc. Taking the following ideas as a reference, plan an ideal tour according to your travel time and preference. Most tourists spend 4~5 days on traveling in and around Lhasa, including the arrival and departure days..
How to Get to Lhasa
Lhasa is always the first station of a Tibet tour. Most travelers get to Lhasa from mainland China. China’s top gateway cities to Lhasa include Chengdu, Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Kunming, Lijiang, Shangri-La, etc. Besides, some travelers also choose to travel Lhasa from Kathmandu (capital of Nepal) by flights or overland driving.
By Train: If you want a sightseeing journey on the way, taking a train to Tibet is a great option. Among the top gateway cities, there are 7 cities operating trains to Lhasa via Qinghai-Tibet Railway, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Xining, Lanzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing and Guanghzou. Though Xian operates no trains to Lhasa, Shanghai-Lhasa trains and Guangzhou-Lhasa trains have a stop at Xian Railway Station and they can take you from Xian to Lhasa as well.
By Flight: Taking a flight the most comfortable and effective way to Lhasa. Lhasa Gonggar Airport is connected with Beijing, Chengdu, Xian, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Kunming, Shangri-La, etc. by nonstop domestic flights and Kathmandu by international flights.
By Overland Driving: Overland driving is available between Lhasa and Kathmandu. It takes longer time but offers a special way to travel more than transfer. Starting from Kathmandu, you can be driven to Gyirong Port between Nepal and Tibet. Next, have a driving journey to Mount Everest. And then, drive to Lhasa via Shigatse and Gyantse.
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Visit Lhasa in Four Days – Highlights of Lhasa
In the short 4 days, you are able to visit the landmarks of Lhasa City, from which you can appreciate the beauty of great architectures as well as the strong Buddhist culture.
Day 1 - Arrive in Lhasa. Lhasa is well-linked with many cities in China’s mainland. It can be reached by train from Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xining and Lanzhou, by flight from Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Xian, Kunming, Kathmandu etc. The most popular gateway cities to Lhasa are Beijing and Chengdu, two cities operating available train and most flights.
Day 2 - Climb to the Potala Palace, visit Jokhang Temple and walk along with Barkhor Street. Potala Palace is the masterpiece of Tibetan architecture, and even a short glimpse will leave tourists a long-lasting impression. Besides, there are many cultural heritages cherished in Potala Palace. Jokhang Temple is spiritual center of Lhasa surrounded by the devoted pilgrims. Most travelers visit Jokhang Temple to witness the life-sized statue of the Shakyamuni at the age of 12. In Barkhor Street, you can find many pilgrims turning their prayer wheels and many interesting souvenirs shopping stores.
Day 3 - Go to beautiful Norbulingka, Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery. Norbulingka was once the Summer Palace of Dalai Lama and now a charming garden open to public. Drepung Monastery is one of the largest monasteries in Tibet and the mother school of Dalai Lama. Now, there are many monks studying here. Sera Monastery features its famous Buddhism Debating, which is a spectacular way of discussing the Buddhist knowledge.
Day 4 - Lhasa departure.
Optional Activity: Princess Wencheng Drama, a large-scale outdoor live-action show is performed during 21:30~23:00 (late April to Early October). You could go to watch it during your journey
Amazing Potala Palace in Peaceful Morning
Jokhang Temple with Pilgrims Praying
Buddhism Debating in the Sera Monastery
Tour Lhasa in Five Days – More Choices to Visit Lhasa
Four days is rather limited and just cover the landmarks of Lhasa, but one more day enables you to enjoy your Lhasa tour better.
● If you are a shutterbug, it is highly recommended to add Namtso Lake in your itinerary. Outstanding with shimmering turquoise-like blue water, flying colorful flags and flock of sheep or yaks, Namtso Lake is honored as the paradise of photographers. To shot the amazing sunrise and sunset in Namtso, you are suggested to spend two days there.
● If you want to experience the local life, you could have another day to visit a local family and explore the real Tibetan life. This activity offers a great opportunity to get a immerse contact with the Tibetan family, chat with them, learn about their life and tast the food they make. For those tourists keen on Tibet food, it is also a good idea to take part in a Cooking Class to make authentic Tibetan food by yourself. The cooking class takes about 2 hours. For those travelers with kids, we could arrange Thangka Drawing as well.
● If you aim to step into the nature and stretch your legs, it is a good idea to spend one day on outskirts hiking. After breakfast, you will be transferred to outskirt of Lhasa City for the leisure hiking. The hiking is about 25km in length with moderate road condition and many things to do along. On the hiking journey, you will visit Qupsang Nunnery, Tashi Chöling Monastery and Pabonka Monastery. To save your energy, it is available to cut the length to 20 km.
Incredible View of Namtso
Visiting Local Family
Tour Lhasa in More Days - Extend Your Tour from Lhasa
1) With still longer travel time after Lhasa travel, extend your tour from Lhasa to some other areas in Tibet.
● For additional 2~3 days, there are various choices for you.
● Traveling to Shigatse and Gyantse is top recommended. Apart from two more imposing monasteries, you will admire charming lake and beautiful glacier.
● In spring, Nyingchi is a wonderful place to visit. Praised as Eastern Switzerland, Nyingchi offers travelers a memorable experience.
● Want to discover the Tibetan culture and history? Come to Tsedang, the cradle of Tibetan Civilization, and visit the first Tibetan monastery and Tibetan palace.
2) For additional 4 days, transfer to Mt. Everest vis Shigatse. View the most impressing sunset, sunrise, starry sky and highest peak in the world.
>> Check more information at How to Plan a Tibet Tour
Overview of Palcho Monastery in Gyantse
Tips for Planning a Lhasa Travel
Get Tibet Travel Permit Ready
No matter what kind of transportation you choose, Tibet Travel Permit is required for all non-Chinese-passport holders while traveling to Lhasa or other areas in Tibet. Without it, you are unable to board the train or flight to Tibet. Tibet Travel Permit is issued byAvoid High Altitude Sickness Lhasa Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa and can only be applied by travel agencies on behalf of tourists. It usually takes about 15~20 days to obtain the permit.
Avoid High Altitude Sickness
High Altitude Sickness is an uncomfortable pathological reaction which people get in high altitude area. Common symptoms include headache, dizziness, vomiting, restlessness, somnolence, dyspnea, sleepless etc. The average altitude of Lhasa is 3,650 meters, lower than some other areas in Tibet. It is a good place for you to acclimatize yourself to the high altitude. In addition, it is possible to relieve or avoid the high altitude sickness by preventing from getting cold, avoiding strenuous activity, and not taking shower on the arrival day etc.
What to Pack
In order to ensure you a safe and comfortable Lhasa tour, there are some advices on what to pack. Take two bags with your – a large backpack for daily activities and a smaller carry bag for your important documents and property. You need to prepare comfortable clothing like windbreaker, waterproof clothing, down jacket etc. Sunscreen cream, sun block, lip balm, sunglasses and sunhat are also helpful to protect you from the dry weather and strong sunlight. Necessary medicines for preventing high altitude sickness or other disease are also important.
Lhasa Travel Guide
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