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Lhasa

Holiday Types

At Asia Senses Travel we’re adventurers at heart. Our journeys are all about discovering new places and cultures while creating unforgettable memories through physical activity and breathtaking scenery.

Visit lhasa

At 11,450 feet (roughly 3,489 meters) above sea level, Lhasa is one of the highest cities on the planet. Long a location of great strategic and economic importance, Lhasa has served as the capital of Tibet for many centuries, first of various Tibetan kingdoms and empires, and later of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Lhasa is also the spiritual and cultural heart of Tibet, as its walls contain a large number of palaces, temples, and monasteries - some of which, like the Potala Palace, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In recent years, while development of the city has increased, Tibetans have nonetheless managed to preserve their heritage and landmarks.

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The centre of the Tibetan Buddhist world for over a millennium, Lhasa (literally the 'Place of the Gods') remains largely a city of wonders.

Dawa Tsering
Tibet Travel Specialist

Things to See and Do in Lhasa

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Potala Palace

Visit the phenomenal Potala Palace. Once the winter residence of the Dalai Lama, this architectural wonder is now a museum and treasure trove of Tibetan history, housing magnificent pearls, jewels and antiques.

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Jokhang Temple

Make a pilgrimage to the Jokhang Temple, Tibet’s holiest temple and host to thousands of devout Tibetan pilgrims from all over Tibet and China. Walk a clockwise kora, or religious path, around the periphery of the temple, and admire the Jowo Rimpoche, a giant, solid-gold statue of Sakyamuni Buddha. Have a private blessing with one of the senior monks and, if you wish, chat with him about his life and beliefs.

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Barkhor Square

Explore the vibrant street market of Barkhor Square, where you can haggle with local vendors for goods such as prayer flags, block prints of the holy scriptures, jewelry, and Tibetan boots and incense. Watch as devout Tibetans circle the streets around you, going about their holy pilgrimages.

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Drepung Monastery

See Drepung, another 15th-century monastery – and once the largest monastic institution in the world. Here, you can participate in debate sessions and prayer incantations, or sample yak-butter tea with tsampa, or roast barley. Be sure to visit the Maitreya, a two-story statue of the future Buddha, said to reappear in the world at a later point.

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Sera Monastery

Visit Sera, a 15th-century monastery that was once home to 5,000 monks of the Gelugpa sect, for an interesting glimpse into Tibetan Buddhism. The temple is famous for its lively debate sessions, held every afternoon, over the finer points of Buddhist philosophy.

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Norbulingka Park

Explore Norbulingka, a park founded in 1755 by the seventh Dalai Lama and home to the summer residence of the Lama lineage. Take a private tour of the Summer Palace, whose meditation chamber and bedroom remain in the exact same condition as 1959, when the present Dalai Lama fled to India.

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Tibetan Village Project

Located just outside of Lhasa, TVP is a non-profit, non-political organization dedicated to promoting sustainable development while preserving the rich cultural heritage of Tibet. Most of their projects are small-scale initiatives that work directly with Tibetan villagers and with local government. Meet with a representative from the foundation to learn about their projects, and if you wish, discuss ways in which you can help.


Best Time to Visit Lhasa

Lhasa is generally mild from April to November, making it the best time to visit. From December to February/March it becomes very cold and temperatures regularly drop below freezing. Travel during these months is not advisable as the roads are often blocked with snow and most travel services close for the season. The authorities may also restrict entry to Tibet during these months. Tibet does not have a typical monsoon season, but May to September are the months with the highest rainfall, which mostly occurs in the evenings.

The prime trekking season in Tibet takes place in the autumn months of September to October when the skies are clear and visibility at its best. It's a great time for photography whether trekking or visiting Tibet's different towns and monasteries. The summer months of June to August are Tibet's prime tourist season with outdoor markets popping up around the cities and sporting contests held in the grasslands.
Max Temperature(ºC)
Jan
6
Feb
9
Mar
12
Apr
15
May
19
Jun
22
Jul
21
Aug
20
Sep
19
Oct
16
Nov
11
Dec
7
Rainfall (mm)
Jan
0
Feb
1
Mar
2
Apr
7
May
25
Jun
76
Jul
125
Aug
132
Sep
58
Oct
9
Nov
2
Dec
1
Month
Daily Max Temperature
Monthly Rainfall

JAN
6ºC
0mm

FEB
9ºC
1mm

MAR
12ºC
2mm

APR
15ºC
7mm

MAY
19ºC
25mm

JUN
22ºC
76mm

JUL
21ºC
125mm

AUG
20ºC
132mm

SEP
19ºC
58mm

OCT
16ºC
9mm

NOV
11ºC
2mm

DEC
7ºC
1mm

Festivals, Events and Seasonal Reasons to Visit

  • 01

    February 16th-18th - Tibetan New Year: Also known as Losar, this is the most important celebration of the year for the Tibetan people. The entire festival technically lasts 15 days but it is the first three that are the most important. The first two days of festivities are the last two days of the old year and consist of cleaning the house and preparing food. On the third day, people dress in new clothes, exchange gifts and feast together whilst worshipping the gods, singing and dancing.
  • 02

    March 2nd - Butter Lamp Festival: Just as the name suggests, this festival revolves around the lighting of butter lamps and is traditionally a time for commemorating the victory of Buddha in a debate that took place in India around 2,500 years ago. The people of Tibet usually spend the day at their local temple, where there will be dozens of coloured butter sculptures of Buddha and various animals. Once the sun sets, thousands of lamps are lit to represent the light of Buddha.
  • 03

    May 27th-29th - Saga Dawa: Considered the holiest of festivals in the Tibetan calendar, Saga Dawa is a celebration of the life of Buddha. On his deathbed, he urged his followers not to mourn him but instead to commemorate him by continuing his teachings and striving to be kind and compassionate. This day is one of devout worship as the old prayer flagpole is taken down and replaced with a new one, upon which will be hung hundreds of coloured prayer flags.
  • 04

    August 21st-27th - Shoton Festival: By far and away the most popular event of the year, the Shoton Festival is the best showcase of Tibetan culture and is a great way for travellers to learn more about this curious country. Generally, the festival is split into three main events, the first of which is the great Buddha display – this marks the beginning of the Shoton festival. The next events consist of Tibetan opera and a horsemanship exhibition, usually accompanied by yak racing.

Suggested Itineraries

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel to Lhasa, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists. Alternatively, if you would like to include a visit to Lhasa on a bespoke touring itinerary to Tibet, do not hesitate to contact us.