How to Plan a Tour of Tibet

How to Plan a Tour of Tibet

Tibet - Spiritual Land of Buddhism

The Tibetan Plateau, with an altitude of more than 4000 meters, is sometimes called the “roof of the world”. With holy monasteries, glacial lakes and the world's highest mountain range, the Himalayas, any one of these could be the perfect reason to make a trip to the wonderland of Tibet.

The Best Time to Go

The best time to go to Tibet is from June to September when it is warmer. However, it is also fine if you travel during winter. Traveling in winter not only saves dollars on hotels and flights, but also avoids the possible crowds at popular sites. While up in the highlands, the daily sunshine hours are long, and it is usually warm by day and chilly by night. Wearing layers with sweater inside and a waterproof jacket outside works great against the highland cold and windy weather in Tibet, and don't forget your sunglasses and sun screen at all times!

Note: Considering bad weather might occur and safety concerns, Tibet has closed to overseas travelers from Jan. 31 to Mar. 31 annually since 2008.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Mean Maximum °C 6.9 9 12 16 19 23 22 21 20 16 11 7.7
Temperature ºF 44 48 54 60 67 73 72 70 67 61 52 46
Mean Minimum °C -10 -7 -3 0.9 5 9.3 10 9.4 7.5 1.3 -5 -9
Temperature ºF 14 20 27 34 41 49 50 49 46 34 23 16
Rainfall Amount mm 0.5 0.7 2 5.2 27 72 119 123 58 10 1.7 1
Days with Rain* days 0.2 0.2 0.5 1.3 5.3 9.6 15 15 10 2.3 0.4 0.2
Mean Daily Sunshine hrs 8.3 8.1 7.9 8.3 9 8.7 7.3 7.3 7.9 9.1 8.9 8.5
* denotes number of days with at least 1.0 mm of rainfall

What to See

Potala Palace: Being built on the mountain, Potala Palace is by far the highest architecture in the world as a grand combination of a palace, a castle and a monastery. The Palace consists of the red palace and the white palace with a total of 2000 rooms. It is about 200 meters high, with 13 stories accessed from the outside and 9 more stories accessed from the inside. It was built when the Tibetan King Songtsam Gambo married Princess Wencheng and Chizun in the Tang Dynasty. PotalaPalace was later used as Dalai Lama's winter palace, andit was also the center for holding big religious events and political ceremonies. Tibetans come daily to pay their respect by circling the palace and adding ghee to the lamps.

Jokhang Temple: It is believed by Tibetan people that Jokhang Temple comes before Lhasa city, which shows the fact that Jokhang Temple is not only geographically in the center of the city, but also spirituallyimportant in every part of Tibetan's lives. The ancient Temple was firstly built for displaying a life-sized statue of Sakyamuni at the age of eight. Today many pilgrims from home and abroadcan be seen in front of the Temple, kneeling down on the pavement, or prostrating themselves in honor of their religion.

Barkhor Street: Located in the heart of old Lhasa, it isthe oldest streetand alsothe busiest business center. After Jokhang Temple was built in the 7th century, Tibetan Buddhists came hereand turned the prayer wheels clockwise around Temple to pay their homage, gradually forming this circular, one-way route. It serves as a great place to buy Tibetan souvenirs.

Sera Monastery: Sera Monastery was built on the north of Lhasa. The name Sera comes from the many wild jujube trees in the mountain. The Monastery was constructed by Jamchen Chojey, student of the founder of Ganden, thus the Monastery is one of the six greatest Ganden monasteries. More than 10,000 Buddha statues could be seen along with other treasures like the first Buddhist writings in the Tibetan language, and jewels from emperors of the Ming dynasty.

Yamdrok Yumtso Lake: Nicknamed as Swan Lake, Yamdrok is regarded as one of the threesacredlakes in Tibet,it is also the biggest fresh water lake in Southern Tibet. The lake is surrounded by snow-cappedmountainsmirrored on thecrystal clear blue water, offering a great photo opportunity.

How to get there

Lhasa transportation - Domestic cities to Lhasa
Cities Distance to Lhasa (km) By Air to Lhasa By High-Speed Railway to Lhasa
Beijing 3761 3.5hrs No direct High-Speed train. Traditional train about 40 hours.
Xi'an 2864 3hrs No direct High-Speed train. Traditional train about 33 hours
Shanghai 4373 6hrs No direct High-Speed train. Traditional train about 48.5 hours
Chengdu 3360 2hrs 20m No direct train
Guangzhou 4976 6 hours with one stopover at Chongqing No direct High-Speed train. Traditional train about 52.5 hours
Kunming 4456 4hrs No direct train
Kathmandu,Nepal 604 1.5hrs No direct train

Recommended Hotels

Category Hotel Name Hotel Class Why Recommend Ranking on Trip Advisor
International Chain Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa 5-star
  • Oxygen lounge open 24 hours
  • Attentive and friendly staff
  • Excellent breakfast and dinner buffet with a wide choice of food
St. Regis Lhasa Resort 5-star
  • Spacious room with luxurious bathroom
  • Spectacular view of the Potala Palace at night
  • Catering to different food requirements
InterContinental Lhasa Paradise 5-star
  • Spacious rooms with comfortable bed
  • Friendly and helpful staff
  • New Hotel, opened in 2014
Best Value Tashitakge Hotel 4-star
  • Central located
  • Nice staff to talk with
  • Amazing city view from roof top patio
Tibet Gorkha Hotel 4-star
  • Good location, city center
  • Large and clean rooms
  • Serene and peaceful at night
Yak Hotel (Boutique) 3-star
  • Walking distance to restaurants
  • Five-minute drive to Potala Palace
  • Clean rooms