Lhasa, capital city of Tibet
Lhasa is the beautiful capital city of Tibet and also the political, cultural and economic center of the Tibetan region. Situated at an altitude of 3490 m (11450 ft), Lhasa is where most travelers begin their exploration of wonderful Tibetan culture and landscape.
Lhasa means “place of the gods” in Tibetan language. Because of its importance in Tibetan history, the city hosts a great number of world renowned attractions. Among them are the magnificent Potala Place, important religious sites such as Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery, Ganden Monastery, and various popular points of interest like Barkhor Street and Lhasa Carpet factory.
Lhasa is a great travel destination all year round. Summer is the peak season, while winter is less crowded but offers great deals. Lhasa is easily accessible by air, train or bus. You can choose a short Lhasa city tour to visit the major sights in town. You can also opt for a long trip that includes many other significant sites outside the city. After your time in Lhasa, it is easy to venture from here into faraway Tibetan wonders. We regularly organize trips for destinations such as Lake Yamdrok, Tashilunpo Temple, and Mt. Everest, etc.
|Visa requirements||For foreign travelers visiting Tibet, you will need valid Chinese visa and all the necessary Tibet travel permits.|
|Languages||Tibetan, Mandarin, English|
|Currency||Chinese Yuan (CNY)|
|Area (km2)||30,000 square kilometers (11,583 square miles)|
|Country name||Tibet, China|
Dine & Drink:
Bars in Lhasa are attractive for their exotic flavors. Many foreigners gather in bars at night to socialize and share their travel stories. Many also take advantage of the venues to relax, do some reading. or listening to live music.
Tibetan Dance at Mayke Ame (Maji A'mi) is many people's favorite Lhasa hangout . It has an excellent restaurant and a beautifully decorated bar. You will find there jars filled with paper with stories written by past visitors. You might add your own to the collection. Mayke Ame, located on the corner of the Barkhor Street, also features a convenient internet bar.
Also located on Barkhor Street is Ganglamedo Cafe & Bar, opened by a Chinese owner. The entrance is decorated with oil canvases and watercolor paintings depicting Tibetan sceneries. The strong artistic atmosphere makes the bar stand out in the area and is favored by guests from all around the world. You will also enjoy the delicious pastry and coffee while there.
Another good choice for visitors is Dunya Restaurant and Bar on the east side of Yak Hotel. Owned by two westerners, it serves authentic western food such as pizza and pasta. The quiet and easy environment is perfect for relaxation and conversation.
If you have more time, you can also check out Travelers Bar, Barkhor Cafe, or Music Kitchen.
No trip to Tibet would be complete without taking away some local souvenirs either for yourself or as presents. This unique land captured in its crafts and goods certainly won't disappoint!
What to Buy
Thangka is a kind of scroll painting using complicated lines, bright colors and is rich with religious flavors. Most of the Thangka focuses on the motifs of Tibetan Buddhism. It is often made either by painting, embroidery or sometimes sewn with pearls. The pearl Thangka is the most desirable of all. Thangka is valued for its precision, balance and variety.
Tibetan costumes are inconvenient to take home as most of them are made from woolen cloth and are bulky. However, you might consider buying colorful aprons, fur hats or caps to take home, they can make unique decorations for your rooms.
Lots of visitors like to buy Tibetan medicine for its herbs such as saffron, aweto and snow lotus. Local doctors and their traditional medicines made by secret methods attract much curiosity. The best places to buy Tibetan medicines are the Tibetan Hospital, right opposite the Jokhang Temple Square or the medicine company on the west outskirts of Lhasa.
Don't forget to check out the gold and silver wares of Tibet and Nepal either. Nepalese and Tibetan silver ornaments and other artworks should definitely be on your shopping list. But beware of imitation goods and be sure to compare goods and prices in several stores before you buy!
The Tibetan knife or broadsword is still used by the locals as a necessity but visitors can buy it as an ornament. Note: You cannot take these items on a plane or as consigned goods, but you can send them anywhere via the post office. The Post Office in Lhasa at Middle Beijing Road is the best choice. Goods will be sent much more quickly than at any of the smaller post offices.
Other local gifts that are worthy of your consideration include wooden bowls, jewelry, jade, prayer wheels, carpets, tapestries, local boots and beads.
Barkhor Street is the famous commercial center of the high land. Over 120 handicraft and artwork stores and 200 or so market stands in the Barkhor Street: it is a must-go place for all souvenir shopping. Tibetan rugs, knives, broadswords, traditional clothes, gold and silver jewelry and all sorts of traditional handmade craft-work can easily be found in this street. One tip, Tibetan beads especially are very expensive, so don't forget to bargain with the vendors, whatever you buy! You can also find fabulous food on Barkhor Street.
It's a good idea to go shopping on Barkhor Street in the morning or evening, because local people always value highly their first customer and their last one.
Lhasa Department Store Address: No.1, Yutuo Road, left of the Potala Palace Features: has all sorts of articles for sale including practical items like cotton clothing, towels, toothpaste and canned food. The interior is pleasant and open. Goods here are moderately priced. The department store has places for dining, recreation and a fitness center.
Barkhor Thangka Painting Department Store Address: No. 10, East Barkhor Street Features: the store mainly deals with making and selling Thangka products. Foreign tourists swarm here to buy them. Helpfully, the storekeeper speaks both Chinese and English.
Xueyu (Snow-land) Handmade Thangka Store, located at No. 16, South Barkhor Street, is the most famous Thangka shop in Barkhor Street. Selling Thangka is very profitable as some visitors can pay up to ten times the actual value. (Consider, no matter how old, which nationality or race, anyone can learn to draw a Thangka painting!) So before buying anything make sure to have a little knowledge of the genuine product and price.
For more information about shopping there, please consult Tibet Shopping.
There are four airports in Tibet, Gonggar Airport of Lhasa, Bangda Airport of Chamdo, Mainling Airport of Nyingchi and Gunsa Airport of Ngari. Gonggar Airport is located in Gonggar County, about 65 kilometers (40.3 miles) south of Lhasa city. It takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes and costs approximately CNY 25 by shuttle bus to downtown area. If you have about 3-4 persons a taxi may be considered, about CNY 150 is a reasonable price.To get to Lhasa, most foreign visitors arrive by plane. Chengdu, Beijing, Xian, Chongqing and Xining are all the starting points. Visitors usually start from Chengdu in Sichuan, because Chengdu has about 20 flights per week to the Gonggar Airport of Lhasa which takes about 2 hours and costs about CNY 1,500. Now, there is also a daily flight from Beijing to Lhasa (about CNY 2,430). The flights from Chongqing (about CNY 1,630) have been readjusted to more than 20 flights every week. It is also possible to go from Xining (about CNY 1,610) and Xian (about CNY 1,650). With about 18 flights every week in Xian, taking the plane is more convenient for visitors. Also, several flights from Guangzhou (about CNY 2,500) in Guangdong Province and the direct flight from Lanzhou (about CNY 1,560) in Gansu Province are available now. Visitors in Nepal may fly here from Katmandu.
For specific information, please click Tibet Transportation.Five highways stretching into the mysterious high land include Sichuan-Tibet Highway, Qinghai-Tibet Highway, Xinjiang-Tibet Highway, Yunnan-Tibet Highway and China-Nepal Highway. Only Qinghai-Tibet and China-Nepal Highway are open to foreigners at present. Qinghai-Tibet Highway starts from Golmud of Qinghai; it is 1,160 kilometers (720 miles) long and averages at 4,000 meters (13,120 feet) high. It runs along the Kunlun Mountains and vast grasslands which amaze people by their natural beauty. The China-Nepal Highway is another main road often used. It stretches for 900 kilometers (558 miles) from Kathmandu to Lhasa. The condition of most roads is so bad that visitors are advised to take Land Cruisers.
Going to Lhasa by train is another choice. The first section of the Tibet Railway between Xining Railway Station and Golmud Railway Station was put into use in 1984. The second section between Golmud Railway Station and Lhasa Railway Station began to operate on the 1st of July, 2006. With a total length of 1,956 km (around 1,215 miles), Tibet Railway is the longest plateau railway and also the highest in the world. Trains on the railway are well equipped. Signs inside the carriage are written in both Tibetan and Chinese Han language. Oxygen respirators are available too.
At present, there are seven trains between Lhasa and Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Lanzhou, Xining, Chongqing and Chengdu. They pass through many big cities and special sightseeing lines are opened via Qinghai Lake, Kunlun Mountains, Kekexili, the Three Rivers Resource Area, Northern Tibetan Grassland, Potala Palace and other famous sights in the plateau.
A minibus is the main form of transport in Lhasa. It is a quick and convenient way to get across town. Visitors can easily find minibuses around Beijing Road and they operate a fixed charge of CNY 2 per person. Generally the bus starts operation late in the morning and stops early at night due to the temperatures. Bus No. 1 and 2 goes through the Norbulingka to the coach station. Bus No. 3 and 5 run to the Drepung Monastery. Bus No. 4 runs to the Sera Monastery. Bus No. 91 runs between the city center and the Railway Station. Eight more public buses including No. 82 and 83 were open in 2007.
It is easy to hail a taxi on the street in the city. Usually, it only costs CNY10-15 to travel in town by taxi.
|Flag-down Rate for First 3km (2mi)||CNY10|
|Fare between 3-8km (2-5mi)||CNY2/km|
|Fare between 8-11km (5-7mi)||CNY1/km|
|Fare beyond 11km (7mi)||CNY1 per 500m (550yd)|
Reference Taxi Fare: To Drepung Monastery: around CNY20 To Jokhang Temple: around CNY30 To Sera Monastery: around CNY30
Pedicabs are unique vehicles to get around downtown. A pedicab can carry two people and generally costs RMB 4 to 7. It is a more time-consuming journey than traveling by minibus but is an interesting and popular way to see downtown area.
If your schedule and health permit, riding a bike is another pleasurable way to look around the city. Bikes can be rented from many hostels along Barkhor Street. Generally, the rental for an ordinary bike is RMB 2 per hour and RMB 20 per day; for a mountain bike it is RMB 3 per hour and RMB 30 per day.
House Of Shambhala is highly reputable Tibetan-style boutique hotel in the historic center of Lhasa city. Resting quietly on an alley inside Barkhor quarter, the hotel is only a few minutes walk to Jokhang Temple. It is also a 10 minute taxi ride to reach Potala Palace from the hotel.
Shangri-La Lhasa Hotel is the first development of the prestigious Shangri-La hospitality brand in the sacred city Lhasa. The hotel is situated on Norbulingka Road and close to both Potala Palace and Norbulingka Palace. The hotel opened in 2014 and has a contemporary style of architecture that also incorprates local Tibetan elements.
Tashi Nota Khangsang Hotel is a deluxe 4 star hotel near Barkhor Streets in Lhasa. Opened in 2016, the hotel has a modern architectural style mixed with traditional Tibetan features. Located on Linkuo North Road, the hotel occupies a great location within the city of Lhasa.
Yabshi Phunkhang Heritage Hotel is a popular Tibetan-style boutique hotel in the heart of the historic center of Lhasa. The site was originally built for the family of the 11th Dalai Lama and was restored in recent times. It is an economic middle class category hotel.
Many travelers to Tibet nowadays are interested in a highly personalized and customized experience. In order to give our guests more flexibility and convenience, we can now provide private vehicle transportation service to any traveler wishing to venture into the faraway locations in Tibet. Our destinations include Mt. Everest, Mt. Kailash, Nyingchi, rural north Tibetan Plateau, etc. Our experienced driver will help you travel in Tibet at your own pace and make recommendations on local attractions, restaurants, hotels as you go. Check out offers now and plan your dream Tibetan trip with us!
If you love Tibet and if you are spiritual, these spiritual Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash journeys can bring you to a higher energy level as these trips just have everything you could want. We tailor make each of the spiritual Kailash and Manasarovar journeys and believe you will be interested in one of them.
Spend just 3 nights and 4 days in Lhasa? No problem! Immerse yourself in the heat of Lhasa and walk with many Tibetan pilgrims from all over Tibet. The easy tour begins with Jokhang Temple, Barkhor streets and Sera monastery on the first day. After proper high altitude acclimatization, you will explore the winter and summer Palace of Dalai Lama:Potala Palace & Norbulinka.
7 nights 8 days standard Everest base camp tour is good for those with tight schedule. Except for the highlight attraction of Mt. Everest Base Camp, you are going to visit all major must see attractions in Lhasa city such as Potala Palace, Jokhang, Drepung and Sera Monastery, Lake Yamdrok, Karola Glacier, Pelkhor and Tashilhunpho monastery and so on.
Our two-week Manasarovar and Kailash pilgrimage Yatra is designed specifically for overseas Indian pilgrims who have plans for a once-in-a-lifetime journey to the holy lake and mountain. The journey starts in Lhasa where you can acclimatize to the Tibetan high altitude and explore the world class attractions in the capital city. Soon afterwards, we travel westward across the vast Tibetan Plateau and reach Ngari area.
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