At a Glance
- High Season: May – October (through the Chinese Nat’l Holidays in early October)
- Low Season: Dec – February
- Shoulder Season: April, October (after Chinese Nat’l holidays), November
- Closed: Annually, all of March and parts of Feb./April. In the past, also periods of June, July, September and November.
Temperatures by Month in Fahrenheit and Celsius
Precipitation and Days of Rain
Best Time to Travel
There are so many factors and personal preferences about weather and crowds, but ourselves, for future trips to Lhasa, we would likely pick the second half of October, when it is beginning to be chilly but sunny and quite pleasant in the days, with fewer crowds and clear views. You would miss the festivals, though.
- May and September: Pleasant weather and less rain, but crowded.
- April (after mid-month): Colder and clearer than summer, fewer crowds.
- June-August: Warm and green, but more rain (mostly at night) and crowded.
- October-November: Drier and colder, and fewer crowds after Chinese Nat’l holidays. (Get Chinese holiday dates here.)
- December: Sunny and cold with far fewer crowds, and more nomads in town.
- Losar, Tibetan New Year, is huge in Lhasa, but usually falls in the February low season. Note also that Losar is more a family and friends holiday.
- Saka Dawa, the holiest Buddhist month, often falls in May. Regional pilgrims come to Lhasa.
- Chokor Duchen, a prayer festival, and the Ganden Thangkha display both fall in August. (Ganden is outside of Lhasa but nearby.)
- There are various small horse festivals near Lhasa in the summer. The dates may change. Good to ask your agent once you have a plan to see if anything is nearby.
- Shotun is a popular festival in Lhasa starting September 1, but crowds are immense.
- Lhabab Duchen, Buddha’s descent to Earth, another prayer festival, comes in November in 2016.
- March: The entire Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), including Lhasa, has been closed to foreign tourists for the month of March since 2008, for political reasons. (On March 10, 1959 His Holiness the Dalai Lama escaped Tibet, and major protests and uprisings have occurred on the anniversary of that date.) The closure usually begins in February (as early as February 10) and runs until early April. For the last years, foreigners are permitted back on April 1, but we advise not planning a trip until April 15, when the weather begins to improve anyway.
- June: Although not commonly acknowledged, a number of closures have occurred in June in the last 5 years. They are not usually as long as the March closure, and not certain to happen. July has also had one closure, in 2011.
- September: In 2015, Lhasa was closed from September 3-11, for the 50th Anniversary of the TAR. We need more data about past years.
- November: There was a 3 week closure from the end of October through Nov. 26 in 2012 for the 18th China National Conference.
Historical weather patterns for Lhasa
- https://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=tibet (See “history” tab to look back.)