How to Travel to Lhasa?

Lhasa, the breathtaking City of the Gods, is like nowhere you have ever been. Even though the high-altitude center of the Tibetan world has been systematically sinicized and restricted, it is still fiercely, vibrantly Tibetan. And at least for now, Lhasa and her Tibetan people are still amazing, gloriously beautiful, strong, proud, earthy, mysterious, and deeply spiritual, all at once.

Lhasa: Potala Place
Tibet Travel: Potala Place

In this article you get a collection of our best posts about Lhasa, how to get there, and what to do when you’re there, plus some answers to questions that we are frequently asked by people traveling to Tibet.


How do I get to Lhasa?

If you are planning a trip to Tibet, know that no independent travel is allowed, and you must work with a travel agency. We always recommend choosing a Tibetan-owned agency, which hires Tibetan guides only. The simplest way to do this is ask us to connect you to a reliable Tibetan-owned travel agent to plan a great trip for you that also supports the local Tibetan economy and culture.

How do I deal with altitude sickness?

You can avoid the common mistakes that travelers make by checking out our extensive altitude sickness prevention info, and our complete beginner’s guide to avoiding altitude sickness.

How do I get the visa?

You’ll need both a Chinese visa and a special Tibet travel permit to visit Tibet.

17 Dos and Don’ts for a Wonderful First Visit to Lhasa (2020)

Lhasa: Potala Palace at night
The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.

If you want to have a more authentic experience in Lhasa, and support the local Tibetan economy, check out this list of dos and don’ts. This is not so much a list of the top sites of Lhasa as much as it is our suggestions on how you can have a more meaningful experience.
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How to Make the Most of Your Time

Tibet Travel: Potala Place
Tibet Travel: Potala Place

Many of the travelers who contact us for trips in Tibet have wanted to go to the fabled “home of the gods” for a long time. But most folks don’t know what to expect on a tour, or what is possible to do in a short amount of time.
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7-Day Lhasa Highlights via Xining by Train

Yolanda is riding Tibet Train

If you only have a very short time in Tibet, you could take this tour rather than the high-risk fly in to Lhasa. (To tell the truth, if you think you can only get to Tibet once in your life, it’s worth saving up the time and money to make a longer trip of at least two weeks.)
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Fly in for a Lhasa Highlights Tour

Lhasa Highlights Tour: Tibet Mountains View from Flight

Here’s a super popular quick trip into the holy city, in which the traveler flies in from somewhere near sea level in China, hits the main sites of Tibet’s capital, and then takes a flight or train out.
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The Potala Palace

Roof of Potala

An architectural marvel, the Potala Palace is perched like a fabulous bird on a rocky outcrop that is the highest point in Lhasa itself, and for centuries the distant sight of her golden-colored roofs has meant the welcome end to many a journey.
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Sera Monastery: A Quick Guide for your Visit

Statues at Sera Monastery

There are two primary Sera Monasteries, the original Sera in Tibet, and the Sera Monastery established in exile, in Bylakuppe, India. Here’s a user-friendly guide to visiting the home monastery in Lhasa.
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Top 10 Places to Visit in Tibet from a Base in Lhasa

Tibet tour

The top places to visit in Tibet are actually some of the top places to visit in the world. Nowhere on earth can you find such an intoxicating blend of humming spirituality, art and raw natural beauty as in the high-altitude holy sites of Tibet.
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Lhasa: First Impressions

Roof of Jokhang Temple

YoWangdu’s Yolanda O’Bannon shares with you her first impressions of the ancient and utterly unique Tibetan capital of Lhasa. If you’re thinking of visiting the holy city, you want to be sure to choose a Tibetan-owned agency, which hires Tibetan guides only.
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Updated on May 12, 2020. First published on February 20, 2019.

Your Tibet travel advisors, Lobsang and Yolanda

Most people who want to go to Tibet don't know how to get there or who to trust for help. We’re Lobsang Wangdu and Yolanda O’Bannon, and we help make Tibet travel more simple, safe and ethical so you can feel peace of mind about your trip. Learn more about us and YoWangdu here.