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.
2020 Coronavirus Note: Due to the COVID19 crisis, Tibet is temporarily closed to all foreign travelers, at least through the end of July 2020. However, travelers who pre-book Tibet tours by the end of June 2020 will get a rare opportunity for special discounts plus extraordinary flexibility on dates of travel. At the same time, you will support local Tibetan-owned businesses at a time when they are struggling to survive. To learn more, ask us for an introduction to a reliable Tibetan travel agency here.
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.
LHASA TRAVEL FAQ
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?
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.