Tibet is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world. Every year people from around the world flock to Tibet to witness its beauty. Lhasa, capital city of Tibet, is always the first stop of most travelers’ Tibet tour. As one of the biggest cities in Tibet, Lhasa has so many offers to its tourists. The main attractions for most people visiting Lhasa are natural wonders and religious culture. Whether you want to visit natural wonders or experience its religious culture, there are many amazing things to do in Lhasa. Here we hand pick top 10 best things to do in Lhasa, includes the beautiful attractions, unmissable sights and yummy local Tibetan food and drinks, etc.
A Kora is often performed by practitioner making a circumambulation around a sacred site or object, typically a monastery or mountain. Pilgrims perform kora in the manner of chanting mantras, spinning their hand-held prayer wheels or prostrating themselves aimed at increasing their suffering. They do this in purpose of pursuing for the protect and bless of Buddha in their next life.
In Lhasa, there are four important pilgrim circuits - Barkhor Street kora, Nangkhor kora, Lingkhor kora, and Tsekhor kora. Nangkhor kora is performed inside the Jokhang temple; Barkhor kora is done around the exterior of Jokhang temple; Linhkhor kora is made around the Lhasa city; And Tsekhor kora refers to the path around Potala Palace.
Walking a kora with the local pilgrims is the best way for tourists to experience the Tibetan religious culture. If you are planning a Lhasa tour, remember to do a kora with pilgrims.
Potala Palace is a must-see attraction in Lhasa. At 12,139 feet above sea level, Potala palace is the highest palace in the world. This 1,300-year-old building was originally built as a palace for Tibetan king Songtsen Gambo and his wife Princess Wengchen. Eventually monks came to rule Tibet and Potala was converted into the winter residence for the Dalai Lama. But after the Dalai Lama went to India in 1959, the Chinese government took over and made this ground into a museum.
With numerous rooms, sacred Buddhist scrolls, murals, shrines, tombs, and exquisite statues made from precious alloys and jewels, this magnificent building has become one of the most famous spiritual sanctums in the world. If you are planning a Tibet tour, don’t forget to pay a visit to this great palace.
Note: No cameras are allowed inside the Potala Palace. If you want to shot it, there is a great location for getting some unique shots of Potala exterior - Yao Wang Mountain, a sightseeing spot that is located near Potala palace. Before heading YaoWang mountain, just make sure your camera is fully charged as you are going to snap plenty of pictures.
Both the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple are sacred to Tibetan Buddhists. Pilgrims often travel thousands of miles to pay a homage at this site. Every day throughout the year, thousands of pilgrims walk in clockwise circle around the Jokhang Temple and spin a prayer wheel. Visiting Jokhang Temple for a real discovery tour in the mysterious and sacred land, you can get close to the religious part of Tibet and experience the devotion of Tibetans.
1. Tourists and pilgrims can only visit Jokhang Temple in 11:30am - 5:30pm.
2. Ticket is ¥85/per.
3. No cameras are allowed inside the temple, you can take photos in the square and golden roof.
The area around the Jokhang Temple is Barkhor street. On this street, you can see many shops with prayer wheels, cool masks, colorful decorates, and delicate handcrafts, etc. Barkhor street might seem a bit old in the city, but that’s not the case. For hundreds of years Barkhor street was the most commercially active part of Lhasa. As an essential pilgrim route in ancient time, Barkhor street attracted thousands of pilgrims to make a pilgrim. As time went on, shops and business set up in this street. Many visitors call it “the window of Tibet” as it typically reflects the real Tibetan life. If you want to experience the real Tibetan life, don’t miss Barkhor street.
After the Barkhor street and Jokhang Temple, Sere Monastery comes as a bit shock. Even from afar you can hear a cacophony of Tibetan. Inside the courtyard is the main temple, hundreds of monks sitting in saffron-colored garments, arguing loudly with hands clapping. It may look like a hand-to-hand combat. In reality, they are debating on Buddhist doctrine for developing self-assurance. This debating activity has become a feature of Sera Monastery, which is really worth a visit.
1. Location: debating courtyard
2. Time: 3:00pm - 5:00pm from Monday to Saturday.
3. Entrance Fee: RMB 55 (USD 8) per person
4. Don’t bother monks while watching the debate.
Sweet tea and butter tea are two kinds of Tibetan tea. Both of them are very popular in Tibet. For local Tibetans, butter tea is firmly an essential part of their daily life. It is made from yak butter mixed with salt, milk, tea leaves and hot water. Tourists may well be offered butter tea at monasteries, local people’s house or restaurants.
Sweet tea is a more palatable alternative to yak-butter tea - a Tibetan’s favorite daily hot drink, which is made from milk, sugar and black tea. Many local Tibetans like to spend a leisure time in a sweet tea house. While you are traveling in Lhasa, you can see many tea houses along the street. Among those teahouses, the Guangming Kamqung Sweet Tea House in Barkhor Street is the best one.
If you are a foodie, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to sample some of the tasty and delicious local Tibetan foods. In Lhasa, there are many unique Tibetan-style foods like Tibetan noodles, Tsampa with Butter Tea, Tibetan Momo, Tibetan yak meat, Tibetan Yogurt and many other yummy foods. Even for veggie travelers, there are many vegan friendly foods and restaurants for choices.
We strongly recommend tourists spend a day exploring some of the world’s best show - Princess Wencheng show, a spectacular outdoor opera based on the history of Princess Wencheng's marriage to the local ruler of Tibet. This outdoor epic show is the largest live show in Tibet and might be also the largest live show in Asia, so don’t miss it while traveling in Tibet.
Time: 9:30pm -11:00pm from Monday - Sunday
Frequency: About 180 scenes every year
Ticket Full Price: 380/480/580/880/1280 CNY
Address: Princess Wencheng Theatre, China Tibetan Culture and Tourist Creative Park, Cijiaolin Village, Chengguan District, Lhasa, Tibet, China.
Yamdrok Lake is one of the largest sacred lakes in Tibet. It is located in Nangartse County, Shannan Prefecture, about 170 kilometers from Lhasa. Yamdrok Lake is famed for its turquoise water and beautiful surroundings. Around the shores the water is in clear and blue color and in the center the color changes to deep green. The crystal-clear waters of Yamdrok Lake bring mirror like reflection of mountains around it. That view is breathtaking and unbelievable. Besides, it is said that this magnificent spiritual lake is the transformation of a goddess.
In addition to Yamdrok Lake, Tibet has other beautiful holy lakes like Namtso Lake and Manasarovar Lake, each of which boasting its own unique legend and dazzling beauty. Nothing is more peaceful than a day spent relaxing by the lake.
Drak Yerpa Hermitage, about 30 km northeast of Lhasa, is one of the holiest caves in Lhasa. It is said that Drak Yerpa is the holiest place in Lhasa. For tourists who are interested in Tibetan Buddhism, Drak Yerpa hermitage is a must-see attraction. Many ascetics have sojourned here, such as Guru Ringpoche and Atisha. And King Songtsen Gampo also meditated in a cave, after his Tibetan wife established the first retreat. With a great atmosphere, clean mountain air and spectacular scenery all around, it’s an experience not to be missed.
The questions raised by our past customers can help you get a more clear picture about tours to Tibet, read them or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.
Hello I am planning a trip to Katmandu and on to Lhasa and Mt. Kalias. I am pilgrim. Let me know costs and details I intend to fly or go overload from Katmandu Lhasa etc. Thx.
Dear Mr. To***,
Thanks very much for your inquiry. Travelling to Tibet from Nepal, you need to apply for Chinese Group Visa in Kathmandu. Firstly, we'll apply for visa invitation letter with copy of your passport. Next, we'll send visa invitation letter to you and our partner in Kathmandu. When you arrive in Kathmandu, you need to meet with our partner and give them your original passport, then they will go to Chinese embassy and apply for Chinese Group Visa for you. When you board plane from Kathmandu to Lhasa, they'll only check your passport and Chinese Group Visa. Apart from Chinese Group Visa, you also need Tibet Permit, we'lll apply for Tibet Permit for you in Lhasa, and our guide will pick you up at Lhasa airport with your permit. I will send detailed itinerary to your email, please check it. Thanks & Regards
Email to Helen about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side