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Lhasa Travel Tips

With 3,700 meters above sea level elevation, Lhasa(拉萨) is known as one of the cities in the world with highest altitude. It is not only the regional capital of Tibet Autonomous Region and the political, economic and cultural center, but also the most charming highland city with vivid and unique characteristics in China and the world as well. Here, lots of sunshine, clean and cool air, magnificent scenery, majestic monasteries and temples and countless ancient legends have made this holy city in the Tibetan Buddhism covering with profound mystery and golden halo.

Before you visit the plateau city in southwest China, the following information is quite useful.


Air. Gonggar Airport(贡嘎机场) is the name for the Lhasa International Airport, located in Gonggar County, 98 kilometers to the southwest of downtown Lhasa. Flight services are available everyday between Chengdu in Sichuan Province and Lhasa, and Katmandu(Capital of Nepal) to Lhasa.

Road. There are five main highways for motor vehicles that reach the Tibetan Plateau, Qinghai-Tibet, Sichuan-Tibet, Xinjiang-Tibet, Yunnan-Tibet and China-Nepal Highways.

Urban traffic. Middle-sized buses are popular in Lhasa. It costs 2 Yuan per trip. Travel within downtown by taxi is usually 10 Yuan but you have to pay more if you go to farther or the outskirts. Rickshaws are popular too. And bicycles for rent are available in many hotels.


Restaurants in Lhasa are mainly in Western, Sichuan or Tibetan style. Sichuan restaurants are found many in the area located west of the Yak sculpture. Indian and Nepalese foods are available in Danjielin Road and Beijing Road. Many restaurants in hotels or guesthouses serve western foods, especially those located in Beijing Road. Tibetan cuisine that serves locally including meat paste, sausages, fried mutton steak, Tibetan buns, yoghurt and milk tea, beverage such as qingke wheat wine and ghee tea.


Barkhor Street is Lhasa's most famous business center. Religious curiosities, Thangka paintings, traditional clothes, Tibetan knifes and cups for drinking can be bought. Traditional Tibetan medicine such as Tibetan red flowers, cordyceps and saussurea involucrata are available in Tibetan hospitals. There is an ethnic market that sells interesting handicrafts by the western side of the Jokhang Temple.

Time to Travel

Altitude sickness often happens to travelers who have just arrived in Lhasa. If having better rest or sleep, the situation will improve quite quickly. The best times to travel to Tibet are April to June and September to October. However, although July and August are rainy, the warmest time of the year attracts many tourists at home and abroad. The prices in accommodation and transportation are relatively expensive and lesser to be available. Winter is very cold and dry so that it is not a suitable season to visit the plateau region.


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