The itinerary for short stay in Lhasa includes the highlights for visitors: the most important historical and religious sites and splendid viewpoints. Depending on the time of your arrival and departure, you will also have some free time.
6 Days Central Tibet Highlights
Prices from $750
Day 1 – Arrival in Lhasa
You arrive at the Lhasa Gonggar Airport or the train station. The airport is 62 km/ 39 miles away from the city, and it takes approximately one hour to get to the hotel from there. On the way to Lhasa, you will enjoy beautiful views of mountains. The train station is located in Lhasa, and you will only need a short transfer to the hotel.
Depending on the time of your arrival, you might have some free time to spend in Lhasa. Our guides will be happy to advise you on what you can do with your time in Lhasa. Remember, that Lhasa is located at 3,650 meters/ 12,000 ft above sea level and you will need some time to acclimatize.
After you check in the hotel, you are welcome to explore the city, visit nearby temples, do some shopping, try delicious Tibetan food in one of the local restaurants, or just take a rest.
Walking around Bakhor Street can be an excellent choice for your first day in Lhasa. You will join crowds of pilgrims, local Tibetans, and monks circumambulating the Jokhang Temple.
Most importantly, on your first day in Tibet, be sure to relax, enjoy your day and allow some time for acclimatizing.
Day 2 – Lhasa city tour: Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple
This tour visits the two most important religious sites in Tibet.
The Potala Palace was the seat of the Dalai Lamas since the 17th century. First, the guide will take you to the Chak Pori Hill to take photos of the majestic Palace. We will then go inside and spend approximately 1.5 – 2 hours there. While there, you will see many of its most famous artifacts.
There will be free time for lunch after visiting the Potala Palace.
Time permitting, you can walk around the Potala Palace and join many of the local Tibetans.
Next, we will walk towards the Jokhang Temple. It was built in the 7th century to display the Jowo Shakyamuni Statue – the statue of the 12-year-old Buddha before his enlightenment. The statue was created at the time when the historical Buddha lived. It is elaborately decorated with gold, jewels, and precious stones.
After visiting the temple, we recommend taking a walk around Bakhor Street.
More information about the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple
Day 3 – Lhasa city tour: Drepung and Sera Monasteries
We are visiting two most important monasteries in the capital.
First, we will visit Drepung monastery which once was the biggest monastery in the world with over 10,000 monks living there. It was the residence of Dalai Lamas before the Potala Palace was built.
We have lunch after the visit.
In the afternoon we are visiting Sera Monastery. It was founded by Tsongkhapa’s disciple in the 15th century. Nowadays it is famous for monks debate that you can witness. Debates are a very important part of learning and understanding Buddhism. Monks gather in the courtyard in the shade of trees to refine their knowledge.
Day 4 – Driving to Shigatse: Yamdrok Lake and Glaciers
Today we will travel on some of the most beautiful roads in Tibet on our drive to Shigatse.
Be prepared to take photos of the breathtaking views as we go up to the highest point of the day – Kamba La Pass (almost 4,800 meters / 15,750 ft).
Our next stop will be at the Yamdrok Lake. It is one of the holy lakes in Tibet, and it is famous for its turquoise colored water.
After that, we will head towards Gyantse. On the way there, we will make a stop to see the spectacular glaciers.
In Gyantse, we will visit the monastery and the biggest stupa.
Finally, we will reach Shigatse late in the evening and stay there overnight.
Day 5 – Shigatse to Lhasa
In the morning we will visit Tashilumpo Monastery, the seat of Panchen Lamas. This monastery was founded by the first Dalai Lama, and it is one of the most important monasteries in Tibet. You can take photos in some of the chapels for an additional fee.
We will take the Friendship Highway on the way back to Lhasa. It is the most direct route and usually takes around six hours to reach the capital. We will make several stops on the way in order to enjoy the views of the Brahmaputra River. In the afternoon, you might have some free time to prepare for your departure the next day.
Day 6 – Lhasa to Airport/Train station
Please prepare in advance for your departure. It takes approximately one hour to drive to the airport and around thirty minutes to reach the train station. We will arrive at the airport three hours before your departure flight if you are traveling to Nepal and two hours before any domestic flight.
Packing for the trip
- Small first aid kit and medications
- Camera with spare memory card and battery
- Power bank
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Wide brim or baseball hat for sun protection
- Personal toiletries, such as toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, wipes, hand sanitizer, shampoo, toilet paper, etc.
- Money: Chinese Yuan or USD that you can exchange in one of the Lhasa banks or debit card to withdraw cash from one of the ATMs
- Personal Journal for making notes and writing the diary
What is Lhasa altitude?
Lhasa is located at 3,650 meters/ 11,450 ft. Although the altitude is not very high compared to other Tibetan territories, you might experience some mild effects of altitude sickness.
Can I walk freely in Lhasa by myself or the guide has to accompany me all the time?
You can walk in the city by yourself. However, you need a guide to visit most of the historical and religious places, such as Jokhang Temple and Potala Palace.
What types of accommodations are available in Lhasa?
There is a wide range of hotels in Lhasa. You will find everything from 3 to 5-star hotels.
Does anybody speak English?
Aside from your guide and maybe a few hotel workers, almost no one speaks English. Most of Tibetans know some Chinese. There are a few signs in English in the central part of the city, and many popular restaurants offer English menu.
Included in Your Tour Cost
- All necessary Travel Permits to travel in Tibet
- All accommodations based on double occupancy. Contact us for a quote on a single room supplement
- Breakfast in hotel
- Assistance with your Chinese visa application
- Airport pick up and drop off
- Ground transportation in a clean and comfortable vehicle or taxi
- English speaking Tibetan guide
- All entrance fees, tickets to the attraction sites and monasteries outlined in the itinerary
Not Included in Tour Cost
- Passport and Chinese visa fees
- International airfare to and from China or Nepal
- Photography fees inside monasteries
- Flight or train tickets to Tibet
- Lunch and dinner
- Travel insurance
- Medical expenses
- Tips for guides and drivers
- Porter fees
- Personal expenses: laundry, shopping, phone calls, etc.