Guide to Visiting Lhasa – What to Do and See

Must-See Places in Lhasa – Things to Do in The Holy City


Lhasa is one of the major highlights of Tibet. While many travelers focus on the jaw-dropping natural beauty and the epic Mount Everest, there is no reason not to set your eyes on the capital city.

Did you know that Lhasa hosts three UNESCO World Heritage Sites? That’s quite a lot for a city with a population of around 300,000.

But when you consider the cultural and historical context of Lhasa, it’s no wonder that this town contains so many architectural gems.

In the following paragraphs, we’ll go over the major reasons you should visit Lhasa in Tibet. You’ll learn about the must-see places in the capital of Tibetan Plateau and the tour options in this city.


First of all, how many days do you need in Lhasa?

This depends on your personal preferences. For an in-depth look into Lhasa, we recommend taking around 4-5 days. When you are doing 5-6 days, then a tour to the Namtso Lake  is likely to be on your list too.

But if you really want to maximize your time outside Lhasa, and you don’t have too much time, then 1-2 days will get you a decent introduction to the capital.


What are the must-see places in Lhasa?

Mind you, there are many possible sights to enjoy in Lhasa. Here is a brief overview of the absolutely essential places. Do some additional research to find more sights that match your preferences.

#1: Barkhor StreetTibetan Kora

The pedestrian route circles around the Jokhang Temple walls. You’ll be stunned to see the constant rush of Tibetan Buddhists practicing the most important Kora*. The devotees often dressed in colorful traditional clothes move clockwise in a seemingly endless fashion.

* You may wonder what exactly is Kora. It’s a Tibetan Buddhist tradition, forming a part of the prayer ceremony to the gods. In practice, this prayer ceremony means walking a fixed route around a particular holy site.

#2: Potala PalaceGorgeous sunrise view on Potala Palace in Tibet

Potala Palace is the world-famous attraction located in Lhasa. This UNESCO World Heritage List site has distinct architecture and an unforgettable atmosphere. You’ll want to visit the viewpoint of Potala Palace on top of Chak Pori hill as well.


#3: Drepung MonasteryDrepung Monastery in Lhasa

This is the place where the Dalai Lamas resided before the completion of Potala Palace. You can clearly feel the glorious history of the monastery, despite the fact that fewer monks live in its premises today.


#4: Jokhang Temple

Tourists at Jokhang Temple

If you want to visit a truly important religious site in Tibet, then Jokhang Temple is a good bet. This UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site has a golden roof that you can see from the top of every other building in Old Lhasa. Inside the temple, a statue older than 2,500 years is housed.


#5: Sera MonasterySera Monastery with Tibetan ladies

Every day, except Sunday, the courtyard of the famous Sera Monastery fills with monks. They gather to this monastic center for lively debates. Usually, these debates won’t begin sooner than around 2 pm.


What is the best tour package for Lhasa City?

Your best tour package choice depends on your preferences. Do you want to focus only on Lhasa? Maybe you want to incorporate Lhasa into a tour exploring the surrounding Plateau?

  1. Focus on Lhasa: 4 Days Holy City Tour is the best option. You’ll focus solely on Lhasa and its wonderful sights.
  2. Focus on the surroundings, too: Try either the 5 Day Lhasa & Yamdrok Lake Tour, 6 Day Lhasa & Namtso Lake Tour, 7 Day Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour, or 10 Day Lhasa Everest Namtso Tour. These tours introduce you to Lhasa while giving you a chance to explore the other Tibet highlights as well.


The bottom line: Must See Places in Lhasa

Lhasa is a great destination to explore when visiting the Roof of the World. Depending on your preferences, you are able to spend more or less time in the Tibetan capital.

However, we definitely recommend you to see the following top sights of Lhasa.

  • Barkhor Street
  • Drepung Monastery
  • Jokhang Temple
  • Potala Palace
  • Sera Monastery

Enjoy your time in the Holy City!

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