Lhasa Prefecture Travel Guide

Lhasa Prefecture

Lhasa literally means Place of God. Lhasa Prefecture is the area around Lhasa City. Its comprise the Northern Tibetan Highland to the Valley of Lhasa to the valley of Drigung. The Namtso lake is the Biggest lake in Lhasa Prefecture and the Nyenchen Tanglha Range is the highest Point the in the prefecture. It covers 29,274 square kilometers of sparsely populated and rugged terrain.

The city is the administration of the Local government of Tibet and economical hub. All the major travel agencies and international hotels are available in the city. Tibet Travel Permit is also issued here by Tibet tourism Development agency ( formerly known as Tibet Tourism Bureau).

While the river valley supports agriculture with crops like barley, wheat, and Vegetables. The highland areas of northern grasslands are used for grazing yaks, sheep, and goats.  Wildlife is in the prefecture is rare but includes the snow leopard and black-necked crane. Lhasa city is the main city of the prefecture.

The Lhasa city act as the main gateway into Tibet for it Regular International flights from Kathmandu and flights from other regions of China, and the Regular train. The main attraction including the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Drepung Monastery, and the Namtso lake.


Getting to Lhasa

Lhasa is the gateway to Tibet and starting point of the majority of the tours in Tibet. You can visit it via a train ride from Other provinces of China, and you take flights from other areas of China. The Kathmandu to Lhasa Flight is the only international flight in Tibet.

Train to Lhasa

Every day there are six to seven trains to Lhasa from all the major gateway cities in China. Including Xining, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xian, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, etc. While most train ride takes about three days for the journey, But train from Xining to Lhasa will take only 24 hours.

Flights to Lhasa

There are 30 different daily flights from other parts of China to Tibet and two daily flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa. The flights are coming in from Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Xining, Shangri la, Chongqing and Guangzhou to Tibet. The most number of flights are available from Chengdu to Lhasa.

High Altitude Sickness and Elevation

The Elevation of Lhasa City is 3656m above the sea level which makes it one of the lowest city in Tibet. While the average elevation of Tibet as a whole is 4500m. We also have some areas which are locate at lower elevated than the Lhasa city like Tsedang, and Nyintri area.

It is very common for travelers to suffer from the high Altitude sickness upon arrival in Lhasa. It might take a day or days to acclimatizations in Lhasa. For some, it can be severe and for some, it could be little breathlessness while climbing the stairs.

Most Responsible travel agency in Lhasa would start all the tours from Lhasa, as it gives some days in Lhasa City to acclimatize before moving up to the higher elevation. Majority of the trip in Tibet will have three days in Lhasa to visit the sight in the city in additional with acclimatization process. With us, we provide Oxygen cylinder in the hotel room in an emergency, and 24X7 assistance from the hotel staffs and us ( The travel agency). You can always call us if you need help).

We would like to recommend visitors to leave the Lhasa city only after the proper adaptation. The City has the best medical facilities in the Entire Tibet and best transportation transit if you need to evacuate. Which is why it is best to stay in Lhasa until the proper acclimatization.

There are many locally produced Medicine for the high elevation; Some local Tibetan Medicine. But we always recommend all our clients to consult their doctors about the plans to go to Tibet and bring their own medicine. We want to suggest you the same.

Tibet Travel Permit for Lhasa Prefecture

Though we will take care of all the required Tibet Travel permit for Lhasa Prefecture. If you would like to know in detail about the permit requirement to Lhasa Prefecture. Here is the information.

If you are visiting the Lhasa prefecture, the only permit required is the primary Tibet Travel Permit. It usually takes about 12 days in getting that basic permit done. You will not need any additional permits to visit any regions in this prefecture if you are going further into other regions of Tibet. We will have to apply for the additional permit as per the place of the visit during your travel to Tibet.

But you must keep in your mind the permit situation is different as per the mode to transportation into Tibet as follow:

  1. If you are taking a train from other cities in China beside Chongqing. You have required only the photocopy of your Tibet permit. Hence we will send you a copy in email, and you can make the printout.
  2. For the train from Chongqing to Lhasa. The Train station in Chongqing will need to see your original Permit. For this, we will have to send you original permit to your hotel in Chongqing.
  3. Taking the flight to Tibet from any part of China, we will need to send your Original Tibet travel permit. Any airport in China will require to see your original Tibet travel permit before boarding into the flight.
  4. The permit will be at the border with your tour guide for all the travelers coming from Kathmandu to Tibet.  If you are taking overland journey from Nepal to Tibet, you guide will be at the China custom at the border port with permit. For the flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa, your tour guide will be with the permit waiting for you at the China Custom counter in Lhasa Airport.

Lhasa prefecture valleys are roughly at an altitude of 3610. The central river valleys are warm in summer and in the coldest winter months, the temperature is above freezing during the sunny days. The climate is a semi-arid monsoon, with a low average temperature of 1.2 to 7.5 °C (34.2 to 45.5 °F). Average annual precipitation is 466.3 millimeters, with 85% falling in the June–September period. Typically there are 3,000 hours of sunshine each year. It is colder in the northern regions, warmer in the south.


Best times to visit.

The best time to come to Lhasa prefecture in April to Mid June and September to November. During those days it is warmer and no rainfall on average.

If you would like to enjoy Tibet without many tourists. Winter is an excellent time to come to Lhasa.

Boutique Hotels in Lhasa Prefecture

House of Shambhala

House of Shambhala

If you want to feel the real Tibetan Hotel. This is the hotel for you. Their great customer care, Design, and location are incomparable to all the other hotels in Lhasa. They are located conveniently near the Barkhor street.

Shambhala Palace

Shambhala Palace

The Shambhala Palace is the sister hotel in Lhasa. It is located little inside the alley. It has more room, beside this everything is the same as the house of Shambhala. They are located conveniently near the Barkhor street.

Trichang Labrang Hotel

Trichang Labrang Hotel

Out of all the Boutique Hotels in Lhasa, Trichang Labrang is most economical. It is a former resident of Trichang Labrang. The Hotel is located very conveniently near Barkhor street.

Yashi Phunkhang

Yashi Phunkhang

Yabshi Phunkhang is a beautiful boutique hotel. The building was home to the family of 11th Dalai Lama. The hotel is conveniently located near the Jokhang temple near the Barkhor street.

Shambhala Source

Shambhala Source

Shambhala Source is a beautiful boutique hotel with in house hot spring. The hotel is located near Tidrum Nunnery in the eastern part of Lhasa prefecture. The hotel is a popular hotel for travelers visiting Tidrum.

Dekhang Hotel

Dekhang Hotel

The Dekang Hotel located greatly outside the old Lhasa town. You can reach there in just about 15 minutes walk from Barkhor street.  The hotel is newly renovated from top to bottom in the year 2018.

Tibetan Mid Range Hotels in Lhasa Prefecture

Yak Hotel

Yak Hotel

Yak hotel is a three-star rating hotel right outside the Barkhor street. This hotel has been a popular Hotel in the 1990s. This is the only hotel in Lhasa providing Hotel style dorm room for backpackers.

Gang Gyan Hotel

Gang-Gyan Hotel

Gang Gyan Hotel is a four-star hotel on the eastern end on the Old Lhasa City. The hotel is popular for the Budget travelers and Agency. Most of our Budget Group tour would stay in this hotel.

Ramoche Grand Hotel

Ramoche Grand hotel is our popular choice for Budget travelers. It is located in the Buzzling street near Ramoche temple. All our visitor staying in this hotel have a great recommendation about this Hotel.

Five Star Hotels in Lhasa Prefecture

St.Rigis Lhasa

St. Regis Lhasa

St. Regis is our favorite five-star hotel in Lhasa. It is greatly situated 1.3 Kilometers from the Jokhang Temple. They pay great respect to local culture and tradition.


Shangri La Hotel

The Shangri La Hotel is a five-star hotel located near Norbulingka (The Summer Palace). The Key feature of this hotel is some room with the view of the Potala Palace.

Intercontinental Lhasa

Intercontinental Lhasa

Intercontinental Lhasa hotel is one of a five-star hotel in Lhasa. The Hotel is located inconveniently located on the far end of the old Lhasa city.

Restuarant in Lhasa

House of Shambhala Restaurant

House of Shambhala Restaurant

The in house restaurant of the House of Shambhala provides the best authentic Tibetan Traditional and Nepalese Meals. We highly recommend you in trying this restaurant while you are in Lhasa.

Tibetan Family Kitchen

Tibetan Family Kitchen

The Tibetan Family Kitchen is the number one ranking restaurant in entire Tibet. The restaurant has in the old Tibetan traditional building near the barkhor street. The food are great with great location.

Tashi no 1

Tashi no 1

Located right across the street from Jokhang Temple. Tashi No 1 restuarant has history of over 20 years. It is highly recommend on many travel guide books and Tibet travel website.

Kyichu Hotel Restaurant

Kyichu Hotel Restaurant

Kyichu Hotel restaurant is our favorite place for authentic Nepalese Meals in Lhasa. The places is popular chioce for Nepalese food. It has a great Garden area for dining. Located in west end of Old Lhasa City.

Dunya Restaurant

Dunya Restaurant

Dunya restautant in located in Yak Hotel in Lhasa, Tibet. They serve the food with Tibetan twist like Yak burger. This restaurant is Vegtarian friendly and they are well know for thier home made bread.

Recommended Cafe in Lhasa

Summit Cafe Lhasa

Summit Cafe

Convienently loceted in Tengyaling street near Jokhang temple. This cafe has the best coffee in town. It is the famous for both locals and foreigner alike. They also serve pazza, and sandwhichs.

Gamqiong Teahouse

Gamqiong Teahouse

Gamqiong Teahouse is the biggest tea house in Tibet. It is the famouse gathering place for locals and travellers. They also serve great Tibetan Bulthuk Noodle. It is must places to visit to meet the locals.

Equipment, and Packing Checklist


  • Comfortable, broken-in hiking shoes or hiking boots with Spare laces
  • 3 or 4 pairs of hiking pants ( at least 1 pair of waterproof/windproof hiking pants
  • *1 pair of comfortable tennis shoes, flip-flops or croc-style sandal to wear
  • 2 or 3 pairs of cotton socks
  • 3 or 4 pairs of wool socks
  • 4 to 6 pairs of underwear (*trekker should bring some spandex or non-chaffing underwear)
  • 1or 2 sets of thermal underwear (tops and bottoms)
  • 1 set of warm pajamas for overnight
  • Mid-weight or heavyweight winter coat ( down recommend for treks and any Tibet Travel in the month from October to April) 
  • Lightweight hooded rain jacket for treks and any travel done from April thru October
  • Warm Hat
  • Warm gloves
  • Scarf (Optional)
  • Sun Hat with the wide brim
  • 2 or 3 fleece tops
  • 4 to 5 T-shirt (Mixture of short and long sleeved. *Wicking shirt should be used for treks.)


  • *1 lightweight, quick0drying towel
  • *Gaiter (optional for trekkers)
  • *bandana (optional for trekkers)
  • *mid to heavyweight sleeping bag of -12°C to -18°C (10°F to 0°F)
  • Sunglass with UV Protection
  • Protection small flashlight (torch) or headlamp with extra batteries
  • 1 liter Nalgene bottle
  • Small thermos for tea/hot water
  • *day pack that is 30L to 40L in size ( Only if you are trekking)
  • *2 durable trekking poles ( Only if you are trekking)
  • 1 or 2 small plastic bags for dirty clothes, etc
  • Personal Hygiene and Toiletry items
  • Sunblock/ Sunscreen that is SPF 35 or higher
  • Lip balm that contains sunscreen
  • Skin moisturizer (optional)
  • Anti-Bacterial hand sanitizer
  • Small hand-held mirror (Optional)
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine products
  • Shaving products
  • Travel size Soap and Shampoo
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Wet wipes
  • 2 to 3 rolls of toilet papers
  • Nail clipper
  • Band-Aid and moleskin for blisters
  • Earplugs
  • Cotton buds/Q-tips


  • Medicine to treat travelers Diarrhea
  • Anti-biotic ointment for minor cut or blisters
  • Personal Tylenol, ibuprofen, cold medicine, antihistamine, etc
  • Diamox / Acetazolamide (Optional….contact your doctor for details)
  • Medicine if you are prone to motion sickness (optional)
  • prescription drugs (contact your doctor)


  • iPod/iPad/Kindle(optional)
  • Batteries for personal items (Camera, Flashlight, etc)
  • plenty of memory cards for your camera
  • passport/ money holder
  • extra copy of your passport and Chinese Visa (Make an Extra copy of your travel permit in Tibet)
  • Protein bars, Chocolate, dried fruit or Other snacks of your choice.
  • Electric outlet adapter for China
  • Small notebook with pen
  • 3 to 4 small zip-lock bags

Festival in Lhasa Prefecture

Losar Tibetan New Year བོད་ཀྱི་ལོ་གསར།

Losar, The Tibetan New Year 

Losar means Tibetan New year. This is one of the most important festivals in the entire years, similar to the Christmas in West and Spring festival in Other parts of China. During the Tibetan New year, we will make sure every one of back home to celebrate it…

Discover More
Monlam festival

Monlam Festival

Monlam festival is the religious festival in Lhasa started by Je Tsongkhapa, The founder of the Gelugpa Sect of the Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet. The first Monlam was initiated by him on the year 1409. It is said he has used all the money offered by the devotee to him…

Discover More
Saga Dawa Festival

Saga Dawa

Saga Dawa festival is a month-long festival which is commemorated on the fourth month of the Tibetan lunar calendar, Buddhist all over the commemorate the life of Buddha. Many travel website and many other websites regard it as the celebration…

Discover More
Gyantse Damak Festival

Gyantse Damak Festival

Gyantse Damak or the Gyantse Horse racing festival is celebrated in the town of Gyantse. The Gyantse is considered as the leading producer of barley in Tibet, and the town has significant cultural Influences in Tibetan Culture and tradition

Discover More
Yogurt festival

Yogurt Festival ཞོ་སྟོན་

Yogurt festival is also known as Drepung monastery festivals. In Tibetan Buddhist tradition, monks would stay in the monastery for a retreat for the summer months to avoid walking on the emerging summer insects and Killing them. The celebration…

Discover More
Tibetan Bathing Festival Karma Rishi སྐར་མ་རི་ཥི་།

Tibetan Bathing Festival

Tibetan Bathing festival is one of the unique festivals you will come up with while you are traveling in Tibet. The festival is of a week long, and sometimes it is called Tibetan Bathing week. Its celebrate on the 1st Week of the seventh month….

Discover More
Ongkhor festival

Ongkhor Festival

Ongkhor is one of the most important festivals for Tibetan farming communities in a year. This festival is the celebrations to bring good luck for the annual harvesting from the Farmland. The festival is normally celebrated…

Discover More
Palden Lhamo Festival

Palden Lhamo Festival 

Palden Lhamo festival is celebrated only in Lhasa. People from other parts of the Tibet would call it Lhasa’s Palden Lhamo festival. The festival falls on the 15th days of the 10th month of Tibetan Calander. This is the celebration….

Discover More

Places to visit in Lhasa Prefecture

Potala Palace

Potala Palace

Potala Palace will be the first thing that will make an assurance that you are in Tibet. If you are starting your…

Jokhang Temple

Jokhang Temple

Jokhang Temple in Tibet is known as the Tsuk-La-Khang in Tibetan, which means the central cathedral…


Barkhor Street

Barkhor means the middle path of Kora, Lhasa city has three paths of circumambulation, it is middle one…

Norbulingka ནོར་བུ་གླིང་ཀ།།

Norbulingka Palace

Norbulingka Palace, the summer palace for the successive Dalai Lamas. It is a popular place for Locals for…

Sera Monastery སེ་ར་དགོན་པ།།

Sera Monastery

Sera Monastery is one of the three biggest monasteries near Lhasa, it is located 2.01 km north of old Lhasa…

Nechung Monastery གནས་ཆུང་དགོན་པ།།

Nechung Monastery

Nechung Monastery is located on the slope below the Drepung Monastery. As you enter the check post at…

Drepung Monastery འབྲས་སྤུངས་དགོན་པ།།

Drepung Monastery

Drepung Monastery, the largest monastery in the world in the earlier 20th-century at its peak, when some…

Ganden Monastery དགའ་ལྡན་དགོན་པ།།

Ganden Monastery

Ganden monastery means joyous in Tibetan. The full name is Ganden Namgyal Ling (Joyous Victorious )…

Drak Yerpa བྲག་ཡེར་པ།།

Drak Yerpa

Drak Yerpa is one of the holiest retreats cave in Ü region. This is the must go for the believers…

Muru Nyingpa རྨེ་རུ་སྙིང་པ་

Muru Nyingpa

Muru Nyingpa is another hidden gem of Lhasa City. You can visit it in the Barkhor area…

Pabonka hermitage ཕ་བོང་ཁ།

Pabonka Hermitage

Pabonka has a great history to tell about Lhasa City. It is located in Northern Lhasa…

Chokpori ལྕགས་པོ་རི།


On the opposite hill to the Potala Palace has temple build by Tibetan wife of King Songtsen Gampo and Thousand Buddha…

Nyethang Dolma Lhakhang སྙེ་ཐང་སྒྲོལ་མ་ལྷ་ཁང་།

Nyethang Dolma Lhakhang

The root monastery of Atisha and his lineage in Tibet. Located near Lhasa Airport. The temple is must visit place in Tibet if you are coming to Tibet for Pilgrimage…

Ramoche Temple ར་མོ་ཆེ་དགོན་པ་

Ramoche Temple

Identical Temple to the Jokhang Temple. Originally built in 7th century by Princess Wencheng. Later house the Buddha Statue brought to Tibet by the Nepalese Wife of Songtsen Gampo…

Namtso Lake གནམ་མཚོ་།

Namtso Lake

Namtso Lake, one of the three holiest lake and most beautiful lake in Tibet. It is located 250 Kilometer north of Lhasa…

Drigung Monastery འབྲི་གུང་མཐིལ་།

Drigung Monastery

Drigung Monastery is the principal monastery for Drikung Kagyu, a Sub sect to Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The place is well know for its Yogic and Meditation practice…

Reting Monastery རྭ་སྒྲེང་དགོན་པ་།

Reting Monastery

Reting Monastery is located in Lhünzhub County of Lhasa prefecture in Tibet. the monastery is located 65 Kms northeast of Lhasa…

Yangpachen monastery ཡངས་པ་ཅན་དགོན་པ་།

Yangpachen Monastery

Yangpachen monastery is located at 85 km north from Lhasa, near very popular Yangpachen Hot spring

Tsurphu Monastery མཚུར་ཕུ་དགོན་པ་།

Tsurphu Monastery

Tsurphu Monastery is the principal monastery of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Tsurphu monastery is located in Tholung Dechen Zong….

Shongsheb Nunnery

Shuksep Nunnery

Shuksep Nunnery is isolated Nunnery Located up the hill on the way to Lhasa airport. The nunnery is associated with Nyingmapa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism…

Tidrum Nunnery

Tidrum Nunnery

Tidrum Nunnery is Located near Drigung Thil Monastery and 140 Km from Lhasa. The nunnery is associated with Nyingmapa Sect and Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism…

Recommend Tours In Lhasa Prefecture

11 Days Lhasa Tsedang Shigatse Namtso Lake tour
  • Lhasa, Tsedang, Shigatse, and Namtso Lake.

  • 11 Days & 10 Nights

Discover More
10 Days Tour to Everest Basecamp
Discover More
Yunnan to Tibet Overland tour
  • Shangri-la, Nyintri & Lhasa.

  • 10 Days & 9 Nights

Discover More
Ganden to Samye Trekking tours
  • Lhasa, Ganden Monastery, Samye Monastery & Lhokha

  • 10 Days & 9 Nights

Discover More
Tibet to kashgar overland tour
Discover More
QInghai to Tibet Highway Cycling tour
Discover More
Discover More

Our Special Arrangments

For maximum exposure to Tibetan Culture, religion, history, and crafts. We have extensive special arrangements to give you good cultural and traditional experiences.

Discover More

Responsible Tourism

I-Tibet travel and Tours is fully committed to responsible and Sustainable tourism practice in Tibet. Our privilege to be able to host you in Tibet also makes our responsibility in protecting nature and contributing back communities.

As a Local Tibetan travel agency in Lhasa. Our staffs are 100% local Tibetan tourism professionals. Additionally, We only use local Tibetan guides, other tours crews, and local business. 100% of the travel money goes to locals. Besides, We use 3% of the net profit into Environmental and social initiatives.

Being Tibetan, We know how vital the Tibetan environment is for the entire world. Mountains, glacier, and rivers are all cherished in our culture. We do our best to reduce the environmental impact of your tours in Tibet.

Following are Our ways:

a) No Small plastic bottles in the tour

All the drinking water are provided in the bigger container. So all visitors are asked to bring his/her own water bottle. In this way, we reduce hundreds and thousands of small plastic bottles. All the bigger containers are provided back to the manufacturer for reuse.

b) Incentives for practice

Incentives are given to guide and drivers. Who follow our strict directories on ethical practice towards sustainable and responsible tourism practice.

c) Staff Training every winter

Winter is a low season in Tibet tourism.  We provide skill training required for the practice of Responsible and Sustainable tourism practice, first Aids and emergency first responder training. One of our managers is certified Humanity Supply Chain management by fritz institute. We work closely with individuals from institute like Tibet Eco Travel initiatives and Local Tibet Red Cross society and other NGOs.

d) Tree Plantation

Some portion of the tour money  are save for our 1000 Tree plantation project. We will plant trees when we will have enough funds.

e) Smaller group size

All our tours are a small group to reduce environmental Impact. Since traveling in a smaller group has less impact on committed in an area than a big group. Therefore all our tour groups are small.

f) Trekking tours and environmental care in the wilderness of Tibet

During your trekking Tours, you will be walking across a very fragile ecosystem.  We do take extra care in our trekking tours preventing environmental effects. Following are how are take care of our environment our trekking tours.

1: We nothing leave mother behind.

We make sure we take all our rubbish and leave nothing behind.

2: We protect the grassland

A little destruction of Tibet’s fragile environment is irreversible. So, in the trekking tours, we will not make drainage surrounding your tent. Instead, we will provide trekkers with a better tent with bathtub style floors which prevent water from getting into the tent. We don’t put a small tent toilet. Even if we try to put the grass back, it is not the same. So when you are answering your nature called please enjoy the view.

3: Collecting the garbage along the way.

We have a saying in Tibet, “if you can’t help, don’t harm.” Here is our helping part. We always have extra yaks carrying the Garbages, our yak men will be collecting while waiting for the clients at the campsite. Yak man walks faster than all, and they have free time at the camp. While cook prepares for meals and drinks, We pay yaks men’s incentives in collecting the rubbish around the camp.

I-Tibet travel and tours, identify its self as a social enterprise.  For this, we dedicate 3% of our annual net profit to Social and environmental projects. Every winter we buy winter clothes for small children and donate to schools. In this way, besides donating winter cloth, we are also encouraging them to go to school.

It is important to make our guest understand Local Culture, Beliefs, and Ethics. Hence it will make it more comfortable during Our special tour arrangements. Like, your home visit, culture programs, and our others.

Sustainable toursim in Tibet

I-Tibet travel is local Tibetan travel agency based in Tibet. Being register in the year 1991, as Tibet Whole world international travel Co.Ltd.  Makes one of the oldest Tibetan travel agency in Lhasa. Thus we can to make all the Document require for your Tibet travel including travel permits. Our service includes wide ranges of Tibet tour packagesTibet group tour for Budget Travel. Also, You can book your Tibet flight tickets and Tibet train tickets. So, We hope you will choose a Local Tibetan travel agency to travel to Tibet.

Discover More