Things To Do In Lhasa | Attractions In Tibet

15Min to Read | By Himalayan Windows | Jun 28, 2016

The Lhasa “City of Sunshine”

Lhasa means holy Land in Tibetan. On the northern bank of Lhasa River, a tributary of Yarling Zangpo River, it is 3650m above the sea level.  It is famous for its long history. Lhasa is also famous as a city of Sunshine or its sunshine of more than 3000 hours a year. It is the capital city of the Tibet Autonomous Region and is a political, economic, and cultural center of the region. It boasts many historical sites and scenic spots both in its urban areas and outskirts. The Potala Palace and Jokhang, Sera, Ganden Monasteries, and Drepung Temple are well known at home and abroad.

Potala Potala Palace in Tibet

Potala Palace

Standing on the red hill on Beijing M. Road, Lhasa, the Potala Palace is the highest of its kind in the world. The palace was first built in the seventh century and was damaged in the eighth century. In the 17th Century, it was rebuilt by the Fifth Dalai Lama in three years. Its 13-story main building is 117 meters high and is composed of the Red and White Palaces, with the red one in the middle. The main building consists of the Hall of Stupas of Dalai Lamas from various historical stages and a hall of Buddhas. The White Palace is the residence of the Dalai Lamas and a place for handling political affairs.

The Potala palace houses great amounts of rare cultural relics including the Pattra-Leaf scripture from India, Bakgyur, and the imperial edicts, golden seals, and titles of nobility from the Qing Emperors of the Dalai Lamas.

Transport: Lhasa has a small number of public buses, but the numbers of registered taxies reach 1500. However, if you are going through the tour companies, this should be included in your package. The Potala Palace is situated in the city of proper of Lhasa.
Admission Fee: 100 Yuan/Person.


Barkhor Street

As the best-preserved street in Lhasa, Barkhor Street surrounds the Jokhang Monastery and features the religion, economy, culture, ethnic, handicrafts, and Tibetan customs and lifestyle. At night, Barkhor street is very enchanting, When night falls and evening lights are lit, all the shops are still open for Business. The melodious music accompanied by various sounds of the peddlers hawking their wares, and the tempting smell of different snacks will make visitors enjoy themselves so much as to forget to go home.

Travel Tips: Tourists should walk clock-wise as pilgrims do. While buying articles, you should choose the best and cheaper one after comparison and bargaining.


Jokhang Monastery

Located in the center of the ancient city of Lhasa, the Jokhang Monastery was built in the seventh century by Songstan Gambo, the Tang Princess Bhrikuti. Its four-story main building demonstrates a combination of the Tibetan, Han, Indian and Nepalese architectural styles, as well as a mandala world outlook of Buddhism. With the hall of Amitayus Sutra as its center, the monastery symbolizes the nuclear of the universe. Then Hall of Sakya-Muni is the essence of the monastery.

Transport: Tourists may go to the Jokhang Monastery on foot, by minibus. Those going to the monastery by minibus can get off at the Tibet Hospital.
Addimmison Fee: 70 Yuan/Person
Travel Tips: Tourists can only visit the Jokhang Monastery at the specified time; from 8:00 to 11:30 am and it is open to religious people, and the tourist groups exceeding 10 People each are not allowed to enter and from 11:30 am to 17:30 pm, it is open to tourists. The visit to the Jokhang Monastery for tourist groups shall not exceed one hour inside the monstery.

Sera Monastery

At the foot of the Wuze Hill in Sera to the north of Lhasa, the Sera Monastery is one of the three great monasteries in Lhasa and one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug sect of Buddhism in Tibet. It was built by one of the disciples of Zonggaba in 1419. On the 27th of the 12th month of the Tibetan calendar, the monastery holds the grand Sera Bungchen Festival, which attracts flocks of Buddhism and others.

Transport: Tourists may get on No 5 minimus at the parking lot of the Jokhang Monastery, the crossing of Youth Road or Nyangrain Road to the Sera Monastery.
Travel Tips: The Sera Monastery is very famous for argumentation; the Argumentation Courtyard is at the northern end of the passage leading to the front gate, and the argumentation usually begins at 15:00.


Drepung Monastery

On the slope of the Wuze Hill in Genbei Five kilometers northwest of Lhasa, the Drepung monastery was built in 1416 and is the largest of the monasteries of the Gelug Sect. It covers an area of 250000 Square meters. In its heyday, it had more than 10000 monks. The monastery has trained a large group of talents for Tibetan Buddhism. The fifth Dalai Lama lived here before he moved to the Potala Palace. It houses plenty of historical and cultural relics and Buddhist classics. In the exciting Shoton Festival, “Sunning the Buddha” by the monastery has been one of the most magnificent religious activities in Tibet.

Transport: Tourists may go to the Drepung Monastery by Taxi with a fare of about 20 yuan: or tourists may go to the foot of the mountain by minibus and climb the mountain of the monastery.
Admission Fee: 50 Yuan/Person for tourists only.


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Norbu Lingka

Norbu Lingka means a lovely garden in Tibetan. Located in the western suburbs of Lhasa. It has been a palace for the Dalai Lamas to stay to escape the summer heat. It was built in the 1740s and covers an area of 360000 square meters. It was once a place of bathing and recuperation of the Seventh Dalai Lama. The Qing minister stationed in Tibet built the first palace for his here. Since then, the eighth, 13th, and 14th Dalai Lamas built their own palaces here too. Continuous expansions in the past 200 odd years have turned it a large-scale and Tibet-style palace complex and garden. On festivals and holidays, the local people in their splendid attires come here with food and tents to sing and dance overnight.

Transport: Bus No. 2 goes from the Tibetan Hospital to Norbu Lingka. Tourists may go from the city proper to the park on foot.
Admission Fee: 80 Yuan/Person


Ganden Monastery

In Dagze county 60 Kilometers to the east of Lhasa, it is one of the three great monasteries in Lhasa and one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug Sect. Ganden means happiness and contentedness in Tibetan. The Ganden Monastery was build in the early 15th century under the supervision of Zonggaba, the founder of the Gelug Sect. The main buildings include the Coqen Hall, the Chamber of Zonggaba, and the college of Yangbajin. Check out our Tibet Lhasa tour with Sayme Ganden.

Transport: Minibus leaves the Jokhang Monastery Square for the Ganden Monastery at about 6: 30, and return at 14:00 Pm. However, if it is one itinerary, your trip to Ganden will be covered by the package cost.
Admission Fee: 15 Yuan/Person
Accommodation: Tourists may put up for the night at the monastery, 12 -15 Yuan a bed, with simple and crude equipment.

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Klukang Monastery

Located in the northern part of the old city of Lhasa, the Klukang Monastery was built in the mid-seventh century. It was damaged and rebuilt several times. The monastery houses many murals and statues of Sakyamuni, Maitreya, and others. The main hall houses a gilded full-length statue of the eight-year-old Sakyamuni brought to Tibet by the Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti. The monastery is the location of the Tantric College of the Gelug Sect in Tibet.

Transport: Walking about 300  meters northward along a slab stone road opposite the Chongsaikang Market in East Beijing Road, one will reach the Klukang Monastery.
Admission fee: 20 Yuan/Person.
Travel Tips: Taking a picture or videos in the hall is prohibited.


In Damxung county, Lhasa Yangbajain contains rich geothermal resources and is famous for a geothermal resume. The well-known Yangbajain Geothermal power station stands here. It has hot springs everywhere and when the valve is switched on, hot water spurts several meters or even dozens of meters high, constituting a magnificent scene.

Transport: It is 87 Km from Yangbajain to Lhasa, and tourists may take long-distance buses at the Lhasa Long-distance Bus Station to go to Yangbajain.
Admission: 50 Yuan/Person Outdoor and 70 Yuan/Person indoor.
Accommodation: Tourists may put up for the night at the hostels near the bus station.

Yaowang (Medicine King) Hill

The hill is named after the Tibetan Medical College (also known as the Medicine King Temple). In the Tibetan language, it is called Chakpori, meaning the “ Hill on the corner”. On the right side of the Potala Palace, the medicine king Hill is 3725m above sea level that is the best place to take pictures of the Potala Palace. On the eastern side of the hill stands an oddly-shaped ancient grotto temple, which houses the statues of Songtsam Gambo, Princess Wencheng, Princess Bhrikuti, Tunmi Sanguzha who was a high-ranking official, and Tongtsan. Behind the hill is the famous 10,000 – Buddha wall, and in the areas nearby live some families engaged in carving mani songs.

Transport: A path leading to the hill is opposite the road on the right side of the Potala palace and behind the White Dagoba.
Admission: Free admission tickets. If one happens to meet a patrol monk, one needs to buy a 10-yuan admission ticket.

Zongjiao Lukang Park

It is one of the famous parks in Lhasa. Legend has it that Tsangyang Gyatso, the Sixth Dalai Lama, welcomed Maizho Serquing and the other eight dragons from Maizhokunggar and put them into the pond, hence the name. Now, it has become the first large park with the modern flavor in Lhasa. The park includes a children’s playground, lounges, and other facilities. Tourists can go boating in the park. It is an ideal place for people to enjoy holidays, do sightseeing and take a rest.

Transport: Tourists may go to the park on foot, or take a taxi, with a fare of about 10 yuan.

Tsurpu Monastery

Built-in 1187, the Tsurpu Monastery is located in the Doilungdequen country, 70 Kilometers away from Lhasa. It is the main monastery of the black Cap Group of the Karma Sect. The system of succession to grant the living Buddha was originated here and has become popular among various sects of Tibetan Buddhism.

Transport: Tourists can find a minibus in the lane, 200m south of the flower nursery on the western side of the Jokhang Temple. The minibus leaves for the Tsurpu Monastery at 7:00 – 8:00 am. When it is full, 15 yuan a person. The same minibus will return at 15:00. Tourists may rent a jeep in Lhasa to the Tsurpu Monastery: and it will cost 200 to 300 Yuan.
Admission: 40 Yuan/Person.

Tibet Museum

Located at the southeast corner of Norbu Lingka Lhasa. It is the first modern museum in Tibet. It covers an area of 53,959square meters and has a floor space of 23,508 square meters including an exhibition area of 10,451 square meters. The museum demonstrates a strict and magnificent traditional Tibetan architectural style. Also, it reflects a salient feature of modern architectural art.

The museum houses a rich collection of cultural relics including various kinds of cultural relics of pre-history, handwritten Tibetan classics, colorful Thangka pictures, music and ritual instruments, unique handicrafts, and pottery. From the exhibition, the visitors can see the long-standing history and profound culture and art of Tibet.

Outside the exhibition hall are green lawns and shadowy trees. Also, there is a performance area for modern cultural and physical activities, a garden of local costumes and folk culture, and a manor house. In addition, the museum has a cultural gallery, handicraft shop, and other service facilities. It is a good place for people to relax while visiting the exhibition.

Transport: Tourists may go to the museum by tricycle, with a fare of about 10 yuan.
Admission: 30 Yuan/Person

Lhasa River

A tributary of the Yarling Zangbo, the Lhasa river is the place for Tibetan to have a bath and wash their clothes in the seventh month of the Tibetan calendar. During the bathing festival from Garmagun in the east to Sahu in the south and Rainbow Spring at the foot of the Sera Monastery, people are enjoying their bathing and washing. A legend says during the festival the Lhasa river water is good as the holy water. If you like you can join the Local people to have a bath in this holy water. In addition, on the southern bank of the river, you can see the reflection of the Potala Palace in the river. Some photographs and fans wait here for this wonderful scene. The Tablet to mark the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet highway stands on the bank in front of the Long – Distance Bus Station in the city proper. Also, visitors can hire a canoe sewn up with pieces of cattle hide to cross the river here.

Nyangrain Folk Customs Park

As a national AAA tourist attraction, and a national agricultural tourism demonstration center in the Nyangrain Gully in the northern suburb of Lhasa, the Nyangrain Folk Customs Park features folk customs, history, and culture, and puts stress on natural wild interest, folk customs sightseeing, production and life implements, leisure and tourism. Tourists also can find Lingka recreational activities, Tibetan barbecues, rural bars, folk songs dances, and performances of Tibetan opera in the park. Various kinds of special services will be offered to tourists according to their requests, such as the bonfire evening party, and the Tibetan wedding ceremony.

Transport: Tourists may go to the Nyangrain Folk Customs Park by taxi or bus no. 503.
Admission: 50 Yaun/Person.


Namtso Lake is the highest lake in the world and is 4,718m above sea level. It is 72 KM long from east to west and 30 Km wide from south to north. It has an area of 1,940 Square Kilometers. Some 60 Kilometers to the northwest of Damxung county seat, it is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet and receives high respect among the local people. In the Tibetan year of Sheep, pilgrims from far away come here to walk around the lake. It takes more than 10 days to circle the lake once.

Transport: Five to Seven tourists can hire a minibus from Lhasa to go and back which takes 8 hours in total. The distance is 240 Km to reach the lake.

Accommodation: The Zhaxi Monastery by the lake provides lodging and there are some local lodges are available.


RELATED PACKAGE | 7 Days 6 Nights Lhasa Shigatse Namtso Tour

Foreign Exchange

The circulated currency in Lhasa is Renminbi. Foreign currencies can be exchanged only in Lhasa, Shigatse, and Zhamgmu. All the offices of the Bank of China provide such services. But only the General office of the Bank of China accepts the traveler’s cheques and cash advance.

Lhasa Holiday Inn and Tibet hotel offer foreign currency exchange services too. You can exchange your money into the Renminbi according to the exchange rate of that day with your valid passport.

Visiting other places except for Lhasa, Shigatse, and Zhangmu, you’d better have enough Renmimbi with you. But you can have some US dollars with you too.

Remarks of Lhasa

The landscape in Lhasa is beautiful in summer and unique in winter. The snow-capped mountains, concentrated festivals, and a warmer climate than other northern areas will impress you with different scenes. Those suffered from high blood pressure, respiratory infection and intestinal disorders should follow the doctor’s suggestion. It is better to bring warmer and lose clothes, Sunglasses, and skin lotion because the ultraviolet ray on the highland is strong. In addition, you should respect the religious belief and living habits of the local people.

Yombulagang Palace

In Nedong County, eight kilometers to the south of Zetang Town, it is the first palace in Tibetan history. It was said that the palace was built in the second century B. C. by the first king Nyatri Tsangpo. It houses the statues of the three-world Buddhas and Tsanpos of various historical stages including Nyatri Tsanpo, Lhatu Turi Niantsan, Rabajin, Songtsan Gambo, and Trisong Detsen.

Transport:  It is most convenient to go to the palace by motor tricycle, about 40 Yuan for a round trip. On the way back, tourists may stop at the Changzhug Monastery, but they’d better tell the motor tricycle driver clearly before getting on it.

Admission ( for reference): 30 Yuan/ person
Opening hours: 09:00-18:00

Samye Monastery

On the northern bank of the Yarlung Zambo River in Chanang County, Lhoka Prefecture, the monastery was built in 779 under the supervision of Master Padmasambhava and Tibetan king Trisong Desten. It is the first monastery for the monks in Tibet. The magnificent and unique Central Hall is three-story high. The first floor is of the Tibetan architectural style, the second the Han style, and the third the Indian style. The halls in the monastery house many statues and murals. The monastery has bronze bells, carved marble lions tables marking the development of Buddhism. All these are valuable cultural relics.|

Transport: Tourists may take the bus from Lhasa to Zetang and get off at Samye Ferry, 30 Yuan a person. Then tourists have to take a motorboat to the other of the river for five Yuan then take a bus to the monastery. Tourists may also take a minibus from Zetang to the monastery.
Accommodation: Putting up for the night at the monastery costs 40 Yuan a person. Just outside the east gate of the monastery stand the friendship snow land Hotel and other hotels.

Changzhou Monastery

Standing by the highway on the east bank of the Yalong River in Nedong County, Lhoka Prefecture, this monastery was built in the seventh century and has been repaired in various historical periods. A legend says after Songtsan Gambo established its capital in Lhasa, he came and stayed here together with Princess Wen Cheng who planted the willow trees around the monastery. The monastery house a precious thangka picture of a Buddha inlaid with pearls and gems.

Transport: Tourists can take the minibus in Zetang Town to the monastery for two Yuan each or a motor tricycle for 15 Yuan or less.

Tombs of the Tibetan

On the Mure Mountain opposite to the Qonggyai County seat in Lhoka prefecture, this burial ground of the 29th -40th Tsanpos of the Turbo kingdom is the only group of the tombs of the Tibetan kings in Tibet and has a history of more than 1,300 years. Today nine are visible, but those of Songtsan Gambo and Trisong Detsen can be verified. Others have to be verified later.

Minzholing Monastery

The monastery was built in the late 10th century and had its current name when it was rebuilt in 1677. It is one of the three great monasteries of the Rnyingma Sect. the monastery has paid attention to the research of Buddhist classics, an astronomical calendar, calligraphy rhetoric, and Tibetan medicines and is famous for its achievements in these fields. Over the years the recommendation of the “Chronology of the Tibetan calendar” has been formulated by the monastery, and it is famous as the first academy of Lamaism in Tibet.

Qiga Scenic Zone

Situated in Sangri County, Lhoka Prefecture, the Qiga Scenic Zone boasts some scenic spots, i.e., Qide Goingye Mountain which is covered with snow all-year-round, the Zimqi, Black Dragon, and Derimo rivers in the mountain, and seven hot springs. Qide Goingye Mountain is regarded as a sacred mountain by the local people. Legend has it that the Qulong Monastery in the mountain was built by Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and in the monastery, tourists can find the handprint and head-print of Tsongkhapa. The Zimqi, Black Dragon, and Derimo rivers are regarded as the sacred rivers. According to the legend, they represent Avalokitesvara, Vajradhara, and Guardian God, respectively. The seven hot springs in Qiga with various kinds of mineral materials have a remarkable medical and healthcare role. Of them, Choloka Hot Spring is the most famous because it was exclusively used by Dalai Lama. In spring and summer, a great number of people come here to take a bath in the hot springs.

Transport: the Qiga Scenic Zone is 70 km east of the county seat of sangria.

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