Authored by Agness Walewinder
Tibet is a beautiful area within China* that is home to its own unique culture, style, and landscape. This fascinating place is the perfect destination for adventurers and travelers of all kinds! You’ll find ancient history, beautiful surroundings, and religiously-inclined locals who are happy and kind.
*Tibetans say their country is an independent nation: the Chinese government says it is part of China. Read more about the Tibetan sovereignty debate.
Here’s how you can visit the highlights of Tibet in 48 hours.
Your Base: Lhasa
First things first, you’ll have to organize a Tibet travel permit, and then once you arrive, establish Lhasa as your base for further exploration.
Lhasa sits at an incredible altitude of almost 3500 meters above sea level. This fantastic city is home to the life and breath of Tibetan culture, and is the perfect place to base your two-day trip.
Staying in Lhasa gives you plenty of options for accommodation. There are lovely and friendly guest houses and hostels that are available throughout the city, most of which offer prices below 70 yuan (10 USD) per night.
You can also find hotels that have at least 3 to 4 stars for around 160 yuan per night (23 USD), such as the Yak Hotel.
Day 1: Exploring Lhasa
If you’re looking for a fantastic coffee selection and some pastry-type breakfast bites, head to The Sense Coffee. Prices are reasonable, and it’s located on Bakou South Street by the Jokhang Temple.
If you’re looking for a more traditional option, try a local tea house offering Tibetan noodles and yak soup.
Our first activity is the incredible palace which dominates the skyline of Lhasa. This incredible and intricate building was commissioned by the Dalai Lama in 1645, and was added to throughout that century. Now you can visit the palace, see its rich history and cultural significance and the beauty which surrounds it.
Try to get here as early as possible, as tickets sell out rather quickly. The cost is 200 yuan ($30 USD) during the busy season, or 100 yuan ($15 USD) from November to April.
Try the Dunya Restaurant, featuring typical Tibetan foods for average prices. Located on Beijing East Road between Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple.
This beautiful Buddhist temple is a must-see in Tibet. Located in Barkhor Square, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and a place where devout Buddhists from all parts of Tibet come to visit.
You will be able to watch pilgrims paying their dues, see one of the three statues of Sakyamuni in existence, and wander around the site’s beautiful interior. Admission is 85 yuan ($12 USD).
Barkhor Square Sunset
As the day comes to an end, make your way outside the Jokhang Temple to the circular street of Barkhor Square. Watch the sun set on this busy area, and get a bite to eat in a local restaurant, such as the Tibetan Family Kitchen.
After the sun goes down, wander back to the base of Potala Palace to see the beautiful hill lit brightly against the blackened sky.
Day 2: Tibet’s Holiest Places
Try either of yesterday’s options, or run to a local supermarket and bring your breakfast on the way to our next activity.
One of the Three Great Monasteries in Tibet, this incredible network of buildings nestled into the mountains is still in use as a type of university of Buddhism.
There are over 10,000 monks who live here, making it one of the largest monasteries in the world. The beautiful and intricate designs of statues, pagodas, and relics make this a special experience.
Entrance is 55 yuan ($8 USD). Take a taxi from Lhasa for about 20 yuan ($3 USD) to get there, as it is located outside of Lhasa.
Return to Lhasa and visit the House of Shambhala Restaurant, located in the alley across from Muru Monastery.
Just outside of Lhasa is another famous Monastery. If you come in the afternoon, you’ll be sure to see the incredible debates of the monks.
These debates are dramatic and intense, and even if you don’t understand the language you will surely enjoy this fascinating ritual.
Dinner and Nightlife in Lhasa
Have dinner at a local Tibetan restaurant, then get your fill of eclectic and interesting Lhasa nightlife! Here you’ll get in with the locals and watch cultural shows mixed with musical performances, all accompanied by a delicious Lhasa beer.
Tips for Visiting Tibet
- Plan your trip in advance to ensure the best price.
- Make sure you organize your visa well ahead of time.
- Allow time to adjust to the altitude.
- The best time to visit Tibet is between October/November when there are fewer tourists, lower prices, and the weather is not too chilly.
- Connect with a Tibet tour to ensure the best possible experience.
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Photo credits: City of Lhasa by Dennis Jarvis. Potala Palace by xiquinhosilva.
Wow! I love Tibet. Really, you have written an amazing article. I want to spent a night in Tibet.
Fantastic Md Sakil Ansari! So glad to hear that you’re also drawn to Tibet, and that you enjoyed the post :) Hopefully you’ll have the chance to visit sometime soon :)
One day I would love to do all of this. Tibet sounds so dreamy!
Hope you have the chance to visit soon :) Tibet is a special destination indeed :)
Wow now I’m really Enthusiastic to visit Tibet as soon as possible.
Wishing you a wonderful trip :)
I think about 72 hours is ok!
Absolutely, if you’re not restricted by time we definitely recommend more than 48 hours to truly immerse yourself and explore :)
I agree with the above poster- it seems like a few days for the monastaries and then maybe a day or two to do something on that beautiful landscape— hiking maybe?
I agree, I think that’s a great way to plan your itinerary – hiking for sure :)
Ever since I watched 7 years on Tibet, I really want to visit Tibet! :) Would probably plan in a bit more time though as I am more of a slow traveler. Thanks for sharing! :)
Fully supportive of wanting to spend more time … it’s an incredible destination and one of those truly authentic places where slow travel can really pay off :)
Price wise it sounds amazing for the budget traveller with 10$ rooms. The Potala Palace looks amazing we love visiting places and castle with lots of history. I am sure this one built in 1645 has seen it fair share of a changing world over the last 400 years
Here’s to the Potala Palace continuing to stand for many more centuries to come :)
I’ve never thought of visiting Tibet but I might consider it now after seeing this. Gorgeous photos! Thanks for sharing some tips!
Glad we could inspire you to consider a trip :) Feel free to reach out if you decide to travel and have any questions
So far I haven’t considered travelling to Tibet, but I will for sure pick up your book recommendations.
I hope it inspires me not too much to go there as soon as possible.
Happy reading Neni :) Hope the books inspire you to travel to this region and fall in love with Tibet
What a wonderful explanation! I never read so honest yet warm article about Tibet and thank you for that! :)
Glad you enjoyed the post :) Happy travels!
That’s quite fascinating. I am always up for an adventure! I would love to visit Tibet. I am especially interested in the sights, the temples, and the most delicious Tibetan food!
Glad you enjoyed the post Alice – hope you have the chance to organize a trip to Tibet soon :)
I will go to Tibet sometime
Fantastic Setiyadi! Have a wonderful trip :)
I must admit that I know very little of Tibet. It looks like a beautiful place to visit. Thanks for sharing!
I’m glad that Agness could give you more of an overview :) Happy to hear you enjoyed the post!
We are planning a trip to Tibet! We are actually working in China at the moment and want to visit Tibet! Were you able to book flights and hotel independently or did you have to go with a tour group? I haven’t done much research into it yet but I know a colleague had some difficulties with the visa process?
Fabulous Katie! I will shoot Agness (our guest writer) a note to let her know there’s a question waiting, and hopefully we’ll get a response for you soon :)
Nice to hear you’re planning to visit Tibet. Being in China will definitely make the whole process of obtaining tourist visa much easier.
Foreigners are not allowed to travel to Tibet alone. You have to join in a tour group and apply for a Tibet Travel Permit. We highly recommend contacting Tibet Travel agency that we’ve been closely working with for the past 2-3 years. Email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. They will explain things in details, assist you with booking tickets, accommodation, etc. Even if you don’t decide to travel with them, it’s a good starting point to make sure you are up to date with current travel requirements.
It would be awesome if you could take a train from Beijing to Lhasa. The view is breathtaking (check out one of our blog posts: https://etramping.com/going-to-lhasa-by-train-why-not/) and you’ll miss it when flying.
Good luck with everything and let us know if you need some more help.
You can also shoot me an email at email@example.com for more questions.
Have a fantastic day,
Agness and Cez
As a Tibetan, I would like to thank you for promoting Tibet. We really appreciate your kind words and how you’re encouraging people to come to Tibet.
We are a Tibetan company and many locals depend on tourism for survival. We welcome everyone to Tibet, please come and visit us.
Thank you once again.
So glad you enjoyed the post S, we’re inspired by Agness’ post and will hopefully have the chance to visit Tibet soon :)
Great Stuff you have shared with us thanks man!
Glad you enjoyed the post Arjun!