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
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.
- 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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