Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, has been the religious and administrative capital of Tibet since the mid-17th century. It contains many culturally significant Tibetan Buddhist sites such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Norbulingka Palace, and more…
Its urban area is 3650 meters above sea level. It has always been the political, economic and cultural center of Tibet as well as the holy land of Tibetan Buddhism. In 1982, it was designated as a national historical and cultural city.
Lhasa is located in the middle of the Tibet Plateau, the northern side of the Himalayas, and the plain of the middle reaches of the Lhasa River. The Lhasa River flows through it and flows into the Yarlung Zangbo River in the southern suburbs. Lhasa city is connected to Nyingchi in the east, Shigatse city to the west, Shannan city to the south, and Nagqu city to the north.
Lhasa has a lot of sunny weather throughout the year, with little rainfall, no severe cold in winter or intense heat in summer, and a pleasant climate. The annual sunshine time is more than 3000 hours, which makes Lhasa known as the “Sunlight City”. In the 7th century AD, Songtsen Gampo unified Tibet and moved the political center from Shannan City to Lhasa City
The magnificent Potala Palace that was the seat of the Dalai Lamas, presides over the city. Built in 1645 at the top of a hill of Mengpoli, this great palace contains 999 rooms, and includes more than 10,000 shrines and 200,000 religious statues. The old part of Lhasa revolves around the Jokhang Temple and the quaint Bakhor Street that surrounds it. The Jokhang, built in the 7thcentury, is the holiest Buddhist shrine in Tibet and houses the Jowo Sakyamuni which was brought to Tibet by Nepal prince during the holy marriage with the great Tibet King of Songtsen Gampo. Right next to the old city core. It lies on the Lhasa River’s north bank in a valley of the Himalaya Mountains, is also a modern capital of concrete high-rises, fancy department stores and wide boulevards.
Nowadays, the newly built 1st ring road has made the traffic much better, the high-way to Nyingtri has been completed that shorten the journey from previous one day drive to 4 or 5 hours drive only; The train to Shigatse has made the connection with this 2nd largest city of Tibet much easier and keep your travel costs low
Best travel time
All year round
Plateau temperate semi-arid monsoon climate zone
Lhasa has 3 municipal districts and 5 counties under its jurisdiction.
Most popular view spots
Potala Palace, built in the 7th century, was built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo for the Tang Dynasty Princess Wencheng who married him. Potala Palace is located in the center of Lhasa. Its highest point is 3,767 meters above sea level. It is also the highest ancient palace in the world. From the entrance to the top of the Palace, there are more than 900 stone steps.
Potala Palace is composed of two parts: the Red Palace and the White Palace. The Red Palace is in the center, and the White Palace traverses the two wings. The red and white buildings overlap each other. It is a magnificent building integrating palaces, castles, mausoleums and monasteries.
Jokhang Temple was built in the heyday of the Tubo kingdom in the 7th century. It is the most splendid Tubo building in Tibet and the oldest civil-wood structure in Tibet, creating a Tibetan-style flat-style monastry layout. Jokhang Temple combines the architectural styles of Tibet, Tang dynasty, Nepal, and India, and it has become a classical model of Tibetan religious architecture.
Norbulingka, located in the western outskirts of Lhasa, it was built in the 18th century. The building is mainly composed of Gesang Pozhang, Golden Pozhang, and Daden Mingjiu Pozhang. It has 374 rooms and it is the largest man-made garden in Tibet. The best garden with the most historical sites.
Norbulingka has doors on all sides, the east is the main entrance. Kang Song Si Lun is the most eye-catching attic on the front. It was originally a small wooden pavilion in Chinese style, which was later refurbished into a theater for watching theaters. To the east, an open space for performances was added for the Dalai Lama to watch theaters. Next to it is Xiapudian Lakhang, a place for religious ceremonies. On its north side, there are offices and conference rooms of former Kasha government.
Namtso lake, the lake surface is 4718 meters above sea level, 70 kilometers long from east to west, and 30 kilometers wide from north to south. It is the largest lake in Tibet, China’s second largest saltwater lake, and the highest lake in the world. Namtso Lake is a vast natural pasture where grazing can be enjoyed all year round. Every early summer, flocks of wild ducks come to roost and breed offspring, and many wild animals such as wild yaks and rock cows often appear.
Drepung Monastery, is one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery, is huge, with 6 halls, 4 buddhists academies, and a large number of precious cultural relics. On the day of the Shoton Festival on June 30th of the Tibetan calendar every year, people gather at Drepung Monastery to launch grand celebrations, display the great Thangkar, play Tibetan opera and other programs.
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How to get to Lhasa
The transportation to Lhasa has been incredibly improved in the last decade; the plane are over 30 flights arriving and departure from Lhasa; The train is now over 6 trains to arrive and leave Lhasa in a day; buses are like a river that flows in almost constantly;
Lhasa Gonggar Airport
Address: Jia Zu Lin Town, Gongga Xian
IATA Code: LXA
Altitude: 3,600 meters
Contact: +86 891 6216465 / 6827727
Lhasa Railway Station
Address: Doilungdeqen, Lhasa, China
Contact: +86 891 12306 / 891 95105105
Altitude: 3,650 meters
Working hours: 06:00 am – 22:00 pm
Lhasa Bus Station
Address: No.1, Jinzhu Middle Rd,
Contact: +86 891 682 4469
Altitude: 3,650 meters
Working hours: 06:00 am – 19:00 pm
Geography and climate
Lhasa is 277 kilometers long from east to west, 202 kilometers wide from north to south, and has a total area of 29,518 square kilometers. The terrain is high in the north and low in the south, sloping from east to west. The central and southern part of the city is a tributary of the Yarlung Zangbo River.
About 100 kilometers north of Lhasa, stands the Nyainqentangla Snow Mountain, with Namtso on the north side, and the highest point at the top of the mountain is 7117 meters above sea level. The Nyainqentanglha mountain range stands in the middle of the Tibe Plateau, about 600 kilometers from west to east, it is connected to Gangkukayue to the west, extends to the southeast and connects with the Bashula Range of the Hengduan Mountains, and the middle part protrudes slightly to the north. It is the Yarlung Zangbo River and The watershed of the two major water systems of the Nu River simultaneously divides Tibet Autonomy into the three major regions of northern Tibet, southern Tibet, and southeastern Tibet.
Tanggula Pass is 5,231 meters above sea level. It is the natural boundary between Qinghai and Tibet and the highest point of National Highway 109 on the Qinghai-Tibet Road. “Nyainqentanglha” means “Lingying Grassland God” in Tibetan. These four peaks and their surrounding areas have been subjected to strong Quaternary glaciers, forming today’s steeper mountains, especially the northwest slope is steep and abnormal. Lhasa, the annual sunshine hours are 3,000 hours, 1,800 hours more than Chengdu, Sichuan Province, and 1,100 hours more than Shanghai, the largest eastern city in China. It ranks among the top cities in China, so it has the reputation of “Sunlight City”.
The urban area of ??Lhasa is located in a small basin surrounded by mountains, which is the center of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The surrounding mountains reach 5000 meters. A tributary of the Yarlung Zangbo River, the Lhasa River (also known as “Jiqu”), runs through the city. It is known that the Lhasa River is called the “Blue Wave of Joy” in Tibetan. It runs through the snow-covered peaks and valleys of Nyainqentanglha Mountain, extending 315 kilometers. This river flows into the Yarlung Zangbo River at Qushui.
The weather in Lhasa is mild, with an average daily temperature of 8 degrees Celsius and comfortable in winter and summer. The average annual precipitation in Lhasa is 500 mm. It rains mainly from July to September. The rainy season in summer and autumn are considered to be the best seasons of the year, especially when it rains more at night and mostly sunny during the day.
The Lhasa River originates from the Nyainqentanglha Mountain and is a large tributary in the middle reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River. It has a total length of 495 kilometers and a drainage area of ??31,760 square kilometers; the maximum flow rate is 2830 cubic meters per second, and the minimum flow rate is 20 cubic meters per second. The flow rate in the flat area is 287 cubic meters per second; the altitude ranges from 5500 meters at the source to 3580 meters at the estuary, making it one of the highest rivers in the world. This river belongs to the type of snowmelt and rainfall. The amount of water changes with the temperature and the amount of precipitation.
The valley of the Lhasa River in Mozhugongka County has widened, forming a natural and good pasture; Along the banks of the Lhasa River are alluvial plains of valleys, with a width of 1-10 kilometers and an area of 570,000 mu of arable land. These areas have mild climate, flat terrain, thick soil and abundant water sources. These are one of the main grain producing areas in Tibet.
Population and ethnicity
As of the end of 2015, the total population of Lhasa was 9025 million, of which the Tibetan population accounted for 77%, the Han population accounted for 21%, and other ethnic minorities accounted for 2%