A Perfect Tour Guide for Lhasa & Shigatse

Posted by - April 26, 2017 | Category: Asia, Escapes, Tibet

Cultural & Religious Significance

Both Lhasa & Shigatse are included among the most ancient cities of Asia, and with elevations of 3,656 Meters & 3,840 Meters respectively, both are included in every list of cities with the highest elevation. What many lists don’t consider is how stunningly beautiful these Tibetan twin cities can be.

Apart from their geographical significance, the cultural and religious importance of these cities, along with the fact that both are more than 1300 years old, make them a main draw for tourists heading to the region. Lhasa City which is also known as “the city of sunshine” is famous for its ancient Tibetan Buddhist spots, whereas Shigatse city — which is also known as “Fertile land” — is famous for its mesmerizing natural landscapes, especially the epic mountain scenery along the Himalayas.

Lhasa Tibet

Like many other cities, Lhasa & Shigatse are famous for their rich cultural assets. Mostly people love the Tibetan Buddhist culture because it has huge collections of ancient Dalai Lama monks. Visiting these cities truly refreshes your soul and reveals the facts of ancient civilization in this neck of the woods. It’s a good idea to explore both these ancient cities when touring Tibet.

Top Travel Highlights of Lhasa         

For those who would like to visit Lhasa, we have a perfect travel plan by which you can explore more about Lhasa city attractions & its hotspots. Here we go:

A.    Introduction to the City of Lhasa

Name:                        Lhasa City

Elevation:                  3,656 Meters above sea Level

Common Border:     Chengguan District

Title:                           Administrative Capital of Tibet Province

Climate:                     Frosty Winter & Moderate Summer

B.    Attractions of Lhasa

Potala Palace

Potala Palace was famous because it was the house of Dalai Lama of Buddhism. Presently, this place is a World Heritage Site operated by UNESCO and has been turned into a museum. Potala Palace is simply one of those must-see attractions if you are in Lhasa . This place is also considered as the landmark of the Tibet Autonomous Region in China.

Potala Palace Lhasa Tibet

Jokhang Temple

The name of Jokhang is not new to the people of Lhasa, it is included among the most sacred and ancient temples of the city. Thousands of people visit Jokhang temple each day to connect themselves with Tibetan Buddhism. Currently, the temple is controlled and run by the Gelug School. Most importantly, this spot has also been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Jokhang Temple Lhasa Tibet

Sera Monastery

Moving five kilometers towards the north from Jokhang Temple or Barkhor Street, you will experience the hypnotic view of the astonishing Sera Monastery. It was founded in 1419 by Jamchen, and had remained intact for the most part until modern times. Sadly in 1959, hundreds of monks were killed when the Monastery was attacked, resulting in a tremendous loss for all Buddhist culture. The total number of monks in 1959 was 5,629, and while there are not nearly that number nowadays, numerous monks still adhere to the pure ancient rituals from simpler times.

Don’t miss the dramatic Monk Debate in Sera Monastery in the afternoon. In the debate courtyard are monks debating in pairs as part of their studies of Buddhist Philosophy.

Monks at Sera Monastery Lhasa Tibet

Drepung Monastery

Along with the Sera Monastery, you can also find Drepung Monastery which is equally popular in that area. Drepung monastery is famous for its gigantic ‘Thangka’ uncovered every year in the month of August during the city’s Shoton Festival.  This giant authentic Thangka Buddha is definitely one attraction tourists from all around the world love to witness.

Ganden Monastery

Ganden Monastery finishes off the set of three great monasteries in Lhasa City. It was founded in 1409 by Lozang-Dragpa, who was the founder of Gelug Monasteries University. It is one of the best places to explore ancient historical buildings, even though it was partially destroyed and rebuilt after 1959. Travellers enjoy this attraction because they can see as much as they want without having to trek  around the area.

 C.     Best Time to Visit Lhasa

The best months for visiting Tibet are May to June as well as the months of September and October. It isn’t recommended to visit Tibet in July and August because due to heavy rains it would be difficult to explore the monuments.

Note: International visitors cannot visit Tibet from Mid-February to March.

D.     Food Attractions in Lhasa

Other than exploring historical buildings, food is another draw for international tourists visiting Lhasa. There are several 5-star restaurants that serve exceptional food to their customers; some are as follows:

  1. Snow land Restaurant – Famous of mid-range Western & Nepali food.
  2. Dunya Restaurant & Bar – Famous for Tibetan Foods.
  3. Tibetan Family Kitchen – Famous of Nepali, Tibetan & Chinese Food.

Here are some of the best & most popular foods and beverages Lhasa has to offer:

  1. Yak meat
  2. Tsampa
  3. butter Tea
  4. Lhasa beer
  5. Thenthuk
  6. Momos
  7. Sha Phaley

You can easily make your tour memorable by enjoying these delicious and mouthwatering dishes.

Top Travel Highlights of Shigatse     

For those who would like to visit Shigatse, we have a perfect travel guide by which you can explore more about its attractions & hotspots.

A.    Introduction to the City of Shigatse

Name:                       Shigatse City

Elevation:                 3,800 to 4,400 Meters above sea Level

Common Border:   South Nepal

Title:                         Second largest city of Tibet

Climate:                   Frosty Winter & Moderate Summer

B.    Attractions of Shigatse

Tashi Lhunpo Monastery

It was founded by 1st Dalai Lama in the year of 1447. Historically rich attraction in the city of Shigatse, this monastery was dismissed when Gorkha Kingdom attacked.  This monastery is considered the most sacred place of Panchen Lamas, the 2nd highest monk of Gelug ritual. People visit this monastery from every corner of the world to explore and learn more about its history and significance in Tibetan Buddhism.

Palcho Monastery

Palcho Monastery or Shekar Monastery is located in the Gyantse country near Nyangchu river valley. The main attraction of Palcho Monastery is ‘Kumbum’, which is multi-storied collection of Buddhist sanctuary. The first kumbum was discovered in the year of 1427, presently it has 9 levels of lhakangs and the top one is covered by a golden dome. This structure with its giant architectural details make it the largest structure in Tibet province.

Palcho Monastery Shigatse Tibet

Everest Base Camp

Shigatse prefecture is closely located to Nepal which is famous for Mount Everest as well as the highest mountains on earth. Everest Base Camp is the most popular attraction among tourist visiting Shigatse. You will need to hire some charter car or shuttle bus to access the Everest for base camp, but intrepid hikers up for braving the frosty weather often admit this is the best adventure to be had in Shigatse.

Rongbuk Monastery

In the 18th century, people used this place as a cave to shelter nuns. Founded in 1902 by Norbu Lama, it is located to the north side of Everest at an altitude of 5154m. You must visit this place because it is included among the highest monasteries in the world.

Gawu Lu Pass

Gawu Lu Pass is one of the best places to spend time in Mt. Everest Nature Reserve. This place allows you to enjoy a series of 5 of the highest mountain located in the area. This mesmerizing view of the mountains available here will most certainly take your breath away

Travel Documents Required for Tibet Tour

Traveling to Tibet is not as difficult as many assume, but you will need to fulfill certain formalities as per local government tourism policies before reaching there. Here are some points to consider when navigating what documentation is required.

  1. People coming to China from any other country should have a valid Chinese visa application along with their passport.
  2. A valid Tibet Travel Permit, for people coming to the mainland of China. This is compulsory for foreigners.
  3. Group Tourist Visa and Tibet Travel Permit for those who come from Nepal.
  4. You should have a military permit (Visiting sensitive areas of Tibet) and an Alien’s travel permit (Required if you are wanting to travel outside of Lhasa).
Tibet Travel Visa

Bag Packing List

Are you planning to look around historical assets of Tibet? No Idea what you should carry? Here comes some great advice for you. We are going to cover some basic but necessary items to carry along with you while visiting Lhasa & Shigatse:

  1. Hiking Boots – Due to the higher altitude, you definitely need sturdy hiking boots.
  2. Insulation Pads & Sleeping Bags – Tibet is an isolated place and often very cold, so if you intend on visiting Everest base camp this will be a godsend.
  3. Rain Suit – Lhasa & Shigatse are usually under heavy rains most of the year.
  4. Inner Wool Sweater – If you are willing to enjoy frosty winter.
  5. 10 to 15 Pair of socks – You’ll be glad you packed extras, the chill will
  6. Shirts & Towel – Always carry a lightweight long-sleeve comfortable t-shirt, and a travel towel to keep dry.
  7. Medication – While traveling to isolated areas in Tibet, you may not find any pharmacies within easy reach. To be safe, carry extra prescription medications just in case.
  8. Camera – To capture those special moments.

Keep in mind that these are solely recommendations — you may want to carry more or less, but try to keep your gear down to the basic essential items.

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