Lhasa Travel Tips

Foreigners can get the mandatory Tibet Travel Permit at many agencies in large Chinese cities. Be sure to buy train tickets in advance.

Take altitude sickness seriously. The rule is to spend your first night no higher than 2,400 meters, and raise your sleeping elevation no more than 300 meters per day.

Coming from Beijing or Shanghai, stay at 2,200 meters in Xining, Qinghai, and make day trips to monasteries at increasingly higher elevations, before taking the train to Lhasa, elevation 3,700 meters.

Or go via Dali, Yunnan, (elevation 2,000 meters), Lijiang (2,400 meters), and Zhongdian (3,200 meters) before flying or driving to Lhasa. Experts say most people who fly directly from sea level (example Tokyo, Hong Kong, or Bangkok) to Lhasa would become seriously ill within a few hours and have to fly back down immediately. Don't risk it.

Spend your first days in Lhasa meditating in your hotel room or reading in the lobby. Drink at least three liters (two large bottles) of water daily, and beware of sunstroke even in winter. Watch your breath.

In Lhasa, the Yak Hotel at 100 Beijing East Road near Barkhor Square is a good base to look for nearby restaurants, buses and budget hotels.

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