Find out when is the best time to visit Lhasa, tours and what to wear.
LHASA WEATHER OVERVIEW
The weather in Lhasa is pleasant all year round. It is actually quite warm during the daytime even in winter. Summers are hot with some rains during the nighttime and often cloudy during the day. Winters are dry, sunny, and windy.
With over 3000 hours of sunshine annually, Lhasa is often called a Sunshine city. Sun will warm you up making it feel hotter than the thermometer shows and make beautiful photos with bright colors.
There are all 4 seasons in Lhasa. Springtime is dominated by blooming trees. In summer, mountains and valleys receive lots of rainwater and turn the scenery into green lush with many flowers. Fall paints the city with a golden hue. Despite the common expectations, winter doesn’t bring much snow to Lhasa. It sometimes snows in mountains surrounding Lhasa creating a magnificent white backdrop to all Lhasa views. At the same time, Lhasa usually remains dry and strong sunshine makes all colors look bright and vivid.
Daytime temperatures are comfortable all year round. Despite common beliefs, even winter days are quite warm.
In summer, Lhasa can get hot, especially on sunny days. In early spring, late fall, and during winter, there is a significant temperature drop at nighttime. While day temperatures can hover over 10 °C / 50 °F even in January and February, the coldest months, the nighttime temperature plunges well below freezing, often to -10 °C / 14 °F.
On average, June is the warmest month of the year. in June, daytime temperatures average is 23.2°C / 73.8°F, and nighttime temperatures settle around 9.8°C / 49.6°F.
The coldest month in Lhasa is usually January, with daytime temperatures averaging 7.2°C / 45°F and nighttime temperatures dropping to -9°C / 15.8°F.
CLOUDS, RAINFALL, AND HUMIDITY
In a typical year, Lhasa sees 92 days of rain, with a total rainfall adding up to 420 mm / 17 inches. However, the chance of rain is different throughout the year.
Lhasa sees most of the rainfall during the summer months, typically between the middle of June and the middle of September. The dry season starts from the middle of September and lasts until the beginning of June. The wettest months in Lhasa are July and August and the driest are November, December, and January. For example, rain is expected on 20 days in July and only on 1 day in January.
It’s worth mentioning, that even during the monsoon season in summer, it typically rains during the night. That’s why despite the high chance of rain during July and August, these months are the most popular among visitors.
Lhasa sees more cloud coverage in summer than in winter. The highest percentage of overcast sky is from the middle of April until the middle of September.
DAYLIGHT AND UV INDEX
Lhasa is often called a sunshine city, and for a good reason. The average daylight in Lhasa is 12.9 hours with 8.3 hours of sunshine!
June has the longest days of the year. June 21st is the longest day when the day lasts for 14 hours and 3 minutes. On June 21st, the sunrise is at 4:55 am, and the sunset is at 6:58 pm.
December 21st is the shortest day of the year. The sunrise is at 6:46 am and the sunset is at 5:00 pm, with a total length of the day of 10 hours and 15 minutes.
Since Lhasa is at a high altitude, UV radiation is very strong all year round. You should be especially careful from April until September when solar radiation is especially strong and the UV index reaches 12. Make sure to protect your skin and eyes from powerful sunlight.
Summer is the calmest time of the year, while the wind is much stronger in winter. Most commonly, the wind blows from the South and South East, followed by the Southwest direction.
Since it becomes very windy in Lhasa in winter you should choose proper clothing if you are visiting during that time. Protect yourself from low temperatures and strong wind by dressing in layers. Luckily, it is usually sunny in winter and strong sun radiation makes it feel warmer during the daytime than the temperature reading suggests.
WHAT TO WEAR IN LHASA
Since the temperature in Lhasa can change drastically from morning to midday and then again to evening, you should be prepared by wearing layers. In summer, you can wear a t-shirt with short or long sleeves and have a light jacket with you. In early spring, autumn and winter you will need a warm jacket to protect you from changing temperatures and strong wind.
There is a monsoon season in the Himalayas in summer with a higher chance of rain than during other seasons. Luckily, it usually rains at nighttime and you don’t need to bring rain gear. We recommend having an umbrella. You can also bring a simple rain poncho for rainy days.
While you explore Lhasa, you will be walking a lot, including going up and down many stairs. That’s why it is essential to wear comfortable shoes. You don’t need specific trekking shoes, regular sneakers will suffice. Make sure not to wear new shoes. Wear a new pair a few times to break in them to make sure that you will be comfortable.
Because of the high altitude, the sunshine is very strong in Lhasa. In summer, the UV index reaches 12, meaning that you need to protect yourself from the sun. Wear long-sleeved shirts or put on sunscreen on all areas with open skin. Bring a pair of good sunglasses and a wide bream hat or a baseball hat.
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT LHASA
You can visit Lhasa all year round. Of course, all seasons have different advantages. While most tourists visit Lhasa in summer, there are many reasons to consider visiting Lhasa in other seasons as well.
In winter, the weather is quite comfortable during the daytime. However, it is colder than in summer and there is a significant temperature drop at nighttime. That means you must be prepared and bring warm clothes and layer them to feel comfortable at any time of the day. At the same time, winter is very dry with few clouds and very few rainy days. That means that you will enjoy bright colors that look great in photos. In addition, there are very few tourists in winter. The streets of Lhasa become crowded with pilgrims who visit from different parts of Tibet to prepare for the New Year. That’s why winter is a great time to visit for photographers.
Winter is also popular among budget travelers. Since there are very few tourists coming in winter, prices for hotels and tourist attractions decrease. It is also easier to book train tickets to Lhasa during the winter months.
Although March has nice weather and temperatures start rising, it is best to plan your visit to Lhasa starting from April. In March traveling is often restricted and not possible during the entire month. In recent years, the rules were eased and many travelers could visit at the end of March, however, it can change at any time.
In April, spring is coming to Lhasa with blooming trees. Temperatures rise, and even nighttime temperatures begin to warm up finally settling above freezing. With mostly clear days, little clouds or rain, and warm temperatures, April makes a great month to visit Lhasa. At the same time, it is still not crowded with tourists, and prices for hotels and attraction sites remain low.
In May more tourists flock to Lhasa, especially at the beginning of May during the week-long national holiday. Daytime temperatures reach the summer levels and even morning and evening weather becomes warm and pleasant. Although May sees more clouds than April, the chance of a blue sky is higher than in summer.
Except for a week-long holiday starting from May 1st, the spring months are less crowded with tourists than summer. At the same time, the weather is great and prices don’t reach their peak yet. It’s warm even in the morning and evening hours, there is little chance of rain or clouds. It is a great time to visit Lhasa and enjoy your time in the capital of Tibet.
Summer is the busiest time in Lhasa. With consistently warm temperatures, amount of visitors increases. The peak season is in July and August, with all prices being the highest during that time.
June is a great time to visit, because the weather is already predictably warm, and the monsoon season doesn’t start until the middle of June. In fact, June is the warmest month in Lhasa. Amount of rainy days increases towards the end of June when the beginning of June enjoys nice warm sunny weather. It is also less cloudy at the beginning of June.
July and August are hot during the daytime, and warm in the mornings and evenings. Although they are the wettest months in Lhasa, it mostly rains at night. It can be cloudy during the daytime, hiding you from strong sun sunshine. The UV index is very high, reaching 12. Protect yourself from strong sunlight, especially during the daytime.
One of the most important festivals of the year – Shoton or Yogurt Festival is often celebrated in August. Many pilgrims flock to Lhasa to visit Drepung and Sera monasteries, where monks display huge Thangkas – Buddha paintings to bless all visitors. In Norbulingka, the large park and summer residence of the Dalai Lamas, artist troops perform operas, and Tibetans gather for picnics.
There are, typically, fewer visitors in Lhasa in the autumn than in summer, except for the first week of October. The major national week-long holiday at the beginning of October brings huge crowds to Lhasa. We don’t recommend visiting Lhasa during the holiday week. It is difficult to book plane and train tickets, prices are high and there will be lots of tourists in all major attraction sites in Lhasa. It is much better to visit in September before the holiday starts or right after it ends in the middle of October.
September is one of the best months to travel to Lhasa. Temperatures are still warm and comfortable both in the daytime and at night. Monsoon season ends and there are fewer rainy days than in summer, especially towards the end of the month. Starting from the middle of September, there are fewer clouds as well, meaning that you can enjoy beautiful views with a blue sky. September is a popular month to visit Lhasa, but less crowded than summer or during October holiday week.
October is an excellent month to visit Lhasa, especially outside of the holiday week. It is dry and sunny. However, temperatures start to decrease towards the end of the month, and nighttime temperatures can dip below freezing on some nights.
The trend continues in November. Temperatures decrease, while the amount of dry and sunny days increases. There are very few tourists in November, making it a great time to see the real-life of Tibetans.
Overall, autumn is a great time to visit Lhasa. The weather is still warm until the middle of October. At the same time, there are fewer rainy days than in summer, and more clear days with beautiful blue sky framing the views. It is also less crowded than in summer and prices for the tours are lower. If possible, avoid traveling during the holiday week at the beginning of October, when it is very crowded and prices are high.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT WEATHER IN LHASA AND TIBET
WEATHER SUMMARY BY MONTH
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT LHASA WEATHER
Frequently asked questions
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PLACES TO VISIT IN LHASA
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LHASA
Lhasa altitude is 3,656 meters/ 11,995 feet above sea-level. At that altitude, the oxygen level is lower compared to the sea level. For most visitors, it will take a few days to naturally acclimatize to such altitude.
On your first days in Lhasa, we recommend getting more rest, walking slowly, and taking your time going up the stairs. In addition, try to get more sleep, stay hydrated, and avoid exercising. Most people will naturally acclimatize after a couple of days in Lhasa and will be ready to explore high-altitude areas in Tibet.
All foreign visitors traveling to Lhasa need a valid Chinese visa. You can apply for a Chinese visa in the country where you reside. For travelers, who plan to travel to Lhasa from Nepal, the procedure is different and you will need to apply for a Chinese Group Visa in Kathmandu.
Your local Tibetan agency will apply for all necessary permits to travel in Tibet. It might take up to 15 business days to receive your permit, you need to arrange your tour in advance. Once the permit is ready, your agency will mail it to you. All foreign travelers need the original permit to travel to Tibet.
HOW TO TRAVEL TO LHASA
You can travel to Lhasa by flight, train, or overland. Because of the long duration of the overland journey and high transportation costs for tourists in Tibet, most travelers prefer to fly or to take a train.
Flights are available from all major cities in China, including non-stop flights from Beijing, Xining, Xi’an, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lijiang, Kunming, and Shangri La. In addition, there are 90 minute long flights from Kathmandu in Nepal.
Traveling by train to Lhasa takes time, however, offers a great way to enjoy the scenery along the way. Cities with railroad connections to Lhasa are Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Xining, and Lanzhou.
MORE ABOUT LHASA
Lhasa is the capital of Tibet and its cultural and religious center. Read more about geography, history, and modern-day Lhasa. Main attractions, when to visit, and the best tours in Lhasa.
POPULAR TOURS IN TIBET
8 DAYS LHASA TO EVEREST TOUR
A beautiful and exciting journey, starting in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, and going to the Everest Base Camp. The tour visits Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Sera, Drepung and Tashilhunpo monasteries, Kumbum Stupa, Yamdrok Lake, and Karola glaciers.
Both group and private tours are available.
15 DAYS MOUNT KAILASH PILGRIMAGE TOUR
One of our most popular group tours, starting in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, and going to Mount Kailash for three-day trekking around this sacred mountain. During this tour, we visit Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Yamdrok Lake, Gyantse monastery and Kumbum stupa, Mount Everest, Lake Manasarovar, Mount Kailash, and much more.
7 DAYS LHASA TO KATHMANDU TOUR
This tour starts in Lhasa. We will stay there for 2 days to explore the capital and acclimatize. After that, we will head to the center of attraction in the Himalayas – Mount Everest. We will spend a night by the highest mountain on a planet and continue driving through majestic mountain ranges, alongside rivers and waterfalls to the border between Tibet and Nepal.