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How Many Days Should I Spend in Tibet?

Covering an area of more than 1.2 million square kilometers, the Tibet Autonomous Region makes up for around 12.5 percent of the total land area of the People’s Republic of China. With such a huge area to cover, you may be wondering how many days you need to travel in Tibet to manage to see what you want.

Effectively, the amount of time you need for a trip to Tibet depends on a number of factors, including the places you want to visit, what your interests are, and the amount of time you have available for travel. Please read the following suggestions from our travel experts and make a feasible plan for your Tibet journey.

4 Days in Lhasa: the Shortest Journey for the Classic Tibet Tour

The amazing 4-day Lhasa tour is a classic tour that gives you the best of the Tibetan capital. It covers the major tourist attractions in the capital, including the famous Potala Palace and the sacred Jokhang Temple, and allows you to experience the heart of Tibetan culture and religion.

Potala Palace in LhasaThe famous Potala Palace is your first destination in Tibet.

For the first-time visitor to Tibet, this shortest Tibet tour allows you to experience the best that Lhasa has to offer, and gives you the chance to get used to traveling at high altitudes over 3,500 meters, but does not expect you to go higher, as most of the tours that head out of the city will.

As the shortest tour to Tibet, the 4-day Lhasa tour is also the cheapest, which makes it a great option for travelers that are short on time, or short on budget. With just a few days to spare in your travels, you can head to Lhasa by flight from Nepal or the mainland of China in a few hours.

Top Things to Do for the 4-Day Tour in Lhasa

This awesome tour of Tibet gives you an amazing opportunity to see into the lives of the Tibetan people in a way that can help you understand the culture and religion of the Tibetan plateau.

The trip includes a visit to the Potala Palace, one of the most iconic buildings in the world. Sitting above the city of Lhasa on the famous Red Hill, the Potala Palace is the most historic and culturally important site in Tibet.

You can also visit the most sacred temple in China, the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa Old Quarter. Built more than 1,300 years ago by the 33rd king of Tibet, this unique temple is the destination of pilgrims from all across the region.

Outside the city lie two of the most important monasteries in Tibetan Buddhism, Sera and Drepung Monasteries. As two of the Great Three monasteries of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism, both Sera and Drepung are important in the history of Tibet and the education of the Tibetan Buddhist monks.

Watching Sera Monastery monk debateWatching the furious monk debate in Sera Monastery

6 Days for Lhasa and Holy Lake Namtso Tour

Giving you a little more time in Tibet, the 6-day trip to Lhasa and Lake Namtso gives you all the city experiences of the four-day tour, and so much more on top. Going further to the north of Lhasa, you can visit Lake Namtso, one of the most amazing lakes on the Tibet Plateau to see how the landscapes and climates of the plateau have influenced the unique Tibetan culture.

Top Things to Do for the 6-Day Lhasa and Lake Namtso Tour

In the holy city of Lhasa, you will get to experience visiting the iconic Potala Palace, the former seat of Tibetan governance, and the Jokhang Temple, which is the true beating heart of Tibetan Buddhism and the most important pilgrimage destination in Tibet.

Jokhang Temple in LhasaVisit one of the most sacred temples in the world - Jokhang Temple

You will also get to visit the monasteries of Drepung and Sera, and tour around Barkhor Street, the kora path for pilgrims to the temple and the best market and shopping streets in Lhasa.

Lake Namtso in TibetEnjoy the breathtaking scenery around the holy Namtso Lake

Outside the city, you will take the long drive to the north to visit Lake Namtso. Known as the Heavenly Lake, because of its extreme altitude at 4,718 meters above sea level, Namtso is one of the Great Three Sacred Lakes of Tibet, along with Lake Yamdrok and Lake Manasarovar. Lake Namtso is the ultimate experience of Tibetan nature, sitting between two of the most amazing sights one can find on the plateau. - Check the expert’s guide to visiting Lake Namtso

8 Days for the Epic Lhasa to Everest Base Camp Tour

Who can deny that taking a trip to Mount Everest is one of the main reasons why people travel to Tibet? With the world’s highest mountain lying half inside the borders of China in Tibet, Everest is the single most popular tourist destination in Tibet, and our week-long tour out to the far west of Tibet takes you right up to stand in the shadows of this legendary mountain.

For those with a desire to stand under the peak of the mountain that has taken lives, inspired adventures, and even been the subject of several movies, the 8-day Lhasa to Everest Base Camp Tour is the perfect tour.

Visit Mt.Everest in Shigatse, TibetOur clients enjoyed a great time at Everest Base Camp in july.

Top Things to Do for the 8-Day EBC Tour from Lhasa

Almost all tours in Tibet start in the Tibetan capital, and spending a few days in Lhasa allows you to visit the amazing sites of the city, including the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple, and the famous Gelug Monasteries. However, it is also necessary to spend a few days in the capital acclimatizing to the increased altitude, before traveling out west to cross the vast Tibetan plateau to its western borders.

Sacred Lake Yamdrok in GyantseYamdrok Lake, one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet.

Outside Lhasa, you will pass through some of Tibet’s amazing sites, including the famous Kumbum Stupa in Gyantse, as well as the Pelkor Chode Monastery in Gyantse and the Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse. And if that is not enough, on the route to Gyantse, you will pass by and stop at Lake Yamdrok, another of the Sacred Lakes of Tibet.

The experience at Everest Base Camp (EBC) is one in a million. Standing tall at 8,848 meters, Mount Everest is an outstanding experience, and one that will live with you forever. And standing at the base camp, at 5,150 meters above sea level, you can feel the rush of excitement that the early explorers and mountaineers must have felt as they gazed on the same peak more than a hundred years ago.

15 Days for the Pilgrimage Mount Kailash Kora from Lhasa

As deeply religious people, pilgrimage is an important part of their religious culture, and is a journey that every Tibetan Buddhist wants to go on. And for someone who wants to experience the pilgrimage of Tibetan Buddhists, there is no better tour of the plateau than the 15-day tour from Lhasa to the sacred Mount Kailash.

Top Things to do for the 15-Day Mount Kailash tour from Lhasa

Starting in Lhasa, this awesome 15-day tour of the plateau lets you explore the Tibetan capital, including the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and the famous Gelug Monasteries. After departing from Lhasa, you will stop in Gyantse to visit the Kumbum Stupa, in Shigatse to tour the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama, and visit EBC to gaze in awe upon the highest point of the planet, Mount Everest.

Mt.Kailash kora trekOur clients experienced the sacred Mt.Kailash kora trek in Tibet.

After departing from EBC, your tour takes you further into the hinterlands of western Tibet. After two days of driving, you will finally reach your destination at Mount Kailash, the most sacred mountain in the world. Deemed to be sacred in four religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Bon - Kailash is the highest peak in the Gangdise range of the Transhimalaya, at 6,638 meters above sea level. Here, you will have the chance to experience what the thousands of religious and devout pilgrims feel as they take the ritual kora hike around this sacred site.

The tour includes a three-day Kailash trek around the mountain, following the route taken by religious pilgrims for thousands of years, and staying at the high monasteries that are found around the mountain. As well as experiencing the kora trek, you will also have the chance to drive south to the sacred Lake Manasarovar, which is said to be able to absolve one of the sins of an entire lifetime with one dip in its fresh clean waters.

Insider Tips:

TFor Indian pilgrims who don’t want to go sightseeing and just want to take a Kailash Kora, the itinerary can be reduced to 10 days. Check the detailed schedule of 10 days Mount Kailash Tour.

7 Days for the Thrilling Trans-Himalayan Overland Tour from Tibet to Nepal

An overland journey from Tibet to Nepal is an awesome experience, enjoying the heights of the plateau and combining it with the exotic city of Kathmandu and the Nepali side of the high Himalayas. The 7-day Tibet to Nepal tour allows you to experience Tibetan culture and religion, as well as get some of the best views of the Himalayas, from both sides.

Top Things to do for the 7-Day Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour

The ultimate experience in Tibet is the stunning view of Mount Everest from EBC, which is the most popular tourist attraction in Tibet. The trip to EBC from Lhasa takes you through some of the most amazing landscapes and scenery on the planet, as well as giving you the chance to visit some of this great land’s amazing monasteries and temples.

Travel from Tibet to Nepal via Gyirong portTravel from Tibet to Nepal via Gyirong port

After the stop at EBC for the night, and time to take great photos of the mountain at sunrise and sunset, you will head for the beautiful Gyirong Valley, where you will stop for the night in Gyirong Town, with its stunning panoramic view of the mighty Himalayas. Close to the border, Gyirong is the ideal stopping point to allow you to cross the border in the morning and give you time to take the long 6-hour trip from Gyirong Port to Kathmandu, the Nepali capital. The drive down from the Himalayas takes you through the beautiful Langtang National Park, and gives you great views of the high mountains from the southern side.

Enjoy the Various Treks in Tibet: 2 to 4 More Days are Needed

If you are planning to trek in Tibet, you can add 2 to 4 more days to the ordinary Tibet tour. Tibet has a huge number of amazing treks that are suitable for all ranges of experience, from novice to almost-mountaineer. Trekking tours in Tibet generally take five to sixteen days in total.

Trek from Shalu Monastery to Nartang MonasteryEnjoying a short trekking from Shalu Monastery to Nartang Monastery in Tibet

Popular Tibet Trekking Tours

  • The 8 Days Shalu to Nartang Trek (covering 2 days’ trekking) is an exciting mild and leisurely trek in Shigatse Prefecture.
  • The 9 Days Ganden to Samye Trek (covering 3 days’ trekking) is recommended for those with a little more experience to experience the landscapes and local culture in the cradle of Tibetan civilization in Lhoka.
  • The 12 Days Trekking from Tingri to Everest Base Camp via Rachu Valley (covering 4 days’ trekking) is a popular Everest trek route in Tibet. Replacing the regular vehicle trip with a 4-day hike from Old Tingri, this trekking route is quite popular among experienced trekkers, who want something more of a challenge.

Experience Tibetan Festivals: 2 to 3 More Days are Needed

Tibet has a huge number of festivals every year, and these religious events make a great time to experience the unique Tibetan Buddhist culture in a more vibrant setting.

For any Tibet festival tour, you need to allow at least 2-3 days on top of the time for your normal tour, to ensure you can get the best of the festivities. - Check the calendar of Tibetan festivals around the year.

Kailash Saga Dawa FestivalSaga Dawa Festival held at the foot of Mount Kailash

Recommended Tibet Festival Tours

  • The Saga Dawa Festival is the most outstanding experience in the world. Held in reverence of the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha, this amazing festival is filled with devout religious ceremonies and rituals that will show you the devotion of Tibetan Buddhists.
  • The Shoton Festival is the most popular trip to experience the largest event in mid-summer in Tibet. Besides the classic sightseeing in Lhasa city, you will witness the gigantic Thangka display that is only showcased during the Shoton Festival.
  • A week-long Tibetan Horse Racing Festival tour offers you the best experience of Tibetan nomadic life.

For the Cycling in Tibet: 6 to 22 Days in Total

Cycling across the Tibetan plateau is not a tour for the faint-hearted, as you will be riding on the world’s highest plateau, at altitudes above 4,500 meters, and crossing high steep passes along the way. This is a very challenging tour, and requires a longer time than most tours of Tibet, as cycling is not as fast as riding in a car someone else is driving.

Popular Tibet Cycling Tours

Experience our amazing EBC cycling tourOur client enjoyed the amazing cycling tour from Lhasa to EBC.

Conclusion

Knowing how long to stay in Tibet depends on what you want to see and do, and the more you want to see or the further you want to go from the Tibetan capital, the longer it will take.

You should bear in mind that the vast Tibetan plateau takes some time to cross, and travel between cities can take days. So work out where you want to go, and then see how long it will take.

And remember, we can match a tour to your requirements, or even customize one just for you.

If you are still in a quandary about how long you should spend in Tibet, just get in touch with one of our friendly and professional tour advisors who will be happy to help you decide where to go and how long to stay. But beware, you may find you never want to go back home!

Master Kungga Dundruk

About the Author - Master Kungga Dundruk

The Lhasa-born prodigy used to study business overseas, and got his Bachelor of Business in Nepal and India before moving back to his homeland.With pure passion for life and unlimited love for Tibet, Kunga started his guide career as early as 1997.

Responsible, considerate and humorous, he devoted his entire life guiding and serving international tourists travelling in Tibet.As a legendary Tibetan travel guru with 20-year pro guide experience , he once had an exclusive interview with the US media. Currently he is working in Tibet Vista as the Tour Operating Director. Whenever our clients run into troubles, he is your first call and will offer prompt support.

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