Lhasa Weather and Climate: when to visit Lhasa at the right time?
Traveling to Lhasa can really be done at any time of the year. While it does lie on the high Tibetan plateau, the highest plateau in the world, the Tibetan capital city lies at an elevation of just 3,656 meters, which makes it lower than the elevation of much of western and northern Tibet.
When to travel to Lhasa really depends on when you are free to travel and what your requirements are whilst in the region. Different seasons in Tibet are better for certain activities than others, and the weather is usually a big deciding factor in when to travel to the plateau region.
Lhasa Weather Monthly on Average
While January is well known to be the coldest and driest month in Lhasa, it can still feel comfortably warm on sunny days. January is the middle of the dry season in Tibet, and there is very little rain in the month, though there is also very little snow in Lhasa as well. February and March are also cold and dry, with warmer temperatures in the daytime due to the high number of sunshine hours, as much as 8 hours of bright sunshine daily.
April is the start of the “spring” weather in Tibet, and the start of the tourist season after the annual closure of Tibet for Losar, the Tibetan New Year. Throughout April and May, the weather becomes a little warmer in Lhasa and the daytimes are comfortably warm, though nights are still cold. The rain also increases through April and May, as the monsoon season gets ready to start, though it is still very little compared to most monsoon countries.
Under the brilliant sunshine, our youngest client was trying to catch great shots of Potala Palace on the roof of Jokhang Temple
June and July are the warmest months in Lhasa, though they herald the start of the monsoon season, and can get as much as 70 to 120 millimeters of rain per month as the season progresses. The days are warm to hot, with temperatures that can reach as much as 20-23 degrees during the daytime, but still get as low as 10 degrees or colder at night. As the beginning of summer in Tibet, the UV radiation also increases, as the planet is closer to the sun in summer in the northern hemisphere, which means more UV rays get through the thinner atmosphere of the plateau region. - Check Lhasa Temperature in June
August is the wettest month of the year, with more than 121mm of rainfall throughout the month. Rain in August in the Lhasa area occurs almost every day of the month, though it is mostly in the late evening and overnight. And while the rainfall can be detrimental to travel, it also makes the landscape lush and green, with plenty of new growth thanks to the increased rainfall.
As September comes in, the weather starts to get cooler and the rain slows down, dropping to around 70mm of rain throughout the month. One of the best months of the peak season for travel, it is still nicely warm, and the land is still lush and green, with less rain to make travel harder. However, the UV intensity is at its highest, so there is a much higher chance of sunburn.
October and November are two of the best months for travel to Lhasa, as the weather is nice and dry, with warm days and colder nights. With more than nine hours of sunshine per day, it is a bright and sunny time of year. Temperatures can drop at night well below freezing by November though, so warm sweaters are essential at night.
While the temperatures in December fall lower than they have been since February, it is still warm enough in the day in Lhasa to be comfortable. December in Lhasa is not as cold as in the west and north of Tibet, and the sunshine makes it a stunning time of year to travel. However, the UV radiation is still high enough to cause sunburn, so it is best to cover up with a hat and sunglasses.
To help you get a clear idear of Lhasa Monthly Temperature, we have made Lhasa climate chart for your reference.
Best Lhasa Weather for Different Travelers
Weather in Lhasa can be split into four main seasons, with the summer being the monsoon season and the peak period for Tibetan tourism. Travel in Tibet can also be split into the types of tours that you are looking for, with certain attractions and activities better done in some seasons than in others.
Summer is the time for the major tourists, who are interested more in the temples and monasteries of the plateau, easily able to travel around the stunning sites of Lhasa and discover the sacred temples and ancient monasteries that the city has to offer. It is also a great time to visit the old town areas, to walk around Barkhor Street to visit the many vendors with their plateau souvenirs, and to take in the world’s largest wetlands inside an urban area, at the Lalu Wetlands to the west of the city.
It seems like entering a silver fairyland when Namtso comes into winter.
Winter is the perfect time for those tourists that are either traveling on a severe budget or are less inclined to travel in the peak periods with the masses of foreign tourists crowding the sights of the Tibetan capital. Winter, from December to the end of January, is the low season, and there are fewer tourists that come to check out the temples and monasteries. Many people believe that it is too cold in the winter to visit Lhasa, which is a grave misunderstanding of the Tibetan plateau climate. While it may be very cold at night, the days are bright and sunny, and with fewer tourists, make for a better trip.
Winter is also a time when discounts are more widely available for tourists that are traveling on a budget to the plateau. Air fares to China and Kathmandu are cheaper in the winter months, and while flights to Lhasa from Kathmandu and China may not drop much, the train tickets are definitely cheaper. So are the hotel costs for staying in Lhasa, as many of them offer discounts for out-of-season bookings. Several of the attractions also lower their prices in the winter months, making winter one of the cheapest times to travel to Lhasa. - Check all Tibet winter tours
So exciting to walk freely aroud the surburbs of Lhasa with leaves turning yellow
Spring and autumn are the drier and clearer months in Tibet, and are ideal for those that want to come to the plateau for the stunning high-altitude treks. While many of the best treks are outside Lhasa, such as the trek from Old Tingri to EBC or kora around Mount Kailash, there are also some great trekking routes within the area of Lhasa. The trek from Ganden Monastery to Samye Monastery in Shannan Prefecture is one of the best routes you can take in southern Tibet, and if you really want to stay within Lhasa itself, there is a great trek around the many hermitage sites around the edges of the city, lying in the foothills of the nearby mountains, that can make your trip even more spectacular.
Where and When to Check Lhasa Weather Forecast before You Come
There are many places where you can check the day-to-day weather of Lhasa before traveling to the plateau. From CNN in the United States to the BBC in the United Kingdom, most of the major news sites give you world weather and can even come down to the level of local weather in Tibetan cities.
You can also check out our official website for Tibet weather, where you can find out more about the regular seasons and weather conditions on a month-to-month basis, with both general and specific details of the weather throughout the year. Or you can get in touch with us and our professional advisors would happily give you more detailed information on the weather in Lhasa at any given time of year.
How to Adapt to Lhasa Climate for New Comers
Lhasa lies at an altitude of 3,656 meters above sea level, and is classed and a “very high” altitude. It may not be as high as the Everest Base Camp or the area to the west where Mount Kailash lies, and not even as high as some of the mountains that surround the city itself. However, if you have never been to a high-altitude plateau climate before, then you need to know what to expect.
The first thing to remember is that it is much colder at night than during the daytime. At any time of the year. Despite it being nice and warm throughout the day, even in the summer months it can get quite cold at night. The difference in temperature is drastic across the plateau, mainly due to the thinner atmosphere that also makes it warmer during the day. The thin air lets most of the accumulated heat of the day’s sunshine out again, leaving the nights at very cold temperatures. It is a good idea to bring a couple of warm sweaters for the evenings, even in summer.
Rainfall in Lhasa is a little higher than that of the west and north of Tibet, which are higher in altitude and get more shelter from the Himalayas. However, even at its wettest, most of the rain in Lhasa falls in the early evening and overnight, which leaves the days free for travel and touring around the city. It may be a little humid, due to the heat evaporating the damp ground and the monsoon itself, but it is warm and comfortable.
If you are traveling when it is a little colder, in the shoulder seasons or in winter, it is best to bring plenty of thinner layers of clothing to keep you warm, rather than one of two very thick sweaters and jackets. These are good for when the temperature drops in the late evenings, but during the day, can be too much to allow you to regulate your temperature properly. Thinner layers can be taken off and put on more easily, and allow you to stay at a temperature that you are comfortable with without carrying heavy clothes around.