I am often asked if the winter is a good time or not to go to Lhasa. Most people think of Lhasa as being extremely cold so the thought of going there in the winter is absurd. Actually, Lhasa is probably much warmer in the winter than you think.Though it is true that many regions of Tibet are extremely cold in the winter, Lhasa is not one them. Over the past 5 years, Lhasa has had an average January high temperature of 9C/48F and an average low temperature of -5C/22F. While these are not tropical temperatures by any means, they also shouldn't be cold enough to deter you from going to Lhasa. Other regions of Tibet can be very cold in the winter with low temperatures dipping to -25C or more. Most of these regions though are not in the popular tourist areas of Tibet, but on the nomadic grasslands of northern Tibet far from Lhasa
There are other reasons to visit Lhasa in the winter. Lhasa receives around 275 days of sunshine per year. The sun often shines high and bright in the winter. Many pilgrims from across Tibet go to Lhasa on pilgrimmage in the winter, especially around Losar (Tibetan New year). Lhasa looks and feels much more "Tibetan" during this time. Getting train tickets to Lhasa are much easier in winter than in the summer. Prices for hotels and trips outside of Lhasa are cheaper during this time. Many places outside of Lhasa are still accessible in the winter. It is still possible to go to Everest and take tours down the Friendship highway to the Nepal border in winter. During the summer there are large crowds of tourists everywhere in Lhasa. During the winter, there are far fewer tourists.
If you are planning a trip to China this winter, don't be afraid to add Lhasa to your itinerary. If you are looking to take a vacation this winter in Asia, why not go to Lhasa? Don't let the slighly cool temperatures stop you from taking this once in a lifetime trip!
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