Lhasa is visibly divided, with the western part of the city having a much more Chinese character, whereas the eastern side is where Tibetan culture and heritage shines through. With around a quarter of a million inhabitants living in the city, the population is made up of Tibetans, and Han and Hui ethnic groups. The city accounts for about half of the population of Tibet and is the administrative capital city of the autonomous region of Tibet.
On top of the world, Lhasa has become known as the “City of Sunlight” as it has over 3,000 hours of sunlight each year on average. The weather doesn’t change much throughout the year, though the winters are slightly cooler (between November and March), and the humidity is much higher in the summer.
Temperatures rarely get higher than 18°C in the summer. Rainfall is also at its highest in the summer months, so this is a less popular time to visit the city. The winter months are often very clear and windy — these winds can make the city feel very cold.
Restrictions on the sizes of groups entering Tibet have been lifted since 2014, which has made it considerably easier to get a visa to travel to Lhasa. However, in order to get to Lhasa, you will need to apply for a Chinese visa from the embassy in your own country, and then the visa will need to be scanned and sent to a licensed Tibet travel agency along with a scanned picture of your passport.
In order to enter China, your passport will need to be valid for at least six months, so this is the first requirement. Another requirement to get a travel permit for Tibet is that you will need to have planned your entire trip, as the series of destinations will be recorded on the permit, and you will need this in order to travel through the country.
A permit to travel into Tibet must go through an authorized travel agency, so base this decision on recommendations, as not all travel agencies will be able to support this application. It can take as little as two weeks to obtain the permit once you have organized the Chinese visa, but the Chinese visa may take longer, so prepare these official documents well in advance of your trip.
However, when planning on relocating to Tibet you will need more than just a tourist visa. In our comprehensive article on How to Get a Chinese Visa, you can find out more about the different visa categories and their requirements.