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Planning to visit Lhasa coming Christmas - any advice?

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HK
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Planning to visit Lhasa coming Christmas - any advice?

Someone who claims to be an expert in China travel thinks the itinerary below is seriously demanding. Also altitude is tougher in December and especially visiting the Potala on the 1st day – will be very hard on us. Ganden is at 4300 meters (Lhasa is at 3600m) – should be done on the 4th day instead.

Anyone who has any input would be appreciated!

DAY 01 26 DEC (MON) CHONGQING / LHASA

Fly Chongqing/Lhasa CA 4420 1355/1620 – Daily (2h 25m)

Upon arrival, be met and transfer to hotel for 3 nights stay.

DAY 02 27 DEC (TUE) LHASA

This morning, we start our tour with Potala Palace - listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.

In the afternoon, you cover Jokhang monastery

DAY 03 LHASA 28 DEC (WED)

Today, we make an excursion to Ganden Monastery. 60km (2hours) from Lhasa.

Have a picnic lunch and drive back to Lhasa to visit Sera Monastery. Our last stop is Lhasa Museum before returning to hotel.

DAY 04 29 DEC (THU) LHASA / YAMDROK LAKE / LHASA

Drive about 2.5 hours to Yamdrok Lake crossing high mountain passes of nearly 5000m. In the afternoon, return to Lhasa and have the rest of the day at leisure.

DAY 05 30 DEC (FRI) LHASA / SHENZHEN

Free at leisure until your transfer to the airport for flight back to back to Shenzhen.

UK
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1. Re: Planning to visit Lhasa coming Christmas - any advice?

For a visit during the warmer months, I think the itinerary is ok.

The trips tend to follow a pattern - on the day of arrival, just rest.

Day two - Potala palace. Take it very easy because those steps are hard work. I believe over-exertion may increase the risk of altitude sickness.

I think the main thing to be concerned about is the temperature. It will be very cold at night - maybe -9C and up to 9C during the day.

The combination of lack of oxygen and cold might make the trip a bit tougher.

Just remember to bring some warm clothes and get fit before going!! When I visited Namtso lake in April it was frozen and the air quite cold. I think Yamdrok will be the same, just a lot colder!

Also, as Tibet is at very altitude, remember to take cautions against altitude sickness. Read the advice at medex.org.uk//medex_book/about_book.php - there is a (simplified) Chinese language version too.

HK
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2. Re: Planning to visit Lhasa coming Christmas - any advice?

I just came back from a trip to Tibet. Contrary to most people's advice, December is a very good time to visit Tibet. Temperature not too cold - yes, morning a bit nippy (-6) by warms up to (6-7) after the sun comes out. Best thing about visiting Tibet in December is there is no tourists! We spent 3 hours in Potala Palace. You only see locals visiting (Nomads). Weather, beautiful - perfect blue skies and importantly NO wind so no wind chill and because it is quite dry, it doesn't feel as cold. You also benefit from low seasons rates on hotels. I stayed at the St. Regis - beautiful Tibetan style hotel. Air pressure is not thinner during the Winter. I would say it's about the same as during the summer. Of course, one has to listen to advice in terms of resting on the first day of arrival, no bathing on the first night, take things easy - you should be fine.

Umeå
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3. Re: Planning to visit Lhasa coming Christmas - any advice?

I´ve been to Lhasa in November , and daytime I still walked mostly around in sandals. Nippy in the mornings , nothing that couldn´t be fixed with an extra layer and lots of tea . Even at the most basic places there is a big thermos with boiled water waiting by the bed. Use it to fill a hot water bottle for your bed/sleeping bag.

Weather link here : http://www.yr.no/place/China/Tibet/Lhasa~1280737/hour_by_hour_detailed.html

Lie low first day , and I´d also be wary about starting with the stair excercises in the Potala . Showers are just a comfort factor ( also for the people around you;-) ) I´ve had heaps of showers wintertime in Ladakh , including after just arriving. I´d call it a myth, same as the belief in binging on water. Get a prescription for Diamox , but don´t expect it to be a magic fix - first day(s) is in hangover country.

I guess your dates are set , otherwise I´d look up a Tibetan calendar for coming festivals.

Amsterdam
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4. Re: Planning to visit Lhasa coming Christmas - any advice?

Hi,

Im planning to go to China again around 15 of Dec, and its great to read your report that Dec is perfect to visit Lhasa. Btw since you mentioned it was low season, was wondering how much did you pay for flight to and from Lhasa, the thing is I tried to check skyscanner and it is €200-400 1 way from Chengdu and to Xian, was wondering if it could becoming cheaper if I tried to book it say 3months in advance.

Moreover, how about the rest of China? is is also considered low season during Dec?

Thanks

Beijing, China
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5. Re: Planning to visit Lhasa coming Christmas - any advice?

Dec is low season no doubt within China but out side Sanya. But dec dosen't offer perfect weather.

No problem at all to buy flight ticket 2-3 weeks prior by then, what a low travel season as you just said.

Singapore, Singapore
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6. Re: Planning to visit Lhasa coming Christmas - any advice?

I spent this past Christmas in Tibet. It was a stunning time to be there. The temperature is quite cold in the morning, but the blue skies and sun warm the day quite quickly---to about 10C/50F. There were virtually no western tourists there. We learned December is a key month for pilgrimage to Lhasa which provided some awe-inspiring sights.

We were two Western Families, with kids, who traveled together.

The altitude is significant. If you are a skier, you probably will not have a problem. I brought along altitude sickness meds just in case... no one needed/used them.

I would push Potala Palace to your 1st full day in Tibet. Get acclimated on your arrival date.

A couple of notes...

Daylight. The entire country of China is on the same time zone. To that end, the sun does not rise in Tibet (in December) until 9:00 am! Your "tour guide" will most likely want to start around 9:30 to ensure daylight!

Food. No one in either of our two families eat Yak, which seriously limits some of the dining options---yak burger, yak steak, yak this and yak that. Thank GOODNESS the altitude significantly decreases your appetite. Tibet is one of the few places in the world where there are NO western outlets---no Starbucks, no KFC, etc. There is no Coke Light/diet Coke/sodas. I suggest a few bags of snacks---nuts, granola bars, etc. You'll be happy you schlepped them along.

Chinese Army. They are EVERYWHERE... with machine guns. Having traveled a bit, this was not alarming to my family but it was to the other family with us.

Photos. Make sure you have ample memory cards for your photos. The photographic opportunities are amazing... from the nomadic people to the stunningly beautiful Tibetan architecture.

Tibetan Handicrafts. VERY expensive. I was shocked by the prices of original Tibetan artifacts, in and around Lhasa. I live in Singapore and can get many things at a lower price. Be aware.

Enjoy!

Milan, Italy
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for Tibet, Montagna e sport invernali, Milan, Nepal, Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, Jomsom, Mustang Region, Namche Bazaar, Sagarmatha National Park, Ladakh, Annapurna Region
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7. Re: Planning to visit Lhasa coming Christmas - any advice?

Thank you to share with us your experience in Tibet.

Tashi Delek

Rongpuk

Palos Verdes...
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8. Re: Planning to visit Lhasa coming Christmas - any advice?

I am glad to read that you had a good trip to Lhasa last Dec. I was planning a Dec'11 trip to Lhasa and everyone warned me how cold it could be. I had lived in New York and I ski so I am fine with coldness.

My plan is to take a train from Beijing to Lhasa and then fly from Lhasa to Shanghai or Beijing. Were you on your own or you traveled with a tour when you were in Lhasa? If you were on your own, would you mind sharing your experiences, hotels, transportations, food, tips, etc.? I usually would like to explore new places on my own, but Lhasa is unfamiliar to me. I do speak fluent Mandarine and English.

Thanks

Milan, Italy
Destination Expert
for Tibet, Montagna e sport invernali, Milan, Nepal, Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, Jomsom, Mustang Region, Namche Bazaar, Sagarmatha National Park, Ladakh, Annapurna Region
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9. Re: Planning to visit Lhasa coming Christmas - any advice?

It's not allowed visit Tibet alone, you need to join a group or plan an individual travel with a travel agency.

Tashi Delek

Rongpuk

10. Re: Planning to visit Lhasa coming Christmas - any advice?

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