Just outside Lhasa, the major monasteries of Sera, Drepung, Nechung and Ganden are easily accessible from the city as half-day or day-trips. Indeed, Sera and Drepung have virtually been gobbled up in the urban sprawl that now characterizes Lhasa, while the trip to Ganden or to Samye – the latter slightly further out to the southeast – is a good chance to get out into the countryside. Morning visits to any of them are likely to be in the company of parties of devout pilgrims who’ll scurry around the temples making their offerings before heading on to the next target. Follow on behind them and you’ll visit all the main buildings; don’t worry too much if you aren’t sure what you are looking at – most of the pilgrims haven’t a clue either. The monasteries are generally peaceful and atmospheric places where nobody minds you ambling at will, and sooner or later you’re bound to come across some monks who want to practise their English.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

China features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

An expert's guide: where to stay in Shanghai

An expert's guide: where to stay in Shanghai

Shanghai has to be a contender for the buzziest city in Asia, a thriving business hub that's brashly modern yet wears its history on its sleeve. Dense with glit…

23 Oct 2017 • Simon Lewis insert_drive_file Article
The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook