When in Lhasa, you might enjoy a night or two in the historic family home of the 11th Dalai Lama. Why wouldn’t you? The Yabshi Phunkhang - now a calming boutique hotel - was the mid-19th century home of the 11th Dalai Lama’s parents. Isn’t that fantastic? Whilst not offering uber luxury, it’s an irresistible proposition for a stay in the Tibetan capital. Behind its modest facade lie colourful courtyards, Buddhist artefacts, and traditional thangka paintings. It is an absolute delight.
The rooms continue the heritage theme and leave you in no doubt as to your location. Its homely ambience balances the idiosyncrasies common to heritage hotels (think steep stairs, slightly uneven floors and odd-shaped corners!) While the rooms are fairly basic, they all come with modern amenities. There’s an excellent onsite restaurant, and the location is very convenient for heading out for traditional fare at the local eateries.
In an atmospheric location in the city’s Chengguan district, very close to the 1,300 year old Jokhang Temple, this simple, local hotel immerses you in Tibetan culture.
Art gallery & shop
Very steep stairways
The Yabshi was wonderful, and very much on the up according to the manager, but we liked it the way it is now. So glad we stayed here.
Discover what to expect from staying at Yabshi Phunkhang
This is the sort of place that we can’t resist. Interesting history, great location, characterful and friendly. If you were magically transported into its colourful courtyard, you would have no problem recognising that you were in Tibet. The restaurant is superb, with the chef-in-residence cooking up some delicious dishes which are definitely worth trying. This boutique isn’t for everyone, but its handful of potential shortcomings are best embraced as a part of the experience. Selective Asia’s Nick describes it as his favourite hotel in Tibet and he is not alone.
It’s not a property flush with facilities, but the location is great. If you’re lucky, the hotel staff are sometimes able to give you a brief local tour of the area, including the Jokhang Temple. Join the kora around the perimeter and through the bustling Barkhor market, or simply watch the monks and pilgrims make their way to the holy site. If you go out for dinner, make sure you let the hotel know so that you don’t find yourself having to knock on a locked door upon your return!
Trekking across the ‘roof of the world’ in Tibet, at an average elevation of 4,500m, is and adventure hard to beat. It’s not the easiest destination to get to, but the unparalleled rush of standing in one of Earth’s rawest landscapes is like nothing else.