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  • Writer's pictureGlobal Nomad Tibet

What does the traditional Lhasa outfit look like and how to buy one in Lhasa?

1. What does the traditional Tibetan outfit look like?

The most informed among you will reply: "Outfit of which region?"

Because each major Tibetan region (Central Tibet, Ngari, Amdo, Kham) has its own traditional dress. And even within each of these regions, there is still a great variety of dress. A true reflection of the fascinating diversity of the Tibetan people.

Let's talk today about the traditional dress of Lhasa.

Women's outfit

The women wear a long dress that looks like a wallet dress if you want to compare. It closes in two stages. First on the right side, usually with a small hook and some buttons. Then with the help of a belt already sewn to the dress and that we wrap around the waist and we tie.

Traditionally, this dress is worn over an undershirt that comes to the level of the forearm.

Married women also wear a kind of "apron" (the pangden), which is tied over the dress. It is a fabric decorated with geometric patterns of different colors.

A small demonstration in video.


Nowadays, for convenience, this undershirt can be sewn directly onto the dress. New models of dresses have also appeared, with directly three-quarter sleeves, so there is no need to slip an undershirt.

Men's outfit

Lhasa men wear a broad dress which goes down to the knees, and pants. This dress is traditionally worn with Tibetan boots or riding boots.

Like women, men tie their dress with a belt. However, unlike women, this belt is not sewn directly into the dress. It's a whole exercise to tie this belt and give a natural look.

A demonstration in video.


And a little glimpse of outfits from other regions of central Tibet.

PHOTO outfit of Shigatsé.

2. Where to buy a traditional outfit in Lhasa?

There are dozens and dozens of chuba shops in and around the historic center of Lhasa (the Barkhor).

The chuba are custom-made so you should count about a week for delivery. Ideally, you should go and choose the fabric and have your measurements taken in the days following your arrival in Lhasa, and come and pick up the chuba at the end of your stay (for example after a stay in the south towards Samye and Shigate).

Prices start at about 350 RMB for women's chubas and about 700 RMB for men.

Prices can go up to very high in some stores (from 800 RMB for women). Probably for the quality of the fabric and the know-how of the dressmakers.

For affordable chubas, check out the stores along Beijing Road, at the Yak Hotel (No.100 Beijing East Road, Lhasa 850000 China).

For high priced chubas, you can for example go to the famous 888 store which is just a few steps away from the Kyichu Hotel, in front of the Times Shopping Plaza (Shenli Times Shopping Plaza, Cheng Guan Qu, La Sa Shi, Xi Zang Zhi Qu, China, 850004).

3. When to wear the traditional Tibetan outfit?

For Tibetans, the answer is quite simple. It will usually be during a special occasion, such as a wedding, a party, a pilgrimage. Some people, especially the elderly, wear it every day. In this case, they will rather wear neutral colors in everyday life and more festive dresses during special events.

PHOTO with festive dress.

As for you, if you are not Tibetan, but you want to wear the traditional outfit, why not try it? You can go for a 100% traditional outfit. You can also choose to go for a more casual shape (like the three-quarter sleeve dress) and choose a fabric with patterns that are also seen in Europe. Like the floral patterns for example.


So, would you dare?

A little note: Global Nomad Tibet does not get any commission for the promotion of these stores and mentions them to promote Tibetan culture and entrepreneurship.


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