Lhasa City

Lhasa Travel Guide, Tibet

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Overview

Sitting on the north bank of the Kyichu in the southeast part of Tibet,surrounded by colossal mountain ranges to the north and south, Lhasa is the heart and soul of Tibet, the center of Tibetan politics, economy, culture and religion.

In Tibetan, “Lhasa” means Holy or Buddha Land. The resplendence and grandeur of the Potala Palace is a world-famous symbol of the enigmatic power of politics and religion in this region.

Most of the historical sights here dated back to the 1600s when the magnificent Potala Palace was built. The Potala dominates the skyline but Jokhang is considered to be the spiritual center of the city. Pilgrims flock to Lhasa to see and experience the remaining enclaves of tradition.

It is recommended that you spend most of your time exploring this captivating neighborhood, also known as the Barkhor District.

Potala Palace, Lhasa
Jokhang Temple Square,Lhasa,Tibet
Barkhor,Lhasa,Tibet

Best times to visit
March ~ October, peak season lies in Jul~Aug.

Highlights
Potala Palace / JokhangTemple/ Barkhor Street

Getting there & away

**By air
Taking the plane is a comfortable and timesaving option, but offers little time for you to acclimatize to the altitude; this may cause sickness.

**By train

Train is a fabulous new option, giving the opportunity to see hitherto unseen mountain scenery. With the operation of Tibet Railway from July 1st, 2006, more and more tourist have swarmed into Tibet via the great Tibet train.

**By bus
Taking the bus along one of five highways that have been opened-up for tourists' use. This will take longer but will enable you to see the amazing scenery en route. Furthermore, taking extra time allows for a more gradual acclimatization to the altitude.

Getting Around
Taxis within town for Y10. Minibuses is Y2. Public buses charging Y1 are plentiful, though many sites are just within walk distance.

Lodging

  • Kirey Hotel 吉日旅馆 – 0891 632 3462, 105# East Beijing Road. Y25 -Y30/night, shared bathroom, hot water available, free laundry service. The hotel is often fully occupied. Reservation is unacceptable.

  • Banakshol Hotel 八朗学旅馆– 0891-632 3829, 108# East Beijing Road,close to Jokhang. Y180/std. rm, Y70/dbl, Y25/bed, Y35/sgl rm

Dining

Besides the local staples tsampa (roasted barley bread), momo(dumplings filled with vegetables and meat) and thukpa (noodles with meat), Sichuan cuisine is very popular in Lhasa.

Numerous restaurants available at Lhasa and the most popular area is the Tibetan quarter near Barkhor Square. Tashi Restaurant, Kailah Restaurant, the 3rd Eye Restaurant, the Alougang Restaurant and the Snowland Restaurant are all good places to sample some of Tibet's more unusual cuisine.

The restaurant in the Banak Shol Hostel is a good place to eat, and the Yak burger with fries is extremely delicious.

Attractions

  • Potala Palace /布达拉宫 - Located on the Red Hill of Lhasa at an elevation of 3700m with an area of 360sq km, the Potala is the highest and largest architectural palace group in the world. Originally built by King Songtsen Gampo[松赞干布] in 7th century for welcoming his new wife, the Tang Princess Wencheng.

    The earlier palace was destroyed by wars and lightning. It was reconstructed in year 1645 by the 5th Dalai Lama. Since then the place became the winter residence of Dalai Lama and the governing center of politics and religions of Tibet. It was expanded to its current size of 117m in height and 360m in width, covering an area of more than 130 sq km during the reign of the 13th Dalai Lama.

    The palace has 13 storey with a thousand rooms, including the White Palace (side administerial building) and the Red Palace (central religious building).

    Potala Palace is not only a master piece of Tibetan architecture, it’s also a treasury of Tibetan prime art and cultural relics, the symbol of Tibetan culture and history, the witness of vicissitude of Tibetan Buddhism.

    Admission:Y200 for high season (May 1~Oct.31), Y100 for low season (Nov.1 ~ Apr.30)
    Opening Hours:09:00 to 18:00
    Get there: just walk distance in the central downtown

  • Jokhang Temple/大昭寺 - The golden-roofed four-storey timber complex with a history of 1300 years, is the holiest shrine for Tibetan. The temple was originally built to commemorate the marriage of the Tang princess Wencheng to Songtsen Gambo, the 33rd King of Tibet [named “Tubo” in Tang dynatsty].The pure gold statue of Buddha Sakyamuni[释迦牟尼].

    Jokhang temple is not only a shrine for the disciples to worship Buddha statues and holy res, it was also constructed in the ideal universal pattern of a secret sect of Buddhism, Mandala[曼陀罗坛城].

    The temple was enrolled on UNESCO's World Heritage list as part of the Potala Palace in year 2000.

    Admission:Y85 in high season & Y35 in low season 
    Opening Hours:09:00 to 18:00
    Get there: just walk distance in the central downtown

  • Barkhor/八廓街 - a clockwise pilgrim circuit around Jokhang Temple, where the crazy Buddhist pilgrims move with extremities stretched over the ground day to day.

    Barkhor is also a chaotic marketplace fed with a wide variety of Tibetan stuff like printed scriptures, prayer flags, turquoise jewelry, knives, ancient coins etc., where the hawkers, the shaggy Tibetan nomads, the red-robed monks, the devotional pilgrims and the tourists clustered together to hunt for whatever they want here.

    Barkor is an epitome of the humanistic scenery of Lhasa or even of the whole Tibetan area.

  • Norbulingka/罗布林卡
    1km southwest of the Potala Palace, at the bank of the Lhasa River, the former summer residence of the Dalai Lama. With an area of 360 sqkm and 374 rooms inside,it is the biggest man-made gardens in Tibet Autonomous Region.

    Norbulingka consists of several palace complexes. Each palace complex is divided into three sections - the palace section, the section in front of the palaces and the woods.

    Norbulingka both reflects the ethnical, religious features of the Tibetan people and embodies the architecture style of inland China. It is of great cultural value and was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2001 as an extension of Potala Palace.

    Admission Fee:    Y 60

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