Lhasa Stories and Tips

Lhasa's Highlights

Lhasa's highlight and most famous attraction, of course, is the Potala Palace which - until the Chinese invasion in the 1950s - housed the Dalai Lama. This impressive building towers over the city and is an impressive sight from various locations in the city. Not all chambers and rooms are open to the public but there is enough to see in the ones that are. Some travellers decide to skip seeing the Potala from the inside as the entrance ticket is relatively expensive - 40 Y plus a hefty 50 Y charge for photographs. But just looking at the Potala pays off.

Another option would be walking the Kora around the Palace. You get good views of the Potala as you walk amongst pilgrims, vendors and beggars through prayer flags and wheels - a truly Tibetan experience. Also, you could climb up the hill in front of the Potala across Beijing Donglu -from up there you have a great view of the Potala and the whole city.

Another highlight of Tibet's capital is the Jokhang Tempel, the holiest temple in the world of Tibetan Buddhism. It lies on the edge of the Barkhor area, the only Tibetan part of town left. In front of the temple is a large square - it is fun to just sit there and watch the bustling life, pilgrims, vendors, tourists and locals.

Inside you can go into several chapels and listen to the monks chant - an unforgettable experience. But for me the nicest part about the Jokhang was sitting up on the roof during sunset (enter through the side entrance and walk up the stairs in the courtyard) and watching the city, the mountains and the Potala Palace in the most gorgeous evening light while hundreds of pilgrims were doing their prostrations below me.

Aside from these architectural beauties, a great thing to see in Lhasa is the old Tibetan town in the Barkhor area. It definitely pays of to just walk around, get lost in the cobblestone streets, chat with children, look at the beautiful painted window frames, listen to chants, watch the locals and receive countless wonderful warm Tibetan smiles.

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