Lhasa is a city full of wonders. It is impossible to visit Tibet without visiting this land of pilgrimage for Buddhists. However, it is not only the Potala Palace where the Dalai Lama ruled that fascinates visitors but also its preservation of the past and the streets filled with Tibetans. Retaining its strong cultural identity, the sacred atmosphere of the Barkhor area has attracted thousands of travelers. Find out more with our Lhasa Travel Guide.
Lhasa is the capital of the autonomous region of Tibet and is located at an altitude of 3,700 meters. Although neglected for various centuries, it recovered its splendor when the 5th Dalai Lama helped rebuild the Potala Palace in the 17th century while setting his winter home there. Thus, Lhasa functioned as a capital from where the Dalai Lama managed Tibet.
With the development of the city, the new quarters exist as part of the divine landscape of Tibet. However, some old neighborhoods are still there to remind Tibetans of their past and beliefs. This is what contributes to the charm of Lhasa today.
It is an extraordinary experience going from Xining to Lhasa by train. As it is more affordable than flying, the train gradually acclimates to the high altitude and the cars lack of oxygen (cars are equipped to provide oxygen). Although the conditions may not meet most of westerners usual comforts, the train drives a beautiful road via the plateau of Qinghai before arriving in Lhasa, Tibet. The view from your window will be sure to make up for the difference in accommodation that you may be used to.
In the city of Lhasa, the Potala Palace overlooks the city with its imposing nature. However, what makes the soul of Lhasa is not its location on the Marpori Hill, but something else. It is in the depth of the old city of Lhasa where the peculiar and sacred atmosphere of Tibet can be found. The Jokhang Monastery and Barkhor Street are packed with Tibetans and pilgrims performing their circumambulation. Some travelers are forever impressed when they see this scene.
As one of the highest cities of the world, you should prepare before traveling to Lhasa. The city lies on a dry and cold plateau in the middle of Tibet so there are no major changes in temperature between the winter and summer. Lhasa is sunny year round and is refreshed by nighttime rain between June and September.
There is no particular season to visit Lhasa, but you should bring long, warming clothing which will protect you in the rain and wind.
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