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Lhasa Travel Guide

Lhasa means “Shrine” in Tibetan. It’s the political, economicand religious center in Tibet. It attracts tourists from all over the world with its blue sky, clean water, fresh air and warm sunshine. Now Lhasa is not only the shrine for Tibetan Buddhism, but also the shrine for travelers.
A plethora of monasteries abound in both Lhasa’s downtown and its neighborhoods. In addition to the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple, classic sights like Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery and Dalai Lama's summer palace: Norbulingka, Tibet Museum, Majiami, Barkhor Street and Lhasa River are worth visiting too. Outside of the downtown, the scenery around is more breathtaking. Heaven Lake Namtso, Drigung ladder Temple, one of the two biggest celestial burial grounds, and the Tak Chung Hot Spa which is not far make perfect getaway into nature. What is more,the Ganden Monastery, Rezhen Monastery and Chubu Monastery offer a wonderful glimpse into the Tibetan Buddhism.

Since the 7th century, many houses and inns were built around the Jokhang Temple and Ramoche Temple. Original urban prototype appeared while those two temples are the center of it. Then Srongtsen Gampo built the Potala Palace on the Red Hill. Lhasa was gradually established as the political and religion center of Tibet region. To most people, Lhasa was composed by Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery and Lhasa River. While to the Lhasa people, Barkhor Street which choosing Jokhang Temple to be the center is the real Lhasa.

Tibetan Buddhism
Here in Lhasa, there are many palace monasteries, like the Potala Palace, Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery and Jokhang Temple. You can see monks dressed in crimson robes and believers pray sincerely. This strong and mysterious religious atmosphere infects every visitor coming here. Lhasa’s 1300 years’ history left us countless cultural relics. It gives us the feeling of steping back to the ancient times. Many visitors come here just to see the old Tibetan culture and religion history with their own eyes. While we have to say, that’s worth it.

Travel season
The best time of coming to Lhasa is during May to October. In this time, the sunlight is strong, temperature is high. And many their traditional festivals are host during this period. You can feel the Tibetan folk customs.

Lhasa attractions

Restaurants in Lhasa are an eclectic mix of Western, Sichuan or Tibetan styles. Sichuan restaurants are found mainly west of the Yak sculpture. Indian and Nepalese foods are available in Danjielin Road and Beijing Road. Many restaurants in hotels or guesthouses serve western foods, especially those located in Beijing Road. Tibetan cuisine that serves locally including meat paste, sausages, fried mutton steak, Tibetan buns, yoghurt and milk tea, beverage such as qingke wheat wine and ghee tea.

Barkhor Street is Lhasa's most famous business center. Religious curiosities, Thangka paintings, traditional clothes, Tibetan knifes and cups for drinking can be bought. Traditional Tibetan medicine such as Tibetan red flowers, cordyceps and saussurea involucrata are available in Tibetan hospitals. There is an ethnic market that sells interesting handicrafts by the western side of the Jokhang Temple.

Lhasa is at its breathtakingly liveliest during those traditional festivals. Almost every month has festivals. Usually coming in the form of worship, farming, and social events to commemorate, the festivals attract visitors of all stripes gather together to celebrate. Here are some big festivals you may feel interested. (learn more

Butter lamp Festival
Time: Tibetan calendar Jan 15th
Place: Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street

Saga Dawa Festival
Time: Tibetan calendar April 15th
Place: Jokhang Temple and Potala Palace

Shoton Festival
Time: Tibetan calendar July 1st
Place: Drepung Monastery and Norbulingka

Bathing Festival
Time: Tibetan calendar July

Dress suggestions
1. Lhasa is located in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau; it has strong ultraviolet radiation and dramatic temperature difference between morning and evening. So whenever go to Tibet, we must remember to bring warm clothing and sunscreen, sunglasses.
2. Lhasa is located in the plateau, air is dry, remember to drink more water, eat more vegetables, prepare a lip balm.

1. Tibetan people are all religious, mainly believe the shamanism. When visiting in the temples, please follow the clockwise direction.
2. The Tibetan Buddhist temples are generally forbidden to take pictures. Don’t wear hat or sunglasses in the temples. No touching or pointing to the Buddha.
3. Tibetan people apply to water and sky burial, so they don’t eat fish.
4. Don’t cross the fireplace or fire basin in Tibetans’ home.
5. No randomly caress children’s head.
6. Try not to discuss politics and sensitive topic with people.
7. Do not whistle in the Tibetan house, the Tibetan only do it when sending a ghost.
8. Don’t wipe or use as toilet paper with Tibetan words on the paper.

1. People with severe hypertension, heart disease or asthma are not suggested to Tibet.
2. Those who come to Tibet for the first time may have some reactions; you can rest for one day or two to adapt the height.
3. In Tibet, you can purchase the appropriate drugs which can be effective against altitude sickness to ensure a comfortable sleep.
4. Try not to yell or run fast at anytime, this can cause hypoxia and induce altitude sickness.
5. The first one day or two after arriving in Lhasa, try not to take a bath or wash head, this may take away the heat and cause altitude sickness
Revised by Will        Posted on Jun 9, 2014   All Rights Reserved


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