- Potala Palace tour
- Norbu Linka Summer palace – a garden oasis in the city
- Explore Barkhor Square & local market – I bought a Tibetan singing bowl
- Explore Old Lhasa – narrow streets, whitewashed stone homes and colorful windows
- Visit Jokhang temple
- Visit the Sera Monastery and witness the famous “Monk debates”
- Participate in a Kora, or circumambulation around a Buddhist temple
- Getting a Tibet Travel Permit, or TTP, can be tricky. First, you need to apply for a Chinese visa through your nearest Chinese embassy. TTPs are only issued in Tibet, but you need it to actually enter Tibet. The best way to go about this is to contact a travel agency within China to apply for it and to deliver it to you when you arrive in China.
- Potala Palace, the Dalai Lama’s winter palace, is the highest ancient palace in the world built at 12,300 feet above sea level. You should arrange to buy tickets in advance, since they only sell limited tickets per day. There are 400+ stairs up to the palace at high altitude so it is recommended to be in good physical condition and take your time. Turn around and enjoy the amazing view of Lhasa from above every once in awhile.
- Since Lhasa is located up in the Himalayas, research the best ways to adjust to the altitude. I found that drinking a lot of water helped, as well as a prescription for Diamox that I got from my doctor at home.
- When you first arrive in Lhasa, the altitude in combination with your travel to arrive there will make you very sleepy. Try to remain active during the daylight was much as possible without over exerting yourself. Go on a walk to the market, or find a Kora to join. This will also help with preventing high altitude sickness.
- Eat: Tibet Lhasa Kitchen Try momos (dumplings), yak, yak butter tea, and tsampa
Though we were only in Tibet for a couple days, I left deeply impressed by the values and traditions that the Buddhists hold dear to their hearts. We were able to participate in a Kora, or pilgrimage around a Buddhist temple, spinning prayer wheels along the way. Buddhists believe that they can purify any negative karma and receive enlightenment along the path.
I remember the mountain air being so fresh. The people were curious about us, but never approached us. Since it’s very difficult to get a tourist permit, they don’t see many Westerners. I was glad to have our guide along with us, as not many people speak English.
One of my favorite experiences was being invited into the home of a Tibetan family for tea. They served us Yak butter tea. Interesting flavor. They make lots of different things out of yak. We got to ask questions about their culture and learn about their beliefs and customs.
Another cool experience was when we went out to take pictures of the Potala Palace at night. It’s a beautiful sight. Across the street from the palace, we stumbled upon some people dancing in the square. They were blasting Chinese folk music and they were dancing all lined up–kind of like square dancing. They invited us to join in with them. It was so fun!