Lhasa is a city and administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. The main urban area of Lhasa is roughly equivalent to the administrative borders of Chengguan District, which is part of the wider Lhasa prefecture-level city, an area formerly administered as a prefecture.
Lhasa is the second most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau after Xining and, at an altitude of 3,490 metres (11,450 ft), Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world. The city has been the religious and administrative capital of Tibet since the mid-17th century. It contains many culturally significant Tibetan Buddhist sites such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Norbulingka Palaces.
Understand : Lhasa, which means “Land of the Gods” and is over 1,300 years old, sits in a valley right next to the Lhasa River. In the eastern part of the city, near the Jokhang Temple and Barkhor neighborhood, Tibetan influence is still strong and evident and it is common to see traditionally dressed Tibetans engaged on a kora (a clockwise circumambulation or walk around the Jokhang Temple), often spinning prayer wheels. The western part of Lhasa is more ethnically Han Chinese in character. It is busy and modern and looks similar to many other Chinese cities. Much of the infrastructure, such as banks and government offices is to be found there.
Access : Coordinates: 29.65, 91.116667 / By plane : The Lhasa Gonggar Airport (LXA IATA) is 61km southwest of Lhasa. There are flights from Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Kunming, Qamdo, Shanghai, Xi’an, Xining, and Zhongdian (Shangri-La). International flights are available to Kathmandu, Nepal. Non-Chinese nationals are required to be met at the airport by their tour guide. Taxis are available outside the airport. There is also an official shuttle bus (¥25).
By bus : Non-Chinese nationals are not allowed to ride the intercity buses in Tibet. For Chinese nationals, there is frequent and cheap bus service between Lhasa and nearly all parts of Tibet. By train : The Qinghai-Tibet (Qingzang) railway connects Lhasa and Golmud, with services continuing onto Xining, Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing.
T27/28 from/to Beijing West (daily, 44h)
T22/23/24/21 from/to Chengdu (every other day, 44h) –
T222/223/224/221 from/to Chongqing (every other day, 45h)
T164/165/166/163 from/to Shanghai (daily, 48h)
T264/265/266/263 from/to Guangzhou (every other day, 55h) — longest domestic train ride in China by distance (4,980km)
K917/K918 from/to Lanzhou (daily, 27h)
K9801/K9802 from/to Xining West (daily, 24h)
It is difficult to get a ticket during Chinese New Year (January and February) and summer holidays (July and August).
Transportation from the train station : A taxi ride between the urban area and the train station should cost a flat ¥30 and no drivers use the meter. Be sure to fix the price in advance as many drivers will try to charge ¥100. As an alternative, take a bus (¥1) to anywhere across the river, and then get a taxi that uses the meter.
Attractions : Potala Palace (Podrang Potala). A stronghold probably existed on Red Hill as early as the 7th century AD , Barkhor Street Market – a circular street around the Jokhang Temple in the center of the old section of Lhasa , Jokhang Temple (Tsuglagkhang). Constructed in the 7th century AD , Norbulingka Summer Palace. Located about 1 km south of the Potala Palace , Drepung Monastery. Founded in 1416 by a disciple of Tsong Khapa, was the biggest and richest monastery in Tibet and its lamas helped to train each new young Dalai Lama , Tibet Museum, 19 Luobu Linka Rd. Elaborate museum with artifacts reflecting the entire history of Tibet , Ganden Monastery. Located on Wangbur Mountain, 47 kilometers (29 miles) from Lhasa City.
Activities : Kora – a meditative circumambulation around a sacred site, such as a temple, practiced by many Tibetans.
Langma Opera – literally “royal music”, a traditional Tibetan singing and dancing show.
Blind Massage – at Medical Massage Clinic Lhasa, #59 Beijing Middle Road, 3rd floor (directly across from the Kichu Hotel). Phone 6320870. Cost: ¥80/hour. English spoken. A vocational project of Braille Without Borders. Great way to adjust to the altitude or just relax. Lhasa Amusement Park – No.30-32 Sela Road