This ancient city is over 1,300 years old. The centre of the Tibetan Buddhist world, Lhasa is still largely a city of wonders. The Potala Palace dominates the skyline whilst in the old city centre, the whitewashed walls hide traditional flower-filled courtyards and tiny chapels with flickering butter lamps and the heady scent of incense. Visit some of the most important historic, religious and cultural sights of the city. Join locals in a tea house and catch a glimpse of life in a city that is a complex blend of ancient and modern.
A great add-on to any travel in China.
Arrival in Lhasa.
Today is arrival day and no activities are planned. You will be met by a local guide on arrival at Lhasa airport or train station and transferred to your hotel. They will have all the documents for your smooth check-in and will discuss all the logistics of the trip with you and answer any questions.
To facilitate your choice of arrival by air or train from any city in China or from Kathmandu the transfer cost is not included in the trip price. This will be calculated and added once your arrival plans are confirmed
Lhasa sightseeing: Visit Jokhang Temple and Ani Tshamkhung Nunnery
The Jokhang Temple, founded in 642 by Tibet’s first Buddhist king with the help of his Chinese and Nepali wives, is the most sacred in Tibet. It is the centre of the mandala that is the Tibetan landscape and houses the sacred Buddha statue, the Jowo Buddha; hence Jo (Jowo Buddha) khang (chapel). Many Tibetans still use its original name Tsuglakhang, which means ‘House of Sciences’ (religious sciences of astrology, divination and geomancy).
More than 100 Buddhist nuns live in the Ani Tshamkhung. Originally constructed in the C15th on a meditation site of Tibet’s first Buddhist king, Songsten Gampo, it was later enlarged. The nuns make and sell handicrafts and print religious texts in the old traditional fashion, with wooden blocks. They also run an open-air restaurant for pilgrims where you can try thukpa (noodle soup), momo (dumpling) and cha ngarmo (sweet tea)
Visit the Potala Palace, Norbulinka (the Summer Palace) and Sera Monastery.
A full day exploring Lhasa’s most important sights.
The Potala Palace, seat of the Dalai Lamas for centuries, is the most well-known landmark of Tibet. After climbing its impressive stairway, you will see audience halls and the living quarters of the Dalai Lamas, some exceptional relics, stupas, three dimensional mandalas, numerous statues and the meditation cave of Songtsen Gampo which is part of the original C7th structure.
The summer palace of the Dalai Lamas, Norbulingka (or Treasure Garden) is a quiet and beautiful manor house. It proudly boasts a great display of high-altitude flora and is a popular summer picnic ground.
Sera is a huge and famous monastic university built on the hillside north of the city in the C15th. Pilgrims flock to shrine of the tantric deity Hayagriva, the remover of obstacles. Blessings here are said to heal headaches and altitude sickness! Close by is the debating courtyard where every afternoon the monks test their knowledge of Buddhist philosophy in a spectacular way.
Today is your last day in Lhasa. Depending upon your departure time you may manage to fit in some last-minute shopping before your transfer to the airport or station.