Lhasa Overview

Lhasa (Lāsà, 拉萨) is, quite simply, the heart and soul of the Tibetan Autonomous Region— its cultural capital and political and administrative center.

Situated in a valley at around 3,700 m (11,100 ft) above sea level, Lhasa is surrounded by high mountains, with the scenic Kyichu River flowing right through town and the unmistakable Potala Palace— the former chief residence of the Dalai Lama—dominating the skyline.

While the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway has made the region more accessible in recent years, it's also sparked rapid modernization and a massive growth in tourism. A major consequence of this is an increase in the high-rises, karaoke bars and other expressions of Chinese economic growth springing up in increasing numbers, especially in the western part of town, which now dwarfs the Tibetan quarter.

Nevertheless, the Tibetan influence is fortunately still strong and evident in the eastern end and older parts of Lhasa, particularly in the main areas of interest around the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Circuit where traditionally-clad Tibetans can be found spinning prayer wheels, prostrating on the ground and going about their Buddhist business.

Other major attractions include the Sera and Drepung Monasteries located on Lhasa's outskirts, where scarlet-robed monks can be seen chanting prayers amidst the intoxicating scent of flickering yak-butter lamps.

Dynamic and vibrant, mysterious and exotic, Lhasa's unexpected and otherworldly sights still make a visit to this soulful capital very much worth the journey.

Lhasa stay

Lhasa go

Lhasa eat

Lhasa shop

Lhasa Nightlife

Lhasa attractions

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