"Lhasa, the pilgrim capital of Tibet" Top 5 Page for this destination Lhasa by grets

Lhasa Travel Guide: 512 reviews and 1,371 photos

Lhasa is situated at an altitude of 3,595 metres on the north bank of the Kyi-chu River. The name Lhasa is thought to come from the Tibetan words Lha (sacred) and Sa (earth). In Chinese the town is known as Lasa Shiqu. Lhasa has always been a sacred city to Tibetans, ever since it rose to importance in the 7th century, although some of the mystery of yesteryears has disappeared over the last few years, to reveal a dull Chinese city, full of high-rise Chinese buildings and faceless apartment blocks.

Population = 200,000

The approach to Lhasa from Gonggar airport takes you through what at first appears as an ugly, modern sprawling Chinese City. You pass the huge monstrosity of a golden yak sculpture, and then, suddenly, you are in Potala Square. Like magic, like something out of a film. It seemed so unreal to finally be here in person, but I didn?t feel the depth of emotion as I expected when seeing the Potala Palace for the first time.

The old city is lovely, with traditional architecture and locals milling around going on with their everyday business. There are many Chinese tourists, but hardly any other Westerners. On the one afternoon we had free to wander about the city, we saw three other Westerners, and one of those was from our party! Immerse yourself in the atmosphere and soak up the character of this wonderful Tibetan city before it becomes too Chinese!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Hardly any Western tourists
  • Cons:Lots of Chinese tourists
  • In a nutshell:The home of Potala Palace and a fantastic place to visit
  • Last visit to Lhasa: Sep 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (46)

Comments (25)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jan 14, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    Grete, thanks for your great comprehensive story about the Gem of Asia....

  • uglyscot's Profile Photo
    Sep 10, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    Most interesting and informative. t is a place that is seldom in the news these days, so no wonder you were an object of interest.

  • balint01's Profile Photo
    Oct 14, 2008 at 3:14 PM

    Great tips for Lhasa, I didn't have to think which one to save in my Trip Planner -> all! :) Thanks Grete!

  • Gillybob's Profile Photo
    Aug 19, 2008 at 6:39 AM

    I thought that was a huge swimming pool in the middle of the photo at first!! LOL!!! Going anywhere nice? Gillybob greetings

  • goutammitra's Profile Photo
    Jul 27, 2008 at 6:33 AM

    What a marvellous page and tips Grets! I think it is as good as carrying a Lonely Planet book. Surely the best page on Tibet.

  • chennaismartguy's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2008 at 2:42 AM

    Excellent views!! Hope to be there one day!

  • Basaic's Profile Photo
    Nov 27, 2007 at 9:17 AM

    Love your Lhasa Page! Great tips.

  • Jun 18, 2007 at 9:40 PM

    You should try the Yak Sizzler at the Dunya. It is excellent! Snowlands is still my favorite place to eat in Lhasa, their Lassi's are to die for!

  • Apr 9, 2007 at 1:23 AM

    wooow, this is an interesting page, I read the book by Heinrich Harrer and had the idea, that everything was destroyed by the Chineese troops

  • raytor's Profile Photo
    Dec 12, 2006 at 7:16 AM

    Pierced right through the heart!!!!


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