How to Spend 1 Day in Lhasa
Lhasa is the starting point for many longer tours around Tibet, but it’s also a fascinating destination in its own right. With one day, you can see its highlights, do some souvenir shopping, and even take in a cultural performance. Here’s how.
Morning: Tour Potala Palace
Potala Palace is a symbol of Lhasa—perhaps even the whole of Tibet—and is a must-visit attraction while in the city. Once the home of the Dalai Lamas, it is now a fascinating museum focused on the country’s culture and history. There is a lot to see here, so take your time. If you’re feeling ill from the altitude—Lhasa is located 11,990 feet (3,656 meters) above sea level—skip Potala Palace, which has many steps and requires a lot of walking, and go straight to the afternoon’s activities.
Afternoon: Visit the Jokhang and Shop for Handicrafts
Jokhang Temple, in the center of Lhasa’s old town, is the holiest temple to Tibetan Buddhists, and cobblestoned Barkhor Square outside is always filled with locals prostrating themselves in prayer. Inside are beautiful statues and paintings, and the roof offers wonderful views of the old-town area and across to Potala Palace. Afterwards exploring the temple, spend some time wandering the bazaars in this central area. Many handicrafts shops sell religious trinkets, such as prayer beads, as well as traditional Tibetan fabrics.
Night: Attend a Traditional Concert
If the day’s activities haven’t left you feeling the effects of the altitude, enjoy an evening performance, such as an opera or music-and-dance show, with a hearty Tibetan meal during or afterwards. These shows, which tend to combine Tibetan and Chinese traditions, are a fun way to experience traditional cultural practices in a comfortable, modern setting.