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Lhasa

Located in the center of the Tibetan Plateau and on the north of the Himalaya Mountains, Lhasa sits in a flat river valley in the middle reaches of the Lhasa River – a tributary of the Yarlung Zangbo River. Lhasa, known as the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, is the political, economic and cultural center and also a transportation hub in Tibet. Tradition has it that this valley plain was covered with weeds and sands in the 7th century when Princess Wencheng of the Imperial Tang dynasty married into the Tibetan Empire. After that, the Jokhang Monastery and the Ramoche Temple were constructed, attracting more and more missionary Buddhist monks and pilgrims. Due to their arrival, many inns and residential houses around the Jokhang Monastery were built one after another, which constituted the embryonic form of the ancient town. However, the genuine Lhasa is the Jokhang Monastery and Barkhor Street built up surrounding the Jokhang Monastery.

Potala Palace

The Potala Palace is called the 'Bright Pearl on the Roof of the World'. It is the symbol of Lhasa and the Qinghai Tibetan Plateau, and was also the heart of Tibet's regime in the past. In the most magnificent palace with the highest altitude in the world, there is an extremely rich collection of cultural relics and crafts. In addition, the unique cultural heritage relating to the snowy civilization is cherished in this palace. The large-scale palace is composed of a group of castle-style buildings. With a history of 1300 years, the Potala Palace is a genuine world heritage site and the outstanding castle-style buildings have characteristics which are truly representative of Tibetan architectural art. Tibetans as well as visitors who are lucky enough to enter the Potala Palace consider it a reward and a gift of life.

Address:35 Gong Qian Alley, Central Beijing Road, Chengguan District, Lhasa.

The Namtso

Located in the center of Tibet, the Namtso is the second largest saltwater lake in China with the highest elevation in the world. Its surface is as vast as the sea and its holy beauty is irresistible. In Namtso, the clear clouds spread over the dark green lake, creating a peaceful atmosphere; the red sunlight shines on the clouds, reflecting in the mirror-like lake, which forms a fine view. Rock formations towers above, like motionless Gods of the millennium overlooking the world. Every person who visits the Namtso feels that their soul has been washed with the pure water.

Address:Located in Damxung County in Lhasa City, about 240 kilometers away from Lhasa.

Jokhang Monastery

The Jokhang Monastery is the earliest civil structure architecture in Tibet and also the most glorious extant building in the period of the Tibetan Empire. It has a Tibetan and Hirakawa construction style as per the regulations of the Temple Bureau. There are four floors in the Jokhang. Its gold-domed architectural style and the bracket system are a prototype of the Han ethnic style, but the watchtowers and carved roof beams are Tibetan style. The 103 wood-carved beasts and sphinxes beneath the eaves of the second and third floors in the main hall reveal Nepalese and Indian styles and characteristics.

Address:Barkhor Street, Chengguan District, Lhasa.

There are many local ethnic handicraft goods in Tibet, including traditional knitting and wooden, silver and bamboo bowls. There are also many imitations mass produced by businessmen from Nepal, India and other countries, including different kinds of bone-carved animals and various 'antiques' created using vintage technology.

Barkhor Street

Seated in the old town of Lhasa, Barkhor Street, also called Bajiao Street, is a well-known circumambulation road and business center, which preserves the traditional features of the old town and its living pattern as much as possible. In fact, the original Barkhor Street was simply a single circular road surrounding the Jokhang Monastery, called the Holy Road by the Tibetan people. Along this road there are over 120 handicraft stores and more than 200 booths, selling more than 8000 kinds of commodities. Special handicrafts can be purchased here.

Address:Near the Jokhang Monastery, Chengguan District, Lhasa.

Typical Tibetan food includes Zanba, buttered tea, barley wine, yogurt and Tibetan stuffed buns. Tibetan food is meat-based, and the various yak meat dishes deserve to be mentioned and cannot be missed by diners, although many tourists might be unaccustomed to this simple cooking. However, they needn't worry too much about the Tibetan food because Sichuan cuisines have been introduced and are popular in Lhasa now. In addition, tourists can eat Nepalese and Indian food as well as Western dishes.

Buttered tea

Buttered tea is a kind of Tibetan beverage, which is often enjoyed as the staple food with Zanba by the Tibetans. The high-calorie Tibetan beverage tastes delicious, with a strong milky fragrance. A gulp of the buttered tea can refresh you and provide physical strength.

Recommended restaurants:Gang Ji Restaurant

Address:Near the Jokhang Monastery, Tibetan Hospital Road, Chengguan District, Lhasa.

Zanba

Zanba is a traditional staple food of Tibetan herders. The name Zanba comes from the Tibetan transliteration of Chow Mein, which is a main course consumed by the Tibetan people every day. Along with buttered tea, diners can enjoy a unique flavor. Zanba may be unusual the first time you taste it, but it should definitely be sampled if you come to Tibet.

Recommended restaurants:The Snow God Palace (Tibetan restaurant)

Address: Opposite to the Potala Palace Square, Central Beijing Road, Chengguan District, Lhasa.

Barley Wine

Barley wine, known to the Tibetan as 'Qiang', is made of the highland barley growing in the Tibetan Plateau. There are two kinds of barley wine: strong and mild. Both are Tibetan favorites, and are indispensable on festival days, at weddings, on the birth of children and when seeing off friends and relatives. The strong barley wine is sometimes called 'Highland Maotai'.

Recommended restaurants:Ganglamedo restaurant

Address:127 East Beijing Road, Chengguan District, Lhasa.

Bus

There are dozens of bus routes in Lhasa city. The bus usually arrives every 10–20 minutes, and usually costs 1 yuan. There are sightseeing double-deckers which start out from Lhasa Railway Station and go via the Norbulingka Road and the Potala Palace Square.

Taxi

Taxis run the meter and have a starting price of 10 yuan for 5 km, then 2 yuan per kilometer after that. Due to the small size of Lhasa, passengers do not usually need to spend more than the starting price to arrive at their destination. The fare will exceed the starting price if passengers go to the suburbs to visit the Drepung Temple or the Sera Monastery. It costs about 200–300 yuan to rent a taxi for a day; this will be cheaper during the quiet season.

Currency:RMB (CNY)

Power consumption: 220 V/50 Hz

Telephone area code:+860891

Climate

As the most of Tibetan areas are in the highland, strong radiation, much sunshine, low temperature and less accumulated temperature are the most notable features. The maximum recorded temperature is 29.6℃ and the minimum temperature is minus 16.5℃ in Tibet. The annual precipitation is 200–510 mm.

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