Stationed on the northern slopes of the iconic Himalayas, Tibet’s capital city of Lhasa is home to incredible mountain views, rich religious history and an impressive number of temples and monasteries. Travelers will find its lively urban streets to be the perfect starting point for exploring the culture, history and flavor of Tibet.
Day 1: Out and about in Lhasa
Start the day with a warm, filling bowl of tholma, roasted barley flour porridge that’s a staple of traditional Tibetan cuisine, at one of the city’s quiet eateries. Then head to the small but impressive Tibet Museum for an education in the art and history of this incredible kingdom. After exploring the winding roads of this deeply religious city, make a stop at the Barkhor Street Market. Located on Lhasa's oldest street, this eclectic city staple showcases a variety of handmade items that are still nearly impossible to find elsewhere in the world.
Day 2: Head to the top of the world
Travelers looking to experience the best of Lhasa should make a voyage to Potala Palace. Located in the iconic Red Hill, this sprawling structure is divided into two distinct parts and recognized as the highest palace in the world. In addition to unmatched views, visitors will find a center devoted to Buddhist prayer, ornate and colorful murals in the Great West Hall, as well as a school, seminary and private garden.
Day 3: Explore nature, history and Buddhism
Spend a day exploring Norbulingka, which once served as the summer home for his Holiness, the Dalai Lama. This 374-room palace, located on Lhasa’s west side, is not only a World Heritage site, but also Tibet's top historical site. Travelers can wander the beautiful grounds that include impressive gardens filled with rare plants and wildlife, then picnic in the shade of a towering tree at this scenic city escape. Some 30,000 cultural relics from ancient times are scattered across Norbulingka, making it an ideal stop for history buffs looking to bone up on their knowledge of the kingdom’s past.