If you’ve made the decision to travel and explore the richness of Tibet, great because you will not regret your decision ever!
Snow clad mountains, thriving temple sites filled with chants and mantras to heal the spirit by the Tibetan monks and the glittering turquoise lakes weave their way through high passes draped with colorful prayer flags. Yep, there is a reason why I love Lhasa, the capital of Tibet and I bet you will too!
But amidst the incredible natural scenery, magnificent monasteries with rich aroma of butter tea (famous in Tibet) and endless prayer wheels, you will be undoubtedly reminded that Tibet still retains its distinct identity despite its 50 years of oppression. The devotion of Tibetan’s towards their religion and faith is extremely prominent. This beautiful “Forbidden Land” remains resilient with hardcore pilgrims completing their Koras (circumambulating sacred spots/ monasteries), one you would not like to miss, monks watching and playing football, local people enjoying their usual Yak meat in cozy restaurants and simply carrying their day to day activity with endless Buddhists chants and an innocent smile on their face, reminding everybody especially foreign visitors that nobody can take away their true identity and the unmovable faith that keeps them going.
Going to Tibet for the first time with my father for a business trip was a fantastic opportunity to explore this magical land. Having only three days in my hand, I made sure to make the most out of it. Below, I shall be giving the must sightseeing places in Lhasa, you need to do while in Tibet for a limited time. If you are a first time traveler like me, then surely, you must have heard about Tibet’s daunting altitude. Being one of the highest cities in the world, it is a must to take Diamox tablets prior to 2 days of your flight departure. Do keep in mind that you are not allergic to Sulphur! Though, I did not particularly face any altitude sickness, this also depends on person-to-person and their adaptability to acclimatizing higher altitude.
Must Things To Do In Tibet if you have a limited time:
Day 1: Acclimatization is the key to every first time visitor. Even though I did not face any acute altitude sickness, keeping the day to yourself is the best thing to do for your body. Instead, drink lots of water and keep yourself hydrated. You can take a stroll to Barkhor Bazar in the evening to experience the Tibetan lifestyle from a local perspective. Also, Rest!
Day 2: It was an honor to visit the iconic landmark of Tibet, famously known as the legendary Potala Palace. Once served as the seat of the Tibetan government and the main residence of Dalai Lama, it also houses several sacred statues and tombs of eight Rinpoche’s. It is now converted into a museum for visitors like us.
Next stop: Jokhang temple, included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2000 as part of the Potala Place, Jokhang Temple is the ultimate pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Pilgrims.Visiting Jokhang Temple for a real discovery tour in the mysterious and sacred land, you can get close to the religious part of Tibet and experience the devotion of Tibetans.
Day 3: Norbulinka, also known as Summer Palace, reflects the ethnical, religious features of the Tibetan people and embodies the architecture style of inland China. It is of great cultural value and was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2001 as an extension of Potala Palace.
Later in the afternoon, visit Sera and Drepung Monastery the two main highlights of any trip to Lhasa. Understanding the stunning Buddhist monastic debates, with their extravagant gestures and loud shouting and stamping, a truly eye-opening experience.
If more time persisted, I would definitely take the scenic route from Lhasa to Shigatse and stop over at Yamdrok Lake, Gyatse Fort and Karo-La Glacier.
It is definitely inadequate for words to describe the beauty of Tibet. Like stepping back in time to relinquish the culture and discover the spiritual city. For that, it is well worth the visit!