Lhasa, Tibet – Highest Capital in the World

by sebastien on December 28, 2010

There were only a few cities in our list of 'have-to-see' places, and Lhasa was one of them. What a culture-rich city. The Chinese presence there can be a little disheartening but with it brings a lot of modern blessings like well kept roads and such. Hit the jump for some pictures.

The hotel we picked in Lhasa, the Tashi Choten, was very hospitable, and had a unique design. All the rooms had windows facing into the center solarium, and the roof was a large skylight window. You could go up onto the roof and see the amazing view of all the roofs around you for miles. When we first arrived we were greeted with hot yak butter tea. I was very impressed with the kind service and helpful clerks, but the butter tea probably wasn't something I could easily get used to... Here are some photos of the hotel and our room:

Lhasa, Tibet, Tashi Choten Hotel

Our first excursion with our guide Tashi was to the Drepung Monastery. Known as the largest monastery in Tibet, it housed at it's peak almost 8000 monks. It's still functioning to this day, but not to the same extent. There are now fewer monks, and many more tourists and beggars. Here are a few of the more interesting beggars we saw:

Tibet, Lhasa, Drepung Monastery, Beggar, Musician, Dramyin

Monks are a common sight and easy to spot throughout Tibet, with their beautiful red robes and distinct lack of hair. The Drepung Monastery has many monks wandering around from building to building, and spending time in the assembly hall or in chapels. One chapel we saw disallowed woman from entering, or last least that's what we gathered from the broken English sign.

Tibet, Lhasa, Drepung Monastery, Men Only Chapel, Monk, Stairs

Back in the city, we left the hotel to check out the surrounding streets and alleys to see what we could find. Here is one photo that I found interesting:

Tibet, Lhasa, Cook, Smoking, Kitchen

Some of the locals enjoying the peacefulness of the gardens behind the Potala Palace:

Tibet, Lhasa, Potala Palace Courtyard, Thought, Sitting, Bench

The main attraction in Lhasa is the Potala Palace, where the Dalai Lama would reside until 1959. The Potala is huge, and so magnificently tall, with approximately 1,000 rooms. I suggest you read up about it, it's fascinating. Some photos of the Potala Palace:

Lhasa, Tibet, Potala Palace, Wall, Stairs, Blue Sky

These are only a few of the images from Lhasa, please go to /photos/20100822_Lhasa/ to view the others from this trip.

Thanks for stopping by! I wish you all the very best new year to come. Take care.