Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Streets are the top three attractions in Lhasa, Tibet. They should be on the itinerary of every Lhasa visitor! Situated in the historic center of Lhasa, they constitute the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as Historic Ensemble of Potala Palace. Our Best of Lhasa Highlights Group Tour is your best opportunity to experience Tibetan culture and connect with Tibetan history. With the services from our knowledgeable English speaking local Tibetan guide, you will immerse yourself in an authentic local environment while having a rich learning experience.
Potala Palace is the winter palace of Dalai Lama and the most prominent landmark of Tibet. Visitors to Potala Palace mainly admire the magnificent architecture, priceless artworks and many religious treasures. The palace has two main sections. The White Palace is the residential quarters of Dalai Lama. The Red Palace primarily serves religious functions. You will see countless murals and Tangkas covering the interior of many chapels and corridors. You will also find stupas of past Dalai Lamas and a statue of Tsongkhapa among many objects sacred to Tibetan people. In a word, Potala Palace is the attraction you must not miss in Lhasa!
Jokhang Temple is a Buddhist temple on Barkhor Square and many consider it the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. The construction of the temple first began in 652 by the great Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in dedication to his two wives. The two queens brought important Buddhist scriptures and objects into Tibet, which still remain in the temple today. Throughout history, Jokhang Temple went through many rounds of damage and multiple renovations. Numerous famous Buddhist teachers have also conducted teaching there. In addition, the architecture of the temple displays influences from Indian, Tibetan and Nepalese design.
The Barkhor Streets are the most lively area in Lhasa today. They are a maze of small alleys in the historic center of Lhasa. They surround Jokhang Temple in the center and house countless shops, restaurants and hotels. When walking on Barkhor Streets, travelers will encounter many local Tibetans performing pilgrimages and prostrations around the Bazaar. Accompanied by the sound of sutra chanting and prayer wheels spinning, you can shop for the best Tibetan arts and crafts as well as enjoy local cuisine. It is the place where you can lose yourself in a completely different but fascinating world.
What you can expect
Our English speaking local Tibetan tour guide will meet you at House of Shambhala hotel lobby or Lhasa Ganggyan Hotel lobby around 8:00AM. If you have a special request for meetup location we can happily accommodate that as well. You will then be transferred to our destination, Potala Palace, and begin your tour.
Potala Palace houses more than 1000 rooms, 10000 shrines and 200000 statues. It is also the highest point in Lhasa. You will first spend around 40min climbing several flights of stairs to reach Potala Palace on the hilltop and have a wonderful view of the entire Lhasa city. Once inside, you can proceed to the previous living quarters of the 14th Dalai Lama, as well as his office space where he processed business and diplomatic affairs. You will be in complete awe of the vibrantly colored and incredibly detailed paintings all over the walls, and shelves of prayers books tower overhead. Incense also fills the air and the glow of yak butter candles illuminates the magical space. Our knowldgeable guide will tell you about the stories of Dalai Lama and the royal family as well as answer your questions about Tibetan history.
One highlight of Jokhang Temple is a life-size statue of the Shakyamuni at age of 12. It was brought to by Princess Wencheng as dowry when Songtsan Gambo married her in 641. It is the most venerated object in Tibetan Buddhism. Many pilgrims come to Jokhang Temple from all over the world specifically to pay homage to the Jowo Rinpoche. You can ask any question about Tibetan Buddhism and be satisfactorily answered by our knowledgeable guide. Afterwards, we take a stroll on Barkhor Streets. We can join the pilgrims on their circling and prostrating rituals, and then shop for some handicrafts and souvenirs to bring home.
We will spend 3.5 hours at Potala Palace, 1.5 hours at Barkhor Streets and 2 hours at Jokhang Temple. The order of the visit will depend on Potala Palace ticketing schedule. After the tour, we will see you off at the historic center. If you want to do more sightseeing for the remaining time of your Tibetan journey, we welcome you to check out more Tibetan culture tours that we offer.