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Potala Palace picture in Tibet
Potala Palace picture in Tibet
Close up of Potala Palace picture in Tibet
Potala Palace picture in Tibet
Potala Palace picture in Tibet
Close up of Potala Palace picture in Tibet

Key Info

  • 35 Beijing Middle Rd.
    Chengguan Qu, Lasa Shi, Xizang Zizhiqu, China, 850000

Details

  • Historic Homes/Mansions, Monuments and Memorials, Museums, Sightseeing Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.8
Overall
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  • Value
    4.5
  • Facilities
    4.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

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It's hard to miss Potala Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This grand, imposing structure stands more than 12,000 feet above sea level on Marpo-ri, or Red Hill, in the middle of central Lhasa. Potala's larger-than-life presence physically embodies the great historical, cultural and religious significance it holds for the Tibetan people. Not only does the palace serve as the winter home of the Dalai Lama but it also houses the remains of many other Dalai Lamas throughout history. At one point, Potala also acted as the seat of the Tibetan government.

Potala Palace is actually broken up into two palaces. The White Palace is where the Dalai Lama took residence and also where the government once operated. The Red Palace is where you'll find the stupas (a dome-shaped structure in Buddhism used to commemorate a sacred person, place or event) where former Dalai Lamas are buried.

Recent visitors said the palace's importance can be felt immediately upon arrival. Travelers say there is definitely a spirit here that's both palpable and contagious. Once inside, travelers report being awestruck by the architecture as well as the Tibetan art that's on display throughout the premises (Potala features 698 murals and nearly 10,000 painted scrolls). The only complaint some travelers had was that they didn't have enough time to enjoy the palace, as some reported that they were only allotted one hour inside with a guide. Also keep in mind, because of its location on the mountainside the palace can get quite cold so you should plan to wear a coat.

Potola Palace is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. If a guide doesn't prearrange a site visit for you and your tour group you can still visit the palace independently, but securing a ticket won't be easy. The palace only sells 2,300 tickets a day. During peak season (May to October), you need to book your ticket at the west gate of the palace one day before your visit. Luckily, Potala Palace is a common stop on Tibet tour group itineraries, so chances are you won't have to do much legwork. You must show up an hour before the time slot arranged by your tour guide to allow enough time for a security check. Tickets cost 200 yuan (about $30) from May to October and 100 yuan (about $15) from November to April.

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#1 Jokhang Temple Alongside Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple is one of the most important sites in Tibet. The Jokhang Temple was built in the seventh century to promote Buddhism in Tibet, and as ... Read more » Sino Images / Getty Images

#2 Barkhor Street After days of visiting temples, palaces and monasteries, treat yourself to some souvenirs on Barkhor Street. Barkhor Street is one big circular street that goes around Jokhang Temple and is ... Read more » bawanch / Getty Images

#3 Potala Palace It's hard to miss Potala Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This grand, imposing structure stands more than 12,000 feet above sea level on Marpo-ri, or Red Hill ... Read more » Rat0007 / Getty Images

#4 Sera Monastery One of the best places to immerse yourself in Tibetan Buddhism is the Sera Monastery. Situated about 5 miles north of central Lhasa, this monastery is one of the most ... Read more » dotstone / Flickr

#5 Lakes Tibet's mountain ranges get a lot of love, but the region's many alpine lakes are just as noteworthy. In fact, the Tibetan people consider these lakes to be ... Read more » MuYeeTing / Getty Images

#6 Mount Everest Base Camp A trip to Tibet would not be complete without getting an eyeful of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. Everest sits on the border of Nepal and Tibet ... Read more » benedek / Getty Images

#7 Tashi Lhunpo Monastery Like the Potala Palace, the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery holds a lot of significance in Tibetan Buddhism. Not only was the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery founded by the first Dalai Lama, but ... Read more » crystaltmc / Getty Images

Jokhang Temple picture in Tibet
Buddhas at Barkhor Street picture in Tibet
Potala Palace picture in Tibet
Sera Monastery picture in Tibet
Yamdrok Lake picture in Tibet
Mount Everest Base Camp picture in Tibet
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery picture in Tibet
Jokhang Temple picture in Tibet
Buddhas at Barkhor Street picture in Tibet
Potala Palace picture in Tibet
Sera Monastery picture in Tibet
Yamdrok Lake picture in Tibet
Mount Everest Base Camp picture in Tibet
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery picture in Tibet

Jokhang Temple is one of three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Lhasa. The temple is famous for housing Jowo Shakyamuni, a Buddha statue that is considered among the most sacred in Tibet. Sino Images / Getty Images

Barkhor Street is a great place to pick up religious motifs and statues, including Buddha.  bawanch / Getty Images

Potala Palace stands high above Lhasa at 12,000 feet above sea level. Because of the altitude, you should ascend the stairs slowly.  Rat0007 / Getty Images

A lot of travelers visit the Sera Monastery to witness its famous debating monks. Every day, monks go out into the monastery's courtyard to debate Tibetan Buddhism doctrines in a lively fashion. dotstone / Flickr

Yamdrok Lake is 45 miles long and is known for its vibrantly hued waters. The color of the water changes depending on the position of the sun and the season.  MuYeeTing / Getty Images

The Mount Everest Base Camp is pretty basic. Should you camp, expect bathrooms to be in separate tents, eastern toilets and electricity run by a generator.  benedek / Getty Images

The Tashi Lhunpo Monastery was built by the first Dalai Lama and acted as the seat of power for the Panchen Lama, the second most important leader in Tibetan Buddhism.  crystaltmc / Getty Images

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