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Traversing the Tibetan Plateau: Part II - Lhasa & surrounds

Updated: May 20, 2020

In the autumn of 2007, I made one of my most memorable journeys; from Xinjiang, in far Western China, I crossed the Aksai Qin and over the Kunlun Mountain Range, entering the high Tibetan plateau. For the next seven weeks, I traversed Tibet - from Ngari in the far West, through Amdo and Lhasa to Kham; the culturally Tibetan regions of Sichuan and Yunnan.

This article covers the middle part of the journey: exploring Lhasa and it's surroundings - the glorious street style of Lhasa, the Potala Palace & Jokhang Temple, pilgrims, Nam Tso Lake, and the nearby monasteries of Sera, Ganden and Drepung.


Arrival in Lhasa

Lhasa is being heavily Sinicised and has likely changed drastically since I was there; you can be forgiven for thinking you're in any mid-size Chinese town. But leave the high street behind and head towards the Jokhang Temple, and you will enter another world. All these years later, I still remember my first wander into the backstreet of central Lhasa, just behind my guesthouse. It was one of those magical travel moments that tugs at my heart even now, as I remember back.

Although I had planned only to pass a few days in Lhasa before heading onwards, this captivating and fascinating city help me in her grip for three weeks. I could have happily spent much longer.