China trip 3: Living in China (Tibet)

Previous posts of this trip:

China trip 3: Living in China (Overview)

China trip 3: Living in China (the rest of Beijing’s sights)

China trip 3: Living in China (living in Beijing)

China trip 3: Living in China (precious memories)

China trip 3: Living in China (Qingdao)

Sorry everyone, I was super busy these last months with finishing my PhD and making my China trip 4, which I will write about soon.

Let’s finish up this first.

After Qingdao, my friends had arranged to go to Shanghai. But since I had already been there, I decided to arrange a trip to Tibet. Unfortunately I didn’t have many days, so I only stayed in Lhasa.

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Important:

  1. You need a permit for Tibet. That means that you need to arrange a tour with an agency and they will provide the permit for you. You also can’t enter some attractions without a tour guide. Maybe the rules are more flexible now. I heard they recently opened the borders of Tibet-Nepal, so maybe other rules changed too.
  2. Altitude sickness: Lhasa, the capital of Tibet has an altitude of 3,656 meters.
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    That means the view is even more amazing. The air is so clear and everything looks so much better. But there is the possibility of you getting altitude sickness. I got it. The first time I woke up, I threw up and couldn’t enjoy food for about 3 days (almost all the time I stayed there!). There is nothing to determine if you will get it or not, it depends on the person. I was the youngest/fittest/non-smoker of the group and I was the only one affected. But you will get tired easily. Climbing stairs is just so much more difficult in 3,000 meters.
    My advice: if you have time, spent 2-3 days in another city with some altitude. Kunming for example has an altitude of 1,800 meters, it is a good starting point.
  3. There are many chinese soldiers in Lhasa. Don’t take a photo of them! I did and they made me delete it. Better avoid all the drama.

So how is Lhasa? One word: AMAZING! It is exactly as I imagined it.

Interesting markets and selling “kiosks”:

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yak meat

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Amazing people, polite, nice and traditional. Many of them pray, since this is the last part of a walking or even crawling religious trip.

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builders walking back and forth while singing. This will make the roof steady somehow.

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praying for people that do not know how to read. Can’t read the prayers? No problem! Turn this little thing containing the prayers or touch the letters in these big gold cylinders and it counts as praying!

And of course the sights!

  • Potala Palace (not allowed to take photos inside)

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Potala Palace seen from the Jokhang Temple

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  • Sera Monastery, where you can watch the monks debate daily. Monk debating can be about anything. You will not understand what they say, but the standing person moves every time he says his opinion and it is very interesting.

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  • Jokhang Temple

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  • Summer Palace, which has many small buildings and gardens. It is not as impressive as the rest of the sights, you can skip it if you have no time (try to avoid the horrible and depressing “zoo”)

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You will eat here: Makye Ame. It is the best restaurant in Lhasa, traditional, but also tourist friendly. A little expensive for Tibet, but the food is very good and plenty. I went there everyday. Unfortunately the first days I could not enjoy food because of my altitude sickness 😦

It is very busy, so you will probably share a table with other tourists (mostly chinese) and make new friends!

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There is also a modern part of the town, with streets, cars and shops. I don’t have many photos because I was amazed with the traditional parts and did not care for the (pretty fine) modern part.

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the great stupa

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And of course you will spent all of your time just walking around this area (Barkhor Street and around):

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I had the greatest travel guide for Lhasa. I don’t know what publisher it is, it was an unknown one. But the travel guide told me about Makye Ame and about the only place where you can buy things actually made from locals. Of course I don’t remember where it is or what is it called and google does not help. Another thing I learned from my travel guide was the blind massages. It is a nice way for blind women to find a source of income. It was my first massage ever and it was very good.

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it was in this building back then

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this cute guy lived next door

That is the end of this post.

I know that for many people (like me) Tibet is a dream destination. I will say: hurry up and go!

I will definitely visit it again, preferably from Nepal and I will surely go outside Lhasa.

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6 thoughts on “China trip 3: Living in China (Tibet)

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