Lhasa is at 3658M in elevation. I felt a little headache and was tired after walking a short distance. However, the mysterious Lhasa provided
a lot of things to do and to see.
Lhasa completely knocked me out of my expectation when our bus passed through this city. It is very commercialized. I expected to be undeveloped and rural.
I spent most of my first evening walking around town, looking for opportunities to see how local people's lives were. Markets were full of people. One thing that
annoyed me was that there were too many kids begging on the streets. It didn't seem they were that poor. It had to be the tourist culture.
We visited Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple on the 2nd day. It was an eye-opening day that we learned a lot about the history of Tibetan Buddhism. We saw very
dedicated Buddhists performing their rituals in front of the temple. (see the video below) Some of them had to perform 108 times rituals everyday.
On the 3rd day, we went Drepung Monastery, where it is located on top of a hill 8km outside of Lhasa. The monastery was really like a seperate city itself,
covering a total of 20,000 sq. km. There were about 200+ buildings in this monastery. In the afternoon, we went to the Tibet Museum in Lhasa, and visited a local family
at their own house. It was an very interesting experience. Tibetan family have great hospitality. They served us Yak Tea and home-made barley beer.
Boarding Air China to Chengdu ...
Tibet Visiting Permit for Foreigners. (Just another piece of paperwork)
Arriving at Lhasa Airport at Gonggar.
Entering the first ever Tunnel in Tibet (from Gonggar to Lhasa).
This building was called the "Mobile Phone City" ....
First glimpse of Potala when our bus passed by.
My signature Shadow.
Yes ... They do have electricity.
This young monk was asking me for donation (if you know what I mean) ....
Lhasa should be called the capital city of "Landcruisers" Click to play video (10 MB file).
These are the common residence apartments in the city.
Flags were hanged on almost every corners on the roofs.
Walking through a local market.
A local market full of supplies.
We stayed in this hotel, the "Shangbala Hotel".
Barkhor Square outside of Jokhang Temple.
Believers performing their rituals in front of Jokhang Temple..
Yes ... They were very serious.
Entrance to the Potala Palace
It was a long path walking up to the Potala.
Some of the stone were engraved with the Tibetan scripture.
We saw these mountain goats on the way up.
More mountain goats.
The red palace in Potala.
The white palace in Potala
Workers hauling stones, piece by piece, on their back.
City of Lhasa on the background.
The white palace.
The white palace.
It took us about 15 min to walk up here.
Entering the white palace.
Typical steep stairs in Tibetan monasteries.
Inside white palace (I supposed not to take any pics)
Very detailed window decorations.
This hollow structure is to allow air flow and for natural light to come through
Every door handle was tied with colourful ribbons.
Himalayan range in Tibet (outside of Potala).
The traditional Prayer wheels outside of Potala.
See the prayer wheels ... Click to play video (3 MB file).
Me turning the prayer wheels.
Outside of Potala, don't know what this structure was called.
Just count how many Landcruisers in this Potala parking lot.
The red palace from far away.
This Tibetan kid was just tall enough to climb stairs.
Our first lunch in Tibet.
Outside of Jokhang Temple.
The whole Barkhor Square (outside of Jokhang Temple) was paved with granite stones.
Very typical Tibetan roof structure.
All monastery doors were painted in red.
On the roof of Jokhang Temple.
Believers were performing their rituals.
... up and down, and up and down ...
See how they did it ? Imagine they had to do 108 times per day. Click to play video (4.5 MB file).
I will pray for you!
Typical Chinese management style. (Shot outside of ShangBaLa Hotel).
Yogurt made from Yak's milk
Riding Lhasa's tricycle taxi.
Using the wireless internet in a local cafe.
This cafe was called the Traveller's Bar.
Lights up at the Barkhor Square.
Evening at the Barkhor Square.
Brother and Sister at Drepung Monastery.
They were fighting for something.
The little brother got the treat.
Listen to the sister sang .... very impressive! Click to play video (5 MB file).
Locals posing for money.
Typical houses in the monasteries were painted in white.
Prayer wheels at Drepung Monastery.
The Bell house.
They use solar energy to boil water for their hot tea.
Yak butter candles inside the temple.
Tibetan scripture were stored inside the temple.
Portraits of Buddhas were painted on these 2 massive rocks on the hillside.
This way please !
Unlimited skyview from Drepung Monastery.
Monks "chanting" at the main chapel ....
It was very interesting to listen to them chanting. Click to play video (4.3 MB file).
Monks "chanting" at the main chapel.
The scripture and the incense burner.
These little buddha were made of gold.
Every single one of them !
Where did they collect the fire wood? I didn't see a single tree in Tibet.
The 40-foot pole outside of Drepung Temple ....
Walking through the 200+ buildings inside Drepung Monastery.
Deyang College in Drepung ...
The big kitchen at Drepung.
Wall painting on Deyang College.
Yes, we had to pay to take picture inside each room. This one was a cheap one.
Almost every entrance was decorated with colourful blankets.
My favourite picture at Drepung.
Imagine how they built the monastery years ago.
More firewood stacks ...
This was part of the roof structure, not firewood.
Look like I was in the Mediterranean.
The lady was cleaning the streets at Drepung. She was very nice posing for us.
You can see from this picture that Tibetans don't respect Chinese that much (if you know what I mean).
Are you going to buy this house, Gael?
It looked great, isn't? Why not ?.
This kid was begging me for money, and followed me for almost 100 meters. He finally gave up and walked back.
Tibet Museum at Lhasa. If you go, make sure you visit the 3rd floor, not the 2nd floor.
Homemade beer from barley.
Tibetan family risk a lot to put up the current Dalai Lama's picture in their own homes. It is forbidden by the Chinese government.
Since I can't meet Dalai Lama in person, it will do with his picture .
They are not Nazis. It was a Buddhist symbol for blessings.
A view at the Tibetan family living room. Click to play video (4.6 MB file).
The family boy was posing for us.
Thank you ... bye bye...
Me in front of Potala Palace.
Guard house at the Potala Palace.
Lhasa lawless traffic ....
Tibetan food with Lhasa beer.
Live music and dance performance at the Tibetan restaurant.
It was quite an experience. Click to play video (2.6 MB file).
All of these Tibetan dancers were actually our waitress & cooks. What a good job they did!.
These were the high-altitude supplement "Hong Jing Tian".
A ceremony for openning a new shop. (Shot outside of our hotel).
On May 5, I returned to Lhasa directly from Shigatse, without going to the Holy Lake, Lke Namtso. This was the first time we saw rain in 8 days. It only rained
for about 15 minutes in Lhasa.
I spent the afternoon in Lhasa mostly in the local markets, seeing how local people make their living. I also visited some book stores, went to a tavern tea
house to chat with the locals. And at night, we went to a Tibetan restaurant, then to a Dutch pub, and then a Chinese pub. We ended our day at 2:00am.
Our first couldy day in 8 days.
This 40-foot bus (sleeping coaches) was making a 3-point in this narrow street.
Look carefully. The 2 propane tanks on the roof were not tied. Hope they were not full.
Tibetan Fries at the local markets. It costed me 1 RMB.
Tibetan Sweet Tea at the Tavern Tea House. I wish I took a picture to show you the atmosphere in this tea house.
Dragon and Pheonix at a Tibetan Restaurant.
Hotpot at the restaurant.
We had a good time in this Dutch Pub.
Leaving Lhasa airport.
Boarding another Air China flight going back to Shanghai.