Top ChoicePalace in Lhasa

Potala Palace

Potala Palace

The magnificent Potala Palace, once the seat of the Tibetan government and the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas, is Lhasa's cardinal landmark. Your first sight of its towering, fortress-like walls is a moment...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Temple in Lhasa

Jokhang Temple

Jokhang Temple

The 1300-year-old Jokhang Temple is the spiritual heart of Tibet: the continuous waves of awestruck pilgrims prostrating themselves outside are a testament to its timeless allure. The central golden Buddha image...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Site in Drepung Monastery

Main Assembly Hall

The main assembly hall, or Tsogchen, is the principal structure in the Drepung complex and is the one chapel you must not miss. The hall is reached through an entrance on the western side, just past a wonderful...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Site in Sera Monastery

Sera Je College

This is the largest of Sera’s colleges, generally accessed from a western side entrance. It has a breathtaking main hall, hung with thangkas and lit by shafts of light from high windows. Several chörtens hold the...

Top ChoiceMausoleum in Ganden Monastery

Tomb of Tsongkhapa

The red, fortress-like structure of Tsongkhapa’s mausoleum is probably the most impressive of the reconstructed buildings at Ganden. It’s above a prominent white chörten. Red Guards destroyed both the original...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Site in Sera Monastery

Main Assembly Hall

The main assembly hall (Tsogchen) is the largest of Sera’s buildings and dates to 1710. The central hall is particularly impressive and is noted for its wall-length thangkas and two-storey statue of Jampa. To the...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Site in Ganden Monastery

Assembly Hall

The recently renovated tsogchen (assembly hall) has statues of the 16 arhats (literally ‘worthy ones’) and two huge statues of Tsongkhapa (only visible from upstairs). Stairs lead up to the inner sanctum: the Ser...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Site in Drepung Monastery

Main Debating Courtyard

If you’re here in the afternoon, save some time to watch the monk debating (lots of shouting, hand slapping and gesticulation) between 2.30pm and 4pm in the main debating courtyard in the northeastern corner of...

Top ChoiceHistoric Site in Lhasa

Chagpo Ri Rock Carvings

This hidden corner of Lhasa features more than 5000 painted rock carvings that were created on the back side of Chagpo Ri over the course of a millennium. Throughout the day, pilgrims perform full-body...

Buddhist Monastery in Lhasa

Drepung Monastery

Along with Sera and Ganden Monasteries, Drepung functioned as one of the three 'pillars of the Tibetan state', and it was purportedly the largest monastery in the world, with around 7000 resident monks at its...

Buddhist Monastery in Lhasa

Sera Monastery

Sera Monastery

About 5km north of Lhasa, Sera was founded in 1419 by a disciple of Tsongkhapa as one of Lhasa's two great Gelugpa monasteries. About 600 monks are now in residence, down from an original population of around...

Palace in Lhasa

Red Palace

Red Palace

You start the tour of the main Potala building from the top and descend through the bowels of the building to exit on the ground floor. The gilded buddhas, intricate mandalas and towering funeral stupas you pass...

Buddhist Site in Sera Monastery

Sera Me College

Follow the pilgrims clockwise, past the Tsangba Kangtsang and Tsowa Kangtsang residential halls and several minor buildings, to Sera Me College. This college dates back to the original founding of the monastery.

Palace in Lhasa

White Palace

On the roof of the Potala, the private quarters of the 13th and 14th Dalai Lamas are to the right. The Dalai Lamas would have watched festival dances performed in the courtyard below from the hidden balconies of...

Buddhist Site in Ganden Monastery

Zimchung Tridok Khang

To the east of the Assembly Hall's Ser Trikhang (Golden Throne Room) and slightly uphill, this residence contains the living quarters and throne of the Ganden Tripa.

Buddhist Monastery in Lhasa

Ganden Monastery

Ganden Monastery

About 50km east of Lhasa, this monastery, founded in 1417 by Tsongkhapa, was the first Gelugpa monastery. Still the order's heart and soul, it's the one out-of-Lhasa sight to choose if your time is limited. Two...

Buddhist Site in Sera Monastery

Debating Courtyard

There is usually monk debating here on weekday afternoons from around 3pm to 5pm, which provides a welcome relief from peering at Buddhist iconography. You will hear it (with much clapping of hands to emphasise...

Buddhist Site in Lhasa

Drak Yerpa

For those with an interest in Tibetan Buddhism, Drak Yerpa hermitage, about 30km northeast of Lhasa, is one of the holiest cave retreats in Ü. Among the many ascetics who have sojourned here are Guru Rinpoche and...

Buddhist Monastery in Lhasa

Drölma Lhakhang

This significant but small monastery is jam-packed with ancient relics and hidden treasures. It’s only 30 minutes' drive southwest of Lhasa and is worth a stop en route to or from the airport for those interested...

Buddhist Monastery in Lhasa

Nechung Monastery

This monastery, 10 minutes’ walk downhill from Drepung Monastery, is worth a visit for its historical role as the seat of the Tibetan State Oracle until 1959.