Lhasa, the capital of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, has a history of more than 1,300 years. It is the political, economic, cultural and transport center of the region. Lhasa covers an area of close to 30,000 square km. It has a downtown of 544 square km and a population of 400,000; 140,000 of its people live in the downtown area. Lhasa is home to the Tibetan, Han, and Hui peoples, as well as many other ethnic groups, but the Tibetan ethnic group makes up 87 percent of the total population.
Lhasa has gorgeous scenery. The Lhasa River, known as the “merry blue waves,” runs through the snow-covered peaks and gullies of the Nyainqentanglha Mountains, extending 315 km. The river empties into the Yarlung Zangbo River at Quxu, forming a scenic wonder that features blue and white water waves.
The antique city of Lhasa stands by the Lhasa River. Inside the city towers the Potala Palace. The city features a mixture of traditional and modern things, including prayer wheels and computers.
Located at the bottom of a small basin surrounded by mountains, Lhasa has an elevation of 3,650 meters and sits at 91’06E and 29’36N, the center of the Tibet Plateau. Blessed with flat land and mild weather, Lhasa is free of cold winters and insufferably hot summers, having an annual average daily temperature of 8 degrees C (43 degrees F). It enjoys 3,000 hours of sunlight annually, much more than all other cities in this regard, giving the city its title of “sunny city.” Lhasa enjoys an annual rainfall of 500 mm. It rains mostly in July, August and September. The rainy seasons in the summer and fall are the best seasons of the year, when it rains mostly at night, and is sunny in the daytime.
Tsetang (Zetang) is the birthplace of earliest Tibetans and the political and economical centre of Shangnan region. It sits on the south bank in the middle part of the Yarlung Tsangbo River with a moderate climate at an altitude of 3,600 meters.
The nearby Yarlung River beautiful area is a national scenic park with Samye Monastery, Yumbu Lhakang Palace, and burial site for Tsampos and Traduk Monastery spotting the region. It is located between two mountain ranges at the northern side of Himalayas, to the south of Nyanchen Tanggula mountains, just by the Yalong zangbu river, with land area over 800,000 square kilometers. The Yalong River flows from the south through the area and empty itself into Yalong Zangbu River, thus the Yalong River formed a massive river delta at its end when it merges into another. There are numerous No.1s– the first farming land, the first king of Tibet, the first palace (Yhongbulakhang), the first monastery in Tibet (Samye monastery). And several kings’ tombs are here: the world treasure-Pearl Tangka (A type of painting) was also and is still kept in Changdrok monastery.
The Chenpu meditation caves area (located to the north of Samye monastery) is still a dream place for Tibetan Buddhism practices. You can have a touch and visit to the holy lake Larmulatso–which was and now still the image manifestation watching lake for finding clues to choose the rein carlated boy of the Past Dalhai Lhama and Panchan Lhama.
An outstanding excursion from Lhasa is a circuit that takes in the towns of Shigatse, Gyantse and Tsetang. Excellent highways and spectacular scenery, on the way make this an excellent trip. It also offers a complete experience of Tibet in a neat itinerary. Shigatse (altitude 3/900 m) lies some 274 km to the west of Lhasa and is Tibet’s second largest city. The highway runs alongside the Yarlung Tsangpo ( Brahmaputra) river passing through narrow gorges and wide river falleys.|Framers plowing, their fields with yaks, sheep grazing on the huge plains, splendid sand dunes rocky hills in the distance are the beautiful rewards of this journey. The Tashihunpo Monastery, built in 1447 by the fits Dalai Lama, is Shigatses’s most important cultural and religious site. The main chapel here contains a huge 26-meter high statue of Maitreya the future Buddha. Other buildings contain images of Shakyamuni (The present Buddha), white and green Taras and embalmed bodies of past Panchen Lamas.
Shigatse to Gyantse (altitude 3,800 m) is 94 km of good road. Gyantse’s sign is the Kumbum stupa which is 32 m high and contains 77 rooms and 100,000 images of the Buddha. A prince of Gyantse had it built in 1427 by craftsmen form the Kathamndu valley. It is the premium example of 15 th century Newar art extant in the world. Pelkor Chode Monastery and Gyantse Fort (built atop a massive rock) are other major sight here. The road from Gyantse to Lhasa (260km) takes you over three mountain passes: Simala (4380m high), Korala (5,045m) and Ghampala (4,794m). The road skirts the Yamdrok Tso Lake before twisting up the Ghampala pass from the top of which there’s a unbelievable view of the lake on one side and the Yarlung Tsangpo River on the other. The landscape and the adventure of traveling on the old mule caravan route make this excursion an unforgettable trip.