I went to Lhasa, Tibet on the train from Beijing. This trip is definitely worth taking, but be sure that you prepare yourself for the altitude. If you are not physically fit, it will be a very difficult trip for you. Even those of us in my group who were fit had problems and everyone got sick. I wouldn’t recommend eating the food on the street if you’ve never eaten in a third world country and absolutely do not drink the water. You should book through a travel agency and make sure they take you to a variety of places. Lhasa is full of monasteries, but there are also hot springs and a beautiful countryside outside of the city.
It is very important to remember that the Tibetan people are under Chinese control against their will. Please do not speak to people about this, however. They may choose to do so with you if you are from somewhere like the United States, but they are always careful to do so when no one is around (especially Chinese people). Just be careful not to put them in a position that will be dangerous for them and their families.
Also, the Tibetan people are the absolute worst drivers on the planet. They will scare any normal driver to death, but they rarely seem to have accidents. (Quick story: On the way to the Lhasa Airport (which is about 2 hours away from Lhasa), there was a long, long Chinese military convoy that everyone was trying to pass on a two lane road. At one point, there were literally three lanes of traffic going one direction and one lane going the opposite direction. My friend and I glanced at one another and simultaneously pulled out our cameras to get a picture in case it happened again. About 30 minutes later, we were still passing the convoy and going around hairpin turns on the wrong side of the road and honking the horn to let oncoming traffic know that we were in their lane. Terrifying!)
Finally, I would recommend that you take the train in and fly out. The train is not a lot of fun, but the scenery on the second morning is totally worth it. Make sure you get either a hard or soft sleeper.
You will love Lhasa. Good luck and best wishes!
(The photo is of the Barkhor Market taken from the roof of the Jokhang Temple.)over 5 years ago