Visit Potala Palace: the Ultimate Potala Palace Travel Guide You Need
Visiting Potala Palace is definitely one of the most mesmerizing experiences for your Tibet tour. Check all the useful information for Potala Palace tour and travel you need to know.
How to Get to Potala Palace in Lhasa
The Potala Palace is located in the center of Lhasa, on Beijing Middle Road, Chengguan District. It's magnificent Tibetan-style architecture on the Red Hill can be seen from all the directions in Lhasa city.
From Lhasa Gonggar Airport
The Gonggar Airport is almost 60 kilometers far from Potala, normally, we suggest the shuttle bus (25 yuan / person), where can reach the street next to Potala Palace. Or our company would like to offer coaches depart at 3 fixed time (09:30 am; 13:30 pm; 16:30 pm), which will take tourists directly to the hotels for good rest.
From Lhasa Railway Station
The Raiway Station is about 9 kilometers from Potala Palace,so we suggest taking the Taxi( around 30 yuan ).
From Barkhor Street
Barkhor Street is only 1.5 km from the Palace, so if you choose walking, just head to the west, go through Yutuo Road, about 710 meters turn right to Kangangduo Road, and keep walking250 meters, turn left then you will see the Potala Palace. But if some tourists have no intention to walk in the sun, our suggestion is still the Taxi, it’s not expensive but very convenient.
From Your Hotel
Normally the hotels in Lhasa will provide details about how to go the main attractions, we suggest that when you book the hotels, better in the Chengguan District, as almost the main famous places are in this district. Here we will offer some information about how to reach the Potala.
Most famous hotels are located in Bejing Road, business circle of Jokhang Temple, and R.Rorbulingka. If it’s on the R.Beijing, normally the Potala is easy to see, all you need is walk to it, and go straight. If it’s on the Business zone, so it has many ways to the Potala, if choose walking, go to the Tutuo Road, same way as from Barkhor Street or simply taking a Taxi is the easiest. If it’s on R. Rorbulingka, which means the hotels’ locations are on the west side of the Potala Palace, please walking to the northeast until on the R.Beijing.
Our Transfer Service
Our company offers transfer services which means as long as you are our clients, no need to worry about transports when gonging the main attractions, airport or the train station. You can either tell your travel consultant or Tibetan guide to arrange the pick-up or drop-off time.
Best time to visit Potala Palace
Potala Palace can be visited all year around, as four seasons are distinctive in Tibet; the Potala Palace has different beauties too.
From June to October are the peak seasons, esp. during Chinese National Day, the largest number of Chinese tourists are seen often in July and August and early Oct. At this period a lot of tourists will come for a visit, and the ticket price will be doubled, and the number of visitors will be restricted, especially in July and August, sometimes the tickets are sold out very early.
In contrast, the off seasons from November to the mid-Feb and shoulder season from Apirl to June could be a good choice, the price will become normal, 100 per person. Sometimes if luckily enough you can even see the beautiful snow-capped Potala Palace.
How to Book Potala Palace Ticket
Well, as the Potala Palace attracts a large number of people around the world, the tickets usually are in short supply.
From May to the end of October are the peak seasons. The tickets can only be reserved and the price will be doubled. Foreign tourists can go to the Ticket Office and reserve the next day ticket(free of charge), take your passport but remember the time starts from 9 am, and the numbers of tickets for reservation are only hundreds a day.
Sometimes even if you wait for a long day, you may still have no chance to get one. A single person can reserve four tickets at most. If you are luckily and book one, the next day, you may take valid identity and the reservation ticket to go to the main entrance, buy tickets and enjoy the tour.
Potala Palace, the landmark in Tibet
Potala Palace Booking Tips:
-- Potala Palace opening time is: 9:00~12:00, 15:30~16:30
Students may have half discount on price. If you cannot visit the Potala in time, remember going to the ticket window for change dates or cancel, otherwise the system will classify your identity into blacklist, cannot book or buy tickets within a week.
The total visiting time is one hour by required, many tourists may doubt about if it’s enough, the answer is yes, it’s enough. But we advise you to travel with a tour guide. With the guide’s interpretation, tourists will know the history more and understand why the Palace is so valuable.
Besides, our company offers tourist-friendly Potala ticket booking service. We can ensure you get the tickets at the right time and you won’t need to waste time queuing for the tickets you wish. Our humorous and knowledgeable Tibetan guide will unveil the profound Tibetan history before your eyes.
Highlights for visiting Potala Palace
From east to west in Potala Palace are the White Palace and Red Palace. Inside this big palace, thousands of treasures, from the carvings on the pillar to murals pained by natural pigments on the wall, all of them have distinctive characters.
The Maitreya Chapel is located in the east top of the Red Palace. This hall preserves not only statues, but also hundreds of ancient Buddhist scriptures that are on the bookshelves. Going through this Chapel, standing on the roof of the Red Palace, you will get the unique views of the Golden Roofs which is only allowed to watch.
Golden Roof of Potala Palace
Another must-see site is the statue of Dalai Lama V which is preserved in the West Chapel. It’s the first statue with around 550 kilogram gold just to cover the tomb stupa. And the Chapel of Dalai Lama XIII is in the left building of the Red Palace, where preserved the statue of Dalai Lama XIII, the volume and height of Dalai XIII’s statue is most of the eight Dalai Lama’s.
Best Places to Take Pictures of Potala Palace
The Chakpori Mountain is located in the southwest of the Potala Palace, climb until you reach the Chakpori view platform where you can have the best angle to take the Potala panorama, especially in the early morning, a lot of photographers are waiting for the first light on the Potala Palace.
Zong Lu Kang Park
Zong Lu Kang Park is behind the Potala Palace, where you can catch the marvelous inverted image of the Potala. It’s opening all the day and free of charge.
Potala Palace Square
The Square in front of the Potala is also a good place to take photos of the Potala at night before the fountain.
How to Prevent Altitude Sickness for Potala Palace Tour
Before entering Tibet
Our suggestions are: stop drinking alcohol and smoking before entering the plateau ; please make sure having the full health check before starting the trip ; prepare some medicine that can resist the altitude sickness but don’t in hurry to use them ; eat some foods are high in sugar and protein ; avoid catching a cold and bring some thick clothes.
Arrival in Lhasa
Travelers who have visited to the plateau for the first time will respond differently to altitude ascent. The common symptoms include fatigue or a little bit dazzle, fast heartbeat, slight headache, etc. Normally if the situation isn’t severe, we suggest tourists spend a few hours or a day in hotels for resting. Some anti altitude sickness medicine can be bought at any pharmacy with the consultancy of pharmacists or doctor.
If you prepare all things above and everything is fine, before climbing the Potala Palace, please remember to bring some warm cloth and having good rest the day before your visit, or ask your guide to buy some medicine, and remember do not exert yourself and make big moves when you climb the long stairs( around 360 steps) to the Red Palace. Slow and steady, you may have a rest many times.
Travel, Dining and Shopping around Potala Palace
Once arrive a new place, the local souvenirs are always memorable. The Barkhor Street is a good place to go, many small shops are crowded on this street, selling Tibetan incenses, small crafts, bead necklaces. You can shop around in Barkhor Temple, and offer some incense money to the monk and add yak oil to the lamps in the Buddhist Temples. Other useful things for traveling can also be bought on this street, such as anti-altitude sickness, sunglasses, sunscreen, topees, etc.
In Tibet, it’s easy to buy the precious Chinese caterpillar fungus and saffron in a lower price than other places, but it’s better to go formal stores in case of frauds.
The Barkhor Street is a wonderful place to search local dishes and snacks, almost every restaurants are full of people and compliments, the yogurt and Tibetan pancake(name is ‘Nang’), yak meat and sweet tea, etc. are must-try dishes and beverage.
Worst Mistakes to Avoid for Potala Palace Travel
1. Many tourist insist to buy tickets on their own without reading any traveling advice, most of the time, they back with empty hands, particularly in peak seasons. We sincerely suggest tourists buy tickets from your tour operators.
2. The entrance has security check, it is not allowed to carry liquids, knives or any fire tools, but can deposit these things at ticket office and get them back after the tour.
3. It’s not allowed to take photos or touch any relics inside, we have to remind that the consequence can be very serious, a serious act could face fined a lot of money even be detained.
4. The Potala Palace is a sacred place, so skirts, sunglasses and hats are not allowed to wear while visiting, high-heels we don’t suggest, too.
5. If you’d like to prepare some changes in pockets, as the incense money praying for a good wishes.
6. Please notice your time limitation of touring( 1 hour).
7. Please do not make any big moves while climbing the Potala Palace, the average altitude is above 3,700 meters, it’s still a small challenge for someone.