Tucked into Lhasa’s iconic Red Hill, Potala Palace is the highest palace in the world, with its main structure sitting more than 12,000 feet above sea level. Its sprawling structures are divided into two parts, known as the Red and White palaces. Travelers who venture to this religious Mecca will find a center devoted to Buddhist prayer and impressive, detailed murals located inside the Great West Hall. The Dharma Cave and Saint’s Chapel date all the way back to the seventh century, offering visitors a chance to connect with Tibet’s rich history in a truly unique way.
The White Palace, which once housed local Tibetan government, now serves as the living quarters for the Dalai Lama. It’s also home to a school, seminary, printing house, well-kept gardens and even a jail. In addition to breathtaking views, visitors will find cultural relics, brightly colored murals and hand-carved statues dating back to ancient times.
Polata Palace is located at 35 Beijing Middle Road in Chengguan in Lhasa, and as with many sites, the Chinese government strictly controls entrance. All travelers must enter from the east main entrance, and all visits are limited to one hour. During high season, from May 1 to October 31, travelers must apply for reservation tickets to enter the palace. Although they are free, it is not possible to enter the grounds without them. No liquids are allowed in the palace, and a thorough security check is administered. Be sure to respect Tibetan Buddhist customs by not stepping on thresholds or wearing hats.