Our arrival at Lhasa airport from Chengdu was noticable or, more correctly, we noticed it! The change in altitude to 3,700 meters above sea level took an immeadiate toll on our knees and breathing.
The Jokhang Temple is one of the most important places, if not the most important place, of pilgramage in Buddhism. Slap bang in the middle of Lhasa pilgrams prostrate themselves in a clockwise direction around the temple. Quite possibly one of the most popular religous monuments I've been to as it's full of pilgrims - which made one feel a little tinge of guilt as one barged past to simply look at the arts and icons on display in spite of the quite apparent piousness.
The Potala Palace is probably one of the most iconic buildings in the world and a must stop for any visitor to Lhasa. One time seat of the Tibetan government, the Red Palace was reserved for religous affairs while the White Palace was reserved for political affairs. Essentially reconstructed in the 17th Century, the 999 rooms and single cave are only accessible with pre-booked, entry-time allocated tickets. The allowed hour to visit the palace just isn't enough for a building of this cultural and historic significance. But make the most of it - the tombs of the 5th, 7th and 9th Dalai Lamas are hugely impressive as is the residence and the reception room of the Dalai Lama.
We left Lhasa on the train to Langzhou. This was one of the greatest train rides I've ever been on. The majestic scenery of the Himalayan peaks and the vast expanses of the plateau more than compensate for the effects of altitude and the p1ss-poor dining car. There's nothing in my experience which compares to a magnificent train across the Himalaya. If you're into train rides, changing landscapes and the mountainous rail - this is a must do. 'Nuff said.
Trip to the Potala Palace - Travelogue from our morning spent in the Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet
Chengdu - three day stay in Chengdu - Travelogue from Chengdu, including the Wenshu Temple during our 18 day trip to China
Chengdu - trip to the Wenshu Temple - Travelogue from our afternoon in the Wenshu Temple in Chengdu
Solar Eclipse (2009) in China - the schedule - Travel plans for the 2009 Total Solar Eclipse. Includes China travel information
Impressions of China - a travelogue - Impressions of China by adventure couple Dave and Deb from theplanetD.com
China and Tibet - travel goals and achievements - Goals and acheivements for our travels to China and Tibet
Chengdu - video clip of the Wenshu Temple - Video showing the inside of the Buddhist Wenshu Temple in central Chengdu, China
Hangzhou - 2009 eclipse totality - Video clip showing totality of the 2009 eclipse as seen from Hangzhou
Leshan - video clip of the Giant Buddha - Video clip showing the Giant Buddha at Leshan in China
Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook