The expansive grounds of Norbulingka offer travelers and locals a quiet escape from the hustle of Lhasa—and on warm, sunny days, dozens of people can be found picnicking on the well-kept grounds. In addition to Norbulingka’s unmistakable natural beauty, travelers will find some 30,000 cultural relics from ancient Tibet scattered around the grounds. Visitors should be sure to check out Kelsang Palace, the oldest building in Norbulingka; as well as the Lake Palace on the southwest portion of the grounds. Norbulingka often appears on multi-day itineraries in Tibet—ranging from three-night explorations of the Lhasa area to 12-day journeys to the Mount Everest Base Camp.
Things to know before you go
- Norbulingka is a must-visit for history buffs and first-time visitors to Lhasa.
- Give yourself 2–3 hours to explore the grounds.
- Photography is not allowed inside the complex buildings.
- A tourist bus makes a circuit around the palace grounds for visitors who prefer not to walk.
How to get there
Norbulingka Palace is located on the west side of Lhasa, about 2 miles (3 kilometers) west of Potala Palace. To get there by public transportation, take bus #2, #14, or #24 to Luobu Linka. It’s within walking distance of the Potala Palace and Tibet Museum.
When to get there
The palace complex is open regularly throughout the year. During the summer and fall months, Norbulingka plays host to a number of dance and music festivals, as well as the annual Sho Dun—known to travelers as the Yoghurt Festival—which is held in August.
Among the most popular festivals at Norbulingka is the annual Shoton Festival in July of the Tibetan calendar. Tibetan opera teams from across Tibet gather to compete, while picnickers gather to watch traditional shows.
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