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Potala Palace
Potala Palace

Potala Palace

May-Oct 7:30am-6:40pm Nov-Apr 9am-4pm
35 Beijing Middle Rd, Lhasa, China

The basics

As foreigners can only visit Tibet on a guided tour with a recognized provider, travelers almost always visit the Potala with a guide. The palace is Tibet’s must-see sight, meaning that tickets are limited, and time slots have to be booked several days in advance—woe betide you if you miss your precise slot.

Tours typically explore both the White Palace, a rooftop area that formed the living quarters of generations of reincarnated Dalai Lamas, and the Red Palace, used for religious worship. For a more intimate experience of this majestic monument, it’s worth considering a private Potala Palace tour.

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Things to know before you go

  • Even if you don’t care for history, the Potala Palace is a must when in Tibet.
  • The Potala Palace is a sacred site: Remember to dress respectfully, covering shoulders and knees. Bring a jacket, as the palace is cool even in the height of summer, and wear practical shoes, as you’ll cover a lot of ground.
  • The top of the Potala Palace stands around 984 feet (300 meters) higher than the rest of Lhasa, a high-altitude city. Aim to avoid visiting on your first day if you’re arriving from a low-lying destination.
  • Photography is forbidden inside the palace.
  • Exploring the Potala Palace involves negotiating a number of steep and challenging stairways; It’s not wheelchair accessible.
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How to get there

The Potala Palace sits atop the 427-foot (130-meter) Red Hill at the heart of Lhasa, about a 1.5-mile (2.5-kilometer) walk from the Jokhang Temple. It’s a surprisingly bracing hike up the hill from the parking lot, especially if you have yet to acclimatize to altitude.

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When to get there

The Potala Palace is open from morning until mid-afternoon seven days a week, with slightly reduced hours during the winter season. Your guide should ensure that you arrive at the palace around an hour before the time slot on your ticket to guarantee entry.

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Who is the Dalai Lama?

The current Dalai Lama, head of the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism, is the 14th man to hold his role—and Tibetan Buddhists believe he is a reincarnation of previous leaders. Until China occupied Tibet in 1959, it was a religious state with the Dalai Lama at its head and the Potala Palace as its government seat. When the Dalai Lama dies, his successor’s name will come from an urn in the Potala Palace.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Potala Palace?
A:
Attractions near Potala Palace:
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Lhasa?
A:
As well as visiting the Potala Palace, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: