Lhasa - The only real city, is a major tourist destination, and never stops being fascinating.
Damzhung - A busy transport oriented town, with lots of restaurants and shops, it's the closest town with public transport to Nam Tso (lake). You can usually arrange a jeep to the lake here, or trek to the lake from here in two or three days.
Nam Tso Lake - An enormous salt water lake with a small monastic retreat center called Tashidor Gompa on its shore. It's a popular destination for an overnight excursion from Lhasa, often done on a jeep tour, but reasonably easy to arrange independently. If trekking, bring a tent, as thunder showers are common here, and there's not shelter between Damshung and Tashidor Gompa. Once at the lake you can either stay in the guesthouse at Tashidor Gompa, or in one of the many small caves at the base of the two steep stony hills where the guesthouse is.
The Potala Place, situated in the west part of Lhasa, is actually an architecture group situated on an extremely high mountain in the northwest of Lhasa, consisting of temples, palaces, dormitories and office areas. Except the name Potala Palace, some Tibetans also call this mysterious architecture the 2nd Putuo Moutain, because they believe that this place is also for divinities who would always bless them. The reasons of why people built the Potala Palace vary. Some say the Songain Gambo built it to enhance his political power, by preventing enemies from outside. Others say Songzain Gambo, the King of Tubo, in order to marry the princess of Tang Dynasty, declared the start of this miracle. After the restoration 10 17th century, the Potala Palace became the White House in Tibet of every Dalai Lama and the the political center as well. It is of Tibetan characteristics, leaning against the huge mountain. The Potala Palace has earned the name “heaven of arts”, for numerous invaluable treasures are collected within. The State Council of the people's Republic of China announced that the Potala Palace had been chosen to be one of the national cultural relic protection units in 1961. In 1994, it was listed as one of the World’s Culture Heritages by UNESCO.
Yampachen - (also spelled Yangbajing or Yangbajain) is a small town lying in Yampachen Valley in Lhasa Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region in western China. The Yampachen Valley is a long and narrow graben basin which covers an area of about 450 square kilometers. It is about 90 kilometers long and less than 10 kilometers wide. The mountains standing around the valley are 5500-6000 meters above the sea level. There are modern glaciers on the top of these mountains and relics of the ancient glaciers in the valley.
Tsurphu Monastery - Tsurphu Monastery in Lhasa is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery which served as the traditional seat of the Karmapa. The monastery was founded by the first Karmapa, Düsum Khyenpa (1110-1193) in 1159, after he visited the site and laid the foundation for an establishment of a seat there by making offerings to the local protectors, dharmapala and genius loci. In 1189 he revisited the site and founded his main seat there. It has a complex of 300 square meters, with walls up to 4 meters thick, and is capable of holding over 1,000 monks. The monks' residences were on the eastern side. Many travelers start the interesting Tsurphu Monastery to Yampachen trek from here.
The ancient Tibetan king, Songten Gamp, transferred the capital from the Yarlung valley to Lhasa, which was known as Ra-sa or 'Place of the Goat', in the 7th century. This name was quickly left behind after the adoption of the present name of Lha-sa, meaning 'Place of the Deity', as Buddhism took hold thoughout the Tibetan lands.
In the 17th century, The Dalai Lama's government completed the unification of Tibet and built the massive | Potala Palace to symbolize their authority in matters of religious and political life within the country. The city flourished as it was a vital link in the trade between India and China.
Since the Dalai Lama left Tibet in 1959, Lhasa has slowly been losing its identity as the ruling government has been proceeding with a model of development aimed at turning the city and the surrounding region into another typical Chinese-style regional center.
Lhasa is the first stop for many travelers entering Tibet, so the get in info is covered on the Tibet page.
Train to Tibet - With the completion of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway that is known as the highest railway on earth and the first railway to Tibet, Tibet’s history without a railway was finally ended. At present, there are several trains to and out of Tibet each day. The train has become the major way to get to Tibet for travelers. Since the railway was built in an area with an altitude over 4,000 meters, low oxygen content and harsh climate, the trains to Tibet were tailor-made. In order to make passengers travel comfortably onboard, the train is equipped with air-condition, oxygen supply system and anti-radiation sightseeing windows.