In most cities we cover, there are invariably a few of the same types of experiences awaiting you. The urban park, for one. There may be a few monuments to someone or something of local importance, a bit of greenery and open space to provide a bit of escape from the stress of the city. Maybe there is a beach nearby where the locals go to relax when the weather is nice. Generally speaking, this is a global trend. Not in Lhasa. Of course, when your population lives 12,000 feet above sea level, leisurely loping through forest and sand aren't an option or a priority.
What you will find plenty of in Tibet is open, barren space. Adventurers with sensitivity to the cold or rugged landscapes should immediately start planning a trip elsewhere, for the best of what Lhasa and greater Tibet have to offer will come only after time to adjust to the altitude and only if you're willing to venture out into a world that feels like the uncharted Earth. For those that are up for it, natural wonders like Nangpo Gully (wilderness and natural hot springs), Lake Namtso (the highest salt-water lake anywhere), Yarlung Zangbo (a lengthy, 23,000 foot deep canyon), and the rushing waters of Drigung Chu are half-day treks away. Also, the half-week hike between the nearby Samye and Ganden monasteries is an amazing chance to experience the mountainous vistas of the Himalayas without having to do a whole lot of ascending and descending.
If you're willing to plan your trip around an adventure, then there are two activities that are worth it. The first is a trip to the Mount Everest base camp. Although the Nepalese base camp is more famous and is where most climbers start from, the north base camp is the highest on the mountain and is a great destination on any experienced hiker's itinerary; be sure to seek out a Nepalese guide. It's great when you see the money go back to the people that live there. Another trek that is of particular significance to both Hindus and Buddhists is the pilgrimage to the holy mountain of Kailash. Known as one of the most important pilgrimage sites on Earth, for many this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Lhasa is home to a beautiful and uniquely different set of experiences from what most travelers are used to, a fact that in itself makes this city in the Himalayas worth your time. For more information on specific activities, consult our listings.