There are a vast number of places one could define as “mystical”, but few could lay claim to defining the word. Referenced as the “Land of the Gods” in the native tongue, Lhasa stands out as a 1,300 year old refuge in the middle of the Himalayan Mountains. The capital of Tibet, and the refuge for the Dalai Lama, Lhasa is one of the most revered and spiritual cities on the face of the Earth. It is also one of the highest cities in the world, and has remained a nearly-untouched sanctuary for countless decades, despite the tension with China. Perhaps the most holy city in the world for Buddhists, Lhasa is a wonder all unto itself, and cannot be experienced fully without spending at least a week or more to soak in the atmosphere, and to really delve into the society.
Since Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world, there are a few problems that present themselves to visitors. The first—and the most frustrating—is altitude sickness. This is no laughing matter. At nearly 12,000 above sea level, visitors from lower altitudes will often find themselves having an extremely unpleasant trip if they fly straight into the city. The wisest course of action is to visit one of the lower cities around 6-8,000 feet and spend a few days letting your body adjust before you make the trip to Lhasa itself. But once you are there, prepare for a mystical journey into the lives of devout Buddhists.
If for 1 reason you are still scared of having altitude sickness, the best thing you can do is drink some of the delicious tea which you can become at the many restaurant and shops. Liquids (non alcoholic) are very important because of the height.
The most famous sight in Lhasa is the Potala Palace, which has been a World Heritage building since 1994, and is one of the residencies for the Dalai Lama. There is also Jokhang Temple, and the Norbulingka Summer Palace. Visitors can also take in the Barkhor Street open market, or the Drepung Monastery. Tibetan rugs are hand-made in Lhasa, and many visitors find it worthwhile to take one home with them, a testament to one of the most amazing trips they will ever make.