Potala Palace

Travel tips you can trust


Why the
Potala Palace
in China is special

This massive palace (now a museum) in Lhasa, Tibet was once the winter religious and political seat of Tibet under the leadership of the Dalai Lama.

Potala Palace
tips and insights


The name Potala is pronounced: poh-TAH-lah

Spiritual ambiance

The Potala Palace's interior is today filled with the same sounds (chanting) and scents (incense and yak-butter burning lamps) that visitors encountered centuries ago.

Once the world's tallest

The Potala Palace was the world's tallest occupied building from 1653 to 1889.

Stairs only

The 13-story Potala Palace has no elevator. There are three sets of stairways, which are steep and ladder type. Only the Dalai Lama was allowed to use the middle one.

Great views

The views from the Potala Palace's roof and balconies are spectacular. Below lies Lhasa city and, beyond, the valley countryside and distant snow-capped Himalayan mountains.


The Potala Palace is 3,700 meters (12,000 feet) above sea level. Therefore, it is advisable to rest during your first day in Tibet to acclimate yourself to the thin air before exploring the Potala Palace.

Location in China

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