Gesar Lhakang

On the north side of Parma Ri is the Gesar Lhakang, a Manchu construction that dates back to 1793 and was recently renovated. It is the only Tibetan-style Guandi temple in China.

The main temple has a statue of the Chinese God of War, Guandi(associated with Gesar, the mythical Tibetan warrior) along with generals on his left and ministers on his right. A separate yellow chapel has a statue of an orange Jampelyang with Sakyamuni, Chana Dorje (Vajrapani) and Chenresig.

There is a stone stele at the foot of the main temple that records the history of the temple.

Chinese army defeated Nepalese invasion of Tibet in 1792. They believed that they were protected by the God of Ware, Guandi. So they built this temple.

Guandi’s image is similar to Gesar, the mythical Tibetan warrior. So Tibetans call this temple Gesar Lhakang.

Buy Train Tickets in Lhasa – $1 only

Cost: 5 yuan service charge, 0-2 yuan bus fare

You could buy your tickets at Lhasa Railway Station which is in fact not in Lhasa. It’s not only far away from Lhasa, but also far from the train station bus stop. You need to walk at least 1km from the bus stop to the railway station building itself after strict security checks.

So the best place to buy train tickets once you are in Lhasa is at No. 19 De Ji Zhong Lu.

Bus No. 2/3/7/8/13/24/25 all have a stop nearby. The bus fare is 1 yuan per person per way.

Most tourists can use No.8 or No.7 bus on Beijing Road to reach the ticket office.

Ce Men Lin bus stop on Beijing Road.

Train Trip to Lhasa

It’s quite easy to get a hard-sleeper ticket to Lhasa at Xining West Railway Station. I asked for a middle berth, the train station staff sold me a more expensive lower berth ticket which sucks. Why? Because cigarette smoke and carbon dioxide are heavier than oxygen, I felt short of oxygen while sleeping in the lower berth.

The train does allow passengers to smoke and a lot of people happily practice their such rights. Only during the section between Golmud and Lhasa, passengers are not allowed to smoke although some still do.

The train has squash toilets. Users are supposed to press the green button to flush the toilet. Some passengers may not be aware of it and water is not always available, so the toilets can be messy at times. Also, don’t forget to bring your own toilet paper.

Train attendants sell Chinese magazines on board. A Tibetan man failed to find any magazine that’s printed in Tibetan language. He was simply told, “Nowadays, everybody studies Mandarin.” No apology, no sympathy.

I had to take a Tylenol 2 when I go to bed.

In the morning, as I woke up, we were at an elevation of 4700 metres. I struggled to move my luggage as we were approaching Lhasa.

The designer of Lhasa Railway Station obviously knew this. Unlike in other Chinese railway stations, passengers don’t need to go up and down stairs to get out of the train station. Lhasa Railway Station even provides a few baggage carts like those used in airports. If you can find one, use it.

The plaza in front of the train station is massive and empty. Soldiers guard the plaza. People are not allowed to stay there. You must exit from one specific point, enter from another point after security check. Don’t try to use a shortcut because armed soldiers are on alert.

The bus stop is at the right-hand side of the exit. If you didn’t buy your train tickets before you exit, don’t try to come back to buy them because the bus stop is far away from the only point you can enter the railway station plaza. At the entry point, police will check your documents before they let you enter the plaza and walk a long way to the train station building to pass strict security check. I bought my train ticket at downtown Lhasa which costs 5 yuan more but is much easier.

The bus stop has a route map which is useless even for Chinese or Tibetan. The bus driver I met didn’t answer any passengers questions and simply pointed at the route map.

No.1 and No. 14 buses pass around Potala Palace, continue along the main road north of Ramoche Temple.

No. 6 bus passes Norbulingka, Tibet Museum, Potala Palace, then runs along Jiangsu Road just south of Barkhor.

No. 13 bus passes Norbulingka, Tibet Museum and around Potala Palace.