what to eat
Qingke (highland barley) is the main ingredient of tsampa. Tsampa is barley flour, made from parched barley, un-husked and ground into fine flour, and then eaten with butter. People also make tsampa by mixing qingke flour and peas. Tsampa made from qingke is a Tibetan traditional food, served in most restaurants of Lhasa to give visitors from all over the world a taste of Tibet. At religious festivals, Tibetans will sprinkle tsampa as a sign of blessing.
Beef and Mutton
Tibetans mainly live on beef, mutton and milk products. In pastoral areas, people don't eat vegetables. In these areas, which includes most of Tibet, the diet is monotonous and rich in fat and protein. Beef and mutton are rich in calories, which helps people living on the Roof of the World to keep warm. Tibetans have a custom of eating raw meat. If you go to a herdsman's or a farmer's home, you will see the air-dried beef and mutton hung inside the house or tents. The host will invariably treat you to such meat, which can only be tasted on the Plateau of Tibet.
Mashed Yak Meat
Tibetan medicines are mysterious. Mashed yak meat is a mixture of some Tibetan medicine and mashed raw beef (yak meat). Blood red and pungent, you will feel hot inside after eating it. It is said that Tibet is a place where time can stop still. People today still like to enjoy the sunshine at the foot of the Potala Palace after such a good meal, feeling rather satisfied.
what to buy
Tangka is a novel form of painting art that can be traced back to Songtsen Gampo time or the 7th century; a kind of scroll painting mounted by multicolored satin. It has always been treasured by the natives for distinguished ethnical characteristics, rich religious flavor and unique artistic style. Various Tankgas differ in types and materials. They can be made by paper, cloth, embroidery, brocade, silk tapestry or applique. Sometimes jewels and pearls are decorated on Tangka, adding its value.
The material of Tangka is carefully selected and the pigment is totally made from natural minerals, which insures the bright and long-lasting colors. Diverse Tangkas are statements of the locals towards Tibetan history, culture, art, science and technology, cohesion of their civilization, wisdom, religious fidelity and strong affection of their homeland.
Tibetan knife still works as a defending tool or an adornment for Tibetan people, but it is also a souvenir favored by people from both home and abroad for its fine workmanship, sharp blade and unique styles. The scabbard takes wood, copper, iron or silver as material and is often carved with Tibetan language as well as delicate designs such as dragon, phoenix, tiger, lion, flowers and so forth. Some of the designs are adorned with gems and agates.(Note: You cannot take these items on a plane or as consigned goods, but you can send them anywhere via the post office. The Post Office in Lhasa at Middle Beijing Road is the best choice. Goods will be sent much more quickly than at any of the smaller post offices.)
Tibetan people make every effort in decorating themselves and their homes, which can be seen from the colorful and elegant ornaments they make. There are distinctive Tibetan clothes decked with pearl, jade, agate ornaments and silver-golden wares which take on the forms of bracelets, rings, necklaces and waist links, as well as colorful aprons and carpets that can grace your rooms. Every article is unsophisticated but fine in design, so exotic and radiant. In addition, you can hardly find an imitation of these goods, as they are all handworked.
Tibetan mask or "Ba" in Tibetan language is a sort of handicraft deriving from religious art and Tibetan Opera. Mainly, the masks have three types, religious mask, Tibetan Opera mask and folk music & dance mask. In Tibet, every religious festival is celebrated by rites held at monasteries, where sorcerers wearing specific masks perform all kinds of shows. With bright colors and exaggerated expressions, these masks are appealing for mysteriousness and oddness.
Tibetan medicine has developed into a unique medical system after absorbing theories of Chinese indigenous medicine, Indian medicine, Nepali medicine and Persia medicine. Possessing a history of thousands of years, it is a most integral and influential medicine in China and even enjoys a global fame. Its herbs such as glossy ganoderma, saffron, cordycep and snow lotus are vert popular with tourists.
Cordycep is a kind of Tibetan medicine that grows in the frigid mountainous areas-about 3,000 m above sea level. Together with ginseng and cartialgenous, it is one of the three major tonics. Mild in nature, Cordycep is suitable for all ages and is effective in increasing immune functions, invigorating lung, liver and kidney functions, supplementing cell energy, improving inspiration and relieving dyspnea
what to see in the evening
Boasting a history of some 1,400 years, Tibetan Opera, Ace Lhamo in Tibetan language (meaning fairy sister), is hailed as the "living fossil" of Tibetan culture. It lives longer than any other folk opera in China, including the famous Peking Opera. Originated in Tibet, it goes around every corner of this snow-capped plateau and remains unaffected from other ethnical arts. Thus, it is peculiar in opera art field of China and even of the whole world. It is the result of Tibetan splendid culture and has been worshipped by the Chinese nation as a most precious heritage.
Lhangma hall is the climax of Lhasa nightlife. It is a recreational establishment with Tibetan characteristics, where people can enjoy Tibetan music and dance show while sipping a glass of beer or soft drinks. Langma means royal-court music in Tibet, since ancient times it could only be enjoyed by aristocrats. Today, it has become a daily entertainment foreveryone. As Tibet opens its door to the outside world more and more widely, apart from traditional Tibetan performances, inland pop music and foreign classic songs also find their seats here. Every year tourists come here to enjoy the unique charm of Tibetan culture. Langma hall in Tibet is really sleepless, which starts business only when night falls and receives custom peaks from ten to twelve in the late evening. Admission to Langma hall is free, but drinks are charged.
Lhasa lies in a small basin and the topography is plain. The climate of the city is mild, without severely cold winters or extremely hot summer. The average temperature is about 8 degree Celsius.
Lhasa enjoys the reputation of "sunshine city" because the annual sunshine time reaches 3,000 hours, 1,800 hours more than that of Chengdu City, and 1,100 hours more than that of Shanghai City. The annual rainfall is 500 mms and the rainy months are July, August and September. Summer and autumn are the most comfortable time in Lhasa. "Night rain" is a unique phenomenon in Lhasa because rain usually falls at night. In the day, it is often sunny and bright. But when night falls, rain also falls, washing away the heat and dust of the day, and cleaning the streets.