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Tibet (#1) is featured in Part 9 of my 25-day Elderhostel program in China called Tibet, Border Kingdoms, and Yangtze River Study Cruise with stays in ten cities and three days cruising on the Yangtze River in April and May 2007. Tibet (#2) continues with our visit there.
I have published 15 articles relating to this adventure. Click on "next" to advance through the pictures rather than "article index". Please visit my home page for easy access to the articles which begin with "The Many Faces of China":
We flew from Chengdu to Lhasa for a four-night stay at an elevation of about 12,000 feet. Many group members brought prescription medicine from home to help their bodies acclimate to the high altitude. Whether we would have gotten sick without the medicine is not certain, but it seemed that most people who took the medicine were able to participate in all activities while in Lhasa.
Although Lhasa has about 15 per cent of Tibets 2.5 million population, about 90 per cent of all industry (some of which operates only seasonally) is located there, making the city the primary focus of pollution control efforts. Air quality in Lhasa is generally Level 1, rising to Level 2 when wind kicks up local dust. Both these levels indicate excellent air quality by Chinese standards. However, by the end of 2000 local authorities had closed 15 factories, including heavily polluting cement plants, for failure to meet emissions standards.
Drawn by economic opportunities in the region, hundreds of thousands of non-Tibetans, many of them Han Chinese, have come in recent years to work on development projects or in related service industries, often in the higher-paying jobs. In Lhasa, the so-called floating population of non-Tibetans has been estimated at over 200,000, roughly half the registered permanent population of 400,000.
Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, the 'Roof of the World', is the political, economic and cultural center of Tibet. Situated on the north bank of the Lhasa River, Lhasa has a plateau monsoon semi-arid climate. Its highest temperature is 84 degrees F. in the summer and 3 degrees F in the winter. Rains fall mainly in July, August and September, usually during the night. It is sunny almost every day, and the sun shines over 3,000 hours a year. Although briefly cool in the late evenings and early mornings, we found the weather to much warmer than we expected.
Lhasa is one of 24 historical and cultural cities nominated by the State Council in China.
Some 31 ethnic groups live in Lhasa. Tibetans comprise over 80% of the population.
Tibet is considered to be a land of natural treasures. A number of natural reserves are the home to many rare and valuable wild animals and plants like lesser pandas, yaks, cranes and virgin cypress, spruces and snowdrops. The land also produces large amounts of minerals, water energy, wind energy, terrestrial heat and solar energy.
A warning is given tourists planning a trip to Tibet. Although there is a gradually increasing tourism industry in Lhasa, it is a city with many difficulties yet to be overcome due to its unique location and geography. Traveling in Lhasa, as well as in Tibet in general, is more challenging than in any other part of China.
However, more and more people from every corner of the world are being attracted towards this vibrant city with its unique scenery, long history, exotic culture, mystical religion and spectacular monuments.
article published 7/8/2007