DAY 1 (2/3): TRICHANG LABRANG HOTEL (赤江拉讓藏式賓館) and Surrounding Neighborhood, Lhasa (拉薩), Tibet (西藏), 2017.09.16
From the Airport Shuttle Bus Station near the Potala, we flagged down a taxi for the last bit of journey for reaching Trichang Labrang Hotel. Trichang Labrang is located in a small alley called Lugu Lane No. 5 (鲁固5巷) in the Barkhor (八廓) Old Town near the famous Jokhang Temple. Our taxi dropped us at one of the entrances of Lugu Lane along Jiangsu Road. In the labyrinth of small alleys, it took us a moment to figure out the way to reach the hotel’s main door. The courtyard building has been part of the old city for 300 years, and was once a former residence of Trijang Rinpoche, a former junior tutor to the current 14th Dalai Lama.
We entered the hotel through a courtyard. At the reception, each of us was greeted by the staff with a white scarf. The hotel was full of charming Tibetan touches, and dotted with vintage decorations in the common areas. The rooms were basic, decent in size and colorfully painted, but might need a renovation soon. A pleasant veranda overlooking the entrance courtyard connected all rooms and common areas on the upper level.
The area around Trichang Labrang Hotel is a quiet residential neighborhood in the Barkhor Old Town. With a vibrant street life, it is only a stone throw away from the popular tourist area of Barkhor Street and Jokhang Temple (大昭寺). Over the course of our stay in Lhasa, we had the opportunity to wander around the centuries old neighborhood around our hotel at different times of the day, discovering interesting small shops and eateries, and historical courtyard complexes and community Buddhist temples along the way.
The main entrance of Trichang Labrang Hotel could be easily missed. It was located at a T-intersection of two alleyways in a peaceful residential neighborhood in the Barkhor Old Town.
This playful little dog of the hotel hung out around the neighborhood and was a friend to many neighbors. Sometimes it sat on the chair at the hotel door to welcome us, sometimes it stretched under the chair to enjoy a peaceful nap.
The colourful painting on the hotel main door reminded visitors of its heritage and history.
The entrance courtyard of the hotel seemed under used but we loved the vine that stretched like a large canopy sheltering the fierce highland sun.
The hotel rooms on the second and third floor open around a veranda overlooking the courtyard.
There is a beautiful old photo of Potala Palace hung on the veranda wall. The photo captured the moment of Lhasa long before it was modernized.
An old sewing machine outside of our room.
The interior of the room was not as charming as the public space. It was spacious and had touches of Tibetan decoration. The accommodation was basic and equipped with a kettle and a humidifier. The ceiling mounted heat lamp in the bathroom was quite handy as it heated up the space while the shower water slowly warmed up. We generally had a fine stay except for the annoying mosquitoes that sometimes woke us up in the middle of the night.
Outside of the hotel, the alleyway to the right would lead us to the main street Jiangsu Road in a few minutes.
These playful dogs around the corner from the hotel loved to chase each other. They ran from store to store to get people’s attention, and barked at strangers occasionally. Every store owner seemed to know these dogs very well.
Deep fried potato chips seemed to be a popular snack in Tibet. It was usually served with chili powder.
It was a beautiful to watch the colorful prayer’s flag dancing in the air against the blue sky above the alleyways of the Barkhor Old Town.
We love strolling along the streets in Barkhor Old Town, either north to the area around Jokhang Temple or east to an area with several Muslim mosques alongside with Buddhist temples. In the east neighborhood there was also Pandatsang (邦達倉) Compound, another historical courtyard complex where we ended up enjoying two good Tibetan meals at the courtyard restaurant “Our Tibetan Restaurant” (咱们的藏餐馆).
At the end of the alleyway in front of our hotel, Angela discovered a small Buddhist temple popular with local pilgrims.
From our hotel enroute to the Barkhor Street (八廓) and Jokhang Temple (大昭寺), we would need to pass through a number of old shopping alleyways and a security checkpoint. Quite a number of shops were owned by young people whose merchandised offered a more unique and personal touch to the local culture.
When night fell, the shopping alleyways with atmospheric shopfronts turned peaceful. Many stores, such as the Tibetan textile shop and western cafe in this photo remained open till late in the evening.
We often passed by the same neighborhood convenient store where we get bottled water.
Finding our way back to the hotel at night was often a pleasant walk after dinner.
Our wayfinding was primarily based on special “landmarks” where we would need to make a turn. Despite every alleyway looked the same, this method of finding our way worked pretty well.
The alleyways could get quite dark at certain spots, but we never felt unsafe walking around at night.
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More blog posts on Tibet 2017:
JOURNEY ABOVE THE CLOUDS, Tibet 2017 (西藏之旅2017)
DAY 1: TOUCHDOWN ON THE ROOF OF THE WORLD, Lhasa
DAY 1: TRICHANG LABRANG HOTEL (赤江拉讓藏式賓館), Lhasa
DAY 1: KORA AT BARKHOR STREET (八廓街), Lhasa
DAY 2: FIRST GLIMPSE OF POTALA (布達拉宮), Lhasa
DAY 2: KORA OF DREPUNG MONASTERY (哲蚌寺), Lhasa
DAY 2: DREPUNG MONASTERY (哲蚌寺), Lhasa
DAY 2: JOKHANG MONASTERY (大昭寺), Lhasa
DAY 2 : SPINN CAFE (風轉咖啡館), Lhasa
DAY 2: NIGHT VIEW OF POTALA (布達拉宮), Lhasa
DAY 3: POTALA PALACE (布達拉宮), Lhasa
DAY 3: SERA MONASTERY (色拉寺), Lhasa
Day 4: KORA OF GANDEN MONASTERY (甘丹寺), Lhasa
Day 4: GANDEN MONASTERY (甘丹寺), Lhasa
DAY 4: TEA HOUSE AND FAMILY RESTAURANT, Lhasa
DAY 5: ON THE ROAD IN TIBET
DAY 5: MORNING IN SHANNAN (山南)
DAY 5: SAMYE MONASTERY (桑耶寺), Shannan
DAY 5: SAMYE TOWN (桑耶鎮), Shannan
DAY 6: YAMDROK LAKE (羊卓雍錯)
DAY 6: PALCHO MONASTERY (白居寺), Gyantse
DAY 6: WORDO COURTYARD (吾爾朵大宅院), Shigatse
DAY 7: ROAD TO EVEREST BASE CAMP (珠峰大本營)
DAY 7: EVEREST BASE CAMP (珠峰大本營)
DAY 7: STARRY NIGHT, Everest Base Camp
DAY 8: PANG LA PASS (加烏拉山口), Mount Everest Road
DAY 8: SAKYA MONASTERY (薩迦寺)
DAY 9: TASHI LHUNPO MONASTERY, (扎什倫布寺) Shigatse
DAY 9: ROAD TO NAMTSO LAKE (納木錯)
DAY 9: EVENING AT NAMTSO LAKE (納木錯)
DAY 10: SUNRISE AT NAMTSO LAKE (納木錯)
DAY 10: LAST DAY IN LHASA, Tibet
EPILOGUE: FACES OF LHASA, Tibet