The capital of Tibet and one of the most mystical cities in the world, Lhasa has long been the Tibetans' spiritual home. These days Lhasa has excellent transport links, with daily flights from several Chinese cities, Kathmandhu and the controversial Qinghai-Tibet railway which opened in 2006. At an altitude of 3,650m Lhasa is the ideal place to spend a few days exploring the ancient temples and wandering the fascinating streets of the old town at a leisurely pace while your body acclimatises to the thin air. Watch the devout follow the pilgrim circuit around the Jokhang Temple prostrating in front of its entrance, or try and count the multitude of temples inside the Potala Palace, once home to the Dalai Lama. The Barkhor area offers great souvenirs and a chance to take in some of the amazing faces that stream into Lhasa to pray or to ply their trade. In and around Lhasa there are some spectacular monasteries notably Sera and Drepung, where you can witness the noisy spectacle of the monks debating, and Norbulingka which was the Summer retreat of the Dalai Lama.