Norbulingka means “baby garden” in Tibetan language. It is the summer palace of the Dalai and Lama (the Potala Palace is the Winter Palace). Some people also call it “the Summer Palace of Lhasa.” The garden is very distinctive, and it has the shadow of Tibetan culture and also absorbs the traditional methods of gardening in the interior. There is a new palace inside, and its architecture, murals and decorations are the integration of the essence of Tibet’s major temples, palaces and buildings. It can be said that visiting the new palace is like browsing the entire Tibetan building. There are hundreds of plants in the Norbulingka, including many famous flowers such as Tibetan hydrangea, so it is also known as the Plateau Botanical Garden. During the festival, special activities such as Tibetan opera performances can be seen. Tibetans will sit in Norbulingka with tents and food, and chat with friends and family.
Official telephone number of the Norbulingka: 0891-6826274
Time reference for visiting: 1-3 hours
How to go to Norbulingka: Take bus No. 2, No. 14 and get off at Norbulingka South Station.
Tickets: 80 RMB during the peak season; 60 RMB during off-season (during Monday-Sunday from January 1 to December 31)
Opening hours: 09:00-18:00 (summer), 09:30-17:30 (winter) (during Monday-Sunday from January 1 to December 31)
As Norbulingka is the summer palace of the Potala Palace, there is basically no tour group in it. And there is no photographing in it. Except for the Chinese words in door and the entrance of the temples, all the introductions are Tibetan. If you are lucky enough, there will be a fire-fighting patrol of Tibetans who see you don’t understand and take the initiative to ask if you need to explain it. Inside Norbulingka, there are the last Dalai’s living quarters and some collectibles, with blocks of brick-like turquoise red coral set on the stool.