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Shigatse Travel Guide

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  • Palkhor Monastery
    Palkhor Monastery
  • Lamas in Tashilunpo Monastery
    Lamas in Tashilunpo Monastery
  • Local People on Gyangtse Grassland
    Local People on Gyangtse Grassland
  • Gyangtze Old Street
    Gyangtze Old Street
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As the second largest city in Tibet, Shigatse is located 265 kilometers (166 miles) southwest of Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region. It connects with three countries of Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim in the south, Ngari in the west, Nagqu in the north and Lhasa and Shannan in the east. It is 800 kilometers (497 miles) from east to west and 220 kilometers (137 miles) from north to south, occupying an area of 176,000 square kilometers (67,954 square miles).

Shigatse is situated mostly between the middle of the Himalayas and the middle of the Kangdese-Nyainqentanglha ranges. The northern and southern terrains are high, while the South Tibet Plateau and the Yarlung Zangbo River constitute the low-lying middle area. Formed basically of high mountains, wide valleys, lakes and basins, this land has a varied topography with an average elevation of over 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). Because of the plateau climate, summer here is usually mild and wet and brings most of the annual rainfall, while winter is cold, dry and windy.

Shigatse is a city full of history and culture. The main attraction in the city is Tashilhunpo Monastery. This is one of the most important Gelug sect monasteries in Tibet and is home of the Panchen Rinpoche (Lama). There are wonderful monasteries comparable with those in Lhasa, like Tashilhunpo, Sakya and Shalu. However, the highlight of Shigatse is surprisingly high snow capped peaks.

The Himalayas, which stretches across southern Shigatse, is the youngest and highest mountain range in the world, with an average elevation of more than 6,000 meters (19,685 feet). Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth 'the roof of the world', is located on the border between Shigatse and Nepel. All these mountains are spectacular natural views ideal for sightseeing, exploring and conducting scientific investigations. Most people who go to the city only stay for a day or two as part of a week long trip to Mt. Everest or the Nepal border. If you like hiking, there is enough to keep you busy for several days, otherwise two full days is enough to see everything.

Currently, the train line in Tibet does not extend to Shigatse, but it will in the future. The Chinese government has plans to extend the Tibetan Plateau railway to Shigatse within the next few years. Presently the only way to reach the city is by road. In 2004 it took nearly 7 hours to drive from Lhasa to Shigatse. Now it can be done in less than 3 hours, since the road between the two main cities in Tibet is one of the best in the country.

 What to see: Mount Everest, Rongbu Glacier 
PhotosPalkhor MonasteryGyantse Old StreetTashilhunpo Monastery

 Recommended Shigatse Tour Itineraries: 
Lhasa Extension Tour: 7 Days Tour of Lhasa - Gyangtse - Shigatse 
China Tours to the Everest Base: 17 days of Beijing - Xian - Lhasa - Gyangtze - Shigatse - Dingri - Everest Base Camp - Shigatse - Lhasa - Shanghai
Tibet Highlights Tour: 13 Days of Lhasa - Gyangtse - Shigatse - Dingri - the Everest Base Camp - Zhangmu - Katmandu

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