Archive for the ‘Shigatse Travel’ Category

Shigatse Trip (Tips, Photos & Map)

Saturday, September 4th, 2021
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Plan your Tibet travel? Shigatse is highly recommended to be included on your travel plan if you have enough time for travelling within Tibet. Shigatse refers to both “Shigatse City” and “Shigatse Prefecture”. Shigatse City is the seat of Shigatse Prefecture.

Shigatse Prefecture.

Shigatse Prefecture is composed of one county-level city (Shigatse City), 17 counties and one fort (Zhangmu). The 17 counties include Gyantse, Bailang, Lhatse, Sakya, Gangba, Dingjie, Tingri, Nyalam, Kangma, Yadong, Renbu, Nanmulin, Xietongmen, Jielong, Angren, Shaga and Zhongba.

Shigatse Prefecture has a population of over 66,0000 with over a dozen of ethnic groups including Tibetan, Han, Hui, Mongolian, Tu, Manchus and Miao.

Shigatse City

Shigatse City is located 250km southwest of Lhasa and 480km northeast of Zhangmu Fort. It lies at the confluence of Yarlung Zangbo (aka Brahmaputra) River and the Nyang River (Nyanchue) with the altitude of 3800m. Shigatse City administrates 2 subdistricts, and 10 townships around the city. Shigatse City has a population of over 90,000.

Shigatse City Location ( Google Map)

Shigatse City is the second largest city in Tibet with a history of over 500 years. Historically Shigatse was the ancient capital of Ü-Tsang province. Shigatse is also the traditional seat of the Panchen Lamas.

Shigatse City Tourist Sketch Map

Shigatse City is the hub of the transportation network connecting Lhasa, West Tibet, Gyantse, Nepal and Mt.Everest. The National Highway 318 (China Nepal Friendship Highway) passes by Shigatse City.

Smooth Drive from Gyantse to Shigatse

August 23, I visited Shigatse City for the first time together with a 24 pax tour group from Venezuela. We set off for Shigatse City at 3:00pm from Gyantse, 90km southeast of Shigatse City. It was one and half hours’ comfortable drive due to the smooth asphalt road from Gyantse to Shigatse.

We had to drive very fast to catch up with buying the entrance tickets for Tashilhunpo Monastery before it stopped tickets selling at 6:00pm on the day since the next morning our local tour guide would leave us and go to the police station for getting the travel permit for Mt.Everest and Zhangmu Fort.

Tibet Travel Permit & Alien Travel Permit

The Tibet Travel Permit was not enough for entering Mt. Everest and Zhangmu border. Foreign visitors have to register and get another travel permit at the police station either at Lhasa or Shigatse for Alien Travel Permit for border area like Mt.Everest and Zhangmu Fort.

Alien Travel Permit

Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse

The monk ticket collector had our entrance tickets checked.

Located on the east side of the hill in the west of the city of Shigatse, Tashilhunpo Monstery is the seat of panchen Lama and one of the six great Gelugpa temples along with Sera Temple, Drepung Temple, Gandan Monastery, Taer Monastery and Labrang Monastery. Built 1447 by Gendun Drup, the First Dalai Lama, the temple once housed over 4000 monks, now there are about 1,000.

Tashilhunpo Monstery is the seat of panchen Lama

Tashilhunpo Monstery is the seat of panchen Lama
Walk up the steps in the hillside monastery
a lonely monk?

Some of the templs, institutons and halls are open to the public. The most attractive is the 27me high statue of Jampa ( Maitreya ) Buddha in the Temple of Maitreya. It was built in 1914 by the Ninth Panchen Lama to hold a gigantic statue of the Maitreya Buddha.

We were not allowed to take photos or videos inside the temple. But if you would like to pay around RMB 180, you will be permitted to use your camera for taking pictures.

Entering the Temple of Maitreya

Entering the Temple of Maitreya

One of the oldest building in the monastery was the temple for housing the tomb of the fourth Panchen Lama. But unfortunately it was closed. Then we moven to the temple east of the Temple of Maitrya. It was the temple housing the tombs of Panchen Lamas from fifth to ninth.

Inside the temple housing the tombs of Panchen Lamas from fifth to ninth

Inside the temple housing the tombs of Panchen Lamas from fifth to ninth

Then we visited the temple built housing the tomb of the 10th Panchen Lama. On Jan 28, 1989, the 10th Panchen Lama passed away. The central government decided to erect the temple for him, using 614 kilograms of gold, 275 kilograms of silver and over 10,000 diamonds of various kinds for the golden pagoda and the hall.

Housing the tomb of the 10th Panchen Lama

Housing the tomb of the 10th Panchen Lama
On the fooftop
The Beautiful Environment
The religious site
Learning about the story and culture behind the monastery

The main Chanting Hall is not to missed. Lastly we went to the grand prayer hall. It happened that a group of monks were chanting in the main hall. We were allowed to walk around and evebn through the rows of sitting monks chanting in the hall. If you are willing to pay about RMB 180, you are allowed to take pictures iniside the hall.

Some monks who had finished chanting went out of the prayer hall.

Some monks whi had finished chanting went out of the prayer hall.

A snapshot of the monks talking to each other

A snapshot of the monks talking to each other
Walk up to the golden world.

Shigatse City Layout

The next morning our tour guided went to the police station for abtaining the travel permits for the tour group. I used the half day time wandering the streets to get a first hand information in the city of Shigatse.

In general, Shigatse is a small city though it was the second largest city in Tibet. There were four main north to south streets, starting from west to east, they were Shandong Street ( 山东路 ), Shanghai Street ( 上海路), Heilongjiang Street ( 黑龙江路) and Nyanchue Road (年河路) with the Nyanchue River west of Nyanchue Road. So the four main roads and the Nyanchue River run through the city from north to south.

There are two main streets running from west to east – Xueqiang Street(雪强路), Qingdao Street(青岛路)and Mt.Everest Road (珠峰路 Zhufeng Road). The busy Walking Street is just near Tashilhunpo. The major hotels in Shigatse are located on Shandong Street, Shanghai Street and Mt.Everest Street.

Shigatse City is a walkable city. Tashilhunpo is at the west end of Mt.Everest Street (Zhufeng Street). Coming out of the Temple, turn right and you will enter the walking street running from northeast to southwest in Shigatse lined with front stores selling all kinds of local products.

At the northeast end of the Walking Street, turn north and you will see the Shigatse Fortress which is still under the construction at the time of writing. If you turn east, you will be on Qingdao Street.

This time we stayed at Shen Kang Hotel (0892 -8822922 )located at the northern tip of Shandong Street, which is close to the walking street. The popular Shigatse Hotel is located on the Shanghai Street. Shigatse Tian Lin Grand Hotel is in the middle of Mt.Everest Street. Gang Gyen Hotel is located at the west end of Mt.Everest Street, close to Tashilhunpo Monastery.

Walk Street

A Traffic-free Street

Shigatse Fortress

Shigatse Fortress

Shigatse Fortress

Shen Kang Hotel

Shanghai Road

Shanghai Road

Shigatse Hotel on Shanghai Road

Shigatse Hotel on Shanghai Road

Shigatse Tian Lin Hotel in the middle of Mt.Everest Road (Zhufeng Road)

Shigatse Tian Lin Hotel in the middle of Mt.Everest Road (Zhufeng Road)

Gang Gyen Hotel at the west end of Mt.Everest Road (Zhufeng Road)

Gang Gyen Hotel at the west end of Mt.Everest Road (Zhufeng Road)

Shigatse Travel Tips:

1. Shigatse Tourism Complaint Phones: 13889028808, 13908922542
2. The Bus Station on Shanghai Road: Buses to Lhasa, Lhatse, Tingri and Zhangmu
3. Tashilhunpo Monastery: RMB 55
4. If go further south to Mt. Everest and Zhangmu, apply for a travel permit in Shigatse
5. Shigatse Heping Airport has some flights to Lhasa
Hassle-free Lhasa & Tibet Guided Tours

Hassle-free Lhasa & Tibet Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for guided tours to Lhasa and Tibet:

Lhasa Tour
Tibet Travel
Lhasa Tibet Group Tour
Lhasa Tibet Private Tour
Beijing Lhasa Tour
Lhasa China Tour

Further Readings

Best Time to Visit Lhasa
Top 10 Attractions in Lhasa
Lhasa Tourist Traps, Tourist Scams Lhasa
Where to stay in Lhasa
Makye Ame Lhasa Restaurant – Your Kitchen in Lhasa
Lhasa Airport, Lhasa Gonggar Airport
Xian Lhasa Flight Experience, Xian Lhasa Flight
Lhasa Railway Station Transportation, Taxi, Public Bus
Get around in Lhasa with Pedicab or Trishaw
lhasa Taxi
Best Places to Take Picture of Potala Palace Lhasa

4-Wheel Drive Trip from Lhasa to Ranwu
Tips for Visiting Drak Yerpa (Tips, Photos & Map)
The Pilgrim Kora in Lhasa, Lhasa Pilgrim circuits
How to Visit Sera Monastery in Lhasa
Beijing Road in Lhasa
Lhasa River in the City of Lhasa (Tips, Photos & Map)
Lhasa Great Mosque, the Mosques in Lhasa
Lhasa Yamdrok-Tso Lake Road Trip

Qushui Bridge in Qushui County, Tibet (Tips, Photos & Map)
Nagarzê County and Scenic Road Trip to Gyantse
Gyantse County and Road Trip to Shigatse
Shigatse Trip (Tips, Photos & Map)

Any questions, just drop a line.

Gyantse County and Road Trip to Shigatse

Friday, September 3rd, 2021
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Soon we see an archway written with the welcoming words ”The Ancient Gyantse Town Welcomes you!”.

So After the 103km scenic and therapeutic drive from Nagarzêto County to Gyantse, we arrive at Gyantse at 2pm and all feel much hungry after hours’ driving and sightseeing on the way.

Gyantse Kitchen Restaurant for lunch

There are several restaurants in Gyantse downtown offering western food. We choose Gyantse Kitchen for our lunch. Actually this restaurant mainly offers Nepalese food.

ABC of Gyantse

Gyantse (or Jiangzi) is now a county under the administration of Shigatse Prefecture. The Gyantse Town is located 250km southwest of Lhasa and 100km southeast of Shigatse.

It takes about 5 hours to drive from Lhasa to Gyantse and 2 hours to drive from Gyantse to Shigatse.

The Location of Gyantse County (Google Map)

Gyantse is normally considered the third largest town and historically one of the most important regions in Tibet. It has the important transportation hub linking Lhasa, Shigatse and Yadong.

The Shanghai Road in Gyantse

With the government policy of “Go West and Develop West”, Gyantse has been entitled to the huge support from othe developed cities and provinces in China incuding Shanghai, which has given Gyantse the greatest assistance in terms of finance and technology. The main road in Gyantse is named “Shanghai Road” in praise of the efforts made Shanghai government.

People and Weather in Gyantse

The majority of the residents are Tibetans, accounting for 98%. Other ethnic groups include Han and Hui.

According to the seventh national Census, as of midnight on November 1, 2020, the permanent population of Jiangze County ( Gyantse ) is 68,650.

The local Tibetan villagers in Gyantse County

Gyantse County belongs to plateau temperate semi-arid monsoon climate zone with distinct dry and wet seasons. It has abundant and concentrated rain in summer, warm and wet, and sufficient sunshine and strong solar radiation in winter.

The daily temperature difference is big but the annual temperature difference is small, and the frost-free period is short. Annual sunshine hours 3189.8 hours, annual frost-free period of about 110 days, annual precipitation 291.1 mm.

Attractions in Gyantse

Gyantse is a must to visit place for most first time travelers in Tibet. People either go from Lhasa to Gynatse or go from Shigatse to Gyantse, or from the Nepalese and Chinese border city – Zhangmu Town.

Gyantse lies in the north of the middle section of Nyang Chu River (年楚河), a tributary of Yula Tsangpo River and surrounded by the continous mountains in the north and south. The major attractions in Gyantse include Gyantse Dzong Fort ( 江孜宗山), the Palcho Monastery (白居寺)and Palha Manor (帕拉庄园).

Gyanstse is full of fertile land with the Nyang Chu River running to the south of Gyantse from west to east. Gyantse is a much developed agricultural county, which is acclaimed as the hometown of barley in the world.

The dominating sight in Gyantse is the Gyantse Dzong perched on a high hill in the west of the town.  Basically you can see it wherever you go in the downtown of Gyantse.

Gyantse Dzong Fort ( 江孜宗山)

After lunch, we are arranged to visit Palha Manor, 2km in the southwest of Gyantse town. We pass the bridge over Nyang Chu River.

Nyang Chu River

Palha Manor (also Pala Manor) is the only remaining manor in the old time in Tibet. It once belonged to one of the three nobilities in Tibet. Before Tibet’s liberation, Palha family had 37 manors, 12 farms, over 30,000 mu of land, 3,000 serfs, in Gyantse, Kangma and Bairang.

The entrance to Palha Manor

Now in the remaining manor there are a three-storey building with a residence area of 5,000 square meters. 82 rooms and serf yards and some well preserved property.

The remaining buidlings of Palha Manor

Butlers Room. The manor once had a senior butler, outside butler and inner butler. They had a great power and were responsibel for the host’s life and all trifles around the manor. 

Butlers Room
Kitchen for serfs

Road Trip to Shigatse

After finishing our short trip to Palha Manor, we continue our road trip to Shigatse, 100km northwest of Gyantse.

Continue our road trip to Shigatse, about 100km northwest of Gyantse.
It is an easy driving from Gyantse to Shigatse along the smooth asphalt road

It is an easy driving from Gyantse to Shigatse along the smooth asphalt road teemed with trees and barley fields.  

Gyantse Travel Tips

1. Where to stay in Gyantse
1) Gyantse Hotel 0892 – 8172222 2)
Wutse Hotel 0892 – 8172888 3)
Jian Zang Hotel 0892 – 8172324

2. Where to dine in Gyantse
1) Gyantse Kitchen 0892 – 8176777
2) Tashi’s 0892 – 8827512

3. Gyantse Shopping
Carpets

Hassle-free Lhasa & Tibet Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for guided tours to Lhasa and Tibet:

Lhasa Tour
Tibet Travel
Lhasa Tibet Group Tour
Lhasa Tibet Private Tour
Beijing Lhasa Tour
Lhasa China Tour

Further Readings

Best Time to Visit Lhasa
Top 10 Attractions in Lhasa
Lhasa Tourist Traps, Tourist Scams Lhasa
Where to stay in Lhasa
Makye Ame Lhasa Restaurant – Your Kitchen in Lhasa
Lhasa Airport, Lhasa Gonggar Airport
Xian Lhasa Flight Experience, Xian Lhasa Flight
Lhasa Railway Station Transportation, Taxi, Public Bus
Get around in Lhasa with Pedicab or Trishaw
lhasa Taxi
Best Places to Take Picture of Potala Palace Lhasa

4-Wheel Drive Trip from Lhasa to Ranwu
Tips for Visiting Drak Yerpa (Tips, Photos & Map)
The Pilgrim Kora in Lhasa, Lhasa Pilgrim circuits
How to Visit Sera Monastery in Lhasa
Beijing Road in Lhasa
Lhasa River in the City of Lhasa (Tips, Photos & Map)
Lhasa Great Mosque, the Mosques in Lhasa
Lhasa Yamdrok-Tso Lake Road Trip

Qushui Bridge in Qushui County, Tibet (Tips, Photos & Map)
Nagarzê County and Scenic Road Trip to Gyantse
Gyantse County and Road Trip to Shigatse

Any questions, just drop a line.