Where the Real Adventures Start

the richest travel resources in Tibet 

Shigatse (or Xigaze) is a famous prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region which is full of wonderful travel destinations. Its capital Shigatse City is the second largest city in Tibet, lying about 250km southwest from Lhasa, and 90km northwest from Gyantse. The world’s highest mountain, “the third pole of earth” – Mount Everest is dominating in Tingri County of Shigatse Prefecture. Every year, thousands of travelers come from all over the world to Shigatse to challenge the utmost limits of human beings and appreciate the spectacularity of – Mount Everest.From Shigatse, some travelers go to take adventures to Mount Everest, some go to explore remote and wild Ngari where there is Mount Kailash and Manasarovar Lake.

Top Shagatse Attractions and Activities

Shigatse has the richest travel resources in Tibet – influential Tibetan monasteries, magnificent snow mountains, stunning lakes, unique culture… There are nearly 100 different kinds of attraction located in different parts of Shigatse Prefecture. The most famous one of course is Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. The second highlight of Shigatse is the spectacular monasteries of different sects of Tibetan Buddhism – Sakya Monastery, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Palcho Monastery, Rongbuk Monastery, etc. Check following top recommended attractions in Shagatse:

Mt. Everest

Mount Everest, also named Mount Qomolangma in Tibetan Language, is the highest mountain in the world. With an elevation of 8,848 meters (29,029 feet), it is also renowned as the Third Pole of the World. Located at the border of China and Nepal, central region of Himalaya Range, the north ridge (in China) of Everest in Tibet has a gentler slope than the south ridge in Nepal, therefore the north ridge route is more chosen by mountaineers. The main body of Mount Everest shapes like a giant pyramid, along with a large glacier stretching more than 26 km. It forms an amazing mountain waves together with other peaks around. 

Everest Base Camp

There are two Everest Base Camps, the north one in Tibet and the south one in Nepal. Generally, Everest Base Camp (EBC) refers to North Everest Base Camp because it is more chosen by tourists. With an altitude of 5,200 meters (17,060 feet) and a direct distance of 19km (62,335 feet) to the summit of Mt. Everest, Everest Base Camp in Tibet was originally built as a protective zone from pollution. At present, Everest Base Camp becomes the most desirable and reachable place for tourists to take a panoramic view of Mount Everest – the highest peak in the world. 

Tashilumpo Monastery

Tashilhunpo Monastery as one of the six Gelug monasteries is the seat of successive Panchen Lamas. Founded by the First Dalai Lama in 1447, it is an important monastery in Tibetan history and culture. Located at the foot of Drolmari, western side of Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet, it means “all fortune and happiness gathered here” or “heap of glory” in Tibetan. Covering an area of nearly 150,000 square meters, the monastery is the largest temple in Shigatse, which has about 57 halls and 3600 rooms. Among them, the Coqen Hall can hold 2000 people chanting at the same time.

Sakya Monastery

Sakya Monastery is the principal monastery of the Sakyapa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, located in Sakya County, about 160 kilometers southwest of Shigatse, on the road to Tingri in Tibet. Built-in 1073 by Khon Khonchong Gyalpo, on the hillside with gray earth surrounded, it means the “Grey Soil” in Tibetan. Divided by river, this monastery is consists of the northern part (in the hillside) and the southern part (lies in the valley). Different from other monasteries in Lhasa, its wall painted in red, white, and grey stripes, which represent Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani, as a special architecture to distinguish from other Buddhist schools,
which is easy to find out from a distance. 

Rongbuk Monastery

Rongbuk Monastery is the highest temple in the world above sea level, with an altitude of about 4980 meters. Situated in the north side of Mt. Everest, it is a perfect site to view the highest Everest and stay overnight before head to the Everest Base Camp (EBC) with 8 km away. Endowing the ideal location, Rongbuk Monastery itself is also worth visit. As one of the Nyingmapa Sect monastery built in 1899, it houses both monks and nuns here, which is quite special and different from other temples. Only several buildings remains, Rongbuk is simply and has a sense of untouched beauty not only for its quietness, but also the experienced history as a temple to witness the first person to conquer the Mount Everest. 

Pala Manor

Pala Manor is a well-preserved serf manor, located in Gyangze County of Shigatse as the epitome of Tibet’s past. Belonged to the noble Pala Family, Pala Manor once had a large scale of 37 affiliated small manors and over 100 serfs. Today as a well maintained 3-story house, it keeps the traditional Tibetan architecture of noble layout and gives an excellent insight into the wealthy landowning people. With beautiful decorations, exorbitant furniture, and exquisite living supplies, it’s easy to see the extravagant luxury. On the other side, the serfs had a terribly impoverished life under the extremely unjust treatment by living in the dark narrow space. 

Useful Lhasa Travel Notes

1. How to Plan Shigatse Travel
There are two classic travel itineraries to Shigatse Prefecture: 1) Lhasa – Yamdrok Lake – Gyantse – Shigatse; This itinerary aims to present you the landscape of Golden Triangle Cities of Tibet – Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse. You will arrive at and start your trip from Lhasa, the political and Buddhist center of Tibet. Then you will drive far away from Lhasa, via Gyantse, to Shigatse. There are too many things to do along the journey – visit holy lake Yamdrok, giant glaciers of Karola, unique Palcho Monastery, sacred Tashilunpo Monastery, the hometown of Tibet incense, etc. 2) Lhasa – Gyantse – Shigatse – Mount Everest. This itinerary offers you a complete Tibet tour and weaves together Tibet’s most famous sites into a package. Apart from viewing the wonders in Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse, you will discover the alpine lakes, blue skies, snow-capped mountains, amazing sunrise and sacred sites, and deeply devoted pilgrims on your way to Mt. Everest. You must get an unforgettable experience.
2. Necessary Permits for Visiting Shigatse Prefecture
When you travel in Shigatse Prefecture, you will need several specific permits. There are two situations: 1) If you just explore Shigatse City, Gyantse Town, Sakya Town, you only need two permits – Tibet Travel Permit and Alien Travel Permit; 2) If you travel beyond Lhatse to Mount Everest or Kathmandu, you will need three permits – Tibet Travel Permit and Alien Travel Permit. Besides these permits, you must have valid passport and Chinese visa.
3. High Altitudes in Shigatse Prefecture
The attitudes differ by regions in Shigatse Prefecture – Gyantse (4050m), Shigatse City (3950m), Tingri (4300m), Sakya Monastery (4300m), Rongbuk Monastery (4980m), EBC (5200m), and Mount Everest (8848m). Generally speaking, the attractions in Shigatse will be higher than Lhasa. We suggest you spend some days in Lhasa first for acclimatization, then travel to Shigatse city, even Mount Everest. According to our years’ experience, most travelers had acclimatized themselves very well to the altitudes in Shigatse after the orientation in Lhasa. The biggest challenge occurs in Mount Everest where travelers usually spend a night. You may suffer slightly from high altitude sickness in the arrival night but most travelers can make it through. Your tour operator will also prepare oxygen supply for emergency use.
4. Packing and Wearing Ideas for Shigatse Travel
Remember to pack and wear for high plateau travel. Keep warm and protect yourself from the harsh natural power is the biggest thing to concern. You are suggested to dress in layers (both thin and thick jackets). If you want to go to Mount Everest, down jacket is also recommended. A pair of gloves is also helpful for possible snow at Mount Everest. You should also bring rain gears if you travel in July and August. The ultraviolet light is quite strong, so you have to bring sunglasses, snow glasses, hats, lip balm, sun block to protect yourself from sunburn. If you want to have a trek on Mount Everest, you have to wear trekking shoes and clothing, and pack trekking and camping gears.

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