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Shigatse(གཞིས་ཀ་རྩེ་གྲོང་ཁྱེར།)

In Shigatse, nature plays at being creative, raising on its terrain the highest peak in the world, the Mount Everest. It is, in short, a paradise for hiking enthusiasts, who have many routes to choose from to walk for days and days surrounded by snow-capped mountains and lush forests. Also, the environment opens cracks in the ground adorned with vegetation and creates the best views of Karuola Glacier and Shishapangma Peak, offering a landscape of the golden rays of the sun at sunset and the starry sky at night. The followers of Buddhism do not waste a minute to get to know Shalu, Sakya and Gelug sects in Palcho and Tashilhunpo Monastery, and to go around Yamdrok Tso Lake to be blessed and have great luck in their lives. Also, on the way people discover the hidden islands of the lake that do not even appear on the map, hidden in the landscape.

How to get +

Foreign visitors will have to travel in the type of transport assigned by the travel agency, since they cannot travel freely in Tibet.

For those travelers with Chinese nationality, there’s many ways to get to Shigatse:

By plane: Shigatse has its own airport, called Shigatse He Ping Airport (日喀则和平机场), where you can get to from all airports in China.

By train: it also has its own railway station, Shigatse Railway Station. However, in this case there are hardly any direct trips, and they almost always depart from cities that are a little closer and make a stopover in Lhasa.

By car: own or rented, better if hired with a driver. The roads can be very rocky, with many curves, and even dangerous, so it is important that visitors are guided by local people who know the area.

Travel tips +

Permits:

You must obtain a Border Permit, since Shigatse is on the border with Nepal and India. This document can be obtained at the place of residence and membership (户口) or in Lhasa (by hiring a local travel agency). In no way can it be gotten by the tourist him/herself in Tibet.

Also, you must have a travel permit for Tibet in the case that you are a visitor of non-Chinese nationality, which only those local travel agencies in Tibet with a certificate for foreign tourism have the capacity to issue.

In case of being a foreigner, it is mandatory to travel accompanied by a group guided by a tour guide from the travel agency, since it is not allowed to circulate freely in Tibet.

 

What to carry:

Medicine: to combat dizziness, colds or headaches. It is recommended to start taking Chinese medicine medicine such as Rhodiola rosea (红景天) and Panax quinuefolius (西洋参) 14 days before traveling to Lhasa to avoid reactions due to the altitude.

Oxygen bottles: to be used only when necessary, as the process of getting used to the altitude is very important. It is not good to start the tour and use oxygen bottles straight away.

 

Transport:

Renting a car with driver is very important in Shigatse. Public transport hardly exists, and there are no train stations in almost any area. In addition, many destinations are very far from each other, so it is much more convenient to hire someone as a guide-driver, especially if it is a trip of several days. The price is usually around ¥1100-2000 per car per day.

Gastronomy +

Yadong Fish (亚东鱼): it is a species of precious fish with seven-colored spots that exists exclusively in Yadong River. It has no scales, its belly is white and its back is bluish, similar to the crucian carp. It lives in water generated by the snow and with a very peculiar quality, which makes it a fish with a very tender and fresh flavor, compared to other fish.

Kamba sheep(岗巴羊): it is a kind of sheep unique to Kamba County. It is known for its fine texture, delicious and smooth flavor. Above all, the one thing that stands out is the lamb, which is very yummy and a main source of meat for the inhabitants of the area.

Sheep blood (羊血肠): in Tibetan areas, the blood of each slaughtered sheep is used and is not prepared separately, but is poured into the small intestine to be boiled later. Preparation is extremely simple. The meat of the animal is minced and put in a little salt, pepper and tsampa powder, and later it is poured into the intestines and tied into small pieces with thread, and that would be ready to be cooked.

Chaang liquor (青稞酒): it is a type of wine made with barley from the Tibetan plateau, with a type of raw material typical of Qinghai-Tibet. It has a yellow-orange color, a good sweet and sour taste, and is low in alcohol. It is used to celebrate parties, receive family and friends, at weddings, etc.

Tsampa (糌粑): for Tibetans, tsampa is the transcription of noodles, but with a shorter and thicker shape. It is a typical and main dish they eat every day, usually mixed with butter tea (酥油茶). In addition, sugar and Chhaang (青稞) are usually added to increase the flavor and make it yummier.

Tibetan yogurt: the yak milk (a typical animal species of Tibet) that has been squeezed less than 30 minutes ago is put in a container and cooked. Then, it is waited for the temperature to drop to 40ºC and it is mixed with the yogurt that was left fermenting the day before. Afterwards, the mix is ​​left sealed to dry under the sun. The result is a lumpy, pasty white yogurt, with a pure, sour taste and extremely nutritious. It may be a bit too sour for first-time tasters, however you can add sugar which, even if it doesn’t dissolve completely, can balance out the flavor a bit.

Accommodation +

Foreign tourists may not be able to choose the place they want to stay in, because it will be the travel agency that offers accommodation options, which can be in the mountains (base camps) or in the main cities. In intermediaries such as Booking they do not offer hotels or hostels (among others) in this area, so you would have to ask in person in the establishments or other Chinese intermediaries.

Useful contacts +

Tourist office: 0892-882-2221.

Shigatse People’s Hospital: 0892-882-6593.

Tourist complaints and claims: 0892-882-1778.

Tourist service: 0892-882-1226.

Public Security Bureau: 0892-882-9803.