Shannan, regarded as the birthplace of Tibet civilization, is a prefecture-level city in southeastern Tibet. In Shannan, you can visit Yamdrok Lake – one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, Yumbulagang – Tibet’s first palace, Samye Monastery – Tibet’s first monastery etc. Plus the good transportation and accommodation, it becomes a popular destination to explore the old history of Tibet.
Shannan Transportation – Get to/around Tsedang
Where is Shannan
Literally meaning the south of mountain, Shannan got such a name for its location in the south side of Gangdise Mountains and Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains. It is bounded by Lhasa to North, Nyingchi to east, Shigatse on west and border with India and Bhutan on the south internationally. Seated on the middle and lower reaches of Yarlung Tsangpo River, Shangnan bred the Tibetan civilization. Owning a long boundary line of 600km, it holds an important strategical position.
How to Get to Shannan
After years' constructions, Shannan has built up a relatively full-equipped transportation system. It consists of 12 counties all of which are connected by highroads. Travelers can drive to most attractions in Shannan, such as Samye Monastery, Yamdrok Lake, etc. Generally, flight and driving are two major transportations for your choice to get to and off Shannan.
The only international airport in Tibet – Lhasa Gonggar Airport is located in the Gonggar County of Shannan. There are frequent domestic flights to Lhasa Gonggar Airport from Beijing, Chengdu, Xian, Shanghai, Chongqing, Kunming, Shangri-La etc. and daily international flights from Kathmandu. Therefore, tourists can take a flight to Tibet conveniently and then transfer to Tsedang (capital of Shannan) by driving. Covering a distance of about 100km, it takes about 1.5 hours’ driving time to Tsedang Town only.
Check the detailed information about Flights to Tibet
Usually, tourists prefer a Lhasa tour before transferring to Tsedang. Lhasa is the transportation hub in Tibet and it is well-linked with many major cities by flights or trains. Lhasa Gonggar Airport is about 60km away from Lhasa City and it takes about 1 hour to transfer between them by driving. There are daily shuttle buses available as well. Lhasa Railway Station is located in the city area, and it can be reached easily.
Tsedang is about 160km to south Lhasa. There are coaches running to Tsedang from Lhasa everyday, but all foreigners have travel with a travel agency who always offer a car to you. The road to Tsedang includes the Airport High Express and S101 National Highway, both in good condition. The whole journey cost nearly 2 hours.
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Get around Shannan
Tsedang to Yamdrok Lake
Located in Langkazi County of Shannan Prefecture, Yamdrok Lake is about 160km from Tsedang. A driving takes about 3 hours. You need to climb to and get down from Kambala Pass of an altitude of 5,030 meters to reach Yamdrok Lake. On the pass, you can have an unbelievably fantastic vista of the sapphire lake. The road is really winding and steep, so don’t forget to fasten the seat belt and hold on the handrail to keep balance.
Tsedang to Samye Monastery
Samye Monastery is situated in Samye Town, about 67km (about 42 minutes’ driving) away from Tsedang. On your way to Samye Monastery, you will pass through Chanang Bridge or Tsedang Bridge and get a magnificent view of Yarlung Tsangpo River.
Tsedang to Yumbulagang Palace
Yumbulagang Palace is perched in the Yarlung Valley, only about 15km from Tsedang. It takes about 20 minutes to get there usually. Before reaching Yumbulagang, you will go along with the winding road and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Yarlung Valley.
Warm Tips for Shannan
1. Necessary Permits: Traveling to Shannan or other areas in Tibet, Tibet Travel Permit is a must. It is issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau only and can be applied by travel agencies on behalf of you only. It must be obtained before you getting to Tibet, because you are not permitted to board your flight or train without it. Besides, Aliens’ Travel Permit is necessary to Shannan Prefecture. It is applied after you entering Tibet. Your tour guide will apply it with your Tibet Travel Permit and passport.
2. High Altitude Sickness Tip: The average altitude of Shannan is about 3,700m (12,139ft), much higher than other regions in Tibet. You can take Shannan as your first destination of Tibet to have an altitude-acclimation. However, you are recommended to keep warm and avoid strong activities if this is your first time to Tibet. Remember that don’t take shower on the first day in Tibet.
3. Best Time to Visit: Because of the warm and moisture laden winds from the Indian Ocean, Shannan enjoys a relatively moderate temperature and weather. Exploring the landmarks of Shannan, like Sayme Monastery, Yumbulagang Palace and Yamdrok Lake only, you can plan your trip all the year around. If you want to extend your tour to other destinations in Tibet, April to October is the best time.
4. Food & Accommodation: Shannan accommodation, most gathering in Tsedang, ranges from economic guesthouses to four-star comfortable hotels. Most recommended hotels are Yalong River Hotel and Tsedang Hote, which are four-star hotels with well-equipped facilities and better service. The food offered in the restaurants of Tsedang focuses on Tibetan food and Sichuan cuisine, but some restaurants also provide western dishes, like Tashi Restaurant.
Shannan Travel Guide
Recommended Namtso Lake Tour Packages
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