How to Plan a Trip Around Tsetang
Tsedang, the administrative center of Shannan Prefecture, is the birthplace of Tibetan culture. It is 191 kilometers from Lhasa and 87 kilometers from Gonggar Airport. The area around Tsedang is blessed with numerous historical relics and sites.
The town and the surrounding regions, at 3,600 meters above sea level, are among the lowest places in Tibet. The area is actually 60 meters lower in elevation than Lhasa.
First, select what you want to see from the following attractions. Usually, it’s a good idea to try not to arrange any sightseeing or other activities on the first day that you arrive in Tibet.
To help you choose attractions for your tours in Tsetang, we have arranged the region’s attractions according to:
- Type of Attraction (cultural, scenic, etc.)
- Hours from Tsetang
- Location (attractions not in or near the city usually require a whole day)
- Popularity (ranked 1–5)
- Hours Needed for a Visit
- Entry Cost
Type of Attraction
Hours from Tsetang
Hours for a Visit
45 RMB (7 USD)
60 RMB (9 USD)
70 RMB (11 USD)
Tombs of Tibetan Kings
35 RMB (5.5 USD)
It is not necessary for you to rush from one monastery to another as they are very similar in sights and architecture. We suggest choosing two or three of the most famous monasteries to visit. For first time visitors, we would recommend Samye Monastery, Yumbulagang Palace, and Trandruk Monastery. Also, be sure to stop and enjoy the impressive Brahmaputra River scenery on your way from Tsetang to Lhasa.
Two days are usually enough to cover the highlights around the region.
The First Day:
Drive from Lhasa to Tsedang. The road runs along the Yarlung Tsangpo River (the Brahmaputra). Enjoy the great scenery of the river, the mountains on the opposite bank and the scattered Tibetan villages.
The Second Day:
Drive or take a bus from Tsetang to Samye Monastery, which will take 1.5 hours. Your car/bus will run along the Yarlung Tsangpo River (the Brahmaputra), which will be on your left. Enjoy the impressive natural scenery of the high mountains, desert, local Tibetan villages and river on your way.
There is a 4,500-meter mountain pass on the way to the monastery, where you may feel a bit uncomfortable due to the high altitude.
The monastery is large, and it may take you two to three hours to cover the major halls.
Drive back to Tsetang for lunch.
Visit Yumbu Lakang Monastery in the afternoon. Yumbu Lakang is 11 kilometers away from Tsetang, which is about a 30 minutes’ drive.
The road from Tsetang to Yumbu Lakang runs along the fertile Yarlung Valley. Fields in the valley are planted with barley and white. Yumbu Lakang monastery, perched on a hill, was the first palace in Tibet. It commands a spectacular view of the Yarlung Valley.
On your way back, be sure to visit the Tradruk Temple along the roadside. This monastery was one of the first monasteries in Tibet. The monastery keeps a Thangka -- an often silk painting depicting a Buddhist deity or religious scene -- made of pearls, which is considered the most valuable item in the monastery.
Hotels in Tsedang range from new, multiple-star hotels to cheap roadside hostels. Tsetang Hotel is the best in the city, and they offer a Western breakfast every morning. Be sure to book your rooms early if you are planning to visit during the Shoton Festival, which occurs in Mid-August.
Sichuan food, noodles and Tibetan food is served in most hotels. Although there are small restaurants here and there in the town, we would suggest you eat at your hotel for health reasons. Western breakfasts are available in many hotels, such as the Tsetang Hotel.
China Highlights' Tsetang Tours
- 5-Day Lhasa and Tsetang Tour
- Tibet Explorer Organized Small Group Tour
- Customize a trip to Tsetang and other regions in Tibet
Questions and Answers About How to Plan a Trip Around Tsetang
I updated this article on September 28, 2012
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