Shigatse, also Xigatse, means "fertile land" and stands at the junction of the Yarlong Tsangpo and Nyangchu River. It used to be the capital of Tsang and now is the capital of Shigatse prefecture. The 600 year old city is the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama, who is one of the two prestigious spiritual leaders in Tibet and the abbot of the Tashilhunpo Monastery. About 300 km from Lhasa, it is an important stop between Lhasa and west Tibet where pilgrims and tourists often wander. Shigatse has a population of over 80,000, of which 97% are Tibetan. It is the second largest city within Tibet has undergone large scale development. Most tourist facilities stand along Jiefang Dong Lu, Beijing Bei Lu, Zhufeng Lu and Shandong Lu. West of the market and below the Dzong is the old Tibetan quarter where many people like to visit.
Climate: Summer is usually mild and wet, and brings most of the annual rainfall. Winter is cold, dry and windy.
Feature: There are wonderful monasteries comparable with those in Lhasa, like Tashilhunpo, Sakya and Shalu. The highlight of Shigatse is surprisingly high snow capped peaks. Most of the highest peaks in Tibet, including Mt. Everest, are around Shigatse, in Shigatse prefecture.
Accommodations: Although Shigatse is the second largest city in Tibet, the accommodation options are limited. Shigatse Hotel is the best (3 star) hotel in town and is found on Jiefang Zhong. Lu. Zhufeng Friendship Hotel on Dechen Potrang Lu is another good choice although it is some distance from the center of the city. Sangzhuzi Hotel and Tenzin Hotel are hostels, providing basic accommodation. Tenzin has recently undergone renovations. Shigatse Post Hotel and Fruit Orchard are other choices. The Fruit Orchard is just opposite to Tashilhunpo Monastery.