Lhasa, the remote abode of the Dalai Lamas, object of devout pilgrimage and heart and soul of Tibet, is still a city of wonders, despite the large-scale encroachments of modern Chinese influence.
About 250km southwest of Lhasa, or 90km northwest of Gyantse, lies Shigatse (Rikaze), Tibet’s second-largest town and the traditional capital of Tsang province.
One of the more pleasant towns around Tibet, Gyantse (Jiangzi), located in the Nyang-chu Valley, is famed for the Gyantse Kumbum, the largest chörten in Tibet.
A detour to visit the small town of Sakya (Sajia) is pretty much de rigueur for any trip down the Friendship Hwy.
The road linking Kathmandu and Lhasa was constructed in the 1960s, but political wrangles and the ever-present risk of landslides prevented the Arniko Hwy from ever becoming a mainstream route between the two countries.