Getty Images/Moment RF


Tibet’s second-largest city and the traditional capital of Tsang province, Shigatse (གཞི་ཀ་རྩེ་; 日喀则; Rìkāzé) is a modern, sprawling city, with wide boulevards humming with traffic. As you drive in across the plains, the sight of the Potala-lookalike Shigatse Dzong, high on a hilltop overlooking the town, will probably fire your imagination, but the fort is empty and most of what you see dates from a 2007 reconstruction. It is Tashilhunpo Monastery that is the real draw here. Since the Mongol sponsorship of the Gelugpa order in the 17th century, Tashilhunpo has been the seat of the Panchen Lama, the second most important spiritual figure in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Shigatse.