The historical province of Tsang (གཙང) is either the first or last place that most travelers experience in Tibet, and the setting for two of Asia's great mountain drives: to far western Tibet and across the Himalaya to Nepal. The great overland trip across Tibet – from Lhasa along the Friendship Hwy to the Nepali border via Gyantse, Shigatse and Mt Everest Base Camp – goes straight through Tsang, linking most of Tibet's highlights on one irresistible route. Along the way is a scattering of atmospheric Tibetan monasteries and historic towns, an adventurous detour to the base of Mt Everest and multitudes of snowy peaks and moonlike landscapes to behold. Dozens of smaller monasteries just off the highway offer plenty of scope to get off the beaten track and experience an older Tibet.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Tsang.