Shigaste is a modern, sprawling city, with wide boulevards humming with traffic. It is 270km southwest of Lhasa and 90km northwest of Gyantze, the second-largest town and the traditional capital of Tsang Province. Abundant of attractions as Tashilhumpo Monastery, Shigaste Dzong, Sakya Monastery, the most famous of Everest Base Camp and the highest Rongbuk Monastery and it is ideal places for many treks routes there too. With the tips of how to get there, and what to prepare for the trip there, and the well-known attractions, we will bring the standard stop for groups touring Tibet city to you.
Shalu Monastery and Surrounding area; Shalu Monastery(entrance fee ¥40) was established in the eleventh century, though the main temple in the courtyard, all that remains of the original complex, was renovated and enlarged in the early fourteenth century by Buton Rimpoche, Shalu most illustration abbot and one of the greatest Tibetan Buddhist scholars. The courtyard of Shalu is dazzling display of color amid this valley’s naked red-brown hills. The tiled, peaked roof lines and interlocking beams of Shalu are not typical of Central Tibetan architecture and reflect of influence of the Mongol Yuan dynasty who ruled Tibet and China during Buton’s time. The central figure in the main chanting hall is Buton Rimpoche, among his most achievements, he edited a vast, authoritative collection of Tibet’s Buddhist and Tantric texts, known as the Tengyur(translation of Treatises) and helped compile and important set of doctrinal text called the Kangyur(Translation of the Buddha’s Words).
Riphuk Hermitage;Riphuk Hermitage is a splash of greenery and buildings tucked into the barren ridges southwest above Shalu. If you walk to the far west side of the village, the road to the hermitage can be seen snaking up and alluvial fan spilling from the hills to the southwest. The Tibetan letters om mani hum are written on a nearby hill. The road stops at a parking lot, then a trail continues past several buildings to reach the whitewashed walls of dukhang, one hour above Shalu Monastery.
Jampaling Ani Gompa Remains; The remains of Jampaling ani gompa are one hour ore more from Shalu in a drainage gully to the northwest. Starting from the north side of Shalu village, follow a cart track though the barley fields towards the base of the ridge. Jampaling is above the broad gravel wash dumpling out of the hills to the left(west). The tall, red stone walls were the main assembly hall. Climb another hour above Jampaling for panoramic views of overlooking Shalu Monastery and the upper Nyang Chu Valley. The highest point on the main ridge is an hour or more father up to the west.
Podrangtse Dzong Ruins; the ruins of Pordrangtse dzong are 1.5hours from Shalu, perched upon a solitary hill within the valley. The most direct approach is to walk cross country(southeast) over the plains. A more roundabout route follows the road up the valley(south) en route to Showa La on the trek to Ngor. The easiest way to summit is along the ridge spur leading up the far side. This is a great picnic spot, set high above the geometrical configurations of barley fields.
Tashilhumpo Monastery(entrance fee 100¥)and the kora; Tashilhumpo is an impressive city of temples and monks’ residences sprawling across the foot of Nyizer Ri. It was founded by one of Tsong Khapa’s main disciples, Gendun Drub, in the mid-fifteenth century. He was the first abbot here and his tomb is a major shrine in the Kalzang Lhakhang. The monastery is now the largest functioning religious institution in Tibet and one of its great monastic sights. The huge golden statue of the Future Buddha is the largest gilded statue in the world. To the right, and higher still, is the Festival Thangka wall, hung with massive, colorful thangkas during festivals.
The kora around Tashilhumpo takes less than one hour to complete not including the break, though more time should be allowed to enjoy the views and all the pilgrim activities along the way. Heading clockwise from the monastery entrance, follow the main boundary wall way from the gates and turn right(west) onto the main road. The kora now ascends towards the hills between the boundary wall and private houses. It now climbs above the northern boundary wall to an avenue of the merit-earning sites where pilgrims rub parts of their bodies against certain rocks and place offering of incense bush, tsampa, or chang onto smoldering hearths. On the far side of the koku wall, the trail forks, the upper route traverses to the Shigaste Dzong, less thank 30 minutes away. Locals living in the settlement below Dzong finish their circuit along this trail. The lower route, the traditional kora, descends steeply from this junction, angling down between prayer wheels to follow the eastern boundary wall before intersecting a road leading from the market area.
Ngor Ewam Choden Monastery(俄艾旺曲丹寺); Ngor monastery was founded in 1429 by Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo, a prolific writer and Buddhist scholar who was educated at Sakya Monastery. Before 1959, Nagor boasted five labrangs, eighteen residence halls, two large chanting halls for its 600monks, and four lineages of incarnate trulkus. The monastery was also famous for a style of mural painting that developed here. Ngor is now one of the largest monasteries near Shigaste. A pilgrim’s kora taking less than one hour ascends from the eleven chortens at the base of the monastery to climb above Thartse Labrang and encircle the grounds.
Narthang Monastery; it is 9 miles(14km) west of Shigaste within the village of Narthang. The monastery’s moonscape of immense mud-walled ruins creates an eerie atmosphere, so removed from the vitality and beauty at Ngor. Narthang originally belonged to the Kadampa school of Tibetan Buddhism, founded in the mid-twelfth century by a disciple of Atisha. Narthang was once renowned for its religious printing, particularly for producing the voluminous copies of the Tibetan Buddhist Canon-the Kangyur and the Tengyur. One hundred and twenty-five thousand oblong hand-carved wooden printing blocks were used to print these texts, but most of them were destroyed along with the moanstery in 1966. Today Nathang has fifty resident monks and is closely associated with Tashilhumpo’s Ngakpa College.
Ngor Ewam Choden Monastery
The trek from Ngor to Narthang; The walk from Ngor to Narthang monastery takes 5 to 6hours, descends to Pelrung along the service road, or by the trail short-cutting the curves. From Pelrung, the road winds down onto a broad gravel plain, past a steep-sided tributary entering from the left. As the valley starts bending to the north, the road angels left cross the river plain toward a hill of multicolored rock. Stay on the valley floor, and in 2 hours or more reach a solitary three-humped hill in the valley mouth. In the distance to the north are the square-walled ruins of Narthang monastery, 2 or 3 hours from here across the flat plain. The most direct route to the Narthang leads north, though the trail can become obscure in the maze of barley and mustard plots, just keep heading north. A less direct but more obvious route follows the dirt road north from Dzong Luguri, crosses the dry river bed, then shortly after the the river takes the left fork at a road junction to reach the Friendship Highway, Narthang village and the monastery.
Sakya Monastery(entrance fee ¥30); The important old monastery, whose name means “Tawny Soil”, governed the whole of Tibet in the 13th century, after the downfall of the kings. Its medieval Mongolian architecture is quite unlike that of monasteries in Lhasa or Yarlong. It is worth taking the time for a side trip off the main road to see it off the main road to see it. The turn-off to Sakya is on the left, immediately after crossing the Sakya River Bridge, 128km(80miles) west of Shigaste-15km(9miles) from the top of the Tsuo La Pass. A rough road leads down a long, dry valley for 26km(16miles) to Sakya village. The forbidding, fortress-like monastery can be seen from a distance, looking like a single gray and red block with one horizontal white stripe.
Rongbuk Monastery(entrance fee 45¥); Formerly the site of the highest monastery in the world, at 5,030meters, Rongbuk is now known as “ sanctuary of the birds” and the starting point for climbing expeditions up Mt. Everest. There was a strict ban on killing any animal in the area. It was first established as a religious site 250 to 300 years ago. The first gompa, a Buddhist nunnery, was established about 200 years ago, by the 1950s there were nearly 250 residents, most of them nuns. It is main Buddhist center in the valley and once coordinated the activities of around a dozen smaller religious institutions, all of which are nor ruined, and it was established in 1902 by a Nyingmapa Lama. The monastery and its large chorten make a great photograph with Everest thrusting its head skyward in the background.
Due for the completion in 2003 at Rongbuk is a tourist center- a building complex with an emergency room, oxygen room, plus 16 hotel-style rooms. There are also plans for building an environmental monitoring center and a mini-museum showing wildlife of the area, as part of the proposed Qomolongma Nature Reserve.
Rongbuk Glacier; Beyond the rockslide, the base camp road enters a series of gravel hills that mark advances and retreats of the Rongbuk Glacier. The terminal moraine of the Rongbuk Glacier is less than 30 minutes across the gravel flats from the British campsite. Follow the road past base camp for about 10 minutes to a stream crossing. The road continues beyond this crossing toward the east side of the terminal moraine. It is an impressive frozen river of ice waves and should not be missed if you take the effort to reach base camp. The view of the glacier and the Himalayan peaks are some of the most dramatic in Tibet. The terrain is rocky but easy enough to negotiate, as this track follows a relatively flat, natural trough between the glacier’s lateral moraine and the side of the ridge. Two hours above the glacial terminus is a trail junction at a small, flat area overlooking the creek crashing down from the East Rongbuk Glacier. The right fork is the trail to the North Face advanced Base Camp(ABC).
Everest Base Camp(entrance fee 160¥ for guide too, environment bus fee 120¥, vehicle entrance fee 320¥ or 480¥); Called Everest North Base Camp too, normally it is CampⅠwhich set in a barren world of moraine hills under beautiful scalpted, yellow-orange cliff. It is easy to spot, as dozens of tent sites have been leveled throughout the rocks and boulders. Since 5th Dec. 2018. the government decide to relocate the Everest Base Camp near Rongbuk Monastery, and people can only go further above 1 km, not any more, comparing before there would be 8 km with nice trekking, this makes many people the government closed the Everest Base camp wrongly, actually it has no affection on Everest Summit observation in nice weather. Everest is known to the Tibetans as Chomolangma, which transliterates as Queen(Jhomo) on an Ox(Glangma), otherwise more prosaically rendered as “Mother Goddess of the World”. Tibetans believe that the goddess was Miyo Langsangma(one of the five Tsering sisters, each of these five goddesses inhabits a high peak in the Himalayan region)resides at Mount Everest; her mount is an ox, although other images show her astride a tiger.
Everest Base Camp
Kangshung Trek; This arduous ten-day loop takes you through the Kama and Karta valleys with views of Everest’s Kangshung Face. Of the three faces of Everest, this is the one rated the most daunting to climb, and the one rarely viewed by Westerners. To save time and conserve energy, it would be advisable to get a ride to the trail head village of Karta. Everest East Face Base camp can be reached by several routes; a ten-day loop takes in several of these. There are two high passes en route; trekkers pick the lower one(Shao La, 4970m) to go over first as this allows more chance to acclimatize. At the base of Shao La are two glacial lakes, where good campsites are found. If the weather is clear, there are good views of Everest, Makalu and Lhotse from the top of Shao La. Shao La leads into the beautiful Kama Valley which is surprisingly coated with meadows full of rhododendrons, and further on, forests of pine and fir. Westward along the Kama Valley there are my streams to cross, and meadows with wildflowers. If the weather is cooperative. There are unparalleled views of Kangshung Face and Kangshung Glacier.
Hello, we are considering to travel in Tibet in summer. We are a family of 5, two adults and three kids, age 13(then), 10, 8. We are interested in the 10 days Mt. EBC & Namtso Lake Group tour. We are US citizens with valid 10-year Chinese multiple entry visa, which we have applied when we went to Beijing in 2019. We are currently living in South Korea.
1. Are kids suitable (or even allowed) for this tour?
2. If kids can join, are there any discount deals for kids?
Dear Ms. Ho***,
Greetings from Helen at Budget Tibet Tour and welcome you to join our 10 days Mt. Everest & Namtso Lake group tour. For your questions: 1. Your kids are suitable for this tour. Travelling in Tibet is as safe for kids as it is for their parents. While the high Tibetan plateau may be the highest place on the planet, very often, the kids that visit this region are more adaptable and have fewer problems than their parents. We also have arranged wonderful Tibet tours for many families with kids such as a tour to EBC for a family with a 3-year-old son, a 9-year-old girl and a 11-year-old boy, they did have fun in Tibet and there is no problem for them. Or you can take some medicine under the guidance of doctor to prevent high altitude before enter Tibet. 2. If kids travel with you, we'll offer some discount for them, please check your email and find more detailed information. Thanks & Regards
Email to Helen about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side