Shannan Guide

Shannan, located in the southern part of Tibet Autonomous Region, is bordered by Lhasa City  to the north, Shigatse  to the west, Nyingchi  to the east, India and Bhutan to its south. Shannan has a borderline of 630 km, thus playing a strategic role of vital importance. The whole region covers a total area of 7.93 square km, stretching 418 km from east to west and 317 km from south to north. Shannan, holding a population of about 500,000, is a multiethnic settlement with primarily Tibetan group. There are 14 ethnic groups including Tibetan, Han, Menba and Luba, among which Tibetan population makes up 96% of the total.

Shannan map

In the early years of the 2nd century, the first Tsenpo Nyatri Tsenpo, the chief of early Yarlung tribe, established the hereditary succession system of Tsenpo. In the 6th century, Yarlung basin entered slave society and Yarlung tribe gradually became the strongest tribe in Tibet. In the middle of 7th century, Songtsen Gampo sent an army from Yarlung valley, united Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, established Tubo regime and relocated the capital city in Lhasa. Shannan which is the original place of Tubo regime, remains a special status. In the heyday of Tubo Kingdom, many irrigation systems were set up in Shannan Yarlung basin and along Yarlung Tsangpo River , thus further improving the production conditions, and the grain yield was greatly increased, making Shannan a granary of Tibet. In the mid-8th century, Trisong Detsen built Samye Monastery and tonsured the first Tibetans to become monks. They learned and translated Buddhist scriptures in Samye Monastery and became the first monks in Tibetan history.

Yumbulhakang Palace in Tsedang

Shannan lies in the valley of south Tibet, middle and lower reaches of Yarlung Tsangpo River south of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau Gangdisi Mountains-Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains. The terrain gradually lowers from west to east, with an average altitude of about 3600 metres. The average oxygen level is 80%. The Gongburi Mountain in the east side of Tsedang is one of the "sacred mountains" in Tibet. Shannan holds lots of rivers and lakes with a rich water resources. Yarlung Tsangpo River flows from west to east through Nagarzê, Gongga, Zhanang, Nêdong, Sangri, Qusum and Gyaca, stretching 424 km within the area. There are many lakes in Shannan, among which Yamdrok Lake , Lhamolatso Lake  and Zhegu Lake are the well-known ones. Shannan is in the temperate arid climate zone with an average annual temperature being 6~8.8℃, annual sunshine duration being 2600~3300 hours and average annual rainfall being less than 450 mm. The rainy season concentrates between June and September.  

Yumbulagang Palace in Tsetang

Shannan is home to the 5th and 6th Dalai Lama. The numerous ancient cultural relics here endows this region with unique tourism resources attracting a large number of tourists from home and abroad. The Gongburi Mountain in the east side of Tsedang is one of the "sacred mountains" in Tibet. Every year around 15th of April according to Tibetan calendar, large amounts of believers come and walk around the mountain. Yumbulakhang Palace  is the first palace built by the first Tibetan King Nyatri Tsenpo on Yalung Plain. It is also the earliest architecture in Tibet. Tradruk Temple , built in the 7th century, is one of the first monasteries built during Tubo regime. Samye is the first monastery in Tibet that has a complete set of Buddha, dharma and sangha. The Valley of the Kings is a place where Tsenpos, minsters and princess consorts of Tubo Kingdom were buried, which is the largest royal mausoleum in Tibet. The Yalung scenic site is well-known as the original place for Tibetan ethnic culture, covering a total area of 920 square km including 7 counties such as Nêdong and Qonggyai. There are 7 scenic sites and 58 scenic spots in Yalung.

Lhamolatso Lake

The abundant tourism resources in the area is composed of historical and cultural relics of early Tibet, the historical and cultural relics of Tibetan Buddhims, hot spring, waterfall, stone tower, snow mountain, karst cave, lake and idyllic scenery and folk customs. Other scenic spots include Mindrolling Monastery , Yamdrok Lake , Lhamolatso and monkey cave. Lhamolatso Lake , with an altitude of 4000 metres, meaning "the Spiritual-Lake of the Goddess", is the lake with the most legendary and romantic flavor in Tibet, covering an area of about 1 square km and taking on an oval shape. This lake is highly respected by believers due to its special status in the reincarnation system of living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism. The reincarnation of living Buddhas such as Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama is conducted through eminent monks watching the lake for Sruti.

Travelers' Questions Might Help

The questions raised by our past customers can help you get a more clear picture about tours to Tibet, read them or tell us your own questions please contract us, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

Mr. Ed*** from: Shannan Guide
October 05, 2019 17:40

Hi -

I would like to visit Shannan - to take a tour of the area and to visit Karjiang mountain -  Kind regards

Douglas -

Answered by Nancy
October 06, 2019 03:24

Dear Ms. Ed***,

Greetings from Nancy at Budget Tibet Tour, thanks for visiting our website and sending your inquiry. It will be no problem for you to visit Shannan, but not possible for you to visit Karjiang as it is not opening for tourists to go, so we cannot apply Tibet permit or climbing permit based on that. If you are interested in visiting other places please kindly let me know. Nice day to you. Best regards.

Email to Nancy about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

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