Zhangmu, Khasa in Nepalese language is a border town, a small settlement situated into 10 km inside from the Friendship Bridge across the Bhotekosi river and a very important trade center between China and Nepal after closure of borders between India and China from Gangtok. Nowadays Khasa is one of the most important entry point for the tourists to visit Tibet (Mt. Everest, Mt. Kailash / Mansaravar Lake, Lhasa etc.). So it has a bank, a post office, a government store, and many more.
The Climate is quite different from the surrounding area. The giant hills around Zhangmu are heavily wooded with frozen "icicles" during the winter and beautiful waterfall in summer.
Nyalam a small town but used to be an important trade post placed into a fertile valley is situated in an altitude of 12,200 feet but the vegetation is sparse. About an hour drive (28 km) uphill from the border town Khasa you'll reach Nyalam. Few basic lodges and flat roofed mud-brick houses introduces you the sign of touch of Tibetan plateau.
A beautiful small town situated at the altitude of 13,800 feet, Shegar is the place from where the Himalayan range to the South including Mt. Everest can be seen very close in the clear day. This is also the basement place forexpeditions to Mt. Everest and other peaks around. Another place of interest in Shegar is a new Chinese commune with the population of about 3000 just at the 7 kilometers from the main road.
Another beautiful Place, cultivation with fields of barley and mustard especially in the summer, Lhatze is in an altitude of 13100 feet. It is the place of more prosperous villages with well ordered houses of good appearance. A much more Chinese presence & feel, both in terms of people and signs, which are almost entirely in Chinese script. The town is more important due to the junction to turn Kathmandu to the South and to the western Tibet towards Mt. Kailash and Mansarovar Lake. Another attraction of Lhatze is a hot spring located in few kilometers from the town for the explorers.
Sakya monastery, the center of the Sakyapa Sect in Tibetan Buddhism is located in Sakya Country, about 30 km of the Xegar - Shigatse main road. The monastery stands in two parts (Northern and Southern) on the side of Dongchu River. The northern part of the monastery was built in 1079 and the southern founded in 1268 by Pagpa, a ruler of whole Tibet under the Yuan Dynasty's supervision. The monastery has great influence over the Tibetan history and cultural development. So the State Council of China has classified it as the national level protected monuments.
Shigatse, the second biggest city in Tibet is situated at the altitude of 12,600 ft. It is the famous city for its great Tashilhunpo Monastery - the seat of the Panchen Lama, who is regarded as the reincarnation of the Buddha of Endless Enlightenment. Items of interest inside this monastery built in 1447 by the First Dalai Lama are: the relics of Sakyamuni, the Hall of Maitreya, and a incredible collection of thanks, frescoes and statues. There is also a dynamic 'free' market where one can buy local handicraft embedded with coral and turquoise, Tibetan Daggers, Chinese pottery and yak butter. Since it is the second biggest city of Tibet, it is the center for transportation and distribution of agriculture and other products.
The Tashilhunpo Monastery
Tashilhumpo is a vast monastery with its own streets, housing sectors, plazas, back alleys and complex of temples and halls. It is located in the town of Sigatse and was founded by Gedun Drup, a disciple of Tsongkapa, the founder of the Gelungpa Sect in Tibetan Buddhism. Gedun Drup was later recognized as the first Dalai Lama. The monastery was built in 1447 and continuously expanded by the subsequent Panchen Lamas. The Ngagpa College (Tantric College), one of its four monastic colleges, was the residence of the Panchen lamas. One of the most attraction of this monastery is the giant Maitreya (Future Buddha) erected by the 9th Panchen Lama in 1914 which took 4 years to complete. This twenty six meters tall statue is very big where lots of precious things like pearls, turquoises, corals and ambers were used with its 275 Kg. of solid gold.
A 100 yeard old Shalu monastery is in the Salu village near Shigatse. The monastery is built by the Chinese Yuan Dynasty. The main feature of the monastery is the combination Tibetan and Chinese art and architecture. The monastery has lots of religious objects like books related to Buddhism etc.
Gyantse, a small agricultural town famous for its wool carpets and the Palkhor Choide Chorten is situated in an altitude of 13000 feet. The main attractions of this place is 13 circiled 5 storeyed unique structure built in 1414 and the fort. The historic town of Gyantse is on the way to Lhasa that need to cross three mountain passes: Simala-4380m, Karola-5045m, Ghampala-4794 m and the turquoise Yamdrok Lake.
Palcho Monastery and Kumbum Stupa
An unique and typical combination of three different sects of Tibetan Buddhism (the Gelungpa, the Sakyapa and Bhuton Sect), you can see in Palcho monastery in Gyantse. The popular pagoda style Kumbum has nine storyed 108 doors and 77 chapels that contains clay sculptures and thousands of wall paintings.
Yamdrok Lake and Nagarje
One of the threebiggest lakes in Tibet, Yamdrok Lake is in between of the capital city Lhasa and the historic city Gyantse. This turquoise green and freshwater lake is a countless depth and is spread in 624 square kilometers making about ten independent hilly islands inside. It is the home of fish and migratory birds. Nagarje is situated at the coast of this huge lake.
Lhasa and its Surrounding
Lhasa, culturally rich city with its 1300 years history is the capital of immediate Tibetan kingdom. Having the magnificent Potala Palace, former palaces of the Dalai Lamas Lhasa is more popular in the world. The palace was built in 1645 at the top of a hill. It has 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and 200,000 religious statues.
The Jhokhang temple
(Built in 7th century) is another holiest Buddhist shrine in Tibet, the quaint Barkhor market, Norbulingka (three palaces once used by the Dalai Lamas as a summer retreat), that surrounds it. The Jhokhang, about 700 years old giant Drepung monastery and the Sera (another important center of Buddhist learning) are the main focuses of this historic city. Besides these heritage sites you can see modern city life in its concrete buildings, fancy department stores, night clubs and wide roads.
The historic city Tsedang represents the Tibetan civilization. Tsedang is situated in 195 km southeast of Lhasa which offers historic tours as it is known as the valley of the kings (the capital of the Yarlung kings who established the Tibetan kingdom). The main attraction of this place are the Yumbu Lagang Palace (built by the first Yarlung king) and the Tandruk Monastery (one of the three royal Buddhist temples).
Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar
Mt. Kailash is striking in the way it rises high above the surrounding range and always remains snow-capped, thus its name in Tibetan "Gang Rinpoche", which means "supreme mountain". Traditional Buddhist cosmology has often connected Kailash with Mt. Meru, the great mythological mountain that forms the axis of this world system. The power of this strange, domed peak has gripped the imagination of the people of Nepal, India and Tibet since thousands of years and more peoples from all over the world are willing to see it in reality. Mansarovar, situated in West Tibet and in distance of 55 kilometers to Mt. Kailash. The Lake is biggest in Tibet and is considered as holy as Mt. Kailash. The Hindu religious people believes Mansarovar as a swimming pool of Lord Shiva.
In the history of Tibetan Monasteries Samye is the first built monastery founded by the Tibetan King Trisiong Detsen and belongs to the Nyingmapa and Sakyapa sects. The monastery is located beside the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra river) in the middle of the sandy Samye Valley. It is said that the monastery was destroyed by fire and was rebuilt for three hundred years as the residence of the 6th Dalai Lama and was completed by Rating Rimpoche. It is the only monastery that represents Nyingmapa sect (red hat) in Tibetan Buddhism among the visits of monasteries in and around Lhasa. One can start trekking from Ganden to Samye or take a drive from Lhasa to visit the monstery crossing over the Yarlung Tsangpo by a ferry.
Mt. Everest (Qomolangma)
Qomolangma means " Goddess" in Tibetan and is the highest mountain on earth with an altitude of 8848m. Mount Qomolangma, known to the western world as Mt. Everest, stands at the south of Tingri in the southern Tibet, on the border land of the central Himalayas, between China and Nepal, capped with accumulated eternal snow. The optimum weather on Mount Qomolangma is from April to June, a golden period for mountaineers. Each year a great number of brave robust mountaineers come from all over the world to climb Mount Qomolangma, hoping to fulfil a life-long wish by climbing and looking out the highest peak on earth.