With approximately 50,000 residents, the sprawling city of Shigatse is Tibet’s second-largest town. Home to thriving businesses, unique shopping and a number of religious and historical sites, Shigatse attracts travelers from across the globe—in part, because the central police station proves one of the easiest (and quickest) places to get a Nepal tourist visa.
The city is divided into two distinct sections: the tiny Tibetan town, which serves as a nod to the city’s roots, and a contemporary Chinese neighborhood that offers travelers a bit more modern flare. Travelers can venture to the Tashilhunpo monastery, where Panchen Lamas come to worship at the feet of the world’s largest bronze Buddha. The free market and gift market in the city’s Old Town neighborhood are great places to spend an afternoon searching for handmade crafts from local artisans, while the nearby Shigatse Fortress offers travelers an impressive look at the city's past.
Shigatse is located on the Friendship Highway and accessible via public bus and minibus from Lhasa, Gyantse, Lhatse, Sakya, Dromo and several other destinations.