Home : City Guide: Tibet: Shannan

Shannan Introduction

Shannan is in the arms of the two biggest cities of Tibet, Lhasa and Shigatse and the lowest region of Tibet, Nyingchi. It also borders India and Bhutan in the south. As the seedbed of Tibetan culture, it is considered as the first window to have an insight to mysterious Tibet.

Shannan leans against the south of the huge Gangdise and Mt. Nyainqentanglha mountain ranges, and is traversed by the great Yarlong Tsangpo River (Brahmaputra), giving it a relatively mild and moist climate throughout the year. The farming activities here are very developed and the region is reputed as the 'Granary of Tibet'.

Shannan enjoys high political and cultural status in the history of Tibet. The legendary ancestors of Tibetans - a monkey and a Raksasi are said to have lived in the Mt. Gongpori of the capital of Shannan, Tsedang County. Shannan had also created many 'firsts' of Tibet throughout the history: the first king Nyatri Tsenpo, the first palace Yumbu Lakang, the first united kingdom of Tibet Tubo Kingdom, the first chapel Trankdruk Monastery, the first temple complete with Buddha, dharma and Sangha - Samye Monastery, the first sutra, the first Tibetan opera and the first farming land.

The natural scenery in Shannan is simply breathtaking. Various landscapes of snow mountains, holy lakes, rapid rivers, deep valleys, majestic waterfalls, peculiar caves, cozy hot springs, expansive grasslands and vast virgin forests come perfectly together into a wondrous world. Among these settings, many rare plants and wild animals can be found as well, adding more vitality to the region. The famous natural scenic spots here include 'Jade Lake' Yamdrok Yumtso Lake, holy Lhamo latso Lake, Chimpuk Caves and Oiga Hot Springs among others.

Graveyards of Tibetan Kings    Yamdrok Yumtso Lake       Yumbu Lakhang    Samye Monastery        Mindroling Monastery         Trankdruk Monastery 

 Minority Nationalities

Minorities are another attractive sight in the region. The magical and exotic Tibetans dominate over 90% of the whole residents. During the Yarlong Cultural Festival, colorful activities of ethnic sport matches, singing and dancing performances, Tibetan Operas and fashion shows will be held, which is really a good time to enjoy the ethnical cultures. During the Sh anna n Commodities Trade Fair (Dec. 1st – Dec. 7th), Tsedang is also very bustling with businessmen from nearby regions and foreign counties. The two festivals were held together from Dec.1st for a week in 2006. Tibetan incenses of Mindroling Monastery , walnuts of Gyatsa County , as well as Tibetan jewelries, Thangka, Tibetan carpets, Tibetan wools and masks can be bought as souvenirs. The famous local Tibetan foods here are Yak butter Tea, chang, T sam ba and air-dry beefs. Sichuan Cuisine is also common to see in this region.

 How to Get to Shannan

To get to Shannan, you can first fly to Lhasa and then take the regular coach to Tsedang. For accommodation there, there are various standards of hotels and private hostels. In addition, you can also ask for lodging in a temple.

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