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Shannan Travel Guide

Tibet MapShannan City, also named Lhoka in Tibetan, is a long-standing prefecture-city in southeast Tibet of china.Situated in the middle and lower reaches of Yarlung Tsangpo River, Tsedang (capital of Shannan) breeds the ancient Tibet Civilization. It has been the seat of ancient emperors of Tibet for a long time. What make it so famous is Yumbulakang Palace – the first place in Tibet, and Samye Monastery – the first monastery in Tibet. Both of them hold an important statuse in Tibetan Buddhist culture and hisory. If you want a deep Buddhist exploration, Tsedang is a must place worthy of your visit. 

Facts of Shannan

Full Name: Shannan Prefecture
Chinese Name: 山南地区 (shān nán dì qū)
Population: 330,000  
Area: 79,700 square kilometers (30,772 square miles)
Nationalities: Tibetan  
Administrative Division: 12 counties (Nedong, Dranang, Gonggar, Sangri, Chonggye, Qusum, Comai, Lhuntse, Gyatsa, Lhuntse, Cona, Nagarze)  
Seat of the Regional Government: 9, Naidong Lu, Tsedang Town, Nedong County

Geography of Shannan

Location: Lying in southern Tibet, Shannan Prefecture is bordered by Lhasa in the north and in the neighborhood of Shigatse and Nyingchi regions in the west and east. Its south boundary is with India and Bhutan. Literally meaning the south of mountains, it lies in the southern side of Gangdise Mountains and Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains. As the western border area of China and owning a boundary line of over 600km, Shannan holds the very important strategic position. 

Physical Features: The region lies in the south of the Kangdese Mountains and Mt. Nyainqentanglha on the middle and lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River. Its southern area is higher than the north and the west is higher than the east. There are lofty mountains standing and lakes and rivers crisscrossing in the south and west region of Shannan. The whole region is situated in the valley zone between the Kangdese Mountains and the Himalayas.

History of Shannan

Shannan is located in the catchment area of the Yapan River, hence its old name of Yapan. The region is the headstream of the Tibetan nation and culture. About forty or fifty thousand years ago, the first ancestors of the Tibetan people moved there. During the early years of the 2nd Century BC, the first Tibetan Kingdom got its start. A legend passing around in this region is about monkeys changing to human beings. The first farmland and village, the first king and palace as well as the first monastery of the high land were also all born here. 

Shannan Prefecture is known as the Birthplace of Tibetan Civilization.Shannan is the most prosperous and oldest part of Tibet. The well-known Tubo Regime (a historic period in Tibetan history) was derived from the agricultural civilization in Shannan. Shannan was the origin of the Tibetan civilization and became the ruling center twice in Tibetan history.

What to see in Shannan?

With plenty of natural scenery and cultural sites, Shannan never disappoints every tourist by its great charm. If you love the lakes and want to take some nice shots, Yamdrok Lake is the best choice. For those tourists who are interested in Buddhist culture or history, you can pay a visit to Yumbulakang Palace and Samye Monastery. Besides, seeing view of Yarlung Tsangpo River is also a visual treat on your journey. Take a glance of the most popular attractions: 

 Yamdrok Lake
           Yamdrok Lake         Yumbu Lhakhang Palace            Mindroling Monastery
         Samding Monastery       Graveyard of Tibetan Kings              Samye Monsstery

When to visit Shannan?

Enjoying a semi-dry continental plateau climate, the region has four vague seasons with an annual average temperature of 5-8℃. During the rainy season from June to September, rain usually falls at night which is a salient characteristic of the weather in this plateau area. In consideration of the road and traffic conditions, the months April to October are the best time to pay a visit. 

How to get to Shannan?

The regular route to Shannan is getting to Lhasa by air and taking buses from Lhasa Bus Station at 1, Minzu Lu, Chengguan District to the capital of the region, Tsedang Town. The distance between them is about 190 kilometers (118 miles). The address of Shannan Bus Station is 21, Gesang Lu, Tsedang Town, Nedong County. In Quxu County of Lhasa, Tsedang Town, Chonggye County, Gonggar County and Nanggarze County lodgings can be found while traveling to Shannan.

Shannan Tarvel Tips

Shannan Highlights: As mentioned, Shannan is the cradle of the Tibetan nation and culture, where the first farmland, village, palace, temple, and sutra were given birth. In fact, it is also the birthplace of Tibetan Opera. Festivals and customs, garments and ornaments there are greatly affected by the opera. Different masks represent different characters. The red is for the king, the green for the queen, the yellow for the Living Buddha and god, while the mask, with half in black and half in white, is for the informer or witch.

Special Local Products: Tibetan incense, Thangka (religious painting), golden, silver and jade ornaments, hanging carpet, Tibetan Opera mask, Gyatsa walnut.

Useful Telephone Numbers: Tourist Complaints: 0893-7995769 
Weather Forecast: 121
Zip Code Inquiry: 184
Bank of China: 21, Naidong Lu, Tsedang Town, Nedong County 
China Post: 10, Naidong Lu, Tsedang Town, Nedong County  

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