Gyantse (Chinese: 江孜, Tibetan: རྒྱལ་རྩེ་), is a city in Xigatse Prefecture.
Located by the Nyang-chu River, Gyantse is the fourth largest city in Tibet. It once was a major center for trade with India, and in 1904 the city became a battlefield when the British Army under Colonel Frances Younghusband attacked the city.
The town itself is quite small & most sights can be seen on foot. Taxis are available, but watch out for illegal taxies. Tibetan people are friendly, sometimes they invite you to ride with their horse carriages! Agree on a price first, otherwise it could be expensive. There is a small youth hostel close to the bus terminal, where they rent bicycles. The price was approximately ¥25 per day. Sadly, condition of most bicycles were poor.
- Pelkor Choede - regarded as the center of Gyantse, this is a yellow hat monastery. The structure was well preserved during the culture revolution, however the original charm of this monastery has lost somehow due to the noticeable lack of maintenance. Most interior paintings are difficult to see without special lighting equipment.
- Gyantse Dzong - The fort has a few exhibitions detailing the history & use of the Dzong. A new exhibition center has been built by the main gate and houses an Anti-British Imperialists museum. It is a steep climb to the top of the fort but the views are well worth it.
- Gyantse Kumbum (Pelkor Chorten) - located within Pelkor Choede, eight story structure with Buddhist images and statues with extremely detailed features. The second floor is the most interesting floor!
- Visiting ordinary residential zones, where most people still live in a traditional way. In front of every home you could be greeted by cows, horses and dogs. The best peoplewatching place is in front of a small Buddhist temple a few meters away from the old castle. There are at least three different ethnic groups who live in this city. Tibetan people are shy in their nature, the Muslim people are the smart traders in the local markets and the newly emigrated Han Chinese people own most restaurants and stores.
Yak meat, yak yoghurt and yak butter. Gyantse is also famous for the production of traditional Tibetan carpets, so be sure to check out some while you are here.
Decent restaurants can be found on the main shopping streets, including:
- Tashi Restaurant : good selection of Tibetan, Nepali, Indian, Western food
- Yak Restaurant : good selection of Tibetan, Nepali and Western food, including some authentic French cuisine!
- Gyantse Kitchen : good selection of Tibetan, Nepali and Western food. The 'sizzlers' are an excellent experience if you're tired of thukpa and the service is amazingly competent and friendly. Listen out for the cooks and waitresses singing together in the kitchen as they prepare your meal.
- Fuzhuang Guesthouse (Fuzhuang Zhaodaisuo) - popular among backpackers
- Liangshi Guesthouse (Liangshi Zhaodaisuo)
- County Government Hotel (Xianzhengfu Binguan)
- Gyantse Hotel (Jiangsi Binguan) - best hotel in town, has Tibetan-style hotel rooms
Minibuses and jeeps leave from the southside of the main traffic circle early in the morning for Xigatse.