With a population or about 50,000, it is an important trading and administrative center.
Located at the intersection of several highways, the city of Xigatse is positioned on the Friendship Hwy. Buses and Mini-buses travel the distance from Lhasa. There is public transportation to Gyantse, Lhatse, Sakya, Dromo, Gampa and Khangmar on a semi-regular basis.
Shigatse Peace Airport opened for public service in November 2010, when a 532 million yuan expansion was completed. On 30 October 2010, the airport was opened as the fifth civilian airport in Tibet. The airport is 45 km away from Shigatse city.
Shigatse will also be connected with railway, currently under construction, set to open in September 2014.
All sites of interest are within easy walking distance. Auto-rickshaws are also available.
- Tashilhunpo Monastery. The traditional seat of the Panchen Lamas. It was constructed in 1447 and is where the Panchen Lamas resided and conducted their religious and secular duties. Covering a floorspace of 300,000 square meters, the monastery is enshrined with the world's largest gilded bronze Buddhist statue, the 22.4 meter high statue of Maitreya Buddha.
- The free market and the gift market in Old Town
- The ruins of the Xigatse Fortress
- David Zakus, 155 College St, #576, ☎ . Sells silk carpets for from the local factory.
Lots of restaurants around Samdup Hotel
Accommodation in Xigatse is more expensive than in Lhasa and there are only a few budget options.
- Fruit Hotel - located across from Tashilhunpo Monastery
- Samdup Hotel (Sangzhuzi Fandian), ☎ .
- Tenzin Hotel - located across from gift market in Old Town below Shigatse Dzong
- Shigatse Hotel (Xigatse Binguan), Jiefang Zhong Lu, ☎ , fax: .
- Zhufeng Friendship Hotel (Zhufengyouyi Binguan), Dechen Potrang Lu, ☎ . Good hotel, but a little far from the downtown area.
Xigatse is one of the best places in Tibet to pick up a travel permit, issued at the police station with only an hour or two of waiting. The permit is valid for anyplace in Xigatse Prefecture that you specify. That allows you to go up to the border with Nepal. Interesting places to visit in Xigatse Prefecture include Sakya, Gyantse, Mount Everest, and Tingri.