From Shigatse, the Friendship Highway west to Zhangmu on the Nepalese border is now surfaced all the way to the border. The only public buses in this direction are the Shigatse to Sakya, Lhatse and Tingri services. From the broad plain around Shigatse, the road gradually climbs to the pass of Tsuo La (4500m) before the steep descent to the Sakya Bridge and the turn-off to Sakya village. If you have time, a detour off the Friendship Highway to Sakya is worthwhile; the valleys are picturesque, the villages retain the rhythm of their rural life and Sakya Monastery is a dramatic sight, unlike anything you’ll encounter elsewhere in Tibet. Further south, the side-trip to Mount Everest Base Camp is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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