Traditionally the home of the Panchen Lamas – religious and political rivals to the Dalai Lamas – Tibet’s second city, SHIGATSE (日喀则, rìkāzé), is used by travellers as an overnight stop on the way to or from Lhasa. One day is long enough to see the two main sights, Tashilunpo Monastery and Shigatse Dzong, but if you’re not pressed for time it’s worth spending at least an extra night here simply to do everything at a more leisurely pace, take in the market, wander the attractive, tree-lined streets and absorb the buzz provided by the huge numbers of Tibetan pilgrims and foreign visitors. Although most of the city is modern, you’ll find the traditional Tibetan houses concentrated in the old town west of the market, where you can explore the narrow alleyways running between high, whitewashed walls.

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