Tsetang Travel Guide, Tibet
The town of Tsetang is the administrative centre of Lhoka region, 180km southeast of Lhasa, just south of the Tsangpo River, and the nearby valleys of Yarlung and Chongye are steeped in ancient history.
Legend claims the first Tibetans originated on the slopes of Gongpo Ri to the east of Tsetang and the first king of Tibet descended to the Yarlung Valley upon a sky-cord from the heavens. This king then fathered the first royal dynasty, many members of which are buried in the nearby Chongye Valley and, in the 4th century, the first Buddhist scriptures fell from the sky upon the first king's palace at Yumbulakhang . To the west of Tsetang the walled combined village and monastery of Samye is not only the most ancient in Tibet, but also a lively and interesting place to spend a day or two.
The town is very unattractive and there is little to recommend an extended stay here, while it's lively enough, largely unavoidable as a base for explorations of the area, incl. Graveyard of Tibetan Kings, Lake Lhamo Nhatso, Trandruk Monastery and Yumbu Lakang.
Getting there & away
Daily public buses leave Lhasa between 7am and 8am from Barkhor Square via the Samye ferry point (Y27/3hrs) to Tsedang(Y40), but they may not be willing to take foreigners, although there are no checkposts between Lhasa and Tsetang.
Tsetang's bus station is about 500m west of the main traffic intersection in town.
The very basic truck stop accommodation at the bus station is not recommended. Naidong Lu is lined with hotels, bars and restaurants , but check all prices before you eat or drink.
Permit - Opposite the Friendship Hotel is the PSB office (Mon-Fri 9am-noon & 3-5pm), a modern, white-tiled building, permits to Yarlung, Chongye, Samye and Lhamo Lhatso should be applied here.