Before 1950s, transportation in Shigatse remained somewhat primitive. Residents relied on animals such as the yak as their main mode of transportation. There were no highways, only narrow winding trails extending throughout this area. This made it difficult for residents to get in touch with the outside world. However, subsequent development has greatly improved transportation in and around this area. Today Shigatse is the transportation center of Tibet. The China-Nepal Highway connects Lhasa with it and then stretches into Nepal. With the No.318 National Highway, Shigatse-Yadong Highway and Lhasa-Purang Highway passing by, the area is now connected to an extensive and efficient network of highways, and its 18 districts are interlinked. Without ready access to water and air transportation, the highway plays a very important role in the economy and day-to-day life there.
Shigatse Heping Airport is located in Jiangdang Township, Shigatse Region, about 43 kilometers (26.7 miles) to downtown area. It is the fifth civil aerodrome of Tibet (The other four are Gonggar Airport of Lhasa, Bangda Airport of Qamdo, Mainling Airport of Nyingchi and Kunsha Airport of Ngari). At present, the only airline here is the two flights every week from and to Chengdu. Shigatse Airport is 3, 782 meters above sea level, make it one of the highest airports in China. Passengers can take flights to get here and then take easy access to attractions like Mount Everest, Tashilhunpo Monastery and Sagya Monastery.
Beside of this Heping Airport, the Gonggar Airport (LXA) in Lhasa is also a good destination choice. Connecting airports are located in Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming, Xining, Xian, Lanzhou, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Chongqing. As Shigatse lies about 300 kilometers (about 186 miles) away from Lhasa, you may arrive in Lhasa and then take a long-distance bus to the city. The journey takes about four hours. Another option is to take a bus there directly from the Gonggar Airport.
As the Qinghai-Tibet Railway stops in Lhasa, transportation to Shigatse is fairly easy (even though Shigatse does not have railway connections). If you choose to travel by train, get off at the Lhasa Railway Station and take a coach heading to Shigatse from either the Lhasa Bus Station or the Beijing Road (East). Here you will have a choice between buses, mini-buses and cars (such as the Santana and Toyota 4500). Fares range between CNY 38~100.
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