Situated in the northern foothills of the Himalayas and the southern slopes of the Gangdise and Nyangtang ranges, Shannan, known as Yalong in historical records, overlooks the vast valley of the Yarlung Zangbo River. Neighboring Lhasa in the north, Linzhi in the east, and Xigaze in the west, Shannan borders India and Bhutan in its southern and西南部 respectively.
With 12 counties under its jurisdiction, including Naidong, Zangyang, Gongga, Sangri, Qiongzhou, Luocha, Jiaza, Longzi, Qusong, Cuomei, Nuonai, and Langkazi, Shannan is a region rich in history and culture. It is the birthplace of Tibetan people and culture, home to many "firsts" in Tibetan history, including the first palace - Yongbula Kang, the first temple - Changzhou Temple, the first temple with complete Buddhism - Sangye Temple, the first king - Nyechuyenpavi, and the first Tibetan opera - Bagabhu. Shannan encompasses almost all the "firsts" in Tibetan history.
Visitors to Shannan will find authentic Tibetan culture and customs. Zetang Town in Naidong County is the capital of Shannan region and also the tourism center as well as the most important transportation hub in the area. Passing through Jia'an County on the way to Larum Laroc, visitors will experience the charm of this mysterious land.
With its unparalleled natural beauty, rich historical heritage, and vibrant cultural traditions, Shannan is a must-visit destination in Tibet. Here, you will discover the essence of Tibetan civilization and witness its unique cultural phenomenon.
Yalong Culture Festival
The Yarlung Culture Festival, held annually in Zedang Town, was established in 1992 to promote Shannan's distinct regional culture as well as Tibetan culture as a whole. During the festival, attendees can enjoy vibrant displays of Tibetan traditions including ethnic sports competitions, song and dance performances, Tibetan opera, and fashion shows of colorful folk costumes. Beyond entertainment, the festival provides an immersive opportunity to gain insight into Tibetan customs and heritage. Visitors can experience first-hand the diverse folk arts, cuisine, sports, and performing arts traditions that shape Tibetan identity. By celebrating Tibetan culture and history through its many expressions, the Yarlung Culture Festival aims to preserve tribal heritage and bring people together to appreciate the richness of this unique way of life.
Choesang Festival commemorates the day Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, gave his first sermon. On the fourth day of the sixth Tibetan month, devotees don colorful new clothes and bring food offerings to visit temples and monasteries near Lhasa. They recite scriptures, make prostrations, and pray to Buddha statues throughout the day. Afterward, people feast, dance and sing at scenic outdoor areas until sunset, when they return to the city. For Tibetan Buddhists, Choesang honors the teaching legacy of Sakyamuni and provides an occasion to rejoice and strengthen their faith through communal worship and celebration in nature. Joining pilgrims on this holy day provides a window into traditional Tibetan Buddhist customs and the chance to experience the festive atmosphere as people enjoy the summer weather and beautiful natural sites outside Lhasa.
Shannan Material Exchange Conference
The week-long Shannan Commodity Exchange Fair has been held annually in December since 1981. This lively barter fair exemplifies the unique local character of the Shannan region. Tibetans, ethnic minorities, and merchants from within China and neighboring countries flock to the ancient town of Zedang. During the fair, the streets overflow with vendors trading goods through age-old Tibetan traditions of bartering. Visitors can browse stalls stocked with local handicrafts, antiques, jewelry, clothing, spices, herbs, and an array of regional specialties to appreciate the diverse cultures converging at the fair. The festive atmosphere and colorful crowds provide a glimpse into time-honored economic customs still thriving in modern times. Witnessing exchanges play out through bargaining rather than currency offers those interested in Tibetan culture and history a distinctive fair experience found only in Shannan.
Sanya is one of China's best cities for driving yourself. Rent a car and cruise Sanya's famous Binhai Avenue coconut palm coastline for pure vacation bliss.
Rental locations: Abundant agencies like Shenzhou and Yihi operate right at Sanya Phoenix Airport, making pickup and dropoff effortless. Hotels also offer car rentals, though usually at higher prices than independent companies.
Coast down Binhai Avenue with the warm tropical breeze in your hair. Discover secluded beach coves and scenic overlooks. Stop spontaneously whenever and wherever you please. With convenient airport access and competitive rates, self-driving in Sanya grants total freedom to follow your whims across Hainan Island's lush tropical paradise.
Best Travel TimeJune August: Shannan has four distinct seasons, with a maximum temperature of about 20 ℃ from June to August, making it relatively suitable for travel. December and January are the coldest months, with extremely low temperatures reaching over minus ten degrees Celsius.
Emergency callHere is a list of important emergency numbers in Shannan for an English travel website:Emergency Contacts in Shannan, TibetHaving the right emergency numbers can provide vital assistance during travel mishaps in Shannan. Be sure to save these in your phone:Shannan Tourism Bureau: +86 893 7833189 Police Emergency: 110Fire Emergency: 119 First Aid: 120Traffic Accident: 122Police SMS Emergency: 12110Weather Forecast: 12121Red Cross First Aid: 999Other tips:- Program key numbers under ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts. - Consider getting a local SIM card for easier emergency calling.- Hotels and tour guides can also help connect you to emergency services.- Carry emergency phrases translated into Tibetan. Staying informed and prepared can go a long way when exploring Shannan. Let us know if you need any other travel safety tips!
Medical treatmentHere is information on medical facilities in Shannan, Tibet for an English travel website:Medical Care in Shannan, TibetGetting sick while traveling in Shannan? These main hospitals and clinics can provide treatment:Shannan Prefectural People's Hospital- Address: 5 Gesang Rd, Nedong County, Shannan - Phone: +86 893 7820289Langkazi County People's Hospital- Address: Langkazi County, Shannan- Phone: +86 893 7382651Zhanang County People's Hospital - Address: Zhanang County, Shannan - Phone: +86 893 7362125Qonggyai County People's Hospital- Address: Qonggyai County, Shannan- Phone: +86 893 7352839 Lhozhag County People's Hospital- Address: Lhozhag County, Shannan - Phone: +86 893 7372015Cona County People's Hospital- Address: Cona County, Shannan- Phone: +86 893 7302020Lhünzê County Women & Children's Health Center- Address: Lhünzê County, Shannan- Phone: +86 893 7342193 Comai County People's Hospital- Address: Comai County, Shannan- Phone: +86 893 7402539Know where to seek care before exploring Shannan. Let us know if you need any other medical travel tips!
Border Defense Certificate
When traveling to certain counties and townships in Shannan, Tibet, a border permit is required:
In Lungze County, permits are needed for Quzong, Yumen, Maqidun, Douyu, Sanlin, Zhunbaduo, and Jiayu Townships.
In Lhozhag County, get permits for Bianba, Lakang, Duluu, Lajiao, Guju, Mu, Youjimaidao, Se, Sangyu, Quzuo Townships.
In Langkazi County, permits are required for Dui and Pumajiangtang Townships.
In Cona County, permits are needed for Cona, Langpo, Mama, Jiba, Le, Gongri, Kujia, Dongga, Kada, Zhada, and Gusongduo Townships.
Though obtainable in Lhasa from agencies for 100+ yuan and a 1-2 day wait, it's best to get these permits at your place of residence for free and faster processing before traveling to Shannan. They are essential for visiting the border regions. Check regulations before planning your Tibet trip's remote routes.