67km (42 miles) SE of Shigatse, 255km (158 miles) SW of Lhasa. Altitude: 4,040m (13,255 ft.)

Presided over by the spectacular Gyantse Dzong, and once the third-largest town in Tibet, Gyantse is the only substantial settlement in the TAR to retain its vernacular architecture of sturdy two- and three-story farmhouses. Offering a rare and beautiful glimpse of Tibetan rural life, Gyantse should not be missed by any visitor to the TAR. Historically, it was a trading town for goods from Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan, and the closure of the border at Dromo (Yadong) has saved Gyantse from the ravages of development and Han colonization. Many of Tibet's current generation of political leaders hail from Gyantse.