Chamdo, known as Changdu to the Chinese, sits at 3,600 meters in the middle of eastern Tibet's Kham region, which abuts present-day Sichuan to the east and Qinghai to the north. The old Tibetan town wraps around the base of an impressive hill atop which stands the Galden Jampaling Monastery. The new town spreads around the old in typical contemporary Chinese fashion.
Chamdo, Tibet's third-largest city after Lhasa and Shigatse, makes for a pleasant few days' stopover on a larger tour of the region and it's a great place to witness an urban Tibet relatively unfiltered by the massive tourist industry that has sprung up in the capital. It's also an excellent base from which to venture into the surrounding countryside, which offers dramatic vistas and changes in landscape and climate (local sayings have it that one can experience all four seasons on one mountain). Some 25 regional peaks are holy to either Tibetan Buddhists or followers of the ancient Bon faith and fantastically hued alpine lakes dot the surrounding larger region, which is dominated by the north-south spine of the Hengduan Mountains.
From Chamdo, one can head northwest to Riwoche Temple and south toward Pomda and Rowok-Tso. Overland access to Sichuan is also possible, though border crossings can occasionally be tricky (generally exiting Tibet by land is permitted, while entering is strictly regulated).