Although Shigatse (Xigaze) is Tibet's second largest city with a population of over 80,000, it remains relatively unexplored by tourists. Most visitors know it only as a stopover en route to Everest Base Camp, where overnighters often spend any extra time they might have zipping through Tashihunpo Monastery before moving on to Everest. This is too bad, because Shigatse is full of traditional Tibetan charm and culture. The busy city market is surprisingly full of fruits and vegetables, meats and grains as well as fine local handicrafts and artwork. True, the government has overseen the transformation of much of Shigatse into generic high-rise blocks, but the city's Tibetan inhabitants still tenaciously hang on to traditional ways. If you're coming from Lhasa, Shigatse is even higher at 3,900 meters (15,600 feet) so drink lots of water and pace yourself to avoid altitude sickness and shortness of breath.