The Shannan Prefecture (lit. "south of the mountains") also known as the Lhoka Prefecture is a prefecture in the southeastern area of the Tibet Autonomous Region. The Shannan Prefecture has the Gonggar County under its jurisdiction with the Gonggar Choide Monastery, the Gonggar Dzong, and the Gonggar Airport near the Gonggar town. Located in the middle and lower stretches of the ancient Yarlung Valley, formed by the Yarlung Tsangpo River, the Shannan Prefecture is known as the birthplace of Tibetan civilization. It is bounded by prefectures of Lhasa on the north, Nyingchi to the east, Shigatse on the west, and the International border with India and Bhutan on the south. The prefecture measures east to west and from north to south. Its uniqueness is because the first farmland, the first palace and the first Buddhist monastery of Tibet are all located in the prefecture. It also has the distinction of holding the first Tibetan opera. Ethnic Tibetans constitute 98% of the population and the balance 2% comprise the ethnic groups of Han, Hui, Monba, Lhoba and other nationalities. It has 12 counties and its capital is Tsetang town, which is located 183 kilometres from Lhasa.
The Shannan Prefecture covers an area of , which includes South Tibet, a disputed territory under the control of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. Its topography is spread over an average altitude of . There are 14 ethnic groups, including Tibetans, the Han, the Menba, and the Luoba living in the area. The population of the city was 330,100 as of 2007 with Tibetans accounting for 96% of Shannan's total population. The prefecture has not only an ancient historical background but is also the most prosperous in Tibet.