The best Tibetan towns / 6 day tour
1 Transfer from Lanzhou to Xiahe. Overnight in Xiahe.
2 Visit the Labrang monastery. Overnight in Xiahe
3 Visit the Sangke grasslands. Overnight in Xiahe
4 Drive to Langmusi, visit Daceng Lhamo lamasery. Overnight in Langmusi
5 Go hiking in the gorge. Back to Xiahe, visit the Milarepa temple in Hezuo on the way. Overnight in Xiahe
6 Drive back to Lanzhou
Day 1: Arrival at Lanzhou airport or train station and transfer to Xiahe. This takes about 5 hours. Around Lanzhou, we can see many houses made of earth and the mountains are dry and brown. After some hours driving, we come into the beautiful green mountains of Xiahe.
Day 2: Today you will visit the Labrang Monastery. This is the largest Tibetan monastery outside of Tibet province. It houses more than 2000 monks from the Yellow Hat tradition and there are 6 schools of Buddhist teachings. In the morning you will join in with the monastery tour. A monk from the monastery guides this tour in English. In the afternoon, our guide will take you to see the printing temple where the sutras are still printed by using wooden blocks. You will also climb up the Golden Stupa for a bird's eye view of the whole complex and you can walk part of the kora which is the prayer wheel route.
Day 3: Today you will explore the spectacular Sangke grasslands where nomad families live in tents. When invited in their homes you simply can't refuse the infamous Tibetan yak milk tea and barley "tsampa". The grasslands are also a beautiful area for hiking. In summertime the flowers are like a carpet on the meadows. You can easily spent the whole day roaming around the grasslands, enjoying the scenery and the beautifully dressed Tibetan nomads.
Day 4: In the morning we drive to Langmusi, about 3 hours. In Langmusi the ancient Tibetan custom of sky burials is still practiced. Sky burials are now limited only to a very small area in Tibet and are a rare sight nowadays. The town of Langmusi is situated partly in Gansu province, and partly in Sichuan province, divided only by a small river. Therefore this small town has two monasteries, one in each province. We will first visit the sky burial site and from there go to the Daceng Lhamo monastery on the Gansu side of town.
Day 5: In the morning we go hiking through a beautiful gorge where you can see many eagles and vultures soaring above your head. Around noon we drive back to Xiahe, and we will visit Hezuo on the way to admire the nine floor Milarepa temple. Inside are beautifully hand painted decorations of Tibetan Buddhist gods and deities. We will arrive in Xiahe in the early evening.
Day 6: Today we leave behind the Tibetan culture with its strong buddhist overtones, its incredibly friendly people, exotic incense filled air and stunning mountains. We drive back to Lanzhou.