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Ethnic Tibet

Travel Guide Asia Tibet Ethnic Tibet

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Introduction

Nomads in Qinghai

Nomads in Qinghai

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Ethnic Tibet is an area Tibetans have traditionally lived in but for most of history has been under the political control of a different governments including Mongolians, Xia Kings, Muslim traders and Chinese. Also most of Ethnic Tibet has been a border zone between Tibetan, Chinese, Mongolian, Hui and Uyghurs cultures making some areas of Ethnic Tibet a very interesting blend of cultures. Ethnic Tibet covers a huge area and is spread over most of Qinghai, southwest Gansu, the western third of Sichuan and northern Yunnan. With most Tibetans being nomadic in traditional times the nomads crossed these vast areas with ease when searching for fresh pasture no matter who was in charge. Many travelers argue that the more remote areas of Ethnic Tibet are actually more Tibetan then some areas of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. From Qinghai lake, where the first Dalai Lama received his name from the Mongolians to Labrang Monastery outside of Xiahe (Gansu) which is one of the largest and most influential monasteries outside of the Tibetan Autonomous Region that Ethnic Tibet has plenty to offer.

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Cities and Sights

  • Batang (Sichuan) is a nice Tibetan town near the border of the Tibetan Autonomous Region
  • Dege (Sichuan) is a hard to get town and has a traditional Tibetan printing press.
  • Ganzi (Sichuan) has some very nice temples and monasteries
  • Golmud (Qinghai) is an industrial oil town and the last stop on the highway and railroad to Lhasa
  • Kangding (Sichuan) is the main Tibetan town in western Sichuan.
  • Langmusi (Gansu) is home to several nice temples and possible horse treks
  • Litang (Sichuan) is a very traditional Tibetan town and is the backdoor to Yunnan.
  • Moxi (Sichuan) is the home to a nice bon temple and is a stepping stone to Hailuogou Glacier Park.
  • Qinghai Lake is a stunning salt water lake with mountains on one side and sand dunes on the other.
  • Songpan (Sichuan) is the starting point for horse trekking and a stopover on the way to Huanglong National Park or Jiuzhai Valley National Park.
  • Tongren (Qinghai) is a center of thangka making in the Tibetan world.
  • Xiahe (Gansu) is the home of Labrang Monastery
  • Xining is the capital of Qinghai province and good starting point to enter Ethnic Tibet.
  • Yushu County is nestled in the southwest corner of Qinghai is an excellent Tibetan town with several temples and largest holy stone pile in the world.
  • Shangri-La (previously known as Zhongdian) is a very nice Tibetan town at the north end of Yunnan.

Scattered around these towns are many amazing smaller Tibetan communities and nomads. These are just the main centers and good starting point before asking other travelers where they would recommend going next.

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Events and Festivals

Qinghai Lake Bike Race takes place every summer and is a professional road biking race around Qinghai Lake.

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Getting There

Getting to Ethnic Tibet is the difficult part. The easiest ways are to either take a train or fly to Xining, Lanzhou or Chengdu. Then from there jump on local buses.

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Getting Around

Unlike the Tibetan Autonomous Region the vast majority of Ethnic Tibet requires no permits to enter or travel in. Another perk of Ethnic Tibet is that there are no restrictions on travel on local transport. Because of the poverty in this area of China the local transport can be very basic at times. Be prepared for old, dirty, crowded, smelly and smoky buses or mini buses on most roads. Also since most of these towns are small they will most likely only have one bus a day and may require many legs in order to get there. In some cases these towns won’t even have a bus station requiring you to stand on the side of the highway and flag a bus down going in the right direction. Lastly this area of the world has many landslides on poorly maintained roads, which can easily block road crossing or trap villages for several days.

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Trips

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as well as Hien (11%), Peter (5%), dr.pepper (3%)

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This is version 18. Last edited at 0:07 on Dec 31, 08 by Peter. 1 article links to this page.

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