Skip Navigation

Xiahe (Gansu)

Travel Guide Asia China Gansu Xiahe

edit

Introduction

IMG_2408

IMG_2408

© All Rights Reserved Lavafalls

Xiahe (夏河) is a very nice Tibetan town in southern Gansu. The town is mainly on the northern side of the beautiful Daxia River valley. The main attraction of the town is Labrang Monastery, which is one of the main academic monasteries outside of Lhasa. Although a small city, countless numbers of pilgrims come every year to do the kora, which is 3 kilometres long and has over 1,174 prayer wheels, around Labrang Monastery. This is a great town to visit if you do not have the time or money to make it deeper into Tibet.

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

Labrang Monastery

Labrang Monastery was a scholastic monastery built in 1709 and at its height had over 4,000 monks. Due to the events of the 20th century the numbers have dwindled to about 1,200 monks. The monastery is home to several lamas and to 6 colleges, which ranges from the college of Esoteric Buddhism to Medicine and astrology. There is even a college on Law. Labrang Monastery is one of the few monasteries in the world where a monk can gain a Geshe Degree, which is the highest degree a Buddhist monk can earn. There is also a small nunnery attached to the monastery.

The only way to visit the interior of the schools is on a tour lead by a monk in English every day at 10:00am and 3:00pm. Other than that, the monastery is completely open and free to wonder around. Many monks would be glad to sit and chat with you, so go and make a new friend. The monastery dominates the center portion of the town and is impossible to miss.

Tarzang Lake

Tarzang Lake is a nice lake located about 25 kilometres from town. This lake makes for a nice day trip and there are some nice hikes up the valley. Remember that when you go hiking away from the lake there might be nomads herding yaks or other animals. The easiest way to get there is to hire a taxi for the day and have the driver wait for you. Another option is to cycle but there is a very step incline on the access road to the lake.

Hiking

Hiking is another option in the area. Just follow one of the canyons up around the town and they will get empty quite fast. Just remember to bring enough water with you and rocks to throw at feral dogs. People and herders do live up in the canyons so you might get invited into some ones home for a glass of yak butter tea and tsampa.

Others Sights and Activities

  • Sangke grasslands - wonderful grasslands with many nomad tents and herds of yaks and sheep. 12 kilometres outside Xiahe is Sangke town, where most people who rent a bike go to.
  • Ancient town of Bajiao
  • Ganjia Grasslands
  • White Rock Cliffs

Top

edit

Events and Festivals

On the third day of the Tibetan new year (Losar) the Monlam Festival starts and on the 13th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar the great thangka is shown. This thangka is 30 metres by 20 metres and is displayed on a hill over looking the monastery. Celebrations continue with Cham dancers and many other activities for three more days.

The second month of the Tibetan calendar also brings many festivals celebrating the coming of spring, which can be quite interesting.

Top

edit

Getting There

By Plane

Gannan Xiahe Airport is an airport being constructed in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, China. It is located in Xiahe County, 72 kilometers from the county seat and 56 kilometers from Hezuo, the capital of Gannan Prefecture. Construction started in September 2010.

By Bus

Xiahe Bus Station is about 1.5 kilometres away from the entrance to the monastery and the main concentration of guesthouses. Turn right when you walk out bus stations front door.

From Lanzhou there are two morning buses and two afternoon buses (6:30am, 7:30am and 2:00pm, 3:00pm) leave from Lanzhou Nanzhan (Lanzhou South Bus Terminal). The trip takes 3 and a half hours. From Linxia there are half hourly buses during the day, arriving in Xiahe about 2 hours later. From Langmusi there is one bus a day leaving at 2:00pm, taking 4 hours. There is sometimes one in the morning too. From Tongren, there is one bus per day leaving at 8:00am taking 3 hours along a scenic road.
There are also half hourly buses to Hezuo and one bus a day to Xining.

Top

edit

Getting Around

By Public Transport

The bus station is a little far on the east side of town and is worth the 3 RMB taxi ride.

By Foot

The town runs along the river and is pretty easy to walk to everywhere near the Labrang Monastery.

Top

edit

Eat

  • Everst Café is located on the main street slightly east of Tara Guesthouse and has ok western food, even cheese pizza if you need one.
  • Snowland Restaurant is located on the second floor across the street from the Tara guesthouse. This is a great place to grab a bite to eat with some interesting Tibetan western fusion. Try the Yak burgers or the steamed Yak milk tea (ask for it sweet if you don’t like salty drinks). And if you haven’t tried tsampa yet this might be the place to do it. Remember the staircase to the restaurant is around the corner.
  • Nirvana restaurant & bar (13 Nov 2013) - Nirvana restaurant is by far the best and most beautiful restaurant in Xiahe. They serve Tibetan, Chinese and Western food, all of excellent quality. The owners are a local Tibetan man and his Dutch wife. Because of their hospitality, Nirvana is a good place to relax and have a meal or just a casual drink. They really take time for their customers, and provide all the tourist information you can dream of. Their bar is stocked with a large supply of liquors and spirits, not to be found in any other restaurant in Xiahe. Their coffee is excellent. Address: Ya Ge Tang 247, Price: average

Top

edit

Drink

Being a pretty small town the best option for drinking is in the restaurants.

Top

edit

Sleep

Budget

  • Tara Guesthouse is a good place located right at the east entrance to the monastery. It has nice and comfortable budget dorm rooms, plus a few private rooms.
PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Overseas Tibetan HotelRenmin Xi Jie, 77 HaoHotel61

Top

edit

Keep Connected

Internet

Wangba (联网) means internet bar in Chinese. Almost every town will have an internet bar or gaming center. The best way to spot an internet bar is to look for the 网(ba) character, which means net, and large digitized images of computer game characters. Often, there will be a sign saying Green Power in English at the entrance. Most gaming centers cost about RMB3 an hour. You prepay at the main desk and are then given a plastic card or a piece of paper. Once you are done you return the card or piece of paper and get reimbursed for the money you didn't spend. Be prepared for a place that might be dingy, basic and messy. Internet bars in China tend to get crowded starting in the late afternoon to the late evenings.

Some hotels provide access from the rooms that may or may not be free; others may provide a wireless service or a few desktops in the lounge area.
Also, quite a few cafes provide free wireless Internet service. Some cafes, even provide a machine for customer use.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to China is 86. To make an international call from China, the code is 00.

When making international phone calls it is best to buy an IP card. They typically have a value of ¥100 but sometimes can be had for as little as ¥25. The cards have printed Chinese instructions, but after dialing the number listed on the card English-spoken instructions are available. As a general indication of price, a call from China to Europe lasts around 22 minutes with a ¥100 card. Calls to the U.S. and Canada are advertised to be another 20% cheaper. There is no warning before the card runs out of minutes.

If you already have a GSM 900/1800 cellphone, you can roam onto Chinese networks, but calls will be very expensive (¥12-35/minute is typical). If you're staying for more than a few days, it will usually be cheaper to buy a prepaid Chinese SIM card; this gives you a Chinese phone number with a certain amount of money preloaded. Chinese tend to avoid phone numbers with the bad-luck digit '4', and vendors will often be happy to offload these "unsellable" SIM-cards to foreigners at a discount. If you need a phone as well, prices start around ¥100/200 used/new. Chinese phones, unlike those sold in many Western countries, are never "locked" and will work with any SIM card you put in them. China's two big operators are China Mobile and China Unicom. Most SIMs sold by the two work nationwide, with Unicom allowing Hong Kong/Macau/Taiwan usage as well. There is usually a surcharge of about ¥1/min when roaming outside the province you bought the SIM, and there are some cards that work only in a single province, so check when buying.

Post

China Post (中国邮政) is the official postal service of the People's Republic of China, operated by the State Postal Bureau of the People's Republic of China (website in Chinese only), and has more details about price to send letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. The Chinese postal service is very good. Remember that in more remote places usually only one post office in a city can handle sending international boxes or letters. Also many times it might be worth having the name of the country you are trying to send to in Chinese characters, because small town people might not know what Estonia is in English. Post offices have a striking green logo and can easily be found everywhere in the cities. They are mostly open every day (including weekends!) from 8:00am to 6:00pm, though small offices might have shorter opening times, while the bigger ones in central and touristic areas are sometimes open during evenings as well.

Banks

There are a few small banks on the main street that will exchange US dollars but none of them will cash travelers checks. International ATM service may be limited.

Top

Quick Facts

[edit]

Coordinates
  • Latitude: 35.17701
  • Longitude: 102.46701

On Travellerspoint

Contributors

as well as traveller2013 (6%), dr.pepper (4%), claryclary (1%)

Help contribute to this article to share the ad revenue.

Xiahe (Gansu) Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Xiahe (Gansu)

This is version 22. Last edited at 11:16 on Nov 15, 13 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License