Gannan Travel Guide
Chinese Name: 甘南藏族自治州 (gān nán zàng zú zì zhì zhōu)
Area: 45,000 square kilometers (17,374.6 square miles)
Location: in the southwest of Gansu Province, northwestern China
Administrative Division: 7 counties: Lintan, Zhuoni (Jone), Luqu, Maqu, Diebu (Tewo), Zhouqu, Xiahe; 1 county-level city (Hezuo)
Area Code: 0941
Zip Code: 747000
GDP (2018): CNY 15.57 billion (USD 2.35 billion)
Nationalities: Tibetan, Han
Brilliant Tibetan Buddhist Culture
Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is situated in the southwest of Gansu Province, neighboring Dingxi and Longnan on the east and Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture on the north. It is bounded on the south with Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province in the neighborhood of Guoluo, and Huangnan Tibetan autonomous prefectures of Qinghai Province on the west. As an important part of the Silk Road, Gannan Prefecture not only shows a vast and beautiful plateau scenery, but also preserves its strong Tibetan Buddhist culture. Dozens of custom activities like the Xianglang Festival, Sho Dun Festival and Double Sixth Festival. You can also take a hike at the Langmu Monastery and witness the holy celestial burial.
Gannan Attractions - Things to Do
Labrang Monastery: the largest Tibetan religious and cultural center of the Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan areas, that was first built in 1710 by the first Jamyang Living Buddha.
Video of Labrang Monastery
Langmu Monastery: consists of two Buddhist architecture groups separated by a brook with the north one belonging to Gansu and the south belonging to Sichuan. It was first discovered by some foreign backpackers and has become a well-known assembly area for backpackers.
Video of Langmu Monastery
Gahai-Zecha National Nature Reserve: mainly consists of two scenic spots, the Zecha Stone Forest and the Gaihai Migrant Nature Reserve. The former has lifelike stones and the latter is an ideal summer resort with the Gahai Grassland being one of the finest in Asia.
Video of Zecha Stone Forest
Sangke Grassland: is one of the most important stockbreeding bases. There are two reception centers equipped with Tibetan tents. Every July to September, they will prepare dainty food with Tibetan flavor as well as yaks, horses and bonfires to welcome the visitors.
Other Scenic Spots: Chanding Temple (Grand Zhuoni Temple)
How to get to Gannan
Gannan Xiahe Airport is 72 kilometers (45 miles) away from Xiahe County and 56 kilometers (35 miles) from Hezuo City. It has operated air routes to/ from Xi'an, Chengdu, Yinchuan, Tianjin and Lhasa.
Lanzhou is the main transfer station for south and southeast Gansu, whether by air, by train or by bus. Buses are the only vehicles to get in and out of Gannan. Visitors can find these buses at the New Lanzhou South Bus Station at the junction of No.212 National Highway and Lanzhou-Lintao (Dingxi City) Expressway. In addition, buses to Xiahe County, Langmu Monastery, Maqu County, Diebu (Tewo) County are available in the south bus station in Lanzhou. As the seat of the prefecture government, Hezuo City has many regular buses to surrounding regions, such as Lanzhou, Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, Dingxi City, Aba of Sichuan Province and Xining of Qinghai Province. The bus station is located in Xiyi Lu.
Gannan has a continental plateau climate, featuring high altitude, humid and cold weather. The temperature varies greatly during the day but slightly among four seasons. Its annual average temperature falls around 1C-13C (33.8F-55.4F).
When to Go: June to August is the best time to visit. The temperature in this period maintains a level of 15C-30C (59F-86F). The grassland scenery is at its best at this time. In winter, monasteries, no matter whether they are big or small, hold Buddhist ceremonies during the period from the eighth to the sixteenth day of the first lunar month. This is the busiest period.
7 Best August Destinations in China
Gannan Travel Tips
Physical Features: The prefecture lies in the northeast fringe of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at the transition area to the Loess Plateau. The terrain slopes from the northwest to the southeast. It can be divided into three parts: the southern mountainous region with moderate climate, being an important forest zone in Gansu; the eastern hilly area and the eastern meadows and grassland, being the main pasturing area of the province.
Special Local Products: Tibetan souvenirs, such as ornaments, embroidery, Tibetan herbs, silver wares, religious handicrafts
Local Highlights: Xiangbala Tourism Arts Festival, held annually in midsummer, is the largest comprehensive tourism festival in Gannan Prefecture. During the fifth and the sixth lunar months, there are various festivals and ceremonies, such as Xianglang Festival, Erecting Arrow Festival and Caihua (Flower Picking) Festival.
Festivals: Apart from the traditional Tibetan festivals, it also has some special festivals for monasteries. For those who are interested in these Buddhist ceremonies, visitors can visit the Labrang Monastery during the third lunar month.
As for the hotel, it is better to stay in Diebu county, the Luoke Zhouji Hotel is recommended.
Thanks in advance.
Xiahe-Langmusi: 07:40; vice versa: 14:00. Duration is about 4 hours and ticket fare is CNY 70.
Lanzhou-Hezuo: 07:00 to 16:30 every 25 minutes. The same for vice versa route. It takes about 4 hours on the way and ticket costs around CNY 75.