Gannan Travel Guide
Full Name: Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
Chinese Name: 甘南藏族自治州 (gān nán zàng zú zì zhì zhōu)
Area: 45,000 square kilometers (17,375 square miles)
Nationalities: Tibetan, Han
Location: Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is situated in the southwest of Gansu Province, neighboring Dingxi and Longnan in the east and Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture in the north. It is bounded on the south by Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province in the neighborhood of Guoluo, and Huangnan Tibetan autonomous prefectures of Qinghai Province in the west.
Administrative Division: 7 counties: Lintan, Zhuoni (Jone), Luqu, Maqu, Diebu (Tewo), Zhouqu, Xiahe; 1 county-level city (Hezuo)
Seat of the Prefectural Government: Renmin Jie, Hezuo City
Useful Telephone Numbers:
Tourist Complaints: 0941-8212567
Weather Forecast: 121
Zip Code Inquiry: 184
China Post Branch: No.104, Renmin Jie, Hezuo City
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 Prairie: 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
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.
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.