Xiahe Travel Guide
Chinese Name: 夏河 (xià hé)
Area: 8,037 square kilometers
Nationalities: Tibetan, Han and Hui
Zip Code: 747100
Area Code: 0941
Location: Xiahe County lies in the southwest of Gansu province and northwest of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. On the northeast edge of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, it is located between 35°12' north latitude and 102°31' east longitude.
Administrative Division: Labrang Town, Wanggeertang Town, Amuquhu Town, Sangke County, Ganjia County, Damai County, Madang County, Dian'ao County, Tangga'ang County, Zhayou County, Bola County, Jicang County, Yaliji County, Kecai County
Labrang Monastery: Located at the foot of the Phoenix Mountain northwest of the county, Labrang Monastery is the first must-see attraction. It is one of the six great monasteries of Gelukpa sect as well as the location of Gansu Provincial Buddhism College. The Labrang Monastery boasts tens of thousands of statues of Buddha made of gold, silver, copper, and aluminum, as well as many Buddha hats and many Buddhist treasures adorned with pearls, jadeite, agate and diamonds.
Sangke Grassland: Located about ten kilometers west of the county, Gansu province, Sangke Grassland enjoys a good reputation in the northwest Tibetan district for its excellent pasture and frequent magnificent Buddhist ceremonies. Sangke Grassland is an ideal place to experience the nomadic life, spend summers and return to the nature. It is also a nice place to appreciate the Tibetan folk culture to the full by wearing Tibetan costumes and riding horses or yaks across the land.
How to get to/around Xiahe
2. It is easy for passengers to take long-distance bus to other places. Xiahe Bus Station is about 1.5km away from the entrance to the monastery and the main concentration of guesthouses. Frequent Buses operate onward to Xiahe in 3-4 hours and to Linxia in 2 hours. One bus daily runs to Langmu Monastery in 4 hours and one bus daily leaves for Tongren in about 3 hours.
3. It is cheap to take a taxi to travel around the area. A round-trip between Xiahe and Sangke Grassland only costs about CNY 40 by taxi.
When to Go: September to December is the best time to visit there due to the pleasant weather.
Xiahe Travel Tips
History: It used to be the ley of Qiang Nationality in the Spring and Autumn Period (770BC - 476BC). It was once occupied by Xianbei, Tubo and Mongolian nationalities. It has been named as Baishi County in the Western Han Period (206 BC - 24 AD), Longxi County in the Eastern Han Period (25 - 220), Jinxing County in the Western Jin Period (265 – 316), Huaiqiang County in the Northern Song Period (960 - 1127) and Labrang in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). It was finally named as Xiahe in 1928.
Local Highlights: The traditional 'Xiang Lang Festival' which is similar to the spring outing of Han nationality (the last ten-day of June in Chinese Lunar Calendar) is a very important festival in this area. You can know more about the local customs through this festival.
Local Product: Root of Silverweed Cinquefoil, Snow Lotus, Bezoar and Aweto
From my experience in China, discounted tickets for senior citizens apply to foreigners too.
Are two nights in XH enough to acclimatize to go to Langmusi at even more altitude?
Where is the bus station in Lanzhou and what time is it advised to take the 4 hours drive bys to XH?
Staying in Xiahe:
where can I stay and how should I plan 2 days visit of the area?
Thanks a lot!
For attractions, I'd recommend the Labrang Monastery and Sangke Grassland to you. You may consider staying at Nirvana Hotel, from which you can walk to the Labrang Monastery within 5min.