Pilgrimage in Gannan, Gansu Province (II)

The Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is located in southwest China's Gansu Province, which borders on Qinghai and Sichuan provinces, and belongs to the traditional Amdo Tibetan-inhabited area.

Here you will find the mysterious Labrang Monastery, Langmu Temple, beautiful Zhakarna Village, the vast Sankoh Grassland under the blue sky with white clouds, and pilgrims with kind souls… Gannan is a perfect place to experience the Tibetan culture and enjoy the grassland scenery without entering Tibet.

Sankoh Grassland: Experience the most beautiful grassland

Every year June and July are the most jubilant time in the grasslands, when people can stay for 3-5 days in tents just drinking tea, barbecuing lamb, riding horses, or lying on the ground to look at the beautiful starry skies. In the grasslands, life can be so free.

Photo shows the Sankoh Grassland.

Photo shows the Sankoh Grassland.

Location: within the territory of Xiahe County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province.

Transport: From Labrang Monastery it takes only 15 minutes by car. You can also hire bikes from the Xiahe County town for around 10 yuan per day.

Accommodations: Tent accommodations on the grassland is 30 to 50 yuan per person, and very basic. There is a huge temperature difference between day and night on the grassland.

Horse ride: During peak season this is generally 50 yuan per hour. The horses on the grassland are strong and have fierce temper, so pay attention to safety when riding.


Marqu: The first great bend of the Yellow River

If you hear about Marqu, in addition to the vast grassland that stretch as far as the eye can see, the most memorable sight is first great bend of the Yellow River.

The Yellow River passes through green grassland, where you can see horses galloping alongside pastoral lands, and yaks flicking their tails as they stand half-asleep in the river. Every day as the sun sets, both the sky and river become colourful, and the scene is harmonious.

Photo shows the Marqu Grassland.

Location: Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, eastern end of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Transport: Chartered cars.

Tickets: 48 yuan per person.

Photo shows the Marqu Grassland.


Zhakarna Village: A mountain paradise

This village with a long history is a simple mountain town featuring beautiful scenery, honest people, and not many tourists.

Here in this village you can gain a good experience of a simple Tibetan life: stay in a characteristic Tibetan house, watch the owner spinning his small prayer wheel, while outside there are cattle and horses in the yard; pick some vegetables and chop wood by hand to make a fire to cook your dinner over.

Photo shows the Zhakarna Village.

Photo shows the Marqu Grassland.

Location: 28 km northwest of Tewo County, Gansu Province.

Accommodations: Staying in a traditional house is about 50 yuan per person. Meals are extra.

Attractions: The Stone forest is a hiking paradise, with stunning roadside scenery and undeveloped mountain trails. Horse treks of 5-6 hours round-trip cost 400 yuan per person.

Tickets: Free, but there is a waste disposal fee of five yuan per person.

Transport: Chartered transport is available from the Langmu Temple. The road to the village is dangerous, so self-driving tourists should be careful.