Blogs from Xiahe, Gansu, China, Asia - page 4


Asia » China » Gansu » Xiahe June 8th 2007

GANSU, CHINA - (June 2007) Thurs 31st May - Tues 5th June - (Dege to Ganzi) The next place Hee and myself wanted to go to after Dege was to the Tibetan monastery town of Xiaha in Gansu province which is several days travelling from Dege with not much of interest to stop and see along the way. After discussions with people in the bus station (Thankfully Hee did all the discussions as he can speak a bit of Chinese and I can't!) we were told that the best route would be to go back south to Ganzi before heading north to Yushu, and then east to Xining and then onward to Xiaha. The first stage of the journey back to Ganzi was reasonably straight forward except that it started to snow when the bus was ... read more
Temple within Xiaha monastry complex
Temple roofs - Xiaha
Prayer wheels around Xiaha monastery

Asia » China » Gansu » Xiahe May 9th 2007

While in Xiahe on my first visit in May (as indicated by the date on this blog), I went on many walks out and around the edges of town just to explore and also get great views and a different perspective of the impressive Labrang Monastery and the locals' everyday life. In May, much of the area was dry, brown and dusty as the summer rains had not yet arrived. The locals were preparing the dry, infertile-looking soil for the summer crops of rape seed and barley. I wondered how on earth they irrigated effectively, as the Daxia River at this point is little more than a stream. On my recent return visit in July, I have seen those previously dry, barren spaces clothed in green and yellow (rape seed). An amazing transformation! On a number ... read more
Fabulous views down the valley
Lushness of summer
All purpose channel

Asia » China » Gansu » Xiahe May 7th 2007

Surrounding Xiahe are vast areas of grassland used by local nomads as pastures for herds of yak, dzo (bull crossed with female yak), Tibetan cattle, sheep, goats and even pigs. The more famous areas are Sanke (about 13km away), Ganjia (about 34km away) and further away still, Takkar ( famous for its enormous rock formations). Ganjia Grasslands (not a joke, by the way!) were my first choice as they are supposedly less developed/commercialized and they can be combined with a visit to an ancient town, a cave, and a monastery of the less well-known Black Hat Sect of Buddhism to make a great day out. Unfortunately, being Golden Week (May), many of the visitors to Xiahe were already in groups, so I was unable to organize anyone to share the cost of a vehicle. Consequently, I ... read more
Mr Ma- Mr Horse
"Little" Sanke
Golden Carpet

Asia » China » Gansu » Xiahe May 5th 2007

One of my favourite activities whenever I arrive anywhere new, is to wander (often aimlessly) through back streets and up trails to get a feel for the "real life" experiences of the locals. It also affords me many opportunities to meet the locals and at least make an attempt at effective communication! My wanderings in and around Xiahe provided me with innumerable opportunities such as this. In particular, I was trailed by curious groups of children of varying ages (and confidence!) wherever I went. I spent many happy hours conversing with these children, taking photographs and showing them how to use my camera, being led by them into the hills for magnificent views over the town, even introducing them to a game of frisbee in the mosque grounds as their busy parents prepared for the Feast ... read more
Sue & cheeky boys
It's a bit glary!
Take that!

Asia » China » Gansu » Xiahe May 3rd 2007

The present residents of Xiahe consist of about 45% Tibetans, 45% Han Chinese and 10% Hui Muslim, providing an interesting mix. As development continues, with road-widening projects, rumours of an airport, the tearing down of traditional housing and the erecting of ugly, bright new hotels and ever more souvenir shops, it is obvious that this mix is rapidly changing. The local Tibetans and Hui are being squeezed into a smaller and smaller area of town, or, in the case of the Tibetans, being moved further west. Mass resumptions have been common and the displaced people are usually offered "peanuts" as compensation. Very sad, the price of progress. On a brighter note, the people of Xiahe are an engaging and optimistic bunch. Many are philosophical about the changes that have taken place over the past decade or ... read more
Three-wheel taxis
Ash & Haruko
Checking for bargains

Asia » China » Gansu » Xiahe May 1st 2007

Xiahe is a small, but rapidly developing town in the SW of Gansu Province near the border with Qinghai. It is nestled in a beautiful mountain valley and is the location of famous Labrang Monastery. Labrang Monastery is second in size to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, so Xiahe is visited not only by increasing numbers of tourists but also by innumerable Tibetan pilgrims, many of whom have travelled vast distances to do so. My first visit here was during the Golden week in May (as indicated by the date on this blog). Although not a religious person or a student of Tibetan Buddhism, I spent many a peaceful hour wandering within and around the monastery complex, particularly early in the morning before the hordes of tourists descended. I was fascinated (and humbled) by the ... read more
Prayer wheels turning
.....and turning
Eye-catching prayer wheel

Asia » China » Gansu » Xiahe April 4th 2007

url='/Videos/2506.html' onclick='dialog("/Videos/2506.html?popped=1","tbvideo",600,600);return false;' monks in the snow It was very cold when we got to Xiahe. We found a nice hotel, with tibetian paintings (tangka) in the room. This time the hot water are only in the morning, 8-9. So in order to take a shower we walk up at 8am. Must say it was a good one, except they stopped the hot water at 8:50, when Amir still had some shampoo on his head. we were heading to the monastary - there supposed to be a guided tour in English at 10. We were looking fo the tour/ office/ anyone but couldnt find so we walked on our own, After 30 minutes we saw a monk with some western passing us - they showed us where to buy ticketes and we joined them. We entered ... read more
pilgirms doing "skivot smicha"
the boots are left outside - 300 pairs!
Tibetian architecture

Asia » China » Gansu » Xiahe February 1st 2007

I went to Xiahe last summer and absolutely loved it! It is really a magical place, full of good humoured Tibetans. They all look so fierce but they are a so sweet! I took the 07.30 direct express bus from Lanzhou South Busstation. After 3 hours the bus stops in Linxia and you can eat some noodle soup. Then another 3 hours and you have arrived in Xiahe. Tibetans call this place Labrang. I spent my first day here to explore the Labrang monastry. At 10.00 in the morning and 15.15 in the afternoon, there are guided tours, guided by an English speaking monk. This is very interesting, as you can see parts of the monastry that you can not see if you go by yourself. The second day I went to the Sangke grasslands. The ... read more

Asia » China » Gansu » Xiahe January 6th 2007

Oh.. the rigours of travelling has meant that the pie has not gone unscathed in the last few months, but is still intact & very much enjoying notching up miles on the piedometer... Hello all …… a VERY happy new year to you. Sorry this blog entry has been a while in coming. A few of the places we have visited have limited internet capabilities and I simply did not have the patience to upload the new piccies up to the site - and obviously I’m so busy these days time just cannot be wasted in internet cafes! Anyway, hope you enjoy these snapshots of the trip over the last few months. Leaving Xiahe (last point of blogging!) by firstly, the SMALLEST taxi in the world into which we squeezed our rucksacks and ourselves wrapped in ... read more
clare and the tibetan ladies
an honest sales department?
hop on there's plenty of room

Asia » China » Gansu » Xiahe October 27th 2006

Bin in Xiahe irgendwann spaetnachmittags angekommen. Vollkommen erschoepft und muede, aber doch rastlos. Die ganze Fahrt hierher liess mich nicht zur Ruhe kommen, wuehlte mich auf. Hab dann einen langen Spaziergang gemacht und war schon wieder so ueberwaeltigt von dem was ich sah, das mir die Traenen in den Augen standen. Xiahe ist eine kleine Stadt in der ueber 50% der Einwohner Tibeter sind. Die Stadt liegt ueber 3000m hoch, und anfangs hat ich mit dem Schnaufen echt Probleme. Es gibt eine riesige Tempelanlage, mit einem Pilgerweg darin, wo sich 1174 Gebetsmuehlen zum drehen bringen lassen. Es leben in dieser Tempelanlage ueber 1000 Moenche, vor der Kulturrevolution waren es ueber 4000. Viele kleine Tempelanlagen und Universitaeten laden zum rumschlendern und verweilen ein. Und die Stadt lebt, es spielt sich soviel auf der Strasse ab, obwohl es ... read more

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