Gansu Province's

XIAHE

Global Mark : 14.22

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
3 3 1 4 5 2 3 3

4

12.44

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend Range AVER.
23 96%  (22) 70%  (16) 100%  (23) 12 to 20 16.00


Description :
A stretched town divided in three distinctive areas : Chinese's Karaoke, Hui's Mosque and Tibetan's Labrang Monastery...

Comments : Most people who have seen both prefer Langmusi to Xiahe.  If you are heading south toward Songpan, you will also see more beautiful grassland along the way.

What to do : Visit Labrang's Monastery, the most active Lamasery outside Tibet / Say "hello" every 10 seconds or so / Show your travel book to the monks / Degust fresh yogurts with honey / Cycle the surroundings grasslands / Buy souvenirs at the colorful shops / Relax at Tara Guesthouse, reading magazines or playing cards /

What you may not like : The numerous beggars / The "money" kids / The staring Tibetan / If you speak Chinese, not being understood / The dirtiness / The insurance scam at the bus station

How long ? 1 day to visit the two interesting parts of town (Tibetan & Muslim). More for the surroundings. Even more to relax...


Where to stay ?  

Hotels  << Get precise info, book online and save money !

  • Tara Guesthouse (712 1274) / Dorm 15 or 20 depending of the floor and the number of beds (2 to 4) / Sgl 25 (but only one !) / Dbl 50 with toilets / Smelly single toilet on the first floor but western toilet on the second / Good shower / HW 24 hrs / Reading material / Go there simply because this is by far the best place in town (and arguably one of the best guesthouse in China), for some cozy Tibetan style rooms, for the relax atmosphere, for the glass veranda and terraces / What you may not like : having to wait for a bed in HS, the bad lighting of the rooms, the difficulty to communicate except with the owner, the wait for your room's key, the relative noise as this place is popular...

  • Overseas Tibetan Hotel (712 2642), a new Hotel at 77 Renmin Xi Jie, near Tara Guesthouse / Dorm 25 (2) in nice room / Dbl 50 / Good toilets on 1st floor / Good showers / HW 24 hours / Go there if you prefer comfort to character,  to avoid the crowd (and the noise) of Tara Guesthouse / What you may not like : being in another unoriginal hotel

  •  Monastery Guesthouse, a bit off the street / Dorm 10 (2) in basic rooms / Bad "Tibetan style" toilets / No shower / Hot water in thermos on request / Go there to wait for an available room in Tara Guesthouse or to save money.

  • Labrang Monastery Guesthouse / Dorm 10 (2 or 3) in basic rooms around an ugly courtyard off the street / Apparently bad toilets and no shower / Go there for a friendly discussion with the nice keys keeper who will not show you the rooms except if you agree to stay there...

  • Labuleng Hotel (712 1849), a two stars hotel with an old wing, about 2 km out of town / Dorm 21 (3) in small room with bath / Dbl with bath 100 / Better Dbl 160 / HW 7 to 9 & 20 to 22 / Bikes rental (20Y per day) / Go there for the relative quietness by the river, the "hotel style" rooms / What you may not like : being well outside the city, the lack of character of the rooms

  • A few hotels in the Chinese part of town with dorm (around 20Y) or  Dbl with attached bath (around 100Y) but the area lack charm.


Backpacker's Tips :   David Bowen, Wales (May 04)
Bus to Hezuo 20rmb insurance not checked. Earliest bus is around 5.50am.
There is now a bus from Hezuo to Langmusi at 14.30.
The guided tour of the monastary is worth the money (now 21rmb) as it gives an insight into how the monastary is set up and it's former scale.
Grassland tours to Ganja Grassland start at 60rmb - if you are heading/coming from/to Chengdu then dont bother as you will so much better grassland around Zoige.
If you have pictures of the dali lama they are appreciated - BUT BE DISCREET
Dont listen to the taxi drivers - Tara gusethouse is within easy walking distance of the bus station (500m)

Backpacker's Tips : Wang Xiaocong, China (September 03)
  Currently the prices for Tara Guesthouse are: Dorm 1st floor Y15 per bed, dorm 2nd floor Y20 per bed, dorm 3rd floor Y25 per bed, double 2nd floor Y60 per room, double 3rd floor Y70 per room,and single rooms (only two,one on 2nd floor, the other on 3rd floor) Y40 per room.I did not check at any other place to stay in Xiahe for prices,but I know that dorms at Overseas Tibetan Hotel now costs Y20 per bed.

Tara Guesthouse

zhuoma lushe

Labrang Monastery Guesthouse

labuleng si zhaodaisuo

Labuleng Hotel

labuleng binguan


What to see/visit :

  • Labrang Monastery : (4), free or Y23 with guide (8-12 & 14-18) / It is free to walk around but the doors will be closed. One exception is at noon when the Main Temple open its doors for a ceremony. If you are discreet, you can sneak in alongside the monks.

  • Golden Stupa : (3), Y5 / Don't bother buying the ticket. A look from outside should do the trick.


Backpacker's Tips : Kristen Frake, Canada (July 06)
For grassland tours, try giving JINPA a try.?He is a local Tibetan who can take you pretty much anywhere you want.?We went to Ganjia grasslands, and stayed with wonderful Tibetan nomads.?He can also take you hiking or tour of monasteries.?To find Jinpa, go to his restraunt (which serves great food!) called Peace & Sunshine.?Also, the Overseas Tibetan hotel is great!  

Backpacker's Tips : Blaise Fiedler, France (July 05)
Maybe the best feeling of Tibet without actually going to Tibet - so many monks and pilgrims, such a nice Lamassery and the best Yak tea in the country is available at the Nomad restaurant. Avoid the Everest restaurant - boring western place. Head for the Nomad!  

Backpacker's Tips : Wang Xiaocong, China (September 03)
  The entrance fee for a guided tour of the temple is now Y21 for both Chinese tourists and foreigners.

Backpacker's Tips : Anne Lauritsen og Lars Kyhn Rasmussen, Denmark (July 02)
  In Xiahe it is possible to arrange trips to the grassland, monasteries and holly caves for 60-75 Y pr. person for a whole day, very nice trip. Be sure to bring plenty of cash going south of Lanzhou, travelers cheques can not be changed in Xiahe.


How to leave Xiahe ?

The first thing  you might require to leave the place by bus is the infamous insurance's policy. See tips in Gansu section on how not to be extorted 30Y for 20 days. 

For destinations with only one bus a day (Tongren or Lanzhou), it is advisable to buy the ticket the previous day.

To reach Langmusi without having to spend a night in  dull Hezuo, take the first bus (6:20) to Hezuo's main bus station to catch up with the 8:30 bus to Zoige (there should also be a bus at 9:30 but better play it safe). You should arrive at the intersection (Langmuqiaotou) at around noon.

 


Bus Schedules :

From Hezuo / Gongyun Qichezhan except to Zoige (main station)

To Price Type Duration Time Nb Freq.
Langmusi 30 ordi 4.5 6:30 1 na
Zoige ? ordi 3 7:30/8:30/9:30 3 na
Xiahe 7 ordi 1h45 7:40 to 17 15 40mn
Linxia 8 ordi 3 6 to 17:30 ++ 30mn
Lanzhou 20 or 32 ordi 5 6:20/8:20/9/9:40/10:20 5 na

From Xiahe / Insurance requested

To Price Type Duration Time Nb Freq.
Hezuo 9 ordi 1h45 6:20 to 16:30 ++ 40mn
Tongren 12 ordi 5 7:30 1 na
Linxia 9 ordi 3 6 to 17 ++ 30mn
Lanzhou 20 ordi 5 to 6 7:20 1 na

 

Backpacker's Tips : Bill  (September 06)
  Notes on getting to Langmusi from Xiahe. At Tara Guesthouse in Xiahe, ask about private car to Langmusi. If you get a group of travellers together (4-8) the cost is comparable to taking the normal bus. Much more pleasant ride through Sangke Grasslands, backdoor into Langmusi. Also driver can recommend guesthouses in Langmusi, sometimes get a discount.

Backpacker's Tips : Wang Xiaocong, China (September 03)
  Buses from Xiahe:Three to Lanzhou (departure 6:30,7:30 and 14:30,duration 5h,price Y44), two to Tongren (departure 7:30 and 10:30 am, duration 3.5h,price Y17),and one more bus departs at 9 am and goes every other day to Tongren/Jianza (another county in Qinghai) respectively. Buses to Hezuo departs every 30mn from 5:40 to 17:10 (duration 1.5h,price Y9), and buses to Linxia departs every 30mn before noon and every 25 mn afternoon,from 6 am to 17:50 pm (duration 2.5h,price Y13 ordi/Y18 Luxe)..


The trip to Tongren :
  Big Bus / SSSSS / L / Y12 / 5 hrs 

It was a good idea to buy the ticket in advance as the bus was crowded when I arrived 20 mn before departure. - "Sit down where you wish" As there was only seats available in the back, I claimed the seat reserved on my ticket and got it. Luckily, it was on the left side so I could really appreciate the amazing scenery (first a valley with snow mountain in the background, then a Chinese answer to America's Big Canyon), as well as the Tibetan throwing their "wind horses papers" at the top of the mountain. As the road is bad and quite dangerous, a flat tire was to be expected...

See also trip from Langmusi to Xiahe...