The Paradise on Earth 

With a population of 14 million people, Chengdu (成都) is the capital and the heart of Sichuan Province. The city itself is flat, with no distinguishing natural features. The weather is grey, hazy and super humid in the summer. However, the relaxing teahouse culture, the lively nightlife, the Panda reservoir, the snacks, and the great…

Sōngpan and Huánglóng Park 

The historic town Sōngpan, (松潘) in 3000m above sea level was a trading centre in the early times and now serves as a nice spot with a lovely old town.  The village is in the middle of the mountains and you can find the Guanyin temple in the hills: Climbing up the mountain, you will…

Zöige, prairies in 3500m above sea level 

From the Langmusi monastery I proceeded to Zöige (若尔盖), a small village in 3500m above sea level.    Zöige is a nontouristic wonderland with prairies with pristine beauty and nomadic Tibetans. Its grasslands are amazing and have some of the best preserved Tibetan nomadic culture remaining.  From there I hitchhiked on the back of a…

Langmusi monastery 

Straddling the boarder between Gansu (North) and Sichuan (South) is Langmusi, an expanding and modernising Tibetan style village nestled among steep grassy meadows, evergreen forests of slender pine trees, crumbling stupa (praying paths) and snow-clad peaks. Langmusi is a delightful place surrounded by countless red and white monastery buildings, flapping prayer flags and the mesmerizing…

Labrang monastery, Gansu Province 

The next stop of the journey was the Labrang monastery (拉卜愣寺) in Xiahe (夏河), which is situated in the south of Gansu, 2920m above sea level. The rising sun sends pilgrims out to circle the 3km kora (pilgrim path) that rings the monastery.  With its succession of squeaking prayer wheels (3km in total), hawks circling…

South-East Qinghai 

From Xining, I made my way south to Southern-Qinghai: Kumbum Monastery (塔尔寺)  Guide (贵德)  Tongren (同仁) The Kumbum Monastery (Taersi, 塔尔寺) was built in 1577 on hallowed ground, the birthplace of the founder of an important Buddhist sect. It’s of enormous historical significance and hundreds of monks still live here. The monastery is located 27km…

Qinghai Lake 

So the next destination was Qinghai Province, the second biggest province in China, larger than any country in the EU, but only having 5.6 million inhabitants. Qinghai Province occupies a vast swath of the northeastern chunk of the Tibetan Plateau. Qinghai is said to feel more like Tibetan than Chinese. There are monasteries galore, yaks…