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Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

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Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

The hiking team in the high meadows above Zhagana.

We visited the Gannan region (Gan like Gansu, nan like ‘south’ – so ‘Southern Gansu’) in April 2015 on a scouting trip and decided it would be a great place for a group visit later in the year, so in September we came back again.

Gannan is a Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, and it’s home to one of the largest Tibetan monasteries outside of Tibet, as well as a large population of Tibetans.

The main stops on the trip were the monasteries at Labrang and Langmu, and the Zhagana area. We also visited small villages along the way, including one where we saw a unique way of spinning prayer wheels, and on the way back to Lanzhou we stopped off for a hike in a mountainous area that really reminded us of the colourful mountains of the Zhangye Danxia Landform.

Three young monks walking down the street in Xiahe - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Three young monks walking down the street in Xiahe.

Spot the two people praying atop the golden pagoda at Labrang Monastery - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Spot the two people praying atop the golden pagoda at Labrang Monastery.

Group photo at Xiahe, with the monastery behind - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Group photo at Xiahe, with the monastery behind.

Wheat fields - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Wheat fields.

Closer shot of the wheat - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Closer shot of the wheat.

We went for a walk in the fields - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We went for a walk in the fields.

We hiked into a farming village and saw these pigs - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We hiked into a farming village and saw these pigs.

Village kids, a little shy! - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Village kids, a little shy!

Grassland scenery near Sangke - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Grassland scenery near Sangke.

Clouds and mountains - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Clouds and mountains.

A special local snack - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

A special local snack.

Three local people were enjoying the afternoon sunshine on a hillside in Langmu - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Three local people were enjoying the afternoon sunshine on a hillside in Langmu.

Picnic on the hill side - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Picnic on the hill side.

Langmu Temple, on the Sichuan Province side of the border - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Langmu Temple, on the Sichuan Province side of the border.

Local wild flower - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Local wild flower.

The temples at Langmu are right on the border. The temple in the middle of the photo is in Sichuan. In the hills in the distance on the right side of the photo is another temple, in Gansu - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

The temples at Langmu are right on the border. The temple in the middle of the photo is in Sichuan. In the hills in the distance on the right side of the photo is another temple, in Gansu.

We went for a hike in a forest - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We went for a hike in a forest.

We followed the stream up into a valley - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We followed the stream up into a valley.

The statue marks a cave where a fairy lived - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

The statue marks a cave where a fairy lived.

Inside the cave - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Inside the cave.

We took a walk about this village - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We took a walk about this village.

Little monks all wanted to see themselves in a photo - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Little monks all wanted to see themselves in a photo.

Monks were ready to pray - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Monks were ready to pray.

We spotted a Muslim-style pagoda in the middle of the village – check the crescent moon on the steeple - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We spotted a Muslim-style pagoda in the middle of the village – check the crescent moon on the steeple.

Langmu Temple - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Langmu Temple.

Sunshine on a Tibetan house - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Sunshine on a Tibetan house .

The Langmu temple on the Gansu side of the border - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

The Langmu temple on the Gansu side of the border.

Sunset light - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Sunset light.

Langmu Temple - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Langmu Temple.

Langmu Temple - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Langmu Temple.

We spotted a mosque in the same village - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We spotted a mosque in the same village.

One of the days featured a fairly tough hike. We made our own sandwiches for a picnic lunch - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

One of the days featured a fairly tough hike. We made our own sandwiches for a picnic lunch.

Starting out on the hike - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Starting out on the hike.

Aria and Sylvain - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Aria and Sylvain.

The trailhead - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

The trailhead.

Some locals were also heading up the trail, on their way to work in the high meadows - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Some locals were also heading up the trail, on their way to work in the high meadows.

Walking through farmland - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Walking through farmland.

Starting a big climb up into the hills - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Starting a big climb up into the hills.

Local flowers - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Local flowers.

More flowers - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

More flowers.

We stopped at this little camp for a rest - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We stopped at this little camp for a rest.

Yellow flowers - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Yellow flowers.

4-year old Aria is already a super hiker - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

4-year old Aria is already a super hiker.

We hiked up into the woods - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We hiked up into the woods.

A quick stop to admire the scenery - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

A quick stop to admire the scenery.

Another type of flower - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Another type of flower.

Hiking through the forest - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Hiking through the forest.

A bit slippery here - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

A bit slippery here.

Going up again - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Going up again.

Almost to the top - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Almost to the top.

Yeah! We made it to the top! - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Yeah! We made it to the top!

We’d hike down to Zhagana Village, way down below - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We’d hike down to Zhagana Village, way down below.

But first, a lunch break! (And is that Yanjing smiling in a photo?!) - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

But first, a lunch break! (And is that Yanjing smiling in a photo?!)

Rocky cliffs - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Rocky cliffs.

Ready to hike down - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Ready to hike down.

Down through the trees on a gravelly path - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Down through the trees on a gravelly path.

Hiking through the trees - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Hiking through the trees.

Almost finished - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Almost finished.

Down on to flatter terrain - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Down on to flatter terrain.

We stopped here to enjoy the sun before finishing the hike - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We stopped here to enjoy the sun before finishing the hike.

Group photo, and the normal Yanjing pose for a photo - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Group photo, and the normal Yanjing pose for a photo.

Zhagana village. Zhagana means ‘stone box’ in Tibetan language, and the name comes from the stone cliffs that surround the village. You’ll see some of those cliffs in the following photos - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Zhagana village. Zhagana means ‘stone box’ in Tibetan language, and the name comes from the stone cliffs that surround the village. You’ll see some of those cliffs in the following photos.

Great spot, with the grassy meadows - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Great spot, with the grassy meadows.

Rocky peaks - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Rocky peaks.

Part of the ‘Stone Box’ - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Part of the ‘Stone Box’.

We weren’t the only ones enjoying the sunshine - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We weren’t the only ones enjoying the sunshine.

A temple in Zhagana - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

A temple in Zhagana.

The houses of the village - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

The houses of the village.

Time to head on to finish the hike - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Time to head on to finish the hike.

A wide view of the village - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

A wide view of the village.

Houses in the village - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Houses in the village.

A golden pagoda - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

A golden pagoda.

We started an easy walk up to the temple - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We started an easy walk up to the temple.

We visited this temple, but we are not allowed to take any pictures while inside - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We visited this temple, but we are not allowed to take any pictures while inside.

Local kids are very curious - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Local kids are very curious.

Local village kids - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Local village kids.

It’s time to have some beer. And what a view! - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

It’s time to have some beer. And what a view!

Taking a break on the balcony at our guesthouse - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Taking a break on the balcony at our guesthouse.

Nice view from the balcony - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Nice view from the balcony.

The last sun of the day on the cliffs - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

The last sun of the day on the cliffs.

Tibetan-style guesthouse decorations - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Tibetan-style guesthouse decorations.

The courtyard of the guesthouse - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

The courtyard of the guesthouse.

Nice spot to stay - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Nice spot to stay.

More of the mountains - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

More of the mountains.

Dinner time! - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Dinner time!

The stove at the guesthouse - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

The stove at the guesthouse.

We went for an evening stroll - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We went for an evening stroll.

Lucky us finding some icecream! - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Lucky us finding some icecream!

Breakfast at the guesthouse - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Breakfast at the guesthouse.

We woke up to see misty scenery - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We woke up to see misty scenery.

Group photo with the proprietor of the guesthouse - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Group photo with the proprietor of the guesthouse.

Misty mountain scenery - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Misty mountain scenery.

Beautiful scenery with wild flowers - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Beautiful scenery with wild flowers.

Wild fruit - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Wild fruit.

We started another hike - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We started another hike.

After a while the sun came out - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

After a while the sun came out.

Hiking along the ridges - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Hiking along the ridges.

Taking a short break at the prayer flags - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Taking a short break at the prayer flags.

Group photo in front of the prayer flags - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Group photo in front of the prayer flags.

We hiked into this 100-year-old village - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We hiked into this 100-year-old village.

Village scene - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Village scene.

We found an old temple in the village - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We found an old temple in the village.

They had a sort of pulley system set up for the prayer wheels - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

They had a sort of pulley system set up for the prayer wheels.

How about that – everyone at this table is left-handed - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

How about that – everyone at this table is left-handed.

Solar-powered kettle - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Solar-powered kettle.

On the way back to Lanzhou we stopped to hike in this area - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

On the way back to Lanzhou we stopped to hike in this area. The scenery is really similar to the super-popular Zhangye Danxia, and no one really knows it’s here.

Coloured hills - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Coloured hills.

Beautiful landscapes - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Beautiful landscapes.

We went for a hike into the landform - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

We went for a hike into the landform.

Colourful – and very dry - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Colourful – and very dry.

Walking through the valley - Xiahe, Labrang Monastery, and Zhagana, Gansu Province, September 2015

Walking through the valley.

And that was the trip!

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