Favorite thing: It is also easy to recognise the muslim men. They all wear a kind of white hat. This men are Huí, a Chinese ethnic group. Most Hui are similar in culture and appearance to Han Chinese with the exception that they practice Islam, and have some distinctive cultural characteristics as a consequence.
Favorite thing: Around Xiahe you see many streetmarkets. There are some stalls in the side streets of the mainstreet before you reach the monastery grounds. But also at the other end of the monastery. They sell amongst other things: vegetables, fruit and bread.
Favorite thing: Xiahe is the largest town in a far distance and the noamds from the smaller places around come here to trade. They offer yakskins, yakbutter or cheese. They buy all kind of things on the streetmarkets or in the little shops in the mainstreet.
Favorite thing: In the Muslim part of Xiahe we went to one of the tea-stalls between the many small shops. Except the tea leaves we got also a kind of apricot and two green indefinable vegetable small balls in our cup. The tase of the tea was good. From the bakery nextdoor we bought a curry bread. At the opposite of the street a group of men were playing cards.
Along the mainstreet in the centre of Xiahe are a lot of vegetable stalls between the shops with clothes, knives, beads, jewellary and small pots with all king of stuff.
There are many diferent kinds of vegetables and fruits for sale, like cole, tomatos, cauliflower, aubergine, melon.
Also here we saw a lot of Tibetan customers, while the vendors were Hui Chinese.
Along the main street of Xiahe east of the monastery at the side of the Muslim part are a lot of stalls and shops.
Most shop owners are Hui muslims. The customers are mostly Tibetans.
Especially the Tibetan women are very striking with their colorful long dresses, long plaited hair and beautiful jewellery with coral and turquoise gems.
During ceremonies and festivities many nomads and pilgrims visit the Labrang Monastery. The most important festivity is Monlam in the first moon month of the Tibetan year. There are dances and there is an exhibition of Tibetan statues made of 700 KG yak butter.
The thousands of pilgrims coming from Amdo, Khan and Mongolia put there tents in meadows along the river.
Allthough there were no festivities at the time of our visit, we saw a lot of Tibetan tents along the river just opposite our hotel.
The Tibetan tents are white with blue lines and some with blue Tibetan decorations.
In the evening we enjoyed to walk in the Tibetan village not far from our Labrang hotel.
We discovered that most of the clay houses
have very nice wooden windows, doors and porches behind the clay walls in earth colours.
The Tibetan people we met were very friendly and striking by their clothes, long hair and jewellery.
Xiahe, 240 KM south east of Lanhzou, lays at 2920 M along the Daxia River. Xiahe with 13.000 inhabitants is not much more than a long main street. In the east part of the town live the Hui, muslim Chinese, one of the biggest minorites in China, but also some Han Chinese. In this part of town you find tea stalls, shops and small restaurants.
In the middle of the town is the Labrang Monastery and at the ohter side, in the western part live the Tibetans.
From our hotel to the monastery we passed all the times this Tibetan part of town. It has unpaved roads and clay houses in the same colour as the soil.
Favorite thing: A reason for a visit to Xiahe is that it is a melting pot of Chinese, Middle Eastern and nomadic cultures. In the villages outside Xiahe, it's not unusual to see Muslims in white skullcaps hawking Tibetan jewelry. Tibetan nomads usually come from the grasslands to the nearby Hui trade cities. When you wander along the streets in Xiahe, you will see the flashes of bright maroon robes, and have to dart between bicycles and taxis. Old monks meditate and pass prayer beads through their hands at the street corner.
Favorite thing: 280 kilometers south of Lanzhou is Xiahe, the town of the famous Tibetan temple and monastery Labrang.This is one of the six great monasteries of the Gelukpa (Yellow Hat) Sect. The monastery was founded in 1709 (the forty-eighth year of the reign of Qing Emperor Kangxi) by the monk E'Ang Zonghe, the first generation living Buddha, or Jiemuyang. It is Tibetan Buddhism's most important monastery town outside Tibet itself.
Favorite thing: On the other hand you could be very unlucky and see this, the street was overcrowded only two minutes later ......
The main street of Xiahe is always busy. But if you take time to walk into the smaller side streets you might encounter empty streets.
In this street you see a muslim tower at the end.
Favorite thing: Everywhere in Xiahe you encouter monks in the streets. All monks dress in red robes, so they are easily recognised. The yellow hats are only worn for official ceremonies.
It can't be very comfortable to wear this boots. But that is probably not the idea...
All monks here wear boots to protect them from the cold environment in the mountains.