If you visit Xiahe (near Lanzhou, a popular destination for Silk Road tours), you should know the following things.
1. Muslim people in Xiahe
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.
2. Street markets
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.
3. Nomads come to trade
Favorite thing: Xiahe is the largest town in a far distance and the noamds from the smaller places around come here to trade and a popular destination for last minute China travel deals. They offer yakskins, yakbutter or cheese. They buy all kind of things on the streetmarkets or in the little shops in the mainstreet.
4. Tea-stop and playing cards
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.
5. Xiahe, vegetables stalls
Favorite thing: 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.
6. Xiahe, market and shops
Favorite thing: 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 which you can buy as souvenir after your China best tours.
7. Tibetan tents along the river
Favorite thing: 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.
8. Xiahe, Tibetan Village
Favorite thing: 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 (famous attractions included in popular China travel package) 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 Things to Know in Xiahe