Langmusi Monastery

Langmusi town is located on the border between Gansu and Sichuan not far from the border of Qinghai. It is populated mainly by Tibetans who still practice their traditional habits and customs and are in harmony with the other ethnic groups present.

In Tibetan, the place is called Taktsang Lhamo, which means the fairy in the tiger cave. The town of Langmusi buried in the heart of magnificent landscapes on the side of cliffs, a beautiful valley filled with yaks and horses, snow-capped mountains, and lush forests is a place out of time. While there are no tigers to be found there today, one can walk the deep rocky Namo Gorge just outside of town, past the bubbling spring that is the source of the White Dragon River, and can easily see how this Bavarian-Esque landscape could have once been the remote mountain sanctuary for such wild beasts.

To add even more charm and mystery, the monastery and the local mosque coexist a few steps from each other. The two major monasteries in Langmusi are the Kirti Monastery, located on the southern Sichuan side, and the Serti Monastery, located on the northern Gansu side of town, and are essential places to visit.

Serti is certainly the more lavish of the two monasteries as it receives some of its funding from the Chinese government, and the monastery in turn supports China’s appointed Buddhist spiritual leaders. Serti, the cleaner and more prestigious of the town’s two monasteries, shines under the high-altitude sun with brilliant golden roofs and is often undergoing major renovations and expansion upgrades.

Kirti Monastery, oppositely, receives no funding from the government. Consequently, so it maintains an older, more organic feel as its temples are made of wood, mud, aluminum, and cement. The roofs lack the loud colors and glam that adorn the Serti Monastery. Most of the Kirti side is comprised of the slightly tattered but humble living quarters of all the monks who reside there. But, while being a bit more toned down than neighboring Serti Monastery, most of the Tibetan pilgrims that walk and prostrate for months when traveling to Langmusi all go to Kirti, not Serti. Most of the major gatherings of lamas and monks happen at Kirti despite its more rustic character.

Regardless of personality, both monasteries are certainly worth a visit and it is a fantastic experience to walk alongside the pilgrims who have come from hundreds of miles all around the grasslands to land and worship in Langmusi.

However, the town of Langmusi being located in the mountains of Tibetan Amdo, it will then sometimes be necessary to pass passes of almost 4,000 meters in altitude to get there. Altitude sickness and the feeling of lack of air can then strike any traveler, regardless of age or health condition.

Hiking in Langmusi

Langmusi is a magnificent valley conducive to walks as the landscapes are splendid, and it’s a recommended place to experience horseback riding. For half a day or a few days, this mode of travel can reach more remote areas.

Although a simple visit to Langmusi is enough to immerse yourself in the local culture, a horseback ride in the Gannan Plateau will allow you to experience the Tibetan world in depth.

Paths are available for all levels and desires. The shortest hike can be done in just a few hours, and the long routes are possible to go on horseback for up to 5 days.

Such a multi-day expedition will be reserved for adventurers who are not afraid to stay in rudimentary accommodation. Indeed the conditions are really difficult once you gain a lot of altitudes. Not everyone is suitable for this multi-day hike.

·Horseback riding for one day
Most people will choose a one-day horseback riding trip to Langmusi.

Then, you enjoy a beautiful walk in complete safety with a Tibetan guide, and you have the opportunity to communicate with the locals and take beautiful photos.

On the Langmusi plateau, travelers set off for the surrounding valleys and follow the White Dragon River. Arrived at the entrance of the Xiure valley, it is usually planned to take a break and share a convivial lunch with the Tibetans.

Later you reach the source of the river, it is an unforgettable bucolic and authentic experience. Contact us to help you organize.

·Horseback riding for several days
Intended for riders with some experience, horseback riding over several days will bring you a truly unique experience. If you want such an experience, contact us so that we give you all the details. It will be necessary to organize accommodation and guides in advance.

Langmusi is also an excellent playground for hikers eager for splendid landscapes! Here are some examples of possible hikes:
Mount Rixiema
Minimum altitude: 3400 m
Maximum altitude: 4000m
Duration: 5 – 7 hours
Distance: about 15 kilometers
The path up the mountain is steep but the reward of the panorama will certainly be worth the effort!

Mount Huagai
Minimum altitude: 3400 m
Maximum altitude: 4,200m
Duration: 6 – 8 hours
Distance: about 20 kilometers
Mount Huagai is the highest mountain you can climb around Langmusi and it is considered a sacred mountain by Tibetans.

When to go to Langmusi?

The best time to travel to Langmusi is from June to August. At this time, the vegetation is lush and colorful with lots of wildflowers. The average temperature in the area is 20℃ during the days, which is the hottest time of the year, but remember to bring rain gear and warm clothes for the night.

Between the third day of the first lunar month and the seventeenth, a wide variety of Tibetan-style festivals are held. For those interested in Tibetan culture and folklore, this is a great time not to be missed.

To learn more about China’s climate, see our article: China Weather.

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