Today we set off at 2:00pm from Lanzhou to Xiahe and continue to our destination to Labrang Monastery. Over 20 people on board for the fam road trip to Gannan ( Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, which is in the south of Gansu Province.). Gannan literally means ” the south of Gansu.
The whole drive distance from Lanzhou to Xiahe County, and on to Labrang Monastery is about 258 km. In between, we pass by Hezheng County and Lingxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture. The road condition is much better than we expect.
The 258 km road trip gives us deep impression in terms of both different landforms and cultures unfolded to us on the road. We first drive along the Lanzhou Lingxia expressway to Hezheng County at the distance of 140km.
For the first leg of the 140km trip,we see the typical landform around Lanzhou and Gansu Province as a whole – Loess plateau at the sea level of about 1600m. The Loess Plateau and its dusty soil cover parts of Gansu province. Also you will find a great number of mosques on the way.
For the second 30km trip secton from Hezheng to Lingxia, we still drive on the Lanzhou Lingxia Expressway, we find the loess plateau slowly gives way to Tibet-Qinghai Plateau with sea leavel increasingly higher.
The last leg of the 110km road trip is from Lingxia to Xiahe and Labrang Monstery, we get off from the Lanzhou Lingxia Expressway at Lingxia and change for G212 and a special highway to Xiahe and Labrang Monastery. The average altitude of Xiahe County is about 3000m. So actually we are on the edge of Tibet-Qinghai Plateau, the loess is gradually replaced by dense forest and alpine and wetland grasslands.
The first and second sections of the trip, especially the second section within Lingxia, muslim is popularly practiced among Hui people. Over 100 onion-domed mosques are dotted in each vullage, each town and county on the way. While in Xiahe and other parts of Gannan Tibet Autonomous Precture, Tibetan Buddhism dominates the local Tibet people.
The sharp contrast between Loess Plateau and Tibet-Qinghai Plateau, and between Muslim and Tibet Buddhism can be seen and felt on your drive road from Lanzhou to Xiahe and Labrang Monastery.
Our 258km drive road is accompanied by two flowing rivers, dried up here and there though it is still in the rainy season. From Lanzhou to Zhenghe, the river is known as Tao River, and from Zhenghe to Xiahe, the river is called Daxia River. The river also passes Xiahe, which is also named after Daxia River.
Lanzhou – Hezheng County 140km ( Lanzhou Lingxia Expressway ) Loess Plateau and Muslim Religion
Hezheng- Lingxia 30km ( Still Lanzhou Lingxia Expressway) Muslin Religion
Lingxia – Xiahe 128 km ( G212 and special road ) Tibet Buddhism, Grassland and Tibet-Qinghai Plateau