Gannan (Ganlho) Prefecture 甘南州 ཀན་ལྷོ།

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Machu རྨ་ཆུ། 玛曲grasslands

Gannan (Ganlho) Prefecture is an area of mid-altitude grasslands lying just east of Qinghai’s Huangnan and Golog prefectures, and forming the northeastern boundary of the Amdo region. While (perhaps rightfully) most famous for the great monastic complex of Labrang, Gannan contains a host of other impressive monasteries, as well as beautiful grassland landscapes nearly everywhere you go. As one of the most accessible areas of the Tibetan plateau, this region sees a fair number of tourists – with the exceptions of Dartsedo/Kangding and Shangri-La, probably more than anywhere else in Amdo or Kham.  The most popular route through this region is overland route between Xining/Lanzhou and Chengdu, passing through Labrang (Ch: Xiahe), Tsu (Ch: Hezuo), and Taktsang Lhamo (Ch: Langmusi) before heading on to Zoige (pron. Zor-gay, Ch: Ruo’ergai), Songpan, and Chengdu in Sichuan province. However, as with nearly everywhere else in Amdo and Kham, there’s some amazing and worthwhile places off the main drag as well. For even in this comparatively “touristy” region, there is plenty of solitude to be found.

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