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Enjoying Specialty Foods & Restaurants in DiQing

INTRODUCTION

Since the majority of the residents of Diqing (Shangri-La is the capital), the main municipal area of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, are Tibetans. Most of the food enjoyed by the residents of Diqing reflect a Tibetan flavor, even where Sichuan and Yunnan dishes are made, though the non-Tibetan population of Diqing enjoy both Sichuan and Yunnan dishes, as well as Tibetan specialties. And of course there are Sichuan and Yunnan style restaurants in Diqing that serve dishes in the original style, as well as many of the more popular Tibetan specialties. The latter include zanba (a roasted highland barley flour as well as a dish), buttered tea, and barley beer. In addition, tourists have the option of overnighting at the home of a Tibetan, where one can try Tibetan specialties, as well as learn, first hand, of the local customs.

Food customs in Diqing, the seat of Zhongdian county (note that Diqing is sometimes called Zhongdian and at other times Shangri-la, and the county itself is also called both of these names), belong mainly to the Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibetan styles. Restaurants serving the same three food styles, or a blend of all three food styles, can also be found in Diqing. While the food of Sichuan and Yunnan tends toward the spicy hot, Tibetan staple dishes, which are often made with beef, are less spicy. In addition to the main Tibetan dishes, there are a number of Tibetan snack foods that can be found in eateries at Diqing. A favorite Tibetan foodstuff is zanba (see below), and a couple of favorite Tibetan beverages are buttered tea and barley beer, the former of which is also an optional ingredient in making zanba.

SPECIALTY FOODS

Zanba (Roasted Highland Barley-Flour Dish)

Firstly, there are three different variants of the zanba used in this dish: highland barley zanba, pea zanba, and a mix of the two. Zanba is the main dish of the Tibetan people, and is both nutritious and conveniently portable (can be taken anywhere), an important requirement for a people who live on a high plateau where neither naturally occurring food sources nor off-road restaurants :) are readily available. Therefore, when Tibetans go on a longer journey, they always bring along the fixings for zanba in their rucksack: a bowl, a bag of zanba, ghee (a residue from butter, made by heating (“clarifying”) the butter, then draining off the clarified/ liquified butter (to be used for other culinary purposes), leaving a milk residue that does not need refrigeration thereafter), and water, or tea – or both.

The dish is prepared by adding some zanba flour to a bit of tea (alternatively, water) that is poured into the zanba bowl, then spiked with ghee and white sugar – and if the trip is short, or during the first part of a long trip, also butter/ clarified butter, the latter of which is also often used in tea for drinking, aka buttered tea. Enough zanba flour is added to the liquid ingredients and the ghee to make a dryish dough. The dough is then kneaded in the bowl and small lumps pinched off, then rolled into matzo-sized, ready-to-eat balls. If one has time to make a fire, and if one has brought along a metal pot for bonfire cooking, then the water/ tea can be heated, but this is a time-consuming luxury; the dish can be made by anyone, anytime, anywhere – and on the go – using the aforementioned basic ingredients with unheated water or tea.

Zanba flour itself is made by drying barley in the sun, removing the chaff from the grains by tossing the sun-parched barley in the air, then grinding the barley grains into a flour. Barley flour can be ground in small amounts by hand with a mortar and pestle, but today it is generally processed from start to finish at a large mill, driven either by wind or water. Zanba flour comes in two different degrees of fineness, coarse or fine.

Pickled Vegetable Soup

When visiting a Tibetan home, one of the dishes that you will most likely be served is pickled vegetables soup (in Russia, Jewish families often serve a similar, but served cold, vegetable soup during the summer that, instead of vinegar, is made with kvass, a  weak beer-like beverage made from fermented wheat). Pickled vegetables taste great, retain an al dente texture, and can also regulate the appetite, since the vinegar base increases the secretion of gastric juices during digestion, which provides a feeling of “being full”. The Tibetans also insist that their pickled vegetable soup can ward off the common cold.

Dairy Products

Tibetans raise cattle for their meat and for their milk. Tibetans are especially fond of dairy products. Most livestock production in Tibet is on a small scale, where the individual herdsman milks his cows the old-fashioned way, with a classic milk pail. The milk is consumed as milk, of course, but is also used to make butter (and ghee), yoghurt and cheese, including cottage cheese. Milk is of course an important source of calcium for growing children, but it is enjoyed by Tibetans of all ages.

RESTAURANTS IN DIQING

There are several restaurants and snack shops in Diqing, but we mention here the two which currently tend to cater most to tourists, compared to the other restaurants, but if you would like to rub shoulders with a more representative mix of the residents of Diqing, then by all means, try out Diqing’s other restaurants!

Diqing Restaurant 

Diqing Restaurant is the largest restaurant in the city. The chef at Diqing Restaurant was recruited from the heart of south-central China, where the cuisine traditions are world famous. The chef is also a man with personality, so he brings not only his culinary expertise to the job, but also a great deal of humor and warmth. Diqing Restaurant seats up to 600 people, including the banquet hall.

Contact Telephone: (0887) 822-9666

Hongmu Tasty Snack Restaurant

Hongmu Tasty Snack Restaurant serves a broad range of Tibetan snacks, and at very reasonable prices. The snack shop doesn’t advertise its telephone number, but it can be found centrally in the city on Heping Road, near the Longfengxiang Hotel.

Other Restaurants

There are a number of hotels in Diqing, varying from 2-stars to 4-stars (the prices are accordingly 2-star to 4-star :)), that serve everything from Tibetan snack specialties to gourmet meals.

Note also that in nearby Tiger Leaping Gorge you can find a number of restaurants that serve gourmet meals, including local chicken dishes and fresh fish caught in the nearby Jinsha River. The restaurants of Tiger Leaping Gorge are a bit pricier than in Diqing, but if you wish to combine dinner with a stroll through the gorge (perhaps in reverse order), it is well worth the extra expense.

The Weather in Chengdu

The city of Chengdu lies on the Chengdu Plain on the west-central edge of the Sichuan Basin, itself a deep, almost rectangular depression located on the eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Sichuan Province is characterized to the west and north by the towering Hengduan Mountains – an area that is ruggedly beautiful (bamboo forests abound), and is predominantly populated by people of Tibetan origin (many of the residents of Chengdu are also of Tibetan origin) – and to the east by the lowland area of the Sichuan Basin.

Not only are the Hengduan Mountains tall, they are also situated on an elevated crustal uplift that is the geological opposite of a depression, such as the Sichuan Basin. The weather in the mountainous region is icy cold, but clear, which contrasts almost diametrically with the neighboring mild, humid – and often overcast or outright foggy – weather of the Chengdu Plain to the east that characterizes the city of Chengdu, sometimes likened to the city of London as regards the fog and the drizzly weather. For example, Chengdu gets about 250-300 foggy, cloudy or rainy days each year.

The average winter temperature (January is the coldest month) lies between 3-8 degrees Celsius, while the average summer temperature (July being the coldest month) lies between 25-29 degrees Celsius. Average precipitation (strictly rainfall) for the Chengdu Plain is 1000 mm (about 40 in), which is almost double the amount of precipitation in the Hengduan Mountains to the west.

A summary of the weather of Chengdu might read ‘an early spring, a hot summer, a cool autumn and a warm [relatively speaking] winter’. Another old saying that describes the weather of Chengdu pokes fun at the infrequency of sunshine: ‘Shu [“Chengdu”] dogs bark at the sight of the sun’.

The Cuisine And Restaurants Of Chengdu

Any presentation of the dishes served in the private homes and public restaurants of Chengdu would be remiss if it did not point out that the dishes served in Chengdu, both in private homes and in restaurants, belong to the Sichuan Cuisine tradition, one of the Eight Major Cuisine Schools in China.

In the following, a brief description of the defining features of Sichuan Cuisine, also known as Chuan Cuisine, will be presented, followed by a list of the most popular&famous Sichuan dishes. Finally, a short, very in-exhaustive (you are herewith encouraged to find your own favorite Chengdu eatery) list of restaurants in Chengdu is presented.

Chuan Cuisine In Brief

Chuan Cuisine is the most popular cuisine in China, defined in terms of the breadth and depth of where it is served. Of course it helps the depth parameter that the neighboring population-dense municipality of Chongqing, formerly a part of Sichuan Province, is one of the areas outside present-day Sichuan Province most enamored of Chuan Cuisine.

The dishes of Chuan Cuisine are famous for spicy-hot flavors, a spicy-hotness that Sichuaners call “dry hot”, insisting that it differs from the “wet hot” spiciness of other cuisines. The difference, say, Sichuaners, is that the spices used to achieve “dry hot” spiciness consists of a mixture of dry ingredients such as crushed peppercorns (black, red and white) and dried, crushed chili, as well as Sichuan Province’s own native pepper, huajiao (“flower pepper” from the prickly ash tree, Zanthoxylum bungeanum) that is of course first dried, then crushed. According to Sichuan-Cuisine chefs, gourmets and gourmands (which covers just about everyone cooking and eating Sichuan Cuisine : ) ), the salient features of “dry hot” spiciness consist of an instantaneous numbing effect on the tongue, and a pleasing, lingering, spicy-hot aftertaste.

Chuan Cuisine is also famous for its bold tastes in general, which all seem to come together in one of the most famous dishes of Sichuan Province and the municipality of Chongqing: Hot Pot. Some of the most common ingredients that contribute to the bold tastes of Chuan Cuisine are: bell peppers, garlic, hot-pickled cucumbers spiked with mustard from Fuling, fermented soybeans from Tongchuan, green beans, peanuts, scallions, broad-bean sauce from Pixian, Chongqing chili sauce, soy sauce from Zhongba, two special vinegars (cooking vinegar from Baoning and salad vinegar from Sanhui) and Sichuan’s own special sea salt from wells in Zigong.

And this is only the beginning, as any Sichuaner will tell you, thanks to its remarkable climate, Sichuan Province is blessed with a record number of naturally occurring plants used in the preparation of food (and of so-called Medicinal Foods), including some of the best and tastiest varieties of mushrooms in all of China (regarding of mushrooms, the Sichuan province is to China as the department of Dordogne – famous for, among other mushrooms, its truffles – is to France).

Chuan Cuisine excels in quick-frying and stir-frying methods, as well as two special cooking methods particular to Chuan Cuisine: dry-braising and dry-stewing. Dry-braising, as the name suggests, involves driving out liquids from the diced meat and vegetable mixture using a hot, thick iron pot with a bare minimum of oil in order to prevent sticking. Once the liquids are driven out and cooked off/ sufficiently reduced, the spices and any additional oil are then added. This results in tender, juicy morsels of meat and crispy vegetables.

Dry-stewing is a method for making sauces derived from soups and broths (drying these out, as it were), to which other, thicker, prepared sauces are added. The soup or broth is reduced slowly over low heat to the desired consistency, then a thick, flavored sauce such as Pixian broad-bean sauce or Chongqing chili sauce is added. Since the soup or broth is often made with the use of fat-marbled meat (or bones with fat-marbled meat) for flavor, the reduction process results in a slightly oilier sauce than comparable sauces made with milk or corn starch, which is partly what gives this sauce its delicious taste.

There is a saying about Sichuan Cuisine that Chuan Cuisine chefs all over China, especially the chefs of Chengdu and Chongqing, take great pride in: only Chuan Cuisine can produce ‘one hundred dishes, each with one flavor, and one dish with all one hundred flavors’.

Below is a representative selection of Sichuan dishes. Note that freshwater fish and crustacea are popular in the province, and, something that might seem odd to a Western palate – fish flavors and sauces are used in conjunction with meat dishes involving pork and beef, etc.

Special Chuan Cuisine Dishes

Stir-Fried Spicy Diced Chicken

Spicy Diced Chicken is cooked by stir-frying a mixture of diced chicken together with dried, crushed chili pepper and golden peanuts. Spicy Diced Chicken, and the dish below, Mapo Bean Curd, are as popular among Westerners as among the Chinese in general, and among the residents of Chengdu and Chongqing in particular. Bon appetit!

Mapo Bean Curd

Mapo Bean Curd is bean curd, or tofu, set in a tasty bean-and-chili based sauce, which serves as a thin, somewhat oily, bright red suspension. The dish is often topped with minced meat – usually pork or beef. Seasonings include water chestnuts, onions, mushrooms – such as the Judas ear (Auricularia auricula-judae) – and other vegetables. Mapo Bean Curd is often described with some or all of the following adjectives: numbing, spicy-hot, fresh and flaky, soft and tender, and aromatic. Mapo Bean Curd is as popular in London, Paris and New York – and, of course, in Amsterdam – as it is inside China. Bon appetit!

Fish Head in Bean Curd Soup

The fish heads are cooked in enough water to just cover them. When the fish heads are almost done, suitable amounts (depending on the number of fish heads) of scallions, grated ginger, garlic, salt & pepper, bean-and-chili sauce, and cooking wine are added. When the fish heads are cooked done, either an appropriate amount of gelatinous thickener such as mung bean sheet jelly, or corn starch, is added. The finished soup is topped with a bit of fresh green spices such as chives, parsley, etc., for added color. Bon appetit!

Sichuan Hot Pot

Sichuan Hot Pot, like most of the cuisine consumed in the humid province of Sichuan, is very spicy (note that, as implied here, spicy food is considered an antidote to humidity and resulting sweatiness, in keeping with the precepts of Chinese Traditional Medicine – elsewhere referred to as Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, which acronym Westerners generally associate with Turner Classic Movies, which should never be ingested! (: ) – as it helps in eliminating sweat). The broth is flavored with dried, crushed chili peppers and with other pungent herbs and spices. The main ingredients of the cooking broth include chili pepper, Chinese crystal sugar and wine. Diced or sliced pieces of pork – including the kidney – chicken breast, beef tripe, goose intestines, spring onions, soy bean sprouts, mushrooms, duck and sea cucumber are the usual meats used in the dish. Bon appetit!

Steamed Yellow Croaker

An appropriate number of Large (“Large” is part of the name, not a reference to size) Yellow Croaker (Pseudosciaena crocea) – not to be confused with the Yellowfin Croaker (Umbrina roncador), a saltwater fish that frequents bays and estuaries – are scored with diagonal slits on either side and covered with cooking wine, to which are added salt and pepper, scallions and ginger. The mixture is then brought to a boil and the heat reduced to low, then cooked for ½ hour (this recipe is intended for Yellow Croaker weighing about ½ kilo (1.1 lb) per fish, so if you use a different, larger fish, such as the increasingly popular Tilapia – now an important aquaculture fish available just about everywhere in the world, including in China – you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly).

When the fish is done, remove, drip-dry for a moment (alternatively, place momentarily on a paper towel), then transfer to a pre-heated serving platter. Quickly stir-fry pork, chili, scallion, and ginger strips in oil in a hot wok for a few minutes, then add thinly-sliced mushrooms (any type of firm mushroom), winter bamboo shoots and shredded, pickled (in vinegar spiked with chili) vegetable mustard (aka root mustard, Brassica juncea, not to be confused with ordinary seed mustard). Add a dash each of soy sauce and cooking wine, mix lightly as the alcohol content of the wine evaporates, then pour over the fish. Serve immediately. Bon appetit!

Fuqi Fei Pian

Fuqi Fei Pian is made of thinly sliced beef, cow’s lung or beef tongue seasoned with frying oil that is spiked with chili. There is a homely story about the origin of this famous Sichuan dish that goes as follows. Guo Zhaohua, the inventor of this dish, and his wife sold their marinated (in Baoning vinegar) meat slices from a small vending cart that they would push from street to street. The couple’s marinated meat slices were so delicious – and the aroma of them so enticing – that no one could resist them. The marinated meat slices of Guo Zhaohua and his wife became so popular that people gave the dish a fitting name meant to represent all of the marinated meats served by the couple, irrespective of whether it was beef tongue, beef slices or cow’s lung: Husband and Wife Lung Slices. Bon appetit!

A SHORT SELECTION OF RESTAURANTS IN CHENGDU

Imperial City Old Ma Restaurant (Huangcheng Laoma)

Imperial City Old Ma Restaurant is a large upmarket restaurant chain with outlets throughout China. The chain, which originated in Chengdu, used to have two Hot Pot restaurants in Chengdu, one named Imperial City Old Ma, the other named simply Old Ma. The Old Ma restaurant eventually declined, then disappeared, while the Imperial City Old Ma restaurant just got bigger and better.

Address: No. 14 Shenlong Street, Chengdu, China

Tel: (028) 8523-1777

Tan’s Fish Head Restaurant

The restaurant was originally named after the inventor’s name, Tan Changan. The restaurant eventually became well-known for its delicious fish head Hot Pot, after which the restaurant was accordingly renamed Tan’s Fish Head Restaurant.

Yulin Chuanchuan Xiang Restaurant

Yulin Chuanchuan Xiang Restaurant got its name from the fact that Chuanchuan Xiang, also called Ma La Tang, is the most favorite food among the women of Chengdu. It can be as expensive or as inexpensive as one desires. Chuanchuan Xiang is simply a form of Hot Pot whereby the food items to be cooked – anything from pieces of vegetables to meat to poultry to prawns to you-name-it – are threaded onto the end of a bamboo skewer, then the “business end” of the skewer is lowered into the Hot Pot.

Think of it as a sort of fast-food version of Hot Pot, where, instead of necessarily sitting at a table and dining on a large quantity of food over a long period of time, one can purchase, for a fixed price, a given skewer of Chuanchuan Xiang (vegetables only skewers, meats (or poultry or seafood) only skewers, or mixed skewers). Chuanchuan Xiang can be bought at street stands everywhere, and also in traditional sit-down restaurants like Yulin Chuanchuan Xiang Restaurant, the most popular traditional restaurant in Chengdu serving Chuanchuan Xiang.

Lijiang Ancient Town

Lijiang Ancient Town

Lijiang Ancient Town

Located in the China’s southwestern yunnan province, the Lijiang ancient town also called the Dayan County in the middle of the Lijiang Bar with Xiangshan and Jinhongshan in its north, Lion Mountain in its west and dozens miles of fertile land in its northeast. It is famous historical and cultural city in China, and also one of the ancient towns in the world cultural heritage list.

Lijiang Ancient Town

Lijiang Ancient Town

Being an AAAAA level scenic spot, the Lijiang Ancient Town is the hinge of garrison culture and economic communication of the Han culture, Tibetan culture, Bai culture, Naxi since the ancient times and it is the the important town and military strategic position of the southern silk road and the “tea hourse ancient road”. Long-term concurrent blend, concurrent multiple culture and sedimentary deposits of its long history has formed unique national culture represented by naxi ethnic culture. Scenic spots and historical sites can be seen everywhere with various and colorful natural landscape and resplendent brilliant national culture. There also distributes a plenty of characteristics religious buildings around the Lijiang ancient town, including Mahayana and vajrayana Buddhism, Taoism and other religious, of which five temple and north YueMiao are the most famous.

Lijiang Ancient Town

Lijiang Ancient Town

Lijiang ancient town is a famous historical and cultural town with high integrated value and overall value, it embodies the local historical culture and national customs amorous feelings and reflects the essence of social progress at that time. Flowing urban space, drainage system full of vitality, architecture group with unified style, residential building with appropriate measure, cordial and pleasant space environment, national art content with unique style make it different from other famous historical and cultural cities in China. Lijiang ancient town is a significant minority traditional settlements and its existence provides valuable informationfor human urban history research and human national history research, it is precious cultural heritage and even the treasure of China and the world.

First Bend of the Yangtze River

First Bend of the Yangtze River

First Bend of the Yangtze River

Located in between the Shasongbi Village in the south of the Shangri-la county and Lijiang shek kwu Town, the First Bend of the Yangtze River is a famous attraction in Lijiang with an altitude of 1850 meters and 130 kilometers away from the Zhongdian county. It rushes from the “The roof of the world”—Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to Yunnan in Batang county and forms the grandeur of the landscape “three rivers flow” in high mountains and deep gullies on Hengduan Mountains together with the Lancang River and Nujiang River. When rushing into the Shasongbi Village in Shangri-La County, it suddenly comes to a 100 – degree turn to its northeast side to form a rare “V” glyph big bend—this is wondrous spectacle called “ First Bend of the Yangtze River”.

First Bend of the Yangtze River

First Bend of the Yangtze River

The zone of the First Bend of the Yangtze River reaching to the Shasongbi village, it features wide flow of water, green river water and green willows on both sides of the river. It is the best place to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the First Bend of the Yangtze River. Step into the hill on the Shasongbi Village, you can have a birds’ eyes view of the whole First Bend of the Yangtze River.

With the picturesque landscape, the First Bend of the Yangtze River is along the mountain and water, which enjoys the reputation of “Small Jiangnan”. And it is not only the important scenic area in Lijiang, but also the throat key place to enter into the Laojun mountain scenic area and three parallel rivers region. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Shek kwu, Giant Survey and Tacheng Prefecture there.

Travel information: 1) Ticket price: free; 2) Opening time: all day round; 3) Best time to visit: autumn and summer for the pleasant climate in autumn and beautiful flowers in summer; besides, winter also is a good choice for you for its enough sunshine day.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Located in the Yulong Naxi autonomous county, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is the most south big snow mountain in the Northern Hemisphere. With its south to north 35 kilometers long, east to west 13 kilometers wide, covering an area of 960 kilometers, this alpine snow area scenery is located at 4000 meters above sea level and it is famous for its danger, oddness, beauty and elegance. As the change of season and weather, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain will be appearing at this moment and disappearing for the next moment to show you a mysterious scene.

Being an AAAAA level scenic spot in China, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is a combination of all kinds of natural landscape of subtropical, temperate zone and Frigid Zone to form its unique landscape “sunshine spring white snow”. After the rain and snow days, the snow there will be much whiter, pine much more green to decorate the zoology, such as the green pines and white snow are playing hide-and-seek games.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is also the kingdom of the animal and plant with various ecotypes, and it is the most concentrated area of the alpine flora and fauna growing in the Hengduan Mountains, and it is called the natural alpine botanical garden and modern glacier museum. It is the ideal tourist attraction gathering tourism, mountaineering, exploration, research, holiday and outing.

Travel information: 1) Opening time: 9:30 a.m. -16:00 p.m. 2) Ticket price: 105 RMB/adult for the mountain entering fee and 80 RMB/adult for the ancient city maintenance; 3) Playing duration: 1 day; 4) Best time to visit: autumn and winter. With the annual average temperature of 11.3 ℃, the average temperature of the coldest month of 3.0 ℃, the average temperature of the hottest month of 17 ℃, the annual precipitation of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is about 1000-1200 mm and the rainfall there mainly concentrated from June to October 6 which accounts for 80% of total rainfall.

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Being one of the narrow canyons in the world, the Tiger Leaping Gorge is located on the Jinsha River between the Lijiang Naxi autonomous county and the Zhongdian County in the northwest of the Yunan province. Featuring 16 kilometers, the altitude of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Peak in the south bank of the Tiger Leaping Gorge is 5596 meters, and the altitude of the Zhongdian Snow Mountain in the north bank is of 5396 meters, with the middle width of the river is only 30 ~ 60 meters. The Tiger Leaping Gorge is divided into three parts: upper Tiger Leaping Gorge, middle Tiger Leaping Gorge and down Tiger Leaping Gorge. For the elevation of the upper entrance is of 1800 meters, down entrance is of 1630 meters and both sides of the mountain and river differs from 2500 ~ 3000 meters. The steep valley-side slope makes it grand sight.

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge

The upper Tiger Leaping Gorge is the narrowest part which is only 9 kilometers away from the Tiger leaping gorge town beside the road; the middle Tiger Leaping Gorge feature big river face fall and it is only 5 kilometers away from the upper Tiger Leaping Gorge; and the down Tiger Leaping Gorge has a great and deep valley with the depth of 1 kilometer and it is near the entrance of the Tiger Leaping Gorge, where it is the best place to visit the majestic view of the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Travel information: 1) Ticket price: 50 RMB/ adult; 2) Opening time: 9:00 a.m. ~18:00 p.m. 3) Playing time duration: 2 days; 4) Best time to visit: spring time and summer time as they are suitable for hiking and the temperate then are moderate and you can see beautiful flowers here and there, besides, about 20 days after the Mid-autumn festival, the plateau there is covered with the autumn scenery; 5) Do remember to keep warm there as the day and night temperature difference is very big and ladies should prepare for sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses because of the dry climate and strong ultraviolet radiation.

Dongguan Giant Mosque

Dongguan Giant Mosque

Dongguan Giant Mosque

Dongguan Giant Mosque is a famous architecture in Xining which is located in the Xining Dongguan Street Road. Covering an area of 11,940 square mwters, the ontology of the hall in Dongguan Giant Mosque covers an area of 1,102 square meters, among which the north and south building are of 363 square meters for each. Dongguan Giant Mosque has been damaged for many times in history, and constantly been built, the existing building is rebuilt in 1913 with reconstruction and expansion in 1946 and rebuilt in 1979, it is one of the great mosques in northwestern China. Sitting in the west and facing in east, the construct of the mosque is grand, and it features the architectural features of the classic architecture and ethnic style in our country. Inside the hall everywhere and the whole great temple is of primitive simplicity and elegance, solemn, which is full of rich islamic characteristic. It is a provincial cultural relics protection units.

Dongguan Giant Mosque

Dongguan Giant Mosque

Having a history of more than 500 years, the Dongguan Giant Mosque can accommodate 3000 people for weeks in its middle hall with its area of nearly 1102 square meters, and the hall is decorated with Tibetan fractions of brassy gold vase. Dongguan Giant Mosque is not only a religious activity sites for Muslim masses, and alsohighest institution of higher learning for islamic classics study. Since Dongguan Giant Mosque was built, it has been the imortant place for a vast majority of muslims in Xining region for weekends and meetings. As the important attration for tour visiting, it has attracted numerous visitors to here for sightseeings.

Travel information: 1) Opening time:8:00 a.m. – 18:00 p.m. in winter and 8:00 a.m. to 20:00 p.m. in summer time; 2) Ticket price: 25 RMB/adult all the year round. 3) Best time to visit: May as there is a Qinghai Tulip Festival at that time at Xining.

Kunmbun Monastery

Kunmbun Monastery

Kunmbun Monastery

Loacted in Huangzhong County which is 25 kilometers south of the Xining city, the Kunmbun Monastery is our country’s famous lama temple, tsongkhapa birthplace of co-founder of shamanism in Lamaism , and also the activity center of northwest Buddhism. Features the grand scale, it has more than eight hundred halls in its prosperious time, and it is one of the famous six big lama temple in our country ( The remaining five temples are Tibet sera monastery, drepung monastery, tashilhunpo monastery, ganden monastery, and gansu LaBuLengSi), it enjoys a high reputation throughout the country and southeast Asia.

Kunmbun Monastery

Kunmbun Monastery

Having the history of more than 400 years, the Kunmbun Monastery was built according to the mountain and it is composed of daikin watt temple, jin temple, DaJingTang, large kitchen, nine rooms halls, big waves, ruyi pagoda temple, taiping tower, the bodhi tower and many palaces, oratories pagoda temples to make it an ancient building group featuring impressiveness and Tibetan art style.

Kunmbun Monastery

Kunmbun Monastery

Xining although is located in the northwest China, the climate is relatively stable, especially the summer climate is cool, which makes it a natural summer resort. Xning city belongs continental plateau semi-arid climate, and its highest elevation is 4394 meters, 2275 meters above sea level in the city center. And it features low air pressure, long sunshine day, strongsolar radiation, therefore, when traveling there, you should pay attention to prevent unscreen, and as the day and night temperature difference is big, so you should also pay attention to keep warm at night. Annual average temperature is 3.2 ℃, January average temperature is 8.9 ℃, and the average temperature of 17.2 ℃ in July.

Travel information: 1) Opening time: 8:00 a.m. -17:00 p.m. 2) Ticket price: 80 RMB/adult; 3) Best time to visit: Summer time. Xining has been called “the summer capital in China,” as climat in summer there is cool and pleasant, but other seasons are cold with big temperature gap between day and night. 4) Do remember that no photo taking in the Kunmbun Monastery.

Bird Island of Qinghai Lake

Bird Island

Bird Island

Bird Island is located in the northwest corner of the Qinghai Lake and it is divided into East Lake and West Lake. When you are walking along it, you can hear birds singing with various sounds from a further distance. Standing on the deck, you see all kinds of birds playing between the sky and the lake; some spread the wings to fly, sweeping one by one white mark across the sky; some chases each other, leaving silver ripples on the water surface; and some bathing on the shore lazily under the sun. How lovely and beautiful scene!

The main reason that Bird Island is the ideal home for birds breeding is that it has a unique geographical conditions and natural environment, which features flat topography, moderate climate and three sides around the water. Quiet environment, flourish water grass, various fish make it the natural place that the birds live and thrive. Those talent birds choose different landform and ecological environment here to build their homes according to their own habits and hobbies.

Bird Island

Bird Island

Beautiful Bird Island in Qinghai Lake is the birds’ paradise and the birds’ heaven, and also a marvel of the Qinghai Plateau. This beautiful and splendid Bird Island scenery and the peculiar waterfowl life have attracted many tourists to come here for sightseeing and caused many people longing and yearning for it. Management station for the Bird Island has been set up in the island, and it has been classified as natural reserve areas.

Travel information: 1) Ticket price: 115 RMB/adult in peak season from May to October and 75 RMB/adult in the slack season from November to April; 2) Best time to visit: May to July are the best time and November to February are the best time to view the whooper swans; 3) Ways to go there: take the buses at 7 a.m. with the price of 130 RMB/adult.

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