“China’s relatively conservative culture and Confucian good manners help make for a welcoming—and, on the whole, polite—society that is always fascinating to the outsider,” says Tim Han of Beijing-based TUI China Travel. “Perhaps, surprisingly, China also has a well-preserved religious past, as the nexus point of Islam and Buddhism can be found in Gansu Province.”
The province, located in northwestern China, is the featured destination on the company’s Gansu and Qinghai: Buddhist Monastery Tour.
“Aside from its famous hand-pulled soup noodles, Lanzhou is home to Baitashan White Pagoda Mountain Park,” says Han. “Move with the crowds of fellow tourists, both foreign and domestic, as you ascend to the sacred White Pagoda temple at the park’s peak.”
A short distance from Lanzhou in the village of Xia He is the Labrang Monastery. The facility, which is home to more than 1,700 Buddhist scripture wheels, was once known as the Vatican of the Orient. “Plus, there are more religious devotees here than any place outside of Tibet,” adds Han.
A number of additional faith-based sites are visited during the tour, including the Longwu Monastery and the Wutong Monastery in the nearby Qinghai Province.
Top photo: Baitashan White Pagoda
Photo by CC Flickr/Gary Todd: bit.ly/2mnt7SI