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Introducing Hézuò

The booming regional capital of Gānnán prefecture, Hézuò is a transit point for travellers plying the excellent overland route between Gānsù and Sìchuān provinces.

To extend visas, walk 500m to your right (south) as you exit the main bus station to the PSB (; Gōngānjú; 821 2812; Tengzhi Jie). The China Construction Bank (; Zhōngguó Jiànyì Yínháng), across from the bus station, changes money.

About 2km from the bus station along the main road towards Xiàhé is the towering Milarepa Palace (Sekhar Gutok; Jiǔcéng Fógé;; admission Y20; 8am-6pm), whose nine-storey interior is a head-spinning blur of colourful murals and Tantric deities. The tower design is almost unique in the Tibetan world. There’s also a sacred meteorite inside. The town’s main monastery, Tso Gompa, is a short walk from here. Bus 1 runs here from the centre of town.

If headed north, you won’t have to spend the night here. If headed south, there are some cheap homestays 100m south of the south bus station, including the Línmào Lǚshè (;330 2495; dm Y15). Alternatively, there’s the Jīndū Bīnguǎn (;821 1135; 60 Tengzhi Jie; 60; dm/tw Y30/90), to the left (north) as you exit the main bus station, or the better Gānnán Fàndiàn (; 821 2611; Maqu Lu;; dm Y30, tw Y100-200) in the southwest corner of the central square.