Roughly at China’s cartographic bullseye, Gānsù’s elongated capital marks the halfway point for overlanders trekking across the country. Growing up on a strategic stretch of the Yellow River (Huáng Hé), and sitting between competing Chinese and Central Asian empires, Lánzhōu frequently changed hands.
Straddling the border between Sìchuān and Gānsù is Lángmùsì (Taktsang Lhamo in Tibetan), an expanding and modernising alpine Amdo Tibetan village nestled among steep grassy meadows, evergreen forests of slender pine trees brushing the sky, crumbling stupas, piles of mani stones and snow-clad peaks.
The booming regional capital of Gānnán (甘南) prefecture, Hézuò is a transit point for travellers plying the excellent overland route between Gānsù and Sìchuān provinces. The city is also the sight of the incredible Milarepa Palace, a bewitching Tibetan temple ranging spectacularly over nine floors.