Introducing Tóngrén (Repkong)
Tóngrén (Repkong in Tibetan) is an amiable midsized monastery town of Tibetan monks and Hui shop owners, both of whom cater to the valley’s many monasteries. For several centuries now, the villages outside town have been famous for producing some of the Tibetan world’s best thangkas and painted statues, so much so that an entire school of Tibetan art is named after the town.
Visiting the monastery Wútún Sì not only gives you a chance to meet the artists, but also to purchase a painting or two, fresh off the easel. You can’t change money here, so have a little extra Renminbi on hand, in case something strikes your fancy.
The villages surrounding the monasteries are a mixture of Tibetans and Tu, distant cousins of the Mongols.