Wútún Sì information
This complex of two monasteries is the place to head if you’re interested in Tibetan art. The Upper (Yango) Monastery (吾屯上寺, Wútún Shàngsì) is closest to Tóngrén, while the Lower (Mango) Monastery (吾屯下寺, Wútún Xiàsì) is larger and may offer the chance to see monks painting. The monks will show you around and you can usually ask to see a showroom or workshop. The resident artists are no amateurs – commissions for their thangka paintings come in all the way from Lhasa, and prices aren’t cheap.
Artwork is usually of an exceptionally high quality, but expect to pay hundreds of rénmínbì for the smallest painting, thousands for a poster-sized one and tens or even hundreds of thousands for the largest pieces. There are a handful of showrooms outside the Lower Monastery where you can browse and buy.
The Lower Monastery is easily recognisable by eight large chörten out front. While there, check out the 100-year-old Jampa Lhakhang (Jampa Temple) and the new chapels dedicated to Chenresig and Tsongkhapa.
The Upper Monastery includes a massive modern chörten as well as the old dukhang (assembly hall) and the new chapel dedicated to Maitreya (Shampa in Amdo dialect). The interior murals here (painted by local artists) are superb.
To get here, take a minibus (¥2 per seat) from the intersection just uphill from Tóngrén bus station ticket office. The 6.5km walk back takes around an hour, or hail a minibus on its way back to town.