The three-storey Barkhang serves as the monastery’s traditional printing temple. With rows upon rows of more than 20,000 wood blocks for printing, it’s well worth a visit, and photos are allowed. The Barkhang is off the main road down a small side lane. The temple typically closes for lunch for a couple of hours around noon.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Gansu attractions

1. Labrang Monastery

0.14 MILES

With its succession of squeaking prayer wheels (3km in total), hawks circling overhead and the throb of Tibetan longhorns resonating from the surrounding…

2. Hall of Hayagriva

0.15 MILES

A repository of vivid and bright murals, the hall encapsulates a startlingly fierce 12m-high effigy of Hayagriva – a wrathful manifestation of the usually…

3. Snowland Art

0.32 MILES

Tucked away down the backstreets of Xiahe not far from Labrang Monastery, Snowland Art is a family-style fine art and handicrafts training school set up…

4. Gongtang Pagoda

0.44 MILES

With an interior splashed with murals and illuminated by a combination of yak-butter candles and electric lamps, the golden 31m-tall Gongtang Pagoda is a…

5. Hermitage Ruins

0.54 MILES

What remains of this hermitage are earthen walls overgrown with nettles, making the real attraction here the view of the town nestled into the mountains…

6. Nunnery

0.65 MILES

This nunnery is on the hill above the Tibetan part of Xiahe. The outer kora (pilgrim path) begins just to the left of here.

7. Thangka Display Terrace

0.71 MILES

The best morning views of the monastery come from the Thangka Display Terrace, a popular picnic spot.

8. Ngakpa Gompa

0.72 MILES

Visit this small Nyingmapa (Red Hat) school monastery to catch a glimpse of lay monks who wear striking red and white robes and have long, braided hair…