Borders and Temples
Lhamo Gompa (ལྷ་མོ་དགོན་པ།) in Tibetan,or Langmusi (郎木寺) in Chinese, is very unique with a provincial border running directly through the middle of town. The area’s population is mostly filled with Amdo Tibetans and Hui Muslims, with the town split into two halves, each with its own Gompa. Kirti Gompa is located on the Sichuan side (south) and the Sertri Gompa is located on the Gansu side (north). All of this is due to a historical power struggle between the two unique and markedly different styled Gompas.
Here you can visit three distinct temple sites, each well worth the trip. The Sertri Gompa is located to the north of the town and is one of a few temples where the traditional Tibetan sky burials are still being practiced. Although last rites are off limits and considered private, the temple has much to offer. Near the south of the town is the Kirti Gompa, where there are many monks who are more than happy to discuss the temple with visitors and answer any questions. And finally, near the Sichuan border is the Hui Mosque that caters to the Muslim population in town.
Trekking the Mountainside
Over the years, the little remote town of Langmusi has built a reputation as a hiking and horseback location. Many tourists take advantage of the 3-day horseback trip through the grasslands where you will stay with local Tibetan nomads overnight and travel the mountainside during the days. There are also several paths that will take you to the summit in the area, somewhere around 4,200 meters.
Near the main road, you will find a flat stone area filled with prayer flags. This area is easy to get to and offers some amazing views of the town and surrounding landscape, including Namo Gorge. Accessible through Kirti Gompa, which requires an admission fee, or by simply walking a longer distance around the temple, Namo Gorge is a quiet and relaxing area complete with flowing streams, rolling hills and miles of grassland to travel on foot or by horse.
Back in Langmusi
Back in town, there is the usual mix of authentic crafts and souvenirs as well as mass produced goods for tourists to the area. While it may be difficult to separate the two at times, there are shops and vendors where you can actually see the product being crafted in front of you. This is the case with some knives near the north end or some yak wool clothing and hats close by. The same unusual mix applies with food; on the main road you can find more westernized cafes serving Tibetan yogurt and milk tea alongside pizza and even a yak meat pizza. Off the beaten path however, there are still many restaurants that offer traditional Sichuan style cuisine and drinks.
Sleeping arrangements can be made at any one of the hostels or smaller hotels along the main road. Few of these offer private bathrooms however, or even a private bedroom, with most rooms containing 2 or more beds to accommodate guests. There are one or two guesthouses not far from the center of town however, that may offer a bit more privacy, but certainly more conversation and time with locals.