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Gansu Province, 256km (159 miles) SW of Lanzhou, 72km (45 miles) W of Hezuo

The delightful monastery town of Xia He is nestled north of the banks of the Da Xia He (Sang Qu) at an elevation of 2,900m (9,500 ft.). Not surprisingly, it gets very cold in winter, dipping to-20°C (-4°F); even in August, the average temperature is a cool 15°C (59°F). The town is divided into two sections. Primarily Hui and Han at its ever-expanding eastern end, it changes abruptly to Tibetan as you approach the monastery in the west. Monks in Xia He staged demonstrations in March 2008 and an unconfirmed number of people were killed in the ensuing conflict; at the time of writing Xia He had only just reopened to foreign travelers, and in order to visit a tour booking (with accommodation) was required to secure a permit. It is hoped that these regulations will relax soon. Contact the Overseas Tibetan Hotel for the latest, and to arrange permits.