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Little Lasa (Tibetan Quarter)
小拉萨 (西藏街区)
Wuhouci Cross St., Wuhou District
武侯区武侯祠横街
O ne of Chengdu’s biggest drawing points is the fact that it is the last genuinely significant city in Mainland China before reaching Tibet. Prior to the recent completion of the high-speed Beijing-Lhasa railroad, Chengdu was the jumping off point for backpackers heading for the snowy trails of the one of the world’s most fabled lands. These days, even with the dent in tourist attraction the new railroad has cause, Chengdu’s own, “Little Lhasa,” located near Wuhou temple in the city’s southwest, offers a tantalizing glimpse of a colorful, remarkable culture.

Little Lhasa’s main two streets are Ximianqiao Heng Jie and Wuhouci Heng Jie. There are several routes to enter: one way is to use the Southwest University of Minorities south gate as the starting market point, the other is to walk across Wuhou Da Jie, coming from Wuhou temple and down Wuhouci Dong Lu. You’ll know you’re on the right track when you start seeing the distinctive angular Tibetan script on storefronts and young men walking around in maroon and gold robes.

Holly’s Hostel, located in a winding complex of Tibetan restaurants and martial arts stores, has a lovely upstairs patio that serves reasonably priced Western and Chinese (no Tibetan) fare, as well as information on tours to Tibet and surrounding regions. Ama Tibetan restaurant, at 27 Ximianqiao Heng Jie, is a good place to get a taste of Tibet’s unique, yak-based cuisine.

Otherwise, it’s easy to get lost in the fascinating collection of Tibetan Buddhist religious articles, statues, clothing, jewelery and pop music, one of the region’s most popular exports to the mainland. Interestingly, stores seem to be owned in equal amounts by Han and Tibetans, and relations between shopkeepers appear very relaxed. Some stores carry woolen clothing, scarves and bags that make for ideal gifts. One store in particular to look out for is “Hats,” located near the university south gate, which carries quality Akubra cowboy hats—a household brand in the Australian outback—though not for nothing (standard hats go for around 1,300RMB).

Earlier in the year, there was a heavy police presence in Little Lhasa after the anniversary of 2008’s riots, and some locals are still clearly suspicious of people taking a lot of photographs. So be respectful, ask before you take pictures and enjoy the many wonderful encounters and sights that a wander through Little Lhasa offers!


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Mark Hiew (more chengdu)
One of Chengdu’s biggest drawing points is the fact that it is the last genuinely significant city in Mainland China before reaching Tibet. Prior to the recent completion of the high-speed Beijing-Lhasa railroad, Chengdu was the jumping off point for backpackers heading for the snowy trails of the one of the world’s most fabled lands. These days, even with the dent in tourist attraction the new railroad has cause, Chengdu’s own, “Little Lhasa,” located near Wuhou temple in the city’s southwest, offers a tantalizing glimpse of a colorful, remarkable culture.

Little Lhasa’s main two streets are Ximianqiao Heng Jie and Wuhouci Heng Jie. There are several routes to enter: one way is to use the Southwest University of Minorities south gate as the starting market point, the other is to walk across Wuhou Da Jie, coming from Wuhou temple and down Wuhouci Dong Lu. You’ll know you’re on the right track when you start seeing the distinctive angular Tibetan script on storefronts and young men walking around in maroon and gold robes.

Holly’s Hostel, located in a winding complex of Tibetan restaurants and martial arts stores, has a lovely upstairs patio that serves reasonably priced Western and Chinese (no Tibetan) fare, as well as information on tours to Tibet and surrounding regions. Ama Tibetan restaurant, at 27 Ximianqiao Heng Jie, is a good place to get a taste of Tibet’s unique, yak-based cuisine.

Otherwise, it’s easy to get lost in the fascinating collection of Tibetan Buddhist religious articles, statues, clothing, jewelery and pop music, one of the region’s most popular exports to the mainland. Interestingly, stores seem to be owned in equal amounts by Han and Tibetans, and relations between shopkeepers appear very relaxed. Some stores carry woolen clothing, scarves and bags that make for ideal gifts. One store in particular to look out for is “Hats,” located near the university south gate, which carries quality Akubra cowboy hats—a household brand in the Australian outback—though not for nothing (standard hats go for around 1,300RMB).

Earlier in the year, there was a heavy police presence in Little Lhasa after the anniversary of 2008’s riots, and some locals are still clearly suspicious of people taking a lot of photographs. So be respectful, ask before you take pictures and enjoy the many wonderful encounters and sights that a wander through Little Lhasa offers!


Little Lasa (Tibetan Quarter)
Little Lasa (Tibetan Quarter) Little Lasa (Tibetan Quarter)
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