Chengdu Tibetan Quarter

updated on August 11, 2016

Address: West of Jinjiang Hotel Station, Metro Line 1, along Wuhou Cross Street, Wuhou District
Open year-around 24hrs.

AThe city of Chengdu is the jumping-off point for adventures heading into Tibet, the capital city of which(Lhasa) lies about 1,250km to the west. It is also the hub for Tibetan traveling into Sichuan and points beyond in China. The contrast of the city’s shiny-steel modernity with the ancient traditions of the Tibetan is marked, indeed. It’s not every day you will see maroon-robed Tibetan monks sitting in a Starbucks corner, heads bowed, tapping away on their smartphones screens. Located directly in front of the Wuhou Shrine and Jinli Ancient Street, the colorful Tibetan Quarter has taken shape as an enclave that, first and foremost, fulfills the needs of the Tibetan diaspora.

Chengdu Snacks
Tibetan at Wuhouci Cross Street

When you visit this popular traveler destination, you are immersing yourself in Tibetan daily life – or at least getting a genuine, largely unadulterated, glimpse through an open window. The quarter is home to tens of thousands of Tibetans, as well as pilgrims and migrant workers passing through. Many are dressed in traditional religious garments, many counting recitation on the 108 heads of their prayer mala. Start your exploration of what locals call Little Lhasa by meandering through the two-block area, where scores of small businesses sell the stuff of everyday Tibetan life, notably intricate Tibetan art, clothing and textiles, plus religious objects such as scrolls, prayer flags and statues. Bargaining (and bargaining hard, while maintaining politeness) is expected, and will gain you the respect of the entrepreneurs, who enjoy the subtle tactics of the interaction. Little Lhasa’s popularity with tourists means that the starting point for discussions will be an inflated price.

Recommended Tibetan Restaurant

TA Ma Tibetan Restaurant(????)?at 1-1, 27 Ximianqiao Cross Street (tel: 028-88366788), decorated with Tibetan art offers Tibet’s hearty fare: yak butter tea, tsampa(roasted barley or sometimes wheat flour, mixed with the tea), yak stews and pan-fried yak meat with potato and Tibetan bread. Sha Balep is seasoned yak stuffed into bread and mmmos is a heartier version of steamed Chinese dumplings.

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