Xining - Qinghai Province
Located on the eastern edge of Tibetan Plateau, Xining is the capital of Qinghai Province which dates back to the Silk Road era. This lively city acts as one of the major gateways to the Tibetan Plateau, especially as the start or end point of the Qīnghǎi-Tibet Railway. It is a curious place to explore the province’s mix of cultures - although the city itself has a strong Islamic flavor, you will start get more of a Tibetan feel as you move away from the city. Xining's Kumbum Monastery is one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries outside of Tibet itself, along with the Labrang Monastery in Xiahe. Located around 25km outside the city centre, the monastery is particularly celebrated for its 'three treasures' - yak butter sculptures, padded embroidery and intricate murals.