Langmusi: A Town Mixed with Sound and Tranquility
   2013-09-06 15:30:35    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guo Jing

An old Tibetan woman sits in front of a cafe in Langmusi Town on August 27, 2013. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

While tourists flock to China's well-known destinations, like Lijiang and Jiuzhaigou Valley, some are making the trek across the Zoige wetlands, arriving in a small town called Langmusi, sitting on the junction between Gansu and Sichuan Provinces.

Let's join CRI's Zhou Jingnan to experience the sound and tranquility of Langmusi.

 

Located on the edge of the Qinghai-Tibeten Plateau, the town has generally a dry and cold climate. Due to a 90-percent vegetation coverage, it is warm and wet in summer, which is also the height of the region's tourism season.

A tourist from Switzerland expresses her feel of Langmusi.

"I like the environment of this altitude. I like the people and the culture."

Lan Beijing, an official of Langmusi Town, says that entrance fees to the area reached two million yuan, 30 yuan for each, in 2012. From June to October, the town braces itself for peak season. It is said that foreign tourists outnumber domestic ones, but when we arrived here at noon, we saw very few foreigners.

"Actually many foreign tourists come here, but we can only see them in the morning or evening. Some of them are shutterbugs. They love to ride or walk to the mountain tops or to the origin of Bailongjiang River to enjoy the beautiful scenery."

In the Langmu Temple of the town, we met four Chinese Malaysians, all in their 60s. They spent almost a whole year planning their 42-day trip through Gansu province. Visiting Langmusi Town was not part of their original plan, but a diversion from their itinerary has given them a pleasant surprise.

Ho Hwa Tai spoke for the group of elderly travelers.

"We are familiar with Chinese history. Here is a cradle to many local cultures, so we decided to come here. Thus, we can know more about Gansu. We made our plan mainly based on brochures and travel logs. Maybe those materials are too old. When we arrived here, we found many things are different. Some hotels we want to book have even disappeared."

James Hilton's "Lost Horizon" unveiled the mystery of Chinese Tibetan regions. Then, an American missionary's "Tibet Life" gave westerners a rare glimpse of Langmusi, a land of idyllic beauty. However, along with its greater popularity, the town has recently become more commercial and international.

The boss of a hotel named Tsering says, in order to attract more tourists, they have spent a lot on decoration and servant training. They've also made advertisements on well-known travel service websites.

"Sixty to 70 percent of individual guests book rooms through websites, such as Qunar and C-Trip. I once learned English at school, so I can speak some English."

Now the whole town is having a facelift. Vehicles roar, leaving blowing dust behind. Modern shops flank the city streets and shop owners say hello to you in English. Old grandmas in Tibetan clothes seem incongruous with the cafe they sitting in front of.

Amid the hustle and bustle, however, we can find simplicity free of noise.

After several expansions, the Langmu Temple now has five Buddhist colleges. The sound of reading scripture and knocking clocks displays the purity and tranquility of the temple halfway up the hill. Lan Beijing says that monks here are dedicating themselves to the highest spirit of Buddhism, in spite of the booming business in the town.

"Monks of Langmu Temple always gather in a hall and read scriptures. After finishing reading a whole book, they can take a rest. Besides, they have no other group activities. To keep away from the secular world, monks are not allowed to watch TV. But they can choose some secular texts to read. Cell phones are banned."

A tranquil temple sits in a noisy town. A Tibetan granny sitting in front of a cafe, a clear river, Tibetan-styled buildings and backpackers, all seem paradoxical, but this constitutes Langmusi Town, where the city is trying to balance economic development and traditional stillness.

For CRI, I'm Zhou Jingnan.

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