While there is nothing to stop you from wandering around the monastery complex by yourself – be sensitive, use your discretion, and move clockwise – given the bewildering wealth of architecture, art and statuary, it’s a good idea to take a guided tour at some stage. This can be arranged at the ticket office – take the only sizeable turn off the north side of the road within the monastery area (on the right if coming from the station). The hour-long tours (roughly at 10.15am and 3.15pm; ¥40) include entrance to five buildings and are led by English-speaking monks.

Labrang Monastery is the site of some spectacular festivals that, as with Chinese festivals, take place according to the lunar calendar. The largest is the Monlam Festival, three days after the Tibetan New Year (late Feb or early March). The opening of the festival is marked by the unfurling of a huge thangka on the south side of the Daxia River. Processions, dances and the lighting of butter lamps take place on subsequent days.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

China features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

An expert's guide: the best area to stay in Hong Kong

An expert's guide: the best area to stay in Hong Kong

Hong Kong floats between old China and the west; its futuristic harbour has become one of Asia's most famous views but you'll also find pockets of traditiona…

28 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
China travel tips: 8 things you need to know before you go

China travel tips: 8 things you need to know before you go

Even 20 years ago China was not a conventional tourist destination. Despite the allure of its beautiful landscapes and history-filled cities, politics, poverty,…

13 Jan 2017 • Simon Frank insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month