The climax of our one-week Sichuan trip: Larung Gar. Getting here was not an easy feat, but it was well worth it. At first, I was extremely disappointed at how developed the whole place was. There are cranes and trucks and tall buildings being erected everywhere at the same time. I expected something more… secluded. Or untouched. Or sacred. Larung Gar in 2016 was anything but. But hey! Still amazing enough considering we were 4000m high up and it was hard to breathe. On a valley surrounded by surreal-looking Sichuan mountain. Inside the world’s largest Buddhist settlement. Surrounded by monks in red robes speaking in languages I do not understand. Getting lost in a tiny city where all the buildings and doors and everything are red, in contrast with the strikingly blue blue sky. Yeah, still pretty amazing.
Transport to Larung Gar from Seda costs 7RMB per person. It’s a set price, so there’s no need to bargain. Read my previous post on how to get to Seda.
At the time of our travel, Larung Gar was “officially” off-limits to foreigners. But, there were no one to enforce that, so we were still able to go around. They did though, reject our permission to spend the night there. The week before we came, the Chinese government issued a rule to forbid non-Chinese nationals from staying in Larung Gar. There was only one sort-of hotel (Larong Hotel) in the whole valley, and the receptionist turned us down as we couldn’t produce any Chinese ID cards. My husband tried to persuade them to let us stay regardless of our nationalities, but they were adamant to the point of phoning up the police office. That’s when we knew that it was non-negotiable. 😦
Anyway, if you’re interested in Larung Gar, come fast. According to this article on Free Tibet website, the government will evict 50% of Larung Gar’s population by 2017. Better hurry.