Sitting at the border of Gansu and Qinghai, the Labrang Monastery in Xiahe gives a taste of Tibetan Buddhist culture without having to jump through all the official hoops required to visit Tibet itself. Following unrest in 2008 however, a visit here can pose its own challenges and though visitors are currently welcome, restrictions do sometimes apply and it's wise to double-check before you go.
This image comes courtesy of China blogger Mark Vranicar, whose visit to the Labrang Monastery in 2008 came several months after rioting had closed the town off to foreigners completely. Mark and his friends managed to find their way in and what they saw and experienced there put Labrang Monastery firmly in his Top 10 Destinations in China, recently re-posted on ChinaTravel.
You can read more about his trip and other favorite destinations on VPN or Proxy in China to access it.