Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture: Langmusi (甘南藏族自治州:郎木寺)

A small one-street town inhabited by Tibetans and Hui Muslims bisected by the Gansu-Sichuan provincial borders, Langmusi, has an intriguing name – Fairy of the Tiger’s Den. It was said that Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche), who brought Vajrayana Buddhism to Tibet, converted a fierce tiger demon to Buddhism here, and transformed the tiger into a beautiful fairy. Indeed, Langmusi, with its dramatic mountain settings, have in recent decades being transformed into a backpacker’s hidden heaven. And yes, no big loudspeaker-waving tour groups here. Guesthouses, hostels and travellers’ cafes are found across the small town, many of which offer horse riding treks and homestays with the nomads who live in the pastures nearby.