I visited the small town of Xiahe in June 2006 and had a fantastic time there! This town is predominantly Tibetan and there is a very large Tibetan monastry there which is absolutely stunning! From Xiahe you can visit the Sangke grasslands. I met a guide while I was having lunch and he took me to the grasslands where we visited a Tibetan nomad family and went hiking. It would have been very difficult to do this trip without a Tibetan speaking guide because most nomad there don't speak Chinese and you will never be able to sample the Tibetan milk tea in a nomad tent without a Tibetan guide. After the visit we went hiking on the grassland which was wonderful. I was so happy to have met this guy that the next day we went to the small town of Langmusi together. This town is about 4 hours from Xiahe and also has fantastic area's for hiking. Langmusi also has 2 monastries, which we visited. The guide has lots of knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism so the tour became really interesting. In the evening we had dinner at Leisha's cafe which has the most delicious applepie I ever tasted!
The guide I used is Wandhikhar. He is absolutely great and can organise everything for you in and around Xiahe. His email is: [-]
You can get to Xiahe from Lanzhou (capital of Gansu province) by public bus, which takes about 6 hours. From Xiahe to Langmusi you can also go by public bus, which takes about 4 hours. My guide and I went from Xiahe to Langmusi by car through the grasslands where we made several stops on the way. This is more interesting than taking the public bus. On the way from Xiahe to Langmusi you can also visit a small school for nomad kids. It's very sweet to see these kids in their tiny classroom. A hotel I would recommend in Langmusi is the Sana hotel, which is clean and cheap. Langmusi has only 1 street, so you can't miss it.
All in all, it was absolutely great and well worth the visit!