Whilst the vast Qinghai Lake is like a translucent sapphire sparkling under the sun, Kumbum Jambaling Monastery (Ta er si) is considered one of the six great monasteries of Gelugpa School in Tibetan Buddhism. With both considered as the highlights of the province, they attract people from all over the world who have a fascination with Buddhism as well as nature lovers who enjoy camping, hiking and bird watching.
Others that are worth mentioning here are, firstly, that Qinghai is also the Three-River Source Region where the Yangtze River, Yellow River and Mekong River originate. Secondly, the cultural Repkong Art shows the creative talents of local people through painting and sculpture. And finally, the Qinghai Lake International Road Cycling Race (UCI 2.HC) is held annually around July, attracting over 20 teams of about 150 participants from all over the world and plenty of media attention.
The Kham region of Tibet is located in the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Xizang, Qinghai, and Yunnan. Kham is known for its verdant grasslands, craggy mountains, and pure rivers. The most famous Tibetan horse festivals take place every summer in Kham, where Tibetans compete and show off their riding skills. Tibetans from Kham have a reputation for being as loyal as they are tough. Many carry traditional swords and walk with a swagger, but are quick to invite you into their yak-hair tents for a cup of butter tea. Kham is best for travelers interested in seeing wild Tibetan animals in their natural habitats, attending horse festivals.
Day 01: Arrive in Ziling (Xining)(2200 m),
Pick up from airport, transfer to your hotel and settled up.
Day 02: Xining – Shachung monastery – Rebkong (2500 m) .
View spot: Shachung monastery, Tibetan thangkha galleries and artists village.
Day 03: Rebkong-Gangya grassland – Labrong (2900 m).
View spot: Sangeshung Artists village and Monastery, Ganjia grassland.
Day 04: Labrong – Taktsang Lhamo (Langmusi) ( 3300 m).
View spot: Kirti Namgyal Dechenling, Sertang Monastery and Lhamo is famoussky burial process.
Day 05: Taktsang Lhamo Hike or Ride Horse.
View spot: Nomadic grasslands and nomadic lifestyle.
Day 06: Taktsang Lhamo – Machu grassland – Jigdril (3800 m).
View spot: Tarthang monastery and mountain views.
Day 07: Jigdril – Mt. Nyenbo Yurtse – Baima (Pama) (4100 m) .
View spot: Mount Nyenpo Yurtse (5933 m).
Day 08: Baima – Serda
View spot: Drive through nomadic grasslands surrounded by mountain ranges.
Day 09: Sightseeing in Serda Larung Gar (Monastic Institute) (3800 m).
View spot: Larung Gar, the world largest Tibetan Buddhist institute
Day 10: Serda – Drago – Tawu (2900 m).
View spot: Sky burial and Tawu old street.
Day 11: Tawu – Lhagong – Lithang (4120 m).
View spot: Bamei natural earth forest, Lhagong nomadic town.
Day 12: Lithang – Dapba ( Daocheng) (3700 m).
View spot: Tsola (Mt. Haizi) , Dapba, visit the Bangpu monastery.
Day 13: Dhalpa (Daocheng) – Yading (3900 m).
View spot: Mountain Resumgongpo and Yading nature reserve.
Day 14: Yading – Yading Village
View spot: Luorong ranch is very impressive and wonderful where you see the snow coped mountains.
Day 15: Dapba – Chatren – Gyalthang ( Shangri-la) ( 3280 m).
View spot: Nature villages
Day 16: Sightseeing Gyalthang ( Shangri-la).
View spot: Gaden Sumtsen Ling, Ringha Temple and Dokardzong old town.
Day 17: Gyalthang – Baishuitai – Tiger Leaping Gorge (2670 m).
View spot: White water terrace and Tiger leaping gorge.
Day 18: Tiger Leaping Gorge – Lijiang (2400 m).
View spot: Donyagrong (Shigu) and the Yangtze river first bend and free to explore Lijiang lod town.
Day 19: Sightseeing in Lijiang.
View spot: Old Town-Black dragon pool, Dongba Museum, Baisha fresco or mural,Yuhu village to see J.S. rock museum.
Day 20: Lijiang – Dali (2090 m).
View spot: Xizhou town, Erhai Lake Park and Three Pagodas
Day 21: Departure End of the tour
Your guide and driver transfer you airport or train station to catch your flight for your next destination.
What you can expect
Day 01: Arrive in Xining (2200 m)
Your guide and driver pick up you at at the Xining airport or train station, transfer to your hotel and get settled. If time permitted walk around Xining on your own. In the afternoon group gets together in a Tibetan traditional restaurant, enjoy Tibetan cuisine, meet your guide and travel mates.
Day 02: Xining – Shachung monastery – Rebkong (2500 m)
In the morning, drive to Shachung monastery, one of the most beautiful monasteries in Amdo, located atop of the hill cliff from where you can see a stunning view of Yellow River in the big open valley. Afterwards, drive to Rebkong – art center of Tibet Buddhism. Here, visit four major monasteries – Rongwu, Gomar, Upper and Lower Sengeshung, Tibetan thangka galleries and artists’ villages.
Day 03: Rebkong – Gangya grassland – Labrong (2900 m)
In the morning, visit Sangeshung Artists village and Monastery. Afterwards, head to Labrong via the famous Ganjia grassland. Labrong, Amdo’s most famous monastery, is located in the small town of Xiahe. It is one of six great Gelugpa monasteries in Tibet, was found in 1709 by the First Jamyang Zhepa Ngawang Tsondru. Labrong sits at 2900m with high mountains and alpine forests surrounding it. It is a popular pilgrimage destination for Tibetans and is home to over 1700 monks.
Day 04: Labrong – Taktsang Lhamo (Langmusi) ( 3300 m)
Driving from Labrong to the beautiful Tibetan town of Taktsang Lhamo (Langmusi). Taktsang means “Tigers Cave”, and Lhamo means “Goddess”. It is a township on the border of Sichuan and Gansu provinces. Here you will have chance to visit two major monasteries: Kirti Namgyal Dechenling and Sertang Monastery (locally called Lhamo gompa), both built in 18th century. Taktsang Lhamo is associated with Padmasambhava and Shridevi, and was frequently visited by yogis and meditation masters of the past. There is a gorge with several old meditation caves located in the area. Besides hermit caves and two monasteries, Taktsang Lhamo is famous for its sky burial site located atop of the hill. This is a sacred ground for the sky burial process.
Day 05: Taktsang Lhamo Hike or Ride Horse
Taktsang Lhamo is a great place to do a short horse ride to explore grasslands that are home to nomadic Tibetans. In the morning you will meet your nomadic crew who will teach you basic skills of horseback riding. Then you’ll start your trek across nomadic grasslands with amazing mountain scenery. Spend the night in a yak hair tent. It is unique opportunity to experience nomadic lifestyle, try locally made yak yogurt and milk tea, study how to graze yaks and catch horses by a ‘lasso’ rope. This place also offer great hiking opportunities. The horseback fee is not included in the tour package.
Day 06: Taktsang Lhamo – Machu grassland – Jigdril (3800 m)
Come back to Taktsang Lhamo in the morning, meet your driver and continue to Jigdril via Machu grassland where you can see many Tibetan nomadic camps. Jigdril, also known as Jiuzhi in Chinese, is a county in Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in southeast Qinghai province and a part of Amdo region of the Tibetan Plateau. Here visit Tarthang monastery which was found in the 19th century by the 7th throne-holder of the great Nyingma monastery in Pelyul in Kham. Tarthang monastery belongs to Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism, it quickly became the largest and most influential branch of Pelyul in the entire area with more than 1200 monks and 30 incarnated lamas.
Day 07: Jigdril – Mt. Nyenbo Yurtse – Baima (Pama) (4100 m)
Drive to the west range of Mount Nyenpo Yurtse (5933 m) – holy mountain of southern Golok, which is considered as a birthplace of the nomadic Golok tribes. The mountain range has 14 peaks over 5000 meters. The steep snow-capped ridges of the mountain are surrounded by holy glacier lakes, such as Tsochen and Tsochung which steams flowing into the Yellow River, and lakes Tso Nagma and Nojin Tso which streams flowing into headwaters of Gyarong. The Nyenbo Yurtse Base Camp is located at 4000 meters, and climbing expeditions can also be organized. After enjoying holy mount scenery we’ll continue driving to Padma (Pema). This area is one of the most beautiful parts in Tibet. It lies south of the watershed range that divides the rolling grasslands of the Yellow River valley from the forested gorges of Gyarong. There are 23 monasteries scattered throughout the valleys of the county, 20 of which are Nyingma monasteries, and 3 are the monasteries of Kagyu and Jonang schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
Day 08: Baima – Serda
Drive through nomadic grasslands surrounded by mountain ranges, stop for taking pictures and short hikes, breathing fresh mountain air. In the afternoon you’ll reach Serta (Sertal) county, which has a large number of monasteries representing only one school of Tibetan Buddhism – the Nyingma tradition. There are 31 Nyingma monasteries in the county. Here you will visit Larung Gar – largest Buddhist Institution on the Tibetan Plateau.
Day 09: Sightseeing in Larong Gar (Monastic Institute) (3800 m)
You will spend whole day exploring Larong Gar – Larung Five Sciences Buddhist Academy, which is housing thousands of students. This Nyingmapa institution was originally found by Dudjom Lingpa in the late 19th century, but its owes its recent revival to the Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, who was the spiritual teacher for thousands of Tibetan and Chinese monks, nuns and lay people. Nowadays thousands of ‘vow-holders’ as well as a some lay people are studying Buddhism here. The whole area of Larung Gar is divided into two parts: monks live on the right slope of the mountain, while nuns live on its left slope. Although Sertar is located in Kham, it traditionally was a part of Golok prefecture in Amdo, a large percentage of the native people in this area speak Amdo dialect of Tibetan as their first language. There is a large number of incarnated lamas as well as ‘Khenpos’ – holders of Bachelor’s degrees in Buddhism, live, teach and study in Larung Gar at the present time. The main building at Larung Gar are on the three levels: the lowest containing an assortment of small temples and concrete structures. The main assembly hall and the famous monastic college (shedra) of Larung Gar are at the mid-level, and the third level or the hilltop is dominated by two spectacular chapels: Tonpei Dekhang – containing a large Reclining Buddha, and the three-dimensional Gyutrul Lhakhang. Spend the night in the monastery guest houses located atop of the hill from where you can see the whole view of Larong Gar.
Day 10: Serda - Drago - Tawu (2900 m)
In the morning we going to explore the sky burial, customs in Tibetan areas are diverse due to differences in terrain, environment, and economic and social status, almost all types of burials can be accounted for in Tibet but the sky burial is the most welcomed. After that we would continue drive south east, pass through Dargo down town. Walk around the Tawu old street and visit one local Tibetan residence house, Tawu wooden houses are very famous and comfortable.
Day 11: Tawu - Lhagong - Lithang (4120 m)
After breakfast we would drive through the beautiful natural villages, visit Bambi natural earth forest, Lhagong nomadic town and Lhagong monastery where local old Tibetan men and women are, have been worshiping cycling around the monastery and big prayer wheels. Stop for lunch at Nyagchukha, a small town located in deep valley, after lunch continuous drive to Lithang, pass through pass Gaoersi (4,412m), Jianziwan Mountain (4,659m) and Kazila Mountain (4,718m). On the way we pass by local Tibetan nomadic live as yak wool made tents, arrive at the highest county of the world—Lithang. It enjoys an altitude of 4,120 meters.
Day 12: Lithang - Dapba ( Daocheng) (3700 m)
Early set out for Dapba, on the way there, visit the Tsola (Mt. Haizi) , here are a lot of rocks and stones in all kinds of shape here, it is also a national park for the remnants from the movement of ancient glaciers and Rabbit peak (its peak looks like the ears of a rabbit). Haizishan area is a good place for taking photos. Before arriving at Dhalpa, visit the Bangpu monastery and Zhigong monastery.
Day 13: Dapba (Daocheng) - Yading (3900 m)
Drive to Yading, choose to ride a horse in or hike into the valley, enjoy the views along the valley. Luorong ranch is a wide grass land, it is surrounded by three snow coped peaks, Mt. Resumgonpo, two of them are 5958m, the third one is 6032m. Mountain Resumgonpo is sacred pilgrimage site of three kind of protectors, Avalokiteshvara, Vajra Pani and Manjushri.
Day 14: Yading - Yading Village
Luorong ranch is very impressive and wonderful where you see the snow coped mountains. In 1920s -- 30s, an American adventurer named Luoke once trekked through here, and his written noted about here caused tremendous impact on western adventurers and European society. After here, ride or hike back to entrance. Then drive back to Bhalpa down town.
Day 15: Dapba - Chatren - Gyalthang ( Shangri-la) ( 3280 m)
After breakfast we will drive long way, pass through Chatren county, then continuous drive all way through the Dongwa valley.
Day 16: Gyalthang ( Shangri-la)
After breakfast we will visit the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery (Gaden Sumtsen Ling) and it’s the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunan province. It was found around 17th century by the famous 5th Dalai Lama and the local people calls it “The Small Potala Palace”. After lunch we drive around 22km to visit Ringha Temple (the five wisdom Buddha palace) in the countryside and it’s very famous holy temple entire Tibetan plateau. The history goes; there was monk who was searching for a better place for his Buddhist practice, so one day he came to this place and thought it’s the best place for him to do meditation, so when he started doing meditation the five Wisdom Buddhas appeared in the sky. In the evening we take a gentle walk in Shangrila old town (Tib, Dokardzong) and participate with Tibetan dance with local people.
Day 17: Gyalthang - white water terrace - Tiger Leaping Gorge (2670 m)
White Water Terrace (Chi, Baishui) is located at Sanba, 101 kilometers south of the county seat of Shangri-la. Situated on a mountain slope (2380m), Baishui Terrace, 140 meters in length and 160 meters in width, is one of the biggest such terraces in China. After exploring the White water terrace, we continuous drive through the lower gorge and middle gorge. Visit wonderful sightsee of Tiger leaping gorge cross beautiful two snow mountains, jade dragon and Haba Snow Mountain,
Over night at Qiothu town.
Day 18: Tiger Leaping Gorge - Lijiang (2400 m)
On way to Lijiang visit Donyagrong (Shigu) and the Yangtze river first bend. Lijiang old town area looks like traditional Chinese garden style buildings, spend time there strolling around through the old streets and enjoy the beauty of old constructions. At night, opitional choice to enjoy the local Naxi music performance and rest of the evening is free for relaxation and self exploration or your guide can take you to enjoy the evening at street bar, it’s really romantic and a fantastic, all the different people joins together in the bars
Day 19: Lijiang Old Town-Black dragon pool-Dongba Museum
Upon arrival & transfer to hotel in the old town for a 1-night stay.Being a home to a number of ethnic minority groups, Lijiang in particular is populated by the matriarchal Naxi people, an ethnic minority group that are descendents of Tibetan nomads.Today, we visit Lijiang old town, the Black Dragon pool and Dongba Museum of Naxi Culture, Baisha fresco or mural,Yuhu village to see J.S. rock museum. The fist time he came to Lijiang as a botanist and stayed for 27 years in that village for researching wild botanies.
Day 20: Lijiang - Dali (2090 m)
Drive to Dali (about 3 hours). On the way, visit the Bai people traditional houses in Xizhou town and a Tie-dye Workshop in Zhoucheng. Arrive in Dali and enjoy the beautiful scene of Dali Old Town, which is a well-preserved old city of ethnic minorities with brilliant culture heart of Bai people.
Upon arrival, firstly visit the Erhai Lake Park, which was built to provide tourists the convenience of watching the famous Erhai Lake, named after its shape like an ‘ear’. Then move on to the Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple, which has a history of 1800 years and is a symbol of the history of Dali city. Finally head to the essence of Dali culture-Dali Old Town, attractive by grand city wall and traditional Bai minority houses.
Day 21: Departure
End of the tour, your guide and driver transfer you airport or train station to catch for your next destination.