9 Days Private Tour Lanzhou – Bingling Si - Xiahe – Tongren – Xining – Tibet train - Lhasa
Amdo and Kham are the Tibetan cultural regions in the east of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Amdo is in the northeast of the Tibetan Plateau, while the Kham region is mainly in the east of the plateau. This trip takes us to the Tibetan Amdo Cultural Region in Gansu Province and Qinghai Province, to visit the Labrang Monastery and Kumbum Monastery (Ta'er Si) and to learn about the Rebgong Art in Tongren.
From Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province, we take a nearly one day train ride to the holy city Lhasa on the roof of the world. Let us enjoy majestic and varied scenery while traveling on the Tibet Railway!
In Lhasa - the capital city of Tibet - you have two days for the attractions: Potala, Jokhang, Norblinka and Sera. And from Parla Lupu Monastery we'll enjoy the magnificent view of Potala Palace. We could circle around the Tibetan holiest Monastery Jokhang with pilgrims, who come from all over Tibet and the Tibetan cultural areas of Kham-Amdo of the provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan. Many pious Tibetans measure the way on the Barkhor market with their body length.
Welcome in Lanzhou - the capital of Gansu Province
Today arrive in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu Province, an important pivot of the Silk Road in history. The Yellow river flows through Lanzhou from west to east.
Overnight at 4*Legend Hotel
Decoration of Temple Roof
Lanzhou – Bingling Si – Xiahe
Grottos of Bingling Temple – a historical treasure of Buddhism
Drive to Xiahe. On the way make an excursion to grottoes of 1000 Buddhas' temple in Bingling. The grottoes of the monastery are firstly built in 420 AD. Statues and murals here are older than those in Mogao Grottos of Dunhuang. Late in the afternoon arrive in Xiahe that is 2,900 meters above the sea level and almost exclusively inhabited by Tibetans.
4 hours 51 minutes
Overnight at 3*Labran Civil Aviation Hotel
Grottos of Bingling Temple
Xiahe – Tongren
In the morning visit Labrang Monastery, the most important religious centre on the northeast border of the Tibetan region. Created in 1710 and as one of the six grand monasteries in Gelugpa, the monastery has served for centuries to connect the Tibetan and Mongolian Lamaism. In the afternoon drive to Tongren.
2 hours 9 minutes
Overnight at 3*Shengyu Tianlun Hotel
Tongren – Xining
Longwu monastery, Xining – the capital of Qinghai Province
In the morning visit Longwu Monastery of Gelugpa that was initially constructed in Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) as a monastery of Sakya-sect and Wutun village. It is the center of Tibetan Regong-Art that is a successful mixture of religion and folk art. In the afternoon drive to Xining, the capital of Qinghai province. It was an important pivot on a side route along the ancient Silk Road, where pilgrims, merchants and armed forces converged for thousands of years and people and traditions mixed colorfully and harmoniously. Today, more than 30 nationalities live in Xining, including Han, Hui, Tu, Tibetans, Mongols and Salar. The Hui is one of the Chinese Muslims.
2 hours 22 minutes
Overnight at 4*Rezen Jingding Hotel
Train Xining – Lhasa
Kumbum Monastery, Train ride on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and through the human-less areas
In the morning drive to Kumbum Monastery (Ta'er Si) of Gelugpa that was built in 1560 in Huangzhong County and also one of the six grand monasteries in Tibetan area. Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Lamaistic "yellow hat sect", was born here. As Kumbum-Monastery has always been playing an important role to connect the Mongolian with the Lamaism, so today many Mongolian come to this place for worship. In the afternoon transfer to railway station, and take the train to Lhasa (Z917 1401/1120+1 soft sleeper, 4-bed compartment). In 21 hours drive from Xining via Golmud and Naqu to Lhasa. The special feature is the 1,956 km long railway line from Xining to Lhasa, which is considered the highest railway in the world. You can enjoy a grand, seemingly endless landscape gallery with snow-capped mountains, countless rivers and gorges, high mountain lakes and endless steppes along the way. Over and over, you will see flocks of yaks, sheep, horses and wild animals as well as birds, and with some luck, you can watch the herds of Tibetan antelopes that live mainly in the steppes of the Qinghai-Tibet highlands at an altitude of 3,500 to 5,000 m.
Overnight on the train
Arrive in Lhasa
Welcome to Lhasa - the roof of the world. Visit nunnery Ani Sangkhung
Today arrive in Lhasa (3650 m), the capital of Tibet, and transfer to hotel. In the afternoon visit the nunnery Ani Sangkhung. "Ani" means nun and "Sangkhung" is a meditation cave. The nunnery Ani Sangkhung was founded in the 15th century by a disciple of Tsongkapa. It is located in the old city center near Jokhang and about 100 nuns live here today. The monastery set up prayer hall, dorm, kitchen, etc. The nuns plant many plants, so the monastery looks like a garden.
Overnight at 3*Yak Hotel
Nunnery Ani Sangkhung
Potala Palace – landmark of Lhasa, Jokhang and Barkhor Street
In the morning visit Potala that was originally constructed in 637 by Songtsen Gampo, the first king of the united Tibet, and later expanded and served as the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas as well as the religious-political nexus of traditional Tibet. The crowds of pilgrims, innumerable magnificent murals, Buddhist statues, scriptures and rare treasures altogether create a dense religious and art atmosphere that impresses every visitor. In the afternoon visit Jokhang Monastery, the center of the Tibetan Buddhism and the sacred land of Buddhist followers where thousands of pilgrims come for worship everyday. The temple, built in 647, is the earliest wood-and-masonry structure still existing in Tibet. Walk on the Barkhor street surrounding Jokhang, a big free market with its prolific stalls for selling local specialties.
Overnight at 3*Yak Hotel
Panoramic view over Potala, Norbulingka, Debate in Sera
In the morning visit Parla Lupu Cave Monastery, located on the slopes of Yaowang Mountain, was built in the 7th century. It is 22m high and from here you can have a wonderful panoramic view over Potala palace. Afterwards visit Norbulinka, the summer residence of the Dalai Lamas. In the afternoon visit Sera Monastery, which was created in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. It is also one of the six master monasteries of the Gelugpa. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. You have the opportunity to experience the famous monks' "Buddhism scriptures debates". Public religious debates are part of the education of monks.
Overnight at 3*Yak Hotel
Debate in Sera Monastery
Travel to next destination
Today transfer to airport or railway station, leave Tibet.