Home > Discovery Tour in Tibetan Areas Kham and Amdo
14 Days Private Tour Lanzhou – Bingling Si – Xiahe – Tongren – Xining – Kumbum – Koko Nor – Madoi – Yushu – Shiqu – Dzochen – Manigango - Yilhun Lhatso – Dege – Pelyul – Yarchen Gar - Garze – Luhuo – Dawu – Bamei – Tagong - Danba – Siguniang Shan – Wolong – Chengdu
This is an adventure travel to explore the culture and nature of the Tibetan Area Amdo and Kham in provinces Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan. Firstly, we come to Gansu Province to visit Labrang Monastery that is the culture center in Amdo Tibetan Area, and that is one of the six major monasteries of the Gelugpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism and that is also known as the "Tibetan Academy of the World". Then we enter Qinghai Province and learn about the Regong art deeply in Tongren. Ta'er Monastery (Kumbum) must be visited where the great Master Tsongkhapa was born, who is the founder of Gelugpa sect of the Tibetan Buddhism. We pass by Riyue (Moon-Sun) Mountain, the border of agricultural civilization and nomadic civilization, to Qinghai Lake (Koko Nor), the largest inland lake in China. We continue to the south along the Tangbo Ancient Path (the way to Tibet of Princess Wencheng in Tang Dynasty), and cross the Yellow River, to Kham Tibetan Area Yushu of Qinghai Province. The Yushu Horse Racing Festival that begins on July 25 every year is the largest traditional folk festival in Qinghai Province. And then we will continue further to the south and enter Kham Tibetan area of the west Sichuan to visit the Dege Scripture Printing House, the head of the three major Tibetan cultural centers. Afterwards, we go to Baiyu along Jingsha River (the upstream of Yangtze River) to visit the magnificent Pelyul Monastery (Baiyu Si) of Nyingma Sect. The most attracting highlight is the Yarchen Gar that is the largest place for female meditation practice and where we can feel the pure religious atmosphere. We pass by Ganzi and Luhuo and drive on the China Panda Road to Tagong, which is “the Buddha's favorite place” and is also reputed as “Little Lhasa”. Following Khampa Tibetan, we turn the prayer wheel of Tagong Monastery and listen to their sounds of reading in the Gyergo Nunnery. Walk onto the hillside by the Muya Golden Pagoda and wait for the sunrise and sunset of Holy Mountain Yala. We enter the most beautiful village in China – the Jiaju Tibetan Village in Danba, where Jiarong Tibetans live. And take a walk at Siguniang Mountain, honored as “the Chinese Alps”. Besides, we closely view the cute panda in Wolong, the first panda reserve in China. Leaving Qinghai – Tibet Plateau for Chengdu Plain, we’d enjoy the leisure life in Chengdu now.
Highlights
Cross Amdo to Kham
DAY
1

Arrive in Lanzhou

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
Lanzhou Yellow River Iron Bridge
Lanzhou Yellow River Iron Bridge
DAY
2

Lanzhou – Bingling Si – Xiahe

Grottos of Bingling Temple – a historical treasure of Buddhism

Drive to Xiahe. On the way make an excursion to grottos of 1000 Buddhas' temple in Bingling. The grottos 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, which is 2,900 meters above the sea level and almost exclusively inhabited by Tibetans.

238 km
4 hours 51 minutes
Overnight at 3*Labrang Civil Aviation Hotel
Breakfast
Grottos of Bingling Temple
Grottos of Bingling Temple
DAY
3

Xiahe – Tongren

Labrang monastery

In the morning visit Labrang monastery, the most important religious centre on the northeast border of the Tibetan region. The monastery created in 1710, as one of the six grand monasteries in Tibetan area, has served for centuries there to connect the Tibetan and Mongolian Lamaism. In the afternoon visit Longwu monastery of Gelugpa, which was initially constructed in Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) as a monastery of Sakya-sect and Wutun village. It is the center of Tibetan Rebgong-Art, which is a successful mixture of religion and folk art. In the afternoon drive to Tongren.

104 km
2 hours 9 minutes
Overnight at 3*Shengyu Tianlun Hotel
Breakfast
Labrang Monastery
Labrang Monastery
DAY
4

Tongren – Xining

Grand Dongguan Mosque, Kumbum Monastery, Sun-and-Moon mountain, Koko Nor Lake

In the morning drive to Xining, the capital of province Qinghai. This city is mainly inhabited with Tibetan but also a home of Uygur, Kazak and Hui minorities. You will visit the Grand Dongguan Mosque, located directly on Dongguan Street in the old district of Xining. Originally built in the 14th century during the Ming Dynasty, it has been destroyed and rebuilt several times throughout history, most recently in the 1910s. The architecture reflects the multicultural character of the city: a temple built in the Han-Chinese tradition combined with Islamic and Tibetan cultural features. The entire building covers a total area of 13,602 square meters. And the main building, the imposing prayer hall with around 1102 sqm offers seats for three thousand believers. Obviously, it cannot satisfy the numerous prayers - for the Friday prayer (Jum'a) almost ten thousand believers gather and transform the huge courtyard and the adjacent Dongguan Street to the prayer area, of course with the help of the local administration. In the Afternoon drive to Kumbum Monastery (Ta'er Si) of Gelukpa-sect, which 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, today many Mongolian come to this place for worship. Afterwards cross over Sun-and-Moon mountain (Ri Yue Shan) to Koko Nor Lake (Qinghai Hu). In 641 Wencheng princess of Tang Dynasty passed by this mountain where today a sun-pavilion and a moon-pavilion are built on the summit for people to have a break. The Sun-and-Moon mountain has always been an distinguish line between meadow and agriculture area. Walking by the Koko Nor Lake, the biggest salty lake in China. "Koko Nor" in Mongolian language means "blue sea” because of the lunar shape and the color of the lake.

333 km
5 hours 14 minutes
Overnight at 3*Qinghai Lake Hotel
Breakfast
Village
Village
DAY
5

Koko Nor – Huashixia - Madoi

Huashixia, Amnye Machen

Transfer to Huashixia, a village with beautiful white rock cliff on which grows dense green vegetations. On the way get a nice view to the majestic holy mountain Amnye Machen if the weather is good. Keep drive to Madoi, a small city in the upper reaches of the Yellow river. The Yellow river is the second longest river in China with a length of 5,464 km. It is just in Madoi county that the Yellow river takes its original course.

450 km
5 hours 13 minutes
Overnight at Yundankangsai Hotel
Breakfast
Amnye Machen
Amnye Machen
DAY
6

Madoi – Yushu (Jyekundo)

Yellow River, Xiewu Monastery, Saibadan

Cross the first bridge of Ma Chu (the Yellow River, Huang He), drive to Yushu (Jyekundo). On the way visit the Xiewu Monastery of Sakya-sect. And go to Saibadan, which is famous for its folkway, religion and culture exhibition. There are nearly 10,000 items of specimens of rare animals on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, folk custom goods of Khampa Tibetan and various religious relics in it.

325 km
4 hours 55 minutes
Overnight at 4*Gesar Palace Hotel
Breakfast
Wencheng Princess Monastery
Wencheng Princess Monastery
DAY
7

Yushu (Jyekundo) – Shiqu

Dongkar monastery, Wencheng princess monastery, Bage Mani Wall

There are many monasteries in Yushu region, which belong to Sakya-sect, Gelukpa-sect, Nyingmapa-sect, Gagyuepa-sect. In the morning visit Dongkar monastery of Gagyuepa-sect. Besides, it is worthwhile to visit monastery of Wencheng princess. In the legend the princess of Tang Dynasty once stayed in this monastery for a month. Say goodbye to Qinghai province, the pasture landscape leads you into Sichuan province. Before you reach the first station in Sichuan - Shiqu, visit Bagmani Stone Wall, the longest Mani-wall in the earth. The Bagmani Stone Wall is located near the first bend of the Yalong River, 45 kilometers from Shiqu County. The highest part of the wall is about 3 meters, and it is about 2-3 meters thick, 1.6 kilometers long.

177 km
3 hours 8 minutes
Overnight at Shike Wangguo Hotel
Breakfast
Bage Mani Wall
Bage Mani Wall
DAY
8

Shiqu – Dzochen – Manigango – Yilhun Lhatso – Dege

Dzochen monastery, Yilhun Lhatso Lake (Xinlu Hai), rock sculpture frescoes in Keluodong village

Drive to Dzochen monastery of Nyingmapa sect, which was constructed in 1685 and owns the highest authority over the Kham and Amdo region. Then drive southwards to Manigango (approx. 60 km), then turn west to Dege. On the way have a break to take photos by the Xinlu Hai Lake (Yilhun Lhatso), located at the foot of Chola Mountain (Que’er Shan). It is 4040 meters above the sea level, with an average depth of 10 meters and a maximum depth of 15 meters. There are plateau spruces, firs, Chinese weeping cypresses, azalea trees and meadows around the lake. It is also a preserve for wild animals like white-lipped deer. Short walking by the lake Yilhun Lhatso. Then drive through the Chola Mountain (Que’er Shan) Tunnel to Dege. En route visit the rock sculpture frescoes in Keluodong village.

320 km
5 hours 58 minutes
Overnight at Ling Gesar Hotel
Breakfast
Keluodong Rock Sculpture
Keluodong Rock Sculpture
DAY
9

Dege - Pelyul

Dege Printing House, Dege Gonchen. Pelyul Monastery

In the morning visit the Dege Printing House which has always been well reputed as the “Cultural Treasury at the Foot of the Snow Mountain.” It is the biggest printing house in Tibetan area. Another program is visiting the Dege Gonchen, meaning “big temple”, a monastery of Sakya sect. It was built in 1448, today about 300 monks live here. Then drive along the Golden Sand River (Jinsha Jiang) the upper reaches of Yangtze to Pelyul (Baiyu). Pelyul is a small beautiful city by the river Ding Chu. Upon arrival visit Pelyul Monastery (Baiyu Si) nearby the county seat. This famous Nyingma Sect monastery had played a great role in history and held many subsidiary temples. You can over view the panoramic scene of Pelyul Monastery on a mountainside when the weather is good.

100 km
2 hours 24 minutes
Overnight at Kunrui Hotel
Breakfast
Dege Printing House
Dege Printing House
DAY
10

Pelyul – Yarchen Gar - Garze

Yarchen Gar (Yaqing Si). Han-Chinese Monastery

Today drive to Garze (Ganzi), the real cultural and religious center for the Tibetans living in Sichuan. In Tibetan "Garze" means "white and beauty", named after the famous in 1552 built temple of yellow sect (Gelukpa) in the county. On the way visit the Yarchen Gar (Yaqing Si) of Nyingma sect, a big nuns’ world! About 20000 nuns live, learn and meditate here. With 4000 meters above sea level, Yarchen Gar is the largest meditation place for women in the world. After reaching parking lot at Yarchen Gar, walk about 10 minutes to the hillside at the north of Juemu (a title for nun in Tibetan) Island. There is a vast Padmasambhava statue, and in the southwest orientation, you can overlook the grand panorama of whole Yarchen Gar and even Juemu Island. Then go downhill to riverside along small wooden houses where nuns practice meditation. One the way, everywhere you can see that these nuns are sitting in meditation, or scripture debating, or reading quiet, or chatting and relaxing. Yarchen Gar is divided by river into areas for Zhaba (monk) and Juemu (nun). River bank area is for Zhaba, island for Juemu. Cross the bridge on the river and get into Juemu Island, the core zone of Yarchen Gar. Here, the nun’s low and small meditation houses are very intensive and covered the whole peninsula. You can have a walk here and immerse yourself in the pure religious atmosphere of nuns' meditation place. In Garze visit the Han-Chinese Monastery. It is the oldest architecture in Garze built by Han-Chinese in 1274, the Han-Chinese and Tibetan buildings symbolize cultural integration and solidarity of Han-Chinese and Tibetan people.

249 km
5 hours 25 minutes
Overnight at Highland Barley Hotel
Breakfast
Yarchen Gar (Yaqing Si)
Yarchen Gar (Yaqing Si)
DAY
11

Garze – Luhuo – Dawu – Bamei – Tagong

Debate in Garze Monastery, Kasa Lake, Lhagang Monastery, sunset of Yala Mountain

In the morning visit the Garze Monastery of Gelukpa school, it was originally constructed by the Qosot Mongols in 1662 on a hilltop overlooking their castles of Mazur and Khangsar. The monks will usually debate at around 9 am, it lasts about 40 minutes. Then drive to Tagong, on the way visit Kasa Lake. In Tagong visit the Lhagang Monastery (Tagong Si) of Sayka Sect, which is surrounded by three hills symbolizing three Budhisattvas. It is said that the blessing of a reserved Jowo Shakyamuni image left by Wencheng Princess in this monastery to the pilgrims resembles that of seeing the Lhasa Jowo Shakyamuni image itself. From the hillside next to the Muya Golden Pagoda, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the Zhara Lhatse (5.820 m, also Jara or Yala), when the weather is good, the scenery at sunset is especially spectacular.

272 km
5 hours 3 minutes
Overnight at Duwang Hotel
Breakfast
Monks of Garze Monastery
Monks of Garze Monastery
DAY
12

Tagong - Danba - Siguniang Shan Town

Sunrise of Yala Mountain, Gyergo Nunnery, Jiaju village, Wori Tusi Manor, sunset of Siguniang Shan Mountain

If the weather is good, enjoy the beautiful landscape of sunrise of Yala Mountain. In the morning visit the impressive Gyergo Nunnery and the grand mani wall of Hepingfahui. Then drive along the Yak valley to Danba. In Danba, the local people are called Jiarong (Gyarong) Tibetans. Walking in Jiaju village, the most beautiful village in China. There are more than one hundred buildings with the same architectural style, a complete and unique character of Jiarong Tibetan residences. Under the blue sky, the Tibetan residences decorated in red, white and black are strewed at random but also from the bottom to the middle slope of the valley. Then drive to Siguniang Shan Town, on the way visit Wori Tusi Manor, the former official residence of the local Tusi, a kind of imperial kingship leader. If the weather is good, enjoy the beautiful landscape of sunset of Siguniang Shan Mountain (Four Sisters Mountain) at the Maobiliang.

220 km
4 hours 52 minutes
Overnight at Yunshang Hotel
Breakfast
Nunnery in Tagong
Nunnery in Tagong
DAY
13

Siguniang Shan Town - Wolong – Chengdu

Sunrise of Mt. Siguniang Shan, Shuangqiao Valley, Panda in Wolong

If you have interest, if the weather is good, you can get early to enjoy the great panoramic view of Mt. Siguniang at Maobiliang at sunrise. The Siguniang Shan Mountain (also Four Sisters Mountain, Four Girls Mountain, Four Maidens Mountain) has four over 5000 m peaks, legend has it that each peak represents a girl of the 4 sisters. The highest peak, Yaomei Feng, the youngest girl and at 6250 m, is also known as the “queen of Sichuan's peaks”. Soft hiking in the Shuangqiao Valley (Double-bridge Valley) of the Siguniang Shan Mountain, the scenery is concentrated and charming. Afterwards drive through the Balang Shan tunnel to Wolong National Nature Reserve. 52 km long from east to west and 62 km wide from south to north, the whole area is 200,000 hectares. It is one of the China earliest natural reserves, which is rated the preservation zones network of humankinds and living beings by the Organization of Education, Science and Culture of United Nations (UNESCO). The virgin forest, second bush forest and bamboo groves are very lush. There are over 4,000 kinds of high-level plants, 24 kinds of them are valuable plants, such as Gongtong (Chinese dove tree), red China fir, Lianxiang and so on. There are more than 450 kinds of vertebras, 45 kinds of them are rated national focal preserved animals, such as giant panda, golden monkeys, antelopes, white-mouth deer etc. The natural beautiful scene is quiet and secluded. Visit the Shenshuping Panda Base in Wolong, about 50 pandas live here, it is the largest breeding center for giant pandas, integrating scientific research, feeding, breeding, reproduction, wildness training, etc. After that drive to Chengdu, capital of province Sichuan, the home town of Panda.

223 km
4 hours 20 minutes
Overnight at 4*Xinliang Hotel
Breakfast
Sunrise of Mt. Siguniang
Sunrise of Mt. Siguniang
DAY
14

Leave Chengdu

Enjoy Chengdu leisurely daily life, Kuanzhai Xiangzi, drink tea in People’s Park

In the morning stroll in the beautiful old block of Chengdu - Wide Alley and Narrow Alley (Kuan Xiangzi and Zhai Xiangzi), they are the relics of the Manchurian garrison since 1718 and consist of 3 parallel lanes with the old classical houses, which are unique in southern China just like the northern Chinese architectural style presented by Hutong. After a careful renovation in June 2008, the pubs, teahouses, restaurants and guesthouses concentrate here, and in no time at all, it becomes the "lobby of leisure capital Chengdu". A walk here gives you a first impression of the "city of loafers". Then visit the People’s Park in the city center, have a seat in an old teahouse, enjoy your covered-bowl tea in a comfortable environment with bamboo chair and bamboo table, the tea culture of Chengdu is well known throughout China. In the afternoon transfer to the airport, fly back home or travel to next destination. Service ends.
Breakfast
Tea House in People’s Park
Tea House in People’s Park
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Private travel, great experiences! Please contact us for your tailor-made travel offer.

With individual China Tibet travel, you can decide when, where and how you go on tour by yourself. What's more, you can choose the length of travel and whom you go with.

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Hotel, program and itinerary are subjected to change with prior notice.
We must point out that you counter a basic tourism infrastructure in this region. You stay overnight mostly at simple hotel/guesthouse. Long journeys on bad roads and on high altitude and delays require good physical fitness, resilience and flexibility of the participants. Program and route changes due to unforeseen events are expressly reserved. If you desire the unknown and have an understanding of contingency, this is the right trip for you.
More Impressions
Dege Printing House | Photo by Liu Bin
Dege Printing House | Photo by Dr. Ningmei Chen
Dege Printing House | Photo by Liu Bin
Dege Printing House | Photo by Liu Bin
Dege Printing House | Photo by Liu Bin
Dege Printing House | Photo by Liu Bin
Dege Printing House | Photo by Liu Bin
Pelyul Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Yarchen Gar | Photo by Liu Bin
Yarchen Gar | Photo by Liu Bin
Yarchen Gar | Photo by Liu Bin
Han Chinese Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Debate in Ganzi Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Ganzi Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Ganzi Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Ganzi Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Prayer Wheels of Tagong Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Jiaju Village of Danba | Photo by Liu Bin
Jiaju Village of Danba | Photo by Min Ke
Panda in Wolong | Photo by Liu Bin