Home > Tibet Festival TourFestival Tour in Tibetan Areas Kham and Amdo
17 Days Private Tour Chengdu - Ya’an - Kangding - Tagong - Luhuo - Garze – Manigango - Shiqu - Yushu -  Madoi - Huashixia – Maqin - Zeku – Tongren – Xiahe - Ta’er Si - Xining
On this discovery tour, you will first come to the Tagong Monastery in the Kham Tibetan area of western Sichuan to participate in the annual mask dance festival. On the way there, you can enjoy the magnificent natural scenery and unique and wonderful local culture of the Kham Tibetan area.

The second station of the trip will take you to the eastern Tibetan areas Kham and Amdo of the provinces Qinghai and Gansu, and you’ll meet the nomads of Golok and Khampa. You will have two days to participate in the Yushu Horse Racing Festival. The spectators gather here from all parts of the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture every year from July 25-30. There are horse and yak races, skill competitions, such as picking up Hada from the ground or shooting on horseback and folk dances in colorful festival costumes.

At the last station of this trip, you will participate in the Shaman Festival, which is a widespread traditional festival for Tibetans and Tujia People in Rebgong (Tongren) area. With a history of more than 1400 years, it is celebrated between June 17th and 25th of the Chinese lunar calendar every year. You can watch colorful and impressive activities: military dance, dragon dance, ritual dance, mask dance, Shangkouqian, Shangbeiqian and Kaishan. After that, you will visit the Labrang Monastery in Xiahe of Gansu province – the religious and cultural center in Tibetan area Amdo, known as "Tibetan Academy of the World".
Highlights
Discovery Tour during Three Festivals in Kham and Amdo 2021
DAY
1

18.07.2021 Arrive in Chengdu

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

In the morning arrival in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, home town of giant panda. Picked up by the local guide at airport and transfer to hotel. In the afternoon 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.

Overnight at 4*Xinliang Hotel
Tea House in Renmin Park
Tea House in Renmin Park
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
2

19.07.2021 Chengdu - Ya'an - Kangding

Bifengxia Panda Base, ancient tea-horse-road, Kangding - gateway to Tibetan area Kham

Leave in the morning for Kangding. On the way visit the Bifengxia Panda Base, it was established at the end of 2003, and has become a paradise for giant pandas, a national treasure, with the function of raising, breeding and rescuing giant pandas. It has over 20 giant pandas. Across the Tunnel of Erlang Mountain, the mountain was traditionally the natural borders of Han Chinese villages and the Tibetan communities, you’ll arrive in Kangding soon, the capital of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and the important juncture of Tibetan and Han People in history.

299 km
4 hours 25 minutes
Overnight at 4*Love Song Hotel (2560 m)
Breakfast
Panda in Bifengxia
Panda in Bifengxia
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
3

20.07.2021 Kangding - Tagong

Lhagang Monastery, Gyergo Nunnery and the grand mani wall of Hepingfahui

Drive to Tagong to visit the Lhagang Monastery (Tagong Si) of Sayka Sect, which is surrounded by three hills symbolizing three Bodhisattvas. It is said that the blessing of a reserved Jowo Shakyamuni image left by Wencheng Princess in this monastery to the pilgrims resembles the Lhasa Jowo Shakyamuni image in Lhasa. Then visit the impressive Gyergo Nunnery and the grand mani wall of Hepingfahui.

92 km
2 hours 26 minutes
Overnight at Duwang Hotel (3730 m)

Breakfast
Gyergo Nunnery in Tagong
Gyergo Nunnery in Tagong
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
4

21.07.2021 Tagong

Mask dance festival in Lhagang Monastery. Manual workshop for highland barley sauce and small community library. Sunset of Yala Mountain

Today is the first day of the Mask Dance (Cham) Festival. Watch mask dance in Lhagang Monastery (Tagong Si) of Sayka Sect. Then visit a manual workshop where the local Khampa Tibetan highland barley sauce manufacture. And visit a small community library. 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.

Overnight at Duwang Hotel
Breakfast
Mask Dance at Tagong Monastery
Mask Dance at Tagong Monastery
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
5

22.07.2021 Tagong - Luhuo - Garze (3390 m)

Sunrise of Yala Mountain, mask dance festival in Lhagang Monastery, Kasa Lake

If the weather is good, enjoy the beautiful landscape of sunrise of Yala Mountain. Then watch the mask dance (Cham) in Lhagang Monastery (Tagong Si) of Sayka Sect. In the afternoon dive 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 beautiful Kasa Lake.

272 km
5 hours 3 minutes
Overnight at Highland Barley Hotel
Breakfast
Mask Dance at Tagong Monastery
Mask Dance at Tagong Monastery
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
6

23.07.2021 Garze - Manigango (3866 m) – Shiqu (4178 m)

Garze Monastery, Dargye Monastery, Dzochen Monastery

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 via Manigango to Shiqu. En route visit the Dargye Monastery and Dzochen Monastery. The Dargye represents the Gelukpa school and was founded in 1642. The Dzochen Monastery of Nyingmapa sect was constructed in 1685 and owns the highest authority over the Kham and Amdo region.

307 km
5 hours
Overnight at Shike Wangguo Hotel
Breakfast
Debate in Ganzi Monastery
Debate in Ganzi Monastery
Photo by Liu Bin
DAY
7

24.07.2021 Shiqu - Yushu

Bage Mani Wall, Wencheng Princess Monastery

In the morning visit the Bage Mani Stone Wall, the longest mani wall in the earth. The Bage Mani 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. Say goodbye to Sichuan province, the pasture landscape leads you into Qinghai province. The first station in Qinghai is the monastery of Wencheng Princess. In the legend the princess of Tang Dynasty once stayed in this monastery for a month.

177 km
3 hours 8 minutes
Overnight at 4*Gesar Palace Hotel (3696 m)
Breakfast
Monastery of Wencheng Princess
Monastery of Wencheng Princess
DAY
8

25.07.2021 Yushu (Jyekundo)

Yushu Horse Racing Festival (nomads festival)

The Yushu Horse Racing Festival takes place on July 25 every year. You will participate in the opening ceremony and enjoy the shows of traditional Tibetan costume, rich programs of singing and dancing celebrations, and above all, enjoy the majesty of nomad horse racing contest and, of course, enjoy the acrobatic stunts on horsebacks. The Yushu Horse Racing Festival is a joyous combination to appreciate and experience the Tibetan cultures.

Overnight at 4*Gesar Palace Hotel
Breakfast
Yushu Horse Racing Festival
Yushu Horse Racing Festival
Photo by Prof. Hans Först
DAY
9

26.07.2021 Yushu

Yushu horse racing festival, Dongkar monastery

Take part in the Horse Racing Festival in Yushu. Here in Yushu region are many monasteries of different school, such as Sakya, Gelukpa, Nyingmapa, Gagyuepa. If the time allows, visit the Dongkar monastery of Gagyuepa-sect.

Overnight at 4*Gesar Palace Hotel
Breakfast
Yushu Horse Racing Festival
Yushu Horse Racing Festival
Photo by Prof. Hans Först
DAY
10

27.07.2021 Yushu - Madoi

Xiewu Monastery, Saibadan, Yellow River

Cross the first bridge of Ma Chu (the Yellow River, Huang He), drive to Madoi. 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. 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.

325 km
4 hours 55 minutes
Overnight at Yundankangsai Hotel (4280 m)
Breakfast
Landscape of Qinghai Plateau
Landscape of Qinghai Plateau
DAY
11

28.07.2021 Madoi – Huashixia - Maqin

Base camp of holy mountain Amnye Machen

Transfer to Huashixia, a village with beautiful white rock cliff on which grows dense green vegetations. Afterwards go to the base camp of holy mountain Amnye Machen, where you enjoy a nice view to the majestic main peak if the weather is good. Then drive to Maqin, the capital of Ngolok Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

261 km
3 hours 59 minutes
Overnight at 3*Jinfeng International Hotel (3730 m)
Breakfast
Amnye Machen
Amnye Machen
Photo by Sangye
DAY
12

29.07.2021 Machen - Zeku - Tongren

Ragya Monastery (Lajia Si) by the Yellow River

Drive via Zeku to Tongren. On the way visit the Ragya Monastery (Lajia Si) of Gelugpa sect by the Yellow River (Huang He).

359 km
7 hours 57 minutes
Overnight at 3*Shengyu Tianlun Hotel (2480 m)
Breakfast
Ragya Monastery
Ragya Monastery
DAY
13

30.07.2021 Tongren - Mabahalabatu Village – Tongren

Shaman Festival with military dance and Shangkouqian in Mabahalabatu Village, Longwu Monastery, Wutun Monastery and Tibetan Repkong Art

Annual festival is June 18-23 of the lunar calendar, and the main event takes place on June 21 of the lunar calendar in this area. The whole day experience some highlights of the Shaman Festival in the Mabahalabatu Village: military dance and Shangkouqian, which means to pierce steel needles through the mouth. In the afternoon visit of Longwu monastery of Gelukpa sect which was initially constructed in Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) as a monastery of Sakya-sect and Wutun village the center of Tibetan Regong-Art, which is a successful mixture of religion and folk art.

Overnight at 3*Shengyu Tianlun Hotel
Breakfast
Shaman Festival in Tongren
Shaman Festival in Tongren
Photo by Prof. Hans Först
DAY
14

31.07.2021 Tongren - Langjia Village – Tongren

Shaman Festival with dragon dance and Kaishan in Langjia Village

Annual festival is June 20-24 of the lunar calendar, and the main event takes place on June 22 of the lunar calendar in this area. The whole day experience some highlights of the Shaman Festival in the Langjia village: enjoy the dragon dance of the Shaman Festival and Kaishan rituals conducted by the shaman who also presides over the festival. Kaishan means "to cut an opening".

42 km
1 hour
Overnight at 3*Shengyu Tianlun Hotel
Breakfast
Shaman Festival in Tongren
Shaman Festival in Tongren
Photo by Li Wanfu
DAY
15

01.08.2021 Tongren - Gazedong – Xiahe

Shaman Festival with ritual dancing, Shangkouqian, Shangbeiqian and Kaishan in Gazedong Village. Labrang Monastery

Annual festival is June 20-24 of the lunar calendar, and the main event takes place on June 23 of the lunar calendar in this area. In the morning experience some highlights of the Shaman Festival in the Gazedong Village: ritual dancing, Shangkouqian, Shangbeiqian and Kaishan. Shangbeiqian: a bundle of twenty or so long needles are inserted into the male dancers' backs. Again, though onlookers unfamiliar with the ritual may shrink in horror, the participants consider it an honor and a privilege to practice their ancient religion in this way. In the afternoon drive to Xiahe, on the way 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.

104 km
2 hours 7minutes
Overnight at 3*Labrang Civil Aviation Hotel (2800 m)
Breakfast
Shaman Festival in Tongren
Shaman Festival in Tongren
Photo by Prof. Hans Först
DAY
16

02.08.2021 Xiahe - Ta'er Si - Xining

Kumbum Monastery (Ta'er Si)

After the breakfast drive to Kumbum monastery (Ta'er Si) of Gelukpa, which was built in 1560 in Huangzhong county and also one of the six grand monasteries in Tibet. Both Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Lamaistic "yellow hat sect" and the 14th Dalai lama were 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 drive to Xining, the capital of Qinghai province. This city is mainly inhabited with Tibetan but also a home of Uygur, Kazak and Hui minorities.

104 km
2 hours 7 minutes
Overnight at 4*Rezen Jingding Hotel (2263 m)
Breakfast
Labrang Monastery
Labrang Monastery
DAY
17

03.08.2021 Xining

Dongguan Grand Mosque and the old Mojia Street

In the morning, visit the Dongguan Grand 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. Then take a walk through the old Mojia Street. After lunch transfer to airport or train station, go home or travel to next destination. Service ends.
Breakfast
Kumbum Monastery (Ta'er Si)
Kumbum Monastery (Ta'er Si)
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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.

Information
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
Tagong Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Tagong Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Tagong Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Grand Mani Wall in Tagong | Photo by Liu Bin
Gyergo Nunnery in Tagong | Photo by Liu Bin
Sunset of Yala Mountain | Photo by Liu Bin
Kasa Lake | Photo by Liu Bin
Ganzi Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Debate in Ganzi Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Old Khampa Tibetan | Photo by Liu Bin
Dargye Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Dargye Monastery | Photo by Liu Bin
Tagong Mask Dance Festival | Photo by Liu Bin
Tagong Mask Dance Festival | Photo by Liu Bin
Tagong Mask Dance Festival | Photo by Liu Bin
Tagong Mask Dance Festival | Photo by Liu Bin
Tagong Mask Dance Festival | Photo by Liu Bin
Tagong Mask Dance Festival | Photo by Liu Bin
Yushu Horse Racing Festival | Photo by Prof. Hans Först
Yushu Horse Racing Festival
Yushu Horse Racing Festival
Yushu Horse Racing Festival
Yushu Horse Racing Festival
Yushu Horse Racing Festival
Shaman Festival in Tongren
Shaman Festival in Tongren | Photo by Ping Pai
Shaman Festival in Tongren | Photo by Li Wanfu
Shaman Festival in Tongren | Photo by Ping Pai
Shaman Festival in Tongren | Photo by Ping Pai
Shaman Festival in Tongren | Photo by Ping Pai