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Lanzhou Labrang Lhamo Muchu Jigdril Padma Darlag Machen Tsekok Repkong Xining Tour - 16 Days

Destination: Qinghai Amdo
Duration: Sixteen Day
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Transportation: Vehicle
Best Travel Time:All year
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Covering the most famours sceneries in Amdo, such as Labrang monastery,Repkong,Lamusi, Kumbum monastery, this tour gives the visitors an unforgettable impresseion of China Amdo Tibetan area with its heartbreaking natural scenery and the local tibetan life style.
Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction
US$2400/persons 2400USD/Person

Day 01:  Lanzhou Arrival
Arrive in Lanzhou and transfer to hotel. Lanzhou was called Jincheng in the past and is now the capital of Gansu Province. It was a very important stop for caravans to purchase melons and potatoes in the olden times on the Silk Road. We may have a short time to visit the provincial museum at Lanzhou in the afternoon where a lot of ancient goods are on exhibits that are reminiscent of the old times on the Silk Road. The Yellow River flows through the center of town. This is the second largest river in China and its source in Tibet. (B,L,D)

Day 02:  Lanzhou-Labrang
In the morning drive to Labrang, which is 2,900 meters above sea level. Most of the inhabitants are Tibetan. It is a very small but lovely town, where you can really feel the dense atmosphere of nomadic culture mixed with Buddhist life that is typical for Tibetans. Labrang is also famous for its huge monastery that was founded in 1709. It is one of the six biggest monasteries with largest population of monks in all of Tibet. Lunch will be in Linxia, a Muslim town with a very long history. It is one of the first places on the Silk Road where the Arabian businessmen settled down during the Tang dynasty. After lunch, we will do a short trip to the old part of the town, where there are some mosques with brick carvings are incredible. (B,L,D)

Day 03:  Labrang sightseeing
We will visit Labrang Monastery in the morning. Our Tibetan guide will show us the impressive interior of the Assembly hall and other temples. We will see the images of Buddha and numerous protective deities. We will explore the Tibetan antique shops, as well as the shops providing for the needs of monks and the monastery. One can find for sale religious thangkas, Buddha statues, prayer flags, a range of monks clothing, rolls of cloth, hand-printed sutras, and also nomadic jewellery. Many of the shopkeepers are Muslims; know locally as Hui Hui, so bargaining is the order of the day. (B,L,D)

Day 04:  Labrang-Lhamo
Once again we drive south 250km to Taktsang Lhamo Monastery, which lies at the border of Sichuan and Gansu Province. We stay at the small Tibetan trading town, next to the monastery. Above us are green hills and the monastery. It is a spectacular scene. At this place, two Yellow Sect monasteries lie side by side but Gerde Monastery belongs to Sichuan Province and Lhamu Monastery to Gansu. Gerde was founded in 1413 and many of the monastic buildings have been beautifully reconstructed in the ty0pical Amdo style. (B,L,D)

Day 05:  Lhamo sightseeing
Today is a pleasant easy day. We will visit the two monasteries with our guides and those wishing to explore the country paths on their own will have time to wander. The small town is well worth a look and there is at least one superb working water mill that is used by the local people to mill their grain. The vernacular architecture of the town with its woven wicker walls plastered with mud is of great interest. (B,L,D)

Day 06:  Lhamo-Muchu
Drive to Muchu. (B,L,D)

Day 07:  Muchu-Jigdril
Our journey takes us approximately 120km from Muchu to Jigdril in Qinghai Province. Much of the area is high windswept marshlands and extensive grasslands that rise to 3292m. Here nomads graze their large herds of yaks and sheep living in hand-woven black yak hair tents. Overgrazing is a problem made worse by the small but delightful pikas, which are a voracious herbivore and compete for the grass with the yaks and sheep. We shall probably picnic en-route and stop to visit a nomadic family so that we can note the tent structure and see the hand-woven rugs and bags made by the nomads. If we arrive in good time we will visit a local monastery. (B,L,D)

Day 08:  Jigdril-Padma
We will travel from Jigdril to Badma and our journey takes us approximately 250km through the most beautiful part of Eastern Tibet. We cross a pass at 4200m and have a breathtaking view of a great mountain chain, which includes many holy mountains of the Golok Tribe, rising to 5000m. At the pass, colored prayer flags flap and for those interested in flowers we can usually find some spectacular white and blue gentians. Descending from the high pass, we have views of misty mountain ranges and lower down on the rich grassland there are nomadic encampments with more huge herds of yaks and sheep. Black and white tents with smoldering fires are scattered across the vast landscape that has a backdrop of mountains below blue skies and fluffy clouds. This will be an ideal spot for our picnic. We hope to visit a Red Sect monastery which lies off the road but it is a matter of timing and how much time we have spent with the nomads. However, we will certainly visit another Red Sect monastery, which stands on the road with a huge mani wall and a particularly unusual configuration of white and grey prayer flags arranged in a tent like structure. On the banks along the road are unusual pendulous red poppies. We shall probably arrive late at our hotel as there is just so much to see. (B,L,D)

Day 09:  Padma sightseeing
We overnight at Padma again as we want to rest a little and have more time to absorb the atmosphere. Today we travel about 10km down the road to visit a monastery belonging to the almost extinct Jonang Sect that was founded in Western Tibet but has been confined to southern Amdo since the 17th century because the yellow sect began to get strange in central Tibet. The main monastery suffered damage in the Cultural Revolution and has not been rebuilt but a group of monks still live and pray here. Nearby is a most unusual stone complex called Jakree, belonging to yet another sect. The valley is beautiful and there will be a visit to the sky burial site if no burials are taking place. It is marked by thousands of ochre colored prayer flags as a last and dignified memorial to the dead. (B,L,D)

Day 10:  Padma-Darlag
The journey is approximately 160km to Darlag where we overnight. Once again it is a superb journey through beautiful scenery. We will have time to linger, picnic and explore for flowers, as well as visiting a nomadic encampment. We will have time to chat about nomadic customs, lifestyle, textiles and summarize what we have seen over the last few days. Darlag is situated on the Yellow River and after we check in at the guesthouse/hotel we will drive along the Yellow River for 15km to a red sect monastery called Chaklong Gonpa. There is a large image of Sakyamuni and Padmasambhava as well as thangkas to see in the monastery. In the rich warm orange evening light the monastery looks superb set amongst rolling hills by a small stream lined with large yellow daisy-like flowers. (B,L,D)

Day 11:  Darlag-Machen
Today we travel to Machen. After lunch in Machen, we will go a short distance out of town to have a view of the holy mountain Amneymachen which is revered by Bonpo and Buddhists alike. It is also the home of the sacred protector of the Goloks, Machen Pomra. It was suggested up until 1949 that the holy mountain was even higher than Everest, but the height was finally fixed during the 1960s at 6282m. If it is a clear day we shall have a splendid view of this superb peak. Although you can make pilgrimages around this holy mountain we will leave it for another time, as it takes many days and is a very tough walk which is better left to the very fit. On the return journey we will stop at a great assemblage of flying prayer flags that stretches over the mountainside. The site is sacred and we shall see local pilgrims walking around the flags with their prayer wheels turning. Local craftspeople carve rocks with the sacred words 'om ma ni padmi hom' which translated means 'hail to the jewel of the lotus'. One can buy these beautiful souvenirs from this deeply religious community. (B,L,D)

Day 12:  Machen-Tsekok
This is a fascinating journey across a great variety of landscapes. We will stop several times along the way, visit a monastery and see the worlds longest Mani wall at Hor Gon. (B,L,D)

Day 13:  Tsekok-Repkong
This is an easy drive of 100km to Repkong where we will stay four nights. Repkong was in the past and is still today one of the most famous centers of Thangka painting as well as the making of appliqu Thangkas. We have asked local people to demonstrate these two arts, as well the making of clay sculptures. In the area there is a famous hat maker who makes the yellow hats for the yellow sect monks and lamas. This is a particularly interesting craft that we also hope to see. The valley at this time of year will be a sea of long-haired barley surrounded by sand brown eroded hills with single storied villages tucked into the hillsides. It is a beautiful scene. (B,L,D)

Day 14:  Repkong sightseeing
The Tibetans of Repkong are Buddhists, but in August there is a most unusual secular festival in each of the villages, which has its origins in pre-Buddhist traditions. The people reenact the Bon traditions and they worship the mountain gods. No monks of the yellow sect are allowed to watch. The shaman of each village conducts this important ceremony that honors the local mountain god and asks for the good health of the village and a successful harvest for the local community. On the first day the image of the god is paraded around the village and gifts are given of wine and barley. In only one village, on the second day a goat is killed as a blood sacrifice to the mountain god. This ceremony is early in the morning and if you wish to avoid it you can stay at the hotel. In another village butter effigies of a goat, sheep and yak are burnt as a sacrifice to the god. Various ceremonies go on all day, watched by the whole village dressed in their best clothes. The male members of the village dance in front of the shaman and at the height of the ceremony long needles are placed in their back and through their cheeks. With the needles implanted, the men continue dancing to the beat of a goatskin drum. Beautifully costumed women dance an elegant dance to the god. In between, costumed villagers enact comedy skits. Each village ceremony is a little different and we will visit three different villages with varying costumes and traditions. (B,L,D)

Day 15:  Repkong- Xining
Today we return to Xining for an overnight stay. We travel through a landscape dotted with villages inhabited by small Muslim farmers who grow wheat, barley and rape, as well as fruit and vegetables. Since this is harvest time there is a lot of activity on the land so the journey is really interesting with local people uses scythes to cut and thresh their crops. (B,L,D)

Day 16:  Xining Departure
After breakfast we will be collected from our hotel and transferred to the airport for departure. (B)




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