Look no further than this thoughtfully curated 6-day tour if you are in search of a journey that seamlessly weaves together the natural splendor, cultural tapestry, and spiritual depth of Qinghai Province.
Your adventure begins with an exploration of the Qinghai Lake with its crystal blue waters, grasslands, and snow-capped mountains. Immerse yourself in Tibetan Buddhist art and culture in Tongren, witness the extraordinary rituals of the Shaman Festival, and visit iconic monasteries like Wutong and Longwu. Engage in a cultural exchange with a local family, and discover the grandeur of the Dongguan Mosque.
2. Immerse yourself in Tongren’s rich cultural heritage, exploring exquisite Thangka paintings and serene monasteries embodying Tibetan traditions.
3. Witness the mesmerizing Shaman Festival, where local Tibetan and Tu ethnic minorities showcase unique rituals, offering insights into their spiritual traditions.
4. Visit the Dongguan Mosque, a grand and dazzling mosque that combines Chinese and Islamic architectural styles.
- Day 1: Arrival in Xining
Welcome to Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province and the gateway to the Tibetan Plateau. Upon your arrival, our local guide and driver will greet you at the airport or train station and take you to your hotel in downtown Xining. The remainder of the day is yours to unwind or explore the city at your own pace.
- Day 2: Exploring Qinghai Lake (B, L)Qinghai Lake, Erlangjian Scenic Area
Start your day with breakfast before embarking on a 2.5-hour drive to the breathtaking Qinghai Lake, China's largest inland saltwater lake. Situated at an altitude of over 3,200 meters, Qinghai Lake captivates with its crystal blue waters, expansive grasslands, snow-capped mountains, and vibrant wildflowers.
Visit the Erlangjian Scenic Area, offering the best vantage point for admiring the lake and engaging in leisure activities such as walking, cycling, boating, or horseback riding. Optionally, take a cruise on the lake to gain a unique perspective and revel in its beauty and serenity. After the excursion, return to Xining for a restful night's sleep.
- Day 3: Xining to Tongren (B, L)Wutong Monastery, visit a local family
Following breakfast, embark on a 3-hour drive to Tongren, a quaint town in the Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, renowned for its Tibetan Buddhist art and culture.
Explore the Wutong Monastery, also known as Gomar Gompa, a significant monastery affiliated with the Gelugpa Sect (Yellow Hat Sect) of Tibetan Buddhism. Marvel at the intricate Thangka paintings within the monastery, portraying the life and teachings of Buddha and other deities. Witness resident artists carrying on the tradition of Thangka painting.
Following the visit, immerse yourself in the local culture by spending time with a local family. Engage in conversations, savor homemade cuisine and beverages, and gain insights into their daily life, customs, and beliefs. Overnight stay in Tongren, soaking in the town's tranquil atmosphere.
- Day 4: Experience Shaman Festival (B, L)Shaman Festival in Tongren
Today offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant Shaman Festival, a lively celebration cherished by the local Tibetan and Tu ethnic communities in Tongren. This annual event, held between June 17th and 25th of the lunar calendar, serves as a heartfelt display of devotion and gratitude to the Mountain God, a revered protector. Accompanied by your local guide, head to the Temple of the Mountain God, where awe-inspiring rituals unfold, led by the shaman or wizard overseeing the festival.
Witness astonishing practices like Shangkouqian, Shangbeiqian, and Kaishan, involving the piercing of steel needles through the mouth, back, and chest of participants, who display an astonishing lack of pain or bleeding. These rituals are believed to ward off diseases, instill strength, and appease the Mountain God. Amidst the spectacle, observe villagers dressed in festive attire, engaging in song and dance to entertain the benevolent deity. Conclude the day by soaking in the tranquil ambiance of Tongren.
- Day 5: Tongren to Xining (B, L)Longwu Monastery, Dongguan Mosque
Following breakfast, embark on a visit to the Longwu Monastery (also known as Rongwo Monastery), a significant institution within the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism in Qinghai. Established in 1301, the monastery sprawls across 100 hectares, housing numerous halls, thousands of monk cells, and impressive statues of Buddha and other deities. A standout is the 11-meter-tall gilded statue of Tsongkhapa, the sect's founder, set on a 26-meter circumference stand. The monastery is also a hub for Tibetan Thangka paintings, depicting the life and teachings of Buddha and other deities. Marvel at the centuries-old Thangka paintings and observe resident artists preserving this rich tradition.
After the monastery visit, journey back to Xining. Explore the Dongguan Mosque, the region's largest mosque and one of northwest China's distinguished four great mosques. Built in 1380 with a history spanning over 600 years, the mosque seamlessly combines traditional Chinese and Islamic architectural styles, boasting a grand exterior and intricate interior decorations. Serving as an educational center for Islamism in Qinghai, the mosque's prayer hall accommodates up to 3,000 people.
- Day 6: Xining Departure (B)
Savor your free time until your designated departure. Your driver will transfer you to the airport or train station for your onward journey, bidding farewell to Qinghai and carrying cherished memories from this enriching trip.