Qinghai Lake
Home China City Tours Xining Tours Classic Xining Tours 7 Days Qinghai Plateau Nature and Tibetan Culture Tour

Tour Overview

Nestled in the northwest of China, Qinghai Province unveils a captivating blend of natural wonders and cultural richness. Home to the expansive Qinghai Lake, the origins of both the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, this region boasts unparalleled beauty. Embracing a harmonious coexistence of various ethnic groups—Tibetans, Mongols, Hui, and Han—and diverse religions, including Buddhism, Islam, and Taoism, Qinghai is a cultural mosaic.

Join our immersive 7-day tour, where you’ll explore scenic gems like Kanbula National Forest Park, Guide Geopark, Shizang Danxia Geo-park, and Qinghai Lake, unveiling diverse landscapes and wildlife. Delve into the historical and cultural treasures of Tibetan Buddhism, Regong art, and Tibetan medicine as you visit key monasteries, temples, and museums. Experience the captivating harmony of nature and culture, and witness the vibrant tapestry of ethnic groups and religions that define Qinghai’s allure. Immerse yourself in the charm and hospitality of this remarkable region for an unforgettable journey.

Highlights of this tour:

1. Discover the vast beauty of China’s largest inland saltwater lake, Qinghai Lake, and observe its diverse wildlife along the tranquil shores.
2. Immerse yourself in the history and spirituality of Tibetan Buddhism by visiting significant monasteries and temples that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Qinghai Province.
3. Explore the captivating landscapes of Kanbula National Forest Park, featuring the stunning Ashigong Scenic Area with its multicolored clay formations resembling castles and towers.
4. Uncover the world of Regong art in Tongren City, the birthplace of Regong arts, as you visit ancient monasteries adorned with intricate Thangka paintings and murals.
5. Experience the harmonious coexistence of ethnic groups and religions in Qinghai, interacting with Tibetans, Mongols, Hui, and Han communities, while witnessing the blending of Buddhism, Islam, and Taoism throughout your memorable 7-day tour.

Day-by-day Itinerary

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  1. Upon your arrival, our guide and driver will warmly greet you at the airport or train station. They'll accompany you to your hotel located in downtown Xining, the capital of Qinghai province and the largest city on the Tibetan Plateau. The remainder of the day is yours to explore the city or relax at your hotel.

    Your knowledgeable guide can suggest evening activities.

    Accommodation: Xining

  2. Following breakfast, embark on a 90 km drive to Guide Geopark from Xining. Explore the Ashigong Scenic Area, featuring vibrant multicolored clay formations resembling castles, towers, and animals in the Danxia Canyon. Walk along trails with views of the Yellow River and surrounding mountains.

    Guide Geopark
    Guide Geopark

    Continue your journey to Kanbula National Forest Park, approximately 40 km from Guide. This park boasts a distinctive Danxia landform, dense forests, ancient religious sites, and a stunning canyon reservoir. Take a bus-and-boat tour to witness highlights like the Big Buddha, flaming-red mountains, and turquoise reservoir waters. Visit Tibetan villages and monasteries along the way.

    Kanbula National Forest Park
    Kanbula National Forest Park

    After sightseeing, drive to Tongren City for an overnight stay. Tongren is a quaint monastic town with a rich Tibetan and Tu culture, known as the birthplace of Regong arts, including Thangka and mural paintings, Barbola and patchwork crafts, and sculpting.

    Accommodation: Tongren

  3. Start your day with a visit to Longwu Monastery, an ancient Gelug sect Tibetan Buddhist temple built in 1301 with a history spanning over 700 years. Explore its grand halls housing spectacular Buddha and arhat statues, including an 11-meter gilded statue of Tsongkhapa, the Gelug sect's founder. Admire exquisite Thangka paintings and murals.

    Longwu Monastery
    Longwu Monastery

    Next, journey to Wutong Monastery, located approximately 10 km north of Tongren. This monastery is renowned for its collection of centuries-old Thangka paintings and its community of artistic monks. Watch the monks create Thangka paintings and learn about the techniques and meanings behind them.

    Conclude your cultural exploration with a visit to a local Regong Painting School, showcasing more examples of Thangka and other Regong arts. You can purchase souvenirs or even try your hand at painting your own Thangka.

    Accommodation: Tongren

    See how locals make Thangka paintings in Tongren
    See how locals make Thangka paintings in Tongren

  4. Start your day with a hearty breakfast before embarking on a scenic 200 km (124 mi) drive from Tongren to Dawu Town. Marvel at the picturesque landscapes featuring rolling hills, expansive grasslands, and meandering rivers along the way.

    On the way, visit the Heri Sutra Stone Wall, a cultural and religious gem situated behind the Heri Temple in Zekog County. This awe-inspiring stone wall spans 300 meters (984 ft) in length, 2.5 meters (8 ft) in width, and 3 meters (10 ft) in height. Comprising thousands of stone slabs inscribed with Tibetan Buddhist scriptures and images, the wall boasts a total of 200 million characters, including the Gangyur and Dangyur—two integral parts of the renowned Tripitaka. Notably, the inscriptions at Heri Temple constitute the largest sutra wall globally.

    Your guide will assist with the hotel check-in, allowing you to rest and recharge for the adventures that await on the following day.

    Accommodation: Dawu Town

  5. Fuel up with breakfast as you set out on a picturesque drive covering 300 km (186 mi) from Dawu Town to Gonghe County. Situated in Qinghai Province, Gonghe County, also known as Kungho, is positioned along the shores of Qinghai Lake—the largest inland saltwater lake in China.

    En route, seize the opportunity to visit Amne Machin Mountain, revered as one of the Four Sacred Tibetan Buddhist Mountains in China. Home to the chief indigenous deity of Amdo, Machen Pomra, Amne Machin's mountain range extends to the southern border of Gansu. Admire the snow-capped peaks, expansive grasslands, and pristine lakes surrounding this sacred mountain, considered a holy pilgrimage destination by Tibetans.

    Amne Machin Mountain
    Amne Machin Mountain

    Upon reaching Gonghe, your guide will assist with the hotel check-in. Take the time to relax and indulge in the local cuisine, immersing yourself in the unique flavors of the region.

    Accommodation: Gonghe

  6. Begin your day with a delightful breakfast before embarking on a scenic drive to Qinghai Lake, the largest lake in China and a revered site for Tibetan Buddhists. Situated in an endorheic basin on the Tibetan Plateau, the lake boasts an enchanting alkaline saltwater expanse, diverse landscapes, ethnic cultures, and is a haven for migratory birds.

    Qinghai Lake
    Qinghai Lake

    Take a leisurely walk and explore the Erlangjian Scenic Area. This area features a Chinese-style sightseeing village nestled along the lake's shores. A lengthy pier provides a tranquil walk over the calm waters, offering spectacular views of surrounding mountains and the vast sand dunes of Sand Island on the far shore. The scenic area is centered around the ruins of the Torpedo Launch Experiment Base, China's first torpedo testing site established in the 1960s.

    Qinghai Lake Erlangjian Scenic Area
    Qinghai Lake Erlangjian Scenic Area

    Opt for an optional cruise on Qinghai Lake, reveling in the serene waters. Alternatively, rent bicycles, go for paddle boat rides, or embark on a boat tour passing by the Torpedo Base.

    After the exploration, drive back to Xining for an overnight stay.

    Accommodation: Xining

  7. Kick off the day with a hearty breakfast before visiting the Tibetan Medicine & Tibet Culture Museum, the world's sole Tibetan medicine museum. The museum aims to showcase and preserve the cultural heritage of Tibetan medicine, featuring over 2,000 samples, 80 Tibetan medicine wall maps, more than 180 pieces of traditional Tibetan medicine surgery equipment, and 1,000 classical documents across seven exhibiting halls. Don't miss the 618m-long thangka scroll in the south hall, recognized as the longest scroll painting globally.

    Tibetan Medicine & Tibet Culture Museum
    Tibetan Medicine & Tibet Culture Museum

    Next, explore the Dongguan Great Mosque, one of northwest China's largest mosques with a history spanning over 600 years. Built in 1379, the mosque boasts a fusion of traditional Chinese style and local features, featuring a grand exterior and intricate, dazzling interior ornaments. The mosque's prayer hall can accommodate up to 3,000 people and serves as both an educational center and institution of higher learning for Islamism in Qinghai.

    Dongguan Mosque Xining
    Dongguan Mosque

    Following your visit, you'll be transferred to the airport or train station for your departure. Wishing you a pleasant journey!

Tour Price Per Person

The price varies depending on the activity, number of people, travel date, and selected hotel. Please contact us for a specific price.

Price Includes

  • Private land transportation in air-conditioned vehicle with licensed driver;
  • Excellent English-speaking tour guide service as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Main entrance tickets as listed in the itinerary;
  • Accommodation, meals, and activities as listed in the itinerary;
  • One bottle of water per person per day;
  • China Travel Insurance;
  • Government taxes.

Price Excludes

  • Any optional activities inside the attractions;
  • Single Room Supplement;
  • China visa;
  • Gratuities are highly appreciated if you think we did a great job;
  • Flights or trains to and off Xining.
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