Code: TB15

Qinghai-Tibet Land Trip

Potola Palace, Lhasa
Linxia, dubbed the 'Mecca of China' for its Muslim towers and mosques, was once a terminal on the Silk Road for traders caravanning between Lanzhou and Tangguan. In addition to Hui (Muslim Chinese) and Han people, Linxia is a regional center for the Dongxiang people, who speak their own Altaic language. You will leave Linxia to start your journey to Lanzhou.

On the first day, you will be awakened up by the sound of low blowing horns echoing across the town at dawn, and you are advised to visit the monastery in the morning to sit amongst the robed monks in the Great Hall to listen to the chanting of sutras, the ancient texts of Buddhist knowledge and wisdom. Then tour the compound to see the museum, the great halls, libraries and their exquisite yak butter sculptures. In the afternoon you can explore the nearby grassland by bike or on horseback, and venture up the valley to reach a monument surrounded by prayer flags.
On the second day, visit  Wendu village, the birth place of tenth Panchen Lama, including the Wendu Monastery which is a Yellow Sect monastery with a Memorial Hall to the Tenth Panchen Lama.  In the afternoon you may (can? See below) rent a car to Xiahe, which is a small but important Tibetan town, whose activities center on the Labrang Monastery. Built in 1709, the monastery is one of the six most important monasteries of the Gelupka sect.
The next day, you can visit the most influential center of Tibetan Buddhist Arts: Thangka paintings, clay sculptures and applique. Then go the Longwu Monastery -- built in 1301, the leading monastery of Yellow Sect in the Tongren region, and Wutong Monastery, which is regarded as Regong Arts School, pay a visit to families of artists. In the afternoon visit Guomar Big Pagoda, the biggest pagoda in Amdo area.
Sutra-debating of lamas
Today, take an easy drive about 150km to the famous monastery Kumbum, then 30km to Xining, the capital city of Qinghai Province. Kumbum, one of the six great monasteries of the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism, was founded in 1560 by the third Dalai Lama to commemorate the birthplace of Tsongkhapa. After your visit, continue driving to Xining. We recommend the Qinghai Hotel for you tonight, which is a 4-star hotel (Address: Huanghe Road 158, Xining, Qinghai; Tel: +86 0971 6144888).
After one night of comfortable rest, drive 350km to Kokonor,  a fascinating journey across a great variety of landscapes. Kokonor, the biggest holy lake in Tibet and largest salt lake in China, covers an area of 4581 square km, four times bigger than the total area of Hong Kong. In May of 1578, the king of the Mongolia, Altan Qan, gave the title third Dalai Lama to Sonam Gyatso on the eastern shore of Lake Kokonor. The Living Buddha system of Gelukpa started from that time.. Stay overnight at a local guest house.
Today you will continue your journey to Yushu, one of the Tibetan Autonomous prefectures in Qinghai province. You may stay at the 4-star Yushu Hotel overnight (Address: No.10 Minzhu Road, Jieguo Zhen, Yushu County, Qinghai; Tel: +86 0976-8822999)
In Yushu, you may pay a visit to the Temple of Princess Wencheng, Lheba Gulley (3km further after Temple of Wencheng), Batang Monastery (Kagulpa order at Batang village in Yushu) and Jiegu Monastery (built in 1398, belonging to the Sakyapa Order).
On the seventh day, we suggest you drive to Shiqu, a county in Sichuan, going 10 kilometers from the county line, you can find the famous Sexu Monastery, which was established in 1760. This monastery is free of charge. Since the local condition here is not very good, we recommend the two-star Shangbala Hotel for you.
Drive to Manigangou to visit the Dzogchen Monastery in Dege town. Dzogchen Monastery was established in 1685 by H.E. Dzogchen Monastery is one of the six great seats of the Nyingma tradtion and is head to almost three hundreds of branch monasteries in the Central, Amdo and Kham regions of Tibet. Lamas from this monastery continue to have tremendous influence throughout Tibet and the world, by spreading the holy Dzogchen doctrines. Dzogchen Monastery lies in a beautiful hidden valley among the Ziltrom Range of Snow Mountains, more than four-thousand meters above sea level, and the Second Buddha Guru Padmasambhava miraculously traveled to Dzogchen and blessed it as a place of excellent attributes. Nowadays the area is governed by PR China under the Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Ganzi, in northeastern Dege County.
At Dege, visit the famous Dege Printing House, well known for its rich, unique collections of Buddhist books and wood carved printing boards.  It is listed as one of the three most renowned printing centers in Tibet, then visit Gengqing Monastery (Sakyapa Order).  After exploring the town of Dege, you will continue your journey and stop at the small town of Jomda.
Local people are celebrating their festival
Drive from Dege via Jomda to Chamdo. Reaching the end of the day will seem like a mighty feat as you will be crossing over no less than four passes - Khargang La (4,352 m/14278 ft), Lashi La (4,450 m/14600 ft), Jape La (4,680 m/15354 ft), and Tama La (4,511 m/14800 ft), with clutters of prayer flags waving in the wind on the peaks and friendly nomads waving at us from the grasslands. Stay in the 3-star Chamdo hotel (Address: No. 22 Chamdo West Road; Tel: 0895-4825998).
Straddling the Mekong River, Chamdo possesses a rich history as one of the earliest centers of the Tibetan plateau and home to Kalden Jampaling, the great monastery founded in 1436 to 1444 and developed through the centuries by successive incarnations. You will spend the day stretching your legs, exploring the monastery and shopping in Tromzikhang, an open-air market where colorfully dressed Tibetans market their wares and antique goods.
On the tenth day, drive from Chamdo to Markham, stay overnight at a local gust house.
Then drive from Markham via Meili Snow Mountain to Dechen. From here, you will enter Yunnan province, and your exciting Xining-Tibet tour ends.
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