Tibetan foothills

From 10500RMB / person 10 Days

Tibetan lands

The Tibetan culture is awaiting your visit to unfold its mysteries before your eyes, even outside of the administrative region of Tibet. Indeed, the mountains of the Tibetan foothills have nothing to envy to the Tibetan plateau itself. Actually, you'll also feel less bothered by the altitude! Discover the Tibetan traditions, sedentary or nomadic, that are still very present in the Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces. This itinerary will lead you through the ancient Tibetan provinces of Kham and Amdo for a real change of scenery.

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Nomadic and sedentary people

Covering areas of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai province, the Tibetan foothills mountains are home to Tibetan people for many centuries, as well as Hui (Chinese Muslims) and Han people (the Chinese majority). Tibetan people often settled around renowned monasteries, thus creating religious, educational and commercial centers in a sedentary way. However, many families kept their nomadic status generation after generation, moving with their flocks of cattle according to the seasons and pasture lands.

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Itinerary

You'll take a flight to Aba, in the north of Sichuan province. Close to Aba, you'll lodge at a nomad family to immerse yourself in their way of life. Then you'll reach Langmusi and admire its monastery and alpine postcard look. You'll go on to Xiahe and explore its renowned Buddhist monastery and school in Labrang. You'll continue to Tongren, an ancient artistic center whose thangka paintings are known all over Tibet. After a stop at Kanbula national park, you'll finish your trip in Xining.

Itinerary

Day 1: Chengdu Arrival – Aba – Tangkor

Take a flight to Aba prefecture in the north of Sichuan province. Upon arrival, your driver will welcome you and take you to Tangkor. On the way, you’ll make a stop at the first bend of the Yellow River, and visit Sokstang monastery.

Day 2: Tangkor – Nomads Camp (B, L, D)

This morning, your driver will take you to a nomad family camp, in the midst of the grasslands. Meet the family who will host you tonight and settle in your tents. Today, you can go for a walk in the surrounding mountains. Later in the afternoon, you can help the family with their yaks, and enjoy a filling typical dinner.

Day 3: Nomads Camp (B, L, D)

This morning, after breakfast, you can assist the family in their daily tasks. If you like, you can also go for a horse ride tour, go for a walk in nature, or rest. Later in the afternoon, you’ll reach another nomad family camp for the night.

Day 4: Nomads Camp – Langmusi (B)

Today you’ll leave your Tibetan hosts and reach Langmusi with your driver. This beautiful and small Tibetan town is charming, quiet and authentic. You’ll visit Kirti monastery that is still home to 500 monks, and witness these monks’ philosophical debates. You’ll also go for a walk in the beautiful Lhamo Gorge, behind the monastery.

Day 5: Langmusi – Xiahe (B)

Today, you’ll continue your trip to Xiahe, to the north in Gansu province. There live the three major ethnic groups of Gansu: Tibetan, Hui (Chinese Muslims) and Han (Chinese majority) people. On the way, you’ll pass by the Gangya plains and hike upon the white rock of Gangya.

Day 6: Xiahe – Norden Camp (B,-,D)

This morning, you’ll visit Labrang monastery in Xiahe, one of the six most important Tibetan monasteries. Many young monks come here to study and receive the teachings delivered by the six monastery branches (colleges of esoteric Buddhism, theology, medecine, astrology, doctrine and debate). Labrang is also a major pilgrimage site.

In the afternoon, your driver will take you to the Norden Camp (20min drive) for a luxury nomadic tent experience. On site you can enjoy different activities (options, not included): discover Lungta cooperative and its role among the local Tibetan community, go for a hike on foot or a horse ride, enjoy a yoga or meditation class, or relax in the sauna or the jacuzzi.

Day 7 : Norden Camp (B,L,D)

This morning, you’ll go for a hike in the surrounding mountains with a local guide, and discover the altitude grasslands fauna and flora. Enjoy a picnic in the middle of nature. In the end of the afternoon, you’ll reach the Lungta cooperative for a festive dinner. You’ll try to milk the female yaks and learn about the butter and cheese making process, and enjoy a dinner of local specialties accompanied by Tibetan musicians.

Day 8: Norden Camp – Tongren (B)

This morning, you’ll continue your trip to Tongren, located to the west in Qinghai province. A very beautiful mountain road will take you to this ancient artistic center, renowned for its Buddhist thangka paintings. You’ll visit Wutong monastery: its upper and lower sites have been recently renovated. Find your way afterwards in the thangka paintings shops near the monastery entrance; these paintings will find their way in a temple or at a rich Chinese collector.

Day 9: Tongren – Guide (B)

This morning, you’ll visit Rongwu monastery (Longwo in Chinese), also in Tongren and overlooking the town. This monastery is known all over Tibet for its refined and precise wall paintings.

In the afternoon, you’ll reach Kanbula national park and its red cliffs landscape. You’ll visit several villages before reaching Achong Namdzong nunnery, overlooking the valley. You’ll explore the nunnery and meditation caves above the monastery, that have been used for more than a thousand years and display some admirable old paintings. Finally your driver will take you to Guide.

Day 10: Guide – Xining Departure (B)

Today, after a stop at Guide stupa, your driver will take you to Xining. You’ll stop at Longyang Xia for a last panorama on the Yellow River, then your driver will take you to Xining airport, where you’ll take your flight home.

Information

Inclusions:
  • Hotels and nomad family camps with breakfast (B)
  • Lunch (L) et dinner (D) when mentioned
  • Driver
  • English-speaking local guide
  • Entrance fees
Exclusions:
  • Visa
  • Domestic and international flights
  • Other meals
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips to the driver, guide and local families
  • Travel insurances
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