Day01 --Arrive at Beijing or other cities
Arrive at Beijing, meet our guide and driver at the airport and transfer to the hotel. After lunch, a city tour sightseeing if you like. Overnight Beijing 4 star hotel
Breakfast at your hotel, then you board the car with your guide and driver to visit the Great Wall of China and this is no doubt, one of the highlights of your Beijing tour! First built in the warring states period somewhat 2000 years ago, the part of the Great Wall of China that you are going to climb was rebuilt in the Ming dynasty 600 years ago. It was built to keep the Huns and Mongols out of China, but now it is used to draw the offspring of them into China. After lunch, you will visit the Ming Tombs which are located in a valley and number 13 in all. The valley is approached by the Imperial Way that is lined by larger than life stone figures, (animals, soldiers and mythical figures). Only one tomb, Ding Ling, has been excavated and now lies empty but you will visit Changling which houses the impressive treasures from Ding Ling. You will return to Beijing in the late afternoon. Peking duck Banquet. Beijing 4 star Hotel****
Day03 --Beijing / Lanzhou
In the morning, we fly to Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu Province. It is an important industry city in Northwest China. Alt: 1600m. and was a vital communication line on the old Silk Road. If time allows, visit the Provincial Museum. Overnight at the Lanzhou Sunshine Hotel****.
Day04 --Lanzhou / Labrang
Drive 290km (7 hours) to Labrang (Alt:2900m). On the way, 2/3 first part of the road we pass the Chinese Muslim Hui people area with many Mosques along the roadsides. Lunch is in Linxia Hui Autonomous City, which is horned as “Small Hong Kong” by local people as you can buy anything you want in this Moslem city. There is one street specially selling Tibetan antiques and souvenirs, which is worth seeing for half an hour as the prices may cheaper than Labrang. At last part of the road wherever you see the white Chortans which will make you felling you are in Tibetan area and landscape is much more beautiful. Overseas hotel or other good hotels with facility and hot water for shower.
In the morning we visit Labrang monastery built in 1709, now it has 1000 monks. It is one of the six important Gelukpa (the Yellow Sect) monasteries in whole Tibet and a center of Tibetan learning in Eastern Tibet. We can find many Tibetan nomads who come here for pilgrimage and to buy textiles for their clothing and jewellery along numerous Tibetan shops.
Day06 --Labrang / Repkong Shaman Festivals
After breakfast, we drive 130km about 4 hours to Repkong (Alt:2400m). On the way, we pass grassland, forestry, agricultural land and beautiful Red Mountain valley. In the afternoon, we visit the famous Tibetan art school, Sengeshong Magotsang which was funded during the 15th century and after 16th century Repkong became the home town of Tibetan art in Amdo. All monks here have good training of painting and sculptures. We will visit some of monks’ houses. Then we drive to Mayba village to see the Shaman Festival. The Tibetans of Tongren are Buddhists but in July there is a most unusual secular festival in each of the villages, which has its origins in pre-Buddhist traditions. The people reins act 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 which 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 round the village and gifts are given of wine and barley. Various ceremonies go on all day to the evening watched by the whole of the village dressed in their best clothes. Beautifully costumed women dance an elegant dance to the god. In-between costumed comedy skits are enacted by villagers. Each village ceremony is different and we will visit two or three different villages which have costumes and traditions. Overnight Xin Xin hotel**
Day07 --Repkong Shaman Festivals
In the morning we visit the Longwu (Tib: Rongpo Gonchen ) Monastery, an important and the local biggest monastery, built in 1301. It once was the political and administration center in Repkong area. Now it has 450 monks. Then we visit Gomar monastery built in 1741 and now it has 160 monks inhabited. This small but beautiful monastery is famous for its colorful 7-storey Astronomy (Tib: Dhekor; Sanskrit: Kalachakra) stupa. In the whole afternoon, we will see another Shaman Festival in Langjia village which is different from the last village.
Day08 --Repkong / Machen
Drive 360km (8hours) to Machen County (Alt: 3800m). Another wonderful day for picturesque landscape while we drive: grassland with yaks and sheep, nomadic black and white tents. Along the Yellow River valley we will experience the red and Blue Mountains with colorful flowers and some barley land and forestry. This part of driving concentrates many futures of Amdo, the scenery is fantastic changeable geographically at every short distance. Machen in Tibetan means: The highest mountain of the Yellow River. The county is the homeland of the Tibetan Golok people, another strong tribe of Tibetan. The Golok means: Marching strait ahead and never turn back your head. Overnight Snow Mountain Hotel or other better Hotel**.
Day09 --Machen / Jyekundo (Yushu)
Drive about 600km to Yushu (Tib: Jyekundo) County, alt: 3700m. A long day drive and the road are good. Today’s driving is exiting; we pass the first bridge of the Yellow River, the famous mountain pass Bayankala at elevation 5080m and upper reaches of the Yangtze River. Those landscapes present an amazing picture. Under the blue sky with white clouds, you see different types of mountains decorated with pray flags, beautiful grassland embellished with flock of yak and sheep, nomad’s black and white tents, the colorful dressed Golok and Khampa people, while some different sects of old monasteries on the way without tourists to visit, which brings you back to the nature. Overnight Yushu Hotel** with facilities in the rooms and hot water for shower.
Day10/11/12 Yushu Horse Festival
Today is the opening day of the Tibetan Horse Fair. Nomadic families and monks from the surrounding monasteries, dressed in their red robes and finery drive or ride into the camping ground and set up their tents for the festival. Everybody was dressed in his or her best chubas and jewelers. Itinerant peddlers come with their wares and local traders set up a big market. There is an opening parade of horsemen, floats from the monasteries, dressed in their finery and even costumes used for the lama dances. One of the most popular programmers during the festival is Tibetan dancing. Costumed girls and men whirl their long sleeves flying. The men’s boots stamp out a strong rhythm and their ankle bells ring; the crowds roar their approval. The crowd also cheers Tibetan singers singing well-known melodies. Perhaps the most popular events are horse racing, acrobatic riding and shooting. Tibetan are fantastic horseman and the speed of the their small of their steeds is phenomenal. Recently competitions have been held for the best local costume. This gives a chance for men and woman to wear their smartest clothes and oceans of jellerys. As well as watching the various activities it is very pleasant to stroll round the fair and meet the local people who often generously invite you to tea and delicacies in their tents.
Day13 --Jyekundo / Sershul County
Drive 160km to Sershul County, a very small and simple town as most of Tibetan houses are built with timber. Many nomadic families come here for shopping and to taste different food in this town which brings you a strong feeling of old post. On the way we pass Sershul monastery and we will some time to visit it. Overnight Sershul Hotel**.
Day14 --Sershul / Derge
We drive for 280km to Derge. On the way, we visit one of the four important Nyingmapa monasteries Dzogchen Gompa, just 3km away from the main road and 53km to Manigango but it is hidden in a beautiful valley. (Tib: Dzogchen) monastery, one of four important Nyingmapa Monasteries in Tibet, they are Katork, Paiyul and Mindroling. It was built in 1684 on the advice of the Dalai Lama 5 and from its location and background with all year round snow-covered mountains, you can imagine how great and holly it was during past hundreds of years. All foreigners who came here said they were just in “larger Switzerland”, but altitude is 4023m. The famous holly and one of the most beautiful Lakes Yilhun Lhatso is 15km from here on the way. As well as the Tro La Mountain Pass at 5080m is another highlight to see. Derge Guest House **
Day15 -- Derge
Derge, in Tibetan means: A village of doing good things. A charming place which has been giving people wishful thinking to go at home and broad, now still preserve its old traditional way of life in many aspects. The town is located in a nice valley and the Zi-chu, one of the tributaries of the Yangtze River flows across the small town, adding more beauty. We will visit the famous Parkhang Printing House, Gonchen Monastery and a very old Temple of Tangtong Gyelpo was built in memory of Tibet’s first multi-talented bridge-builder, dramatist, engineer and treasure-finder during 11th century. Besides beautiful surroundings, you will be touched by all old monasteries in Derge, arousing your deep imagination of her past. Overnight Derge Hotel**
Day16 -- Derge / Pelyul (Baiyu)
Driving along the Zhi-chu valley for about half an hour, we will move into grand up reaches of the Yangtze River Gorges. Tibetan houses and villages standing at the foot of different shapes of high gorges by the Yangtze, under the bright sun shine, the fantastic view with fresh air, the quiet place with only sound from the river will make you hate to leave here. If the weather is fine, we will drive for about 4 hours to visit Katok monastery built in 1159, one of the important and famous monasteries at home and abroad for Nyingmapa believers as many famous scholars and masters graduated from here for centuries. This old and isolated monastery is a really good place for training high-level monks as well as an ideal ground for meditation. After visit, we drive for about 2 hours to our today’s destination, Pelyul, which is also a small town with another tributary of the Yangtze, Ngu-chu separating the town into two parts. Like Gelukpa has six major high teaching monasteries, the Samye(built in 775 AD), Katok(1159), Pelyul(1665), Mindroling(1670) and Dzogchen(1684) monasteries are 5 important Nyingmapa schools and Nyingmapa means the oldest sect. Upon arrival after checking in our hotel, if time allows, we will visit Pelyul monastery, but most part of it is newly reconstructed after 1980s and some are still under constructions. Overnight Pelyul Guesthouse House with facilities in the room.
Day17 -- Pelyul / Ganzi
We take another road driving 245km to Ganzi, most part pf the road are paved already and landscape is fabulous, high snow mountains, clean rivers, forestry and the best grassland view, different designed prey flag’s sites and a very old small monastery is just by the road, rounded with many sheep skin wrapped prey wheels which magically make you have a feeling of going back several hundred years ago and that seems you have experienced different lives in the past few centuries when you walk around them. Nearby there is Mani stones piled up with many died animal’s bones, it is true those animals need to be preyed for ever as they always help people for surviving since human being started. Between 6 to 7 pm, we will arrive at Ganzi, overnight Golden Yak Hotel**.
Day18 Ganzi / Dzamtang
Ganzi was once the largest and most important town in Kham area during the 17th century. Ganzi Gonpa is in town built in 1642 by Mongols. About 8 o’clock in the morning, we must visit the oldest temple Den Gonpa to see a prey ceremony for the local people, a very important protector monastery for the area. Then we will have a beautiful driving to Dzamtang, on the way we will visit an old Kharmapa monastery Tsimker Gonpa, decorated with numerous small and big stupas around the monastery. Overnight Dzamtang Hotel** with facilities and shower available in the rooms.
Day19 --Dzamtang / Banma (Padma)
Today’s driving is only about 5 hours, but many stops will be requested for taking photos of old and new monasteries on the way and some very old style of Tibetan villages, houses and nice people are also highlight to visit. Upon arrival, after lunch, we will visit two old monasteries with distinctive feature that will deeply impress you for a long time. Today we travel about 10km down the road along one of the tributaries of the Yangtze to visit a monastery belonging to the almost extinct Jonang Sect Yartangjia (Akyong gya) Gompa, which was founded in the Western Tibet during the 13th century, characteristically with three beautiful high Jonangpa Chortans, tower-like temples with big eyes on them that are worth the trip. 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 Jaree, belonging to yet another sect. Another monastery nearby is Nyingmapa Jangritang Gompa, in the middle of the site, a beautiful crafted brown wooden tower, a really artistic construction, which is surrounded with about a hundred chortens of all different sizes. The valley is beautiful and there will be visit the sky burial site if no burials are taking place. It is marked by thousands of ochre colored prayer flags a last and dignified memorial to the dead. Overnight Lianhua Hotel **
Day20 -- Padma / Ngawa (Aba)
Drive 276km via Jiuzhi (Jiddril) to Ngawa (Chi: Aba Alt: 3200m). We will stop to visit a small Nyingmapa monastery Taklung Gonpa, built in 200 year ago. At background of the compa, a great tract of bright red pray flags covered almost all mountain hillsides making a great view. Another attraction on the way is Tibetan farmer’s houses that are so different from what we have seen and we are going to see after Ngawa. In Tibetan Ngawa means: Men who beat drums. The old people explain Ngawa is the first place where the King Songtsen Gampo conferred and awarded the title to warriors during the 7th century. For centuries, Ngawa is one of the largest nomadic areas in Eastern Tibet and one of the important Tibetan cities in Amdo as well as the central of Tibetan culture, religion, trade and communication. Overnight Jingu Hotel.**
Day21 -- Ngawa (Aba)
Ngawa was officially open for foreign tourists since last year when the city looks more modern somehow. But those old different sect monasteries are still worth seeing, as they are rear to see in Central-Tibet nowadays from which we will learn more about Tibetan culture and history. Nangshuk (Narshi) Monastery, the largest Bon monastery in Tibet has 800 monks now. The monks from Benpo always say, they are real Tibetan indigenous religion, because it is the Ben religion started from Tibet since at least 6,000 years ago and history is much longer than any other sects in Tibet. We will visit one of the oldest and few sects Jonangpa Ser (Setenling) Gonpa housing about 1000 monks. Jonangpa or Jonang Sect was first founded in the middle of 13th century, till 14th century, this sect became one of the strangest religions in Tibet and spread to Amdo during that time. During 17th century, the fifth Dalai Lama changed most Jonangpa monasteries to Gelukpa, and only few were left in remote areas, such as in Zamtang, Padma and Ngawa. Then we visit Gelukpa Kirti Gompa, this monastery acts as the center of the town and is one of the largest scale monasteries in Aba (Ngawa) county, was built in 15th century and housing more than 1000 monks. Overnight Jingu Hotel.**
Day22 --Ngawa / (Barkham) Markang / Chuchen
Geographically, during our today’s 343km driving, after passing through several high mountain passes covering with snow and forestry, we leave the wild area of the upper reaches of the Yellow River and drive into the upper reaches of the Yangtze River’s high mountainous area. Because of different living environment, we will see different tribes of peoples, the Qiang people and Tibetan Gyarong and peoples with distinctive habit, costume and dialects, who live not only on the grassland but also forestry and agriculture farmland along countless tributaries of the Yangtze River. Chuchen County lies deep in awesome and unwelcoming Gyarong gorge. Formerly known as Rabden, it was at times the most powerful of the Gyarong kingdoms, and its king was a vigorous proponent of the Bon religion. Overnight Jinchuan Hotel **
Day23 --Chuchen / Damba
Drive 170km to Damba, a place where the Tibetan Gyarong lives. They are another tribe which is different from Golok and Khampa people. They speak their dialect and maintained unique way of life with their own culture for centuries. The dress is also distinctive. Most of the women wear multi-colored embroidered headscarves and elaborate belts and aprons. In old days almost every family has its own blockhouse built with stones, ascending to heights of between 30-60 meters, which kept the powerful sino-Manchu armies at bay for 10 years during 18th century. After lunch, we will visit some villages and Tibetan Gyarong families. Overnight Damba Gubao Hotel with facility and shower.
Day24 --Damba / Chengdu
Drive 340km to Chengdu. Overnight 4 star Hotel.
Day25 --Chengdu / Back Home
Transfer to International Airport and fly back to home.