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23Days Amnye Machen Trekking & Shaman Festival Tour

Day1 --Beijing
Arrive in Beijing and check into hotel. After lunch, we take a stroll in Tiananmen Square, bordered by the Great Hall of the People. Then, we walk to the Forbidden City, the complex of imperial palace, which were home to the Emperors for over 500 years. Grand halls and courts gradually give way to more intimate domestic quarters, giving an insight into the pampered isolation of the emperors. Overnight 4 star hotel

Day2 --Beijing / Xining / Kumbum
After breakfast, we check out our hotel and to take morning flight to Xining. The city is situated on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau at 2200m. Today it is a quite modern city and there is little left of the old walled town that used to be the main trading station between China and Tibet and entrance to the Silk Road. The population today is Chinese, Tibetan, Mongol, Muslim and Tu. After lunch, a visit will be made to Kumbum Monastery which is only 30km away south of Xining, has been well known for many centuries all over Tibet. It was founded in 1560 to commemorate the birthplace of Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Yellow Sect. The monastery was built round the tree which was the birthplace of Tsongkapa. Overnight Tsongkha hotel.

Day3 --Kumbum / Xining
After lunch, we drive back to Xining to buy some necessities in super markets which will be used during the trekking. Overnight Qinghai hotel or similar hotel.

Day4 -Xining / Kokonor
We drive for 4 hours to Kokonor, the biggest holy lake in Tibet and largest salt lake in China covers an area of 4581 Square KM, four times big as Hong Kong. As early as three thousands years ago, Mongolia and Tibetan nomadic people believed that a hundred per cent of the holy lakes and the holy mountains contain unique treasures or minerals underneath. Those minerals give out a kind of magnetism or spirit to a few special sensitive Masters, like Shaman or Living Buddha, through whom to teach people on how to respect and protect natures in order to receive the good luck waves from those holy mountains and lakes to have a good fate of life. In May of 1578, King of the Mongols, Altan Qan gave the title Dalai Lama 3 to Sonam Gyatso at east shore of Lake Kokonor. The Living Buddha system of Gelukpa started since then. Overnight Qinghai Lake hotel**

Day5 --Kokonor / Guide
Drive 170km to Guide (Tibetan: Trika) County. Guide is located on the bank of the beautiful Yellow River. Most of the Tibetans in this area work half the year farming and the other half-year tending yak and sheep in the mountains. Guide produces many kinds of fruits and the landscape has particular characteristics. . Overnight Hot Spring Hotel.

Day6 --Guide / Machen
Drive 360km (8 hours) to Machen, altitude 3900m.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. The holy mountain of Amnye Machen was revered by the Bonpo and Buddhist alike. It is also the home of the sacred protector of the Gologs, Machen Pomra. It was suggested up to 1949 that the holy mountain was the higher, even than Everest, but the height was finally fixed during the 1960’s at 6282m. Overnight Xueshan Hotel or other better Hotel. **

Day7 --Camping
Trekking around Mt. Amnye Machen. Drive to Tsanak Somdu (Chi: Sancha kou) and crossing Ynima pass, where you will get the first view of the Mountain, meet the local horses and yaks works at Tasnak Somdu, the first starting point of (Kora) trekking in clockwise. Trek about15 km (6 hours) along the Yonkhor-chu River to Langri, Yongkhor-chu River is the place where the monks or Tibetan traditional Medical practitioners receive the blessing from Naga (Water god) after collecting the herbs. You will often see the monks by the River and do the Medical prayers. Continue passing some nomadic houses set among sparse juniper woods in the hills around, average altitude:4,100 m, camping at Sarlong.

Day8 --Camping
Trekking about 24 km (8 hours), pass the entrance to the Halong Langri-chu valley, pass Tamchok Gongkha La pass ( Damqiao Pass, 4,700 m), the highest pass on this trekking, where you will see the local people offer incense and prayer flag to the holly mountain every morning. Also the best place for the view of the mountain and glacier. Average altitude:(4,400 m), camping Tamchok Gongkhar.

Day9 --Camping
Trekking 20 km (7 hours) to the rock formation valley of Mowatowa. Where you will see lots of wild sheep and many other wild animals. It's said the King of Gesar also used stay here and his one thousand stone heap offering still can be seen here. Average altitude: 4,300 m, camping at Shima Tongpul or Kueke.

Day10 --Camping
Trekking 22 km (8 hours) to Deleni, visit meditation caves and the variegated cliffs of Goku Chenmo (which is said to mark the entrance to the "palace" of the protector Machen Pomra,), average altitude: 4,300 m, camping at Jomo langra.

Day11 --Camping
Trekking 14 km (6 hours) to Jiashinongke, follow the gorge of the Qushian River, visit Dolma Gur-chu spring and the spur where King Gesar was said to tie his horse. Average altitude: 4,300 m, camping at Longpo. You will spend the last 4 days of trekking along the side of River Drakdar, which is to the NW of Mt. Amnye Machen, you can see some bushes along the trekking, eventually you can come nearer to the edge of glacier.

Day12 --Camping
Trekking about 15 km to Jiashinongke (6 hours), on the way visit Guri Gonpa, a branch of Dzongchen and Dodrub Chode of the Nyingma school. And also you will see the prayer flag. It's said the place where Amnye Machen's younger brother Dadu Wangchuk lives. It is also the starting point for Tibetan pilgrims from west side. Alt:4,100 m, camping at Dadul

Day13 --Camping
Trekking 18 km to Chablong (6 hours), on the way enjoy the view of the grassland and primitive bushes. average altitude: 4,300 m, camping Drikde

Day14 --Camping
Trekking about 22 km (8 hours) to Halong-chu valley, pass the Drakdar Pass ( Zhihede). The second highest pass on this trekking.(4,700m), viewing the scenery of Weigele Glacier, average altitude: 4,450 m, camping at Hanglong

Day15 --Machen
Trekking 18 km to Chorten Karpo (White Pogoda) at Chumarna where we meet the driver. On the way, you will see the King of Geser's incense offering. Recently it was built as a monastery just buy the Yichu River. In the afternoon drive for 2.5 hours to arrive in Machen. Xueshan Hotel or similar.

Day16 --Machen / Henan
Drive 290km (7hours) to Henan (Alt:3500m). 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. Henan Mongolian Autonomous County, Sogwo with a population of 25,000, 90% of which is Mongolian. It is said they are the descendants of Mongo army and came here during the 13th century. Over hundreds of years, the Mongolians in Henan have changed their language and costumes to Tibetan style; the only maintained is the traditional Mongolian yurt. Overnight Henan guesthouse.

Day17 --Henan / Repkong
This morning, we will visit a small monastery called Laka Gonpa and we will also see some Mongolian nomads’ yurts. After lunch, we drive for 3 hours to Repkong. Repkong was in the past and is still today one of the most famous central of Tangkha painting as well as the making of appliqué Tangkha. But during these days, the Shaman Festivals in different villages are another highlight to see. We stay here for two days, in the mornings’ time, we should visit three important monasteries: Longwu (Tib: Rongpo Gonchen) built in 1301, Gomar monastery built in 1741 and Sengeshong Magotsang which was funded during the 15th century. In the afternoons, we will see the Shaman Festivals in different villages. Overnight Xin Xin Hotel **

Day18 & 19 --Tongren (Repkong) 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. In only one village in the second day goats are killed as a blood sacrifice to the mountain god. This ceremony is early in the morning and if you wish to avoid it you can stay at the hotel. In another village butter effigies of a goat, sheep and yak are burnt as a sacrifice to the god. Various ceremonies goon all day, watched by the whole of the village dressed in their best clothes. The male members of the village dance in front of the shaman and at the height of the ceremony long needles are placed in their back and through their mouths. The men continue dancing, with the needles implanted to the beat of the goatskin drum. Beautifully costumed women dance an elegant dance to the god. In-between costumed comedy skits are enacted by villagers. Each village ceremony is a little different and we will visit three different villages which have costumes and traditions. Overnight local best hotel **

Day20 --Repkong / Labrang
Drive 4 hours through a very nice valley to Labrang monastery. The valley looks like “Grand Canyon” but afterwards we will drive into the beautiful grassland where we can see yaks and sheep. Overnight oversees hotel

Day21 --Labrang Monastery
Labrang is one of the big six Gelukpa Lamaseries in Tibet. It is located in Amdo, a Tibetan area of Gansu Province. Once housing 4000 monks, Labrang was first built in 1709 and was the last of the major six monasteries that was built. However it was the most dynamic since it received tribute throughout from five different Emperors. Labrang has six academies including a very prestigious Philosophy College and Medical College . Do the Kora and explore the larger grounds of Labrang. After lunch visit the small nunnery and the local Tibetan town. We visit Labrang Monastery in the morning. Our Tibetan guide will show us the impressive interior of the Assembly hall and other temples. We will be introduced to the Buddha images and numerous protective deities. Overnight overseas hotel

Day22 --Labrang / Lanzhou
Drive for 6 hours to Lanzhou. Overnight Lanzhou 4 star JJ Sunshine hotel.

Day23 --Lanzhou / Beijing / Back home

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