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Nomadic Travels through Qinghai Province: Xining to Gui'de

Feel as if you’ve adopted a nomadic lifestyle, as you experience this eight-day journey from China’s Qinghai province, through Dredzong, Maduo, Huashixia, Chabcha, Gui’de, and Lhasa, sleeping in simple guesthouses, trekking through stunning landscapes enveloped by some of the world’s freshest air, and interacting with local Tibetan nomads whose lifestyles have remained relatively unchanged over the centuries. This thrilling journey will no doubt inspire you and give you a new perspective on what life is like for these traditional people.

Highlights   Pricing
Take in the beauty of China’s largest lake Visit a monastery 3,600 meters above sea-level Spot wild donkeys and Tibetan antelopes frolicking in their natural habitat Spend some time with the locals, and learn about their traditional way of life  
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1
Xining - Qinghai Lake South Shore

Arrive in Xining, the capital of China’s Qinghai province, and home to over two million people. You’ll be greeted at the airport, and taken to your vehicle. From here, you’ll embark on a scenic drive (about 90 minutes) to the south shore of China’s largest lake, Qinghai Lake. Marvel at the lush, colorful vegetation that surrounds it, and the thriving fish population it contains. Visit the nomadic herders, with their yaks and sheep, and learn about their traditional way of life.

Day 2
Dredzong Monastery

Today you’ll be driven up the verdant hills that surround the lake, where you can enjoy incredible views. Get back on the road, to Dredzong monastery, which contains plenty of hermitages and meditation caves in its remote, mountain setting, over 3,600 meters above sea-level. If you feel up to it, explore more of the surrounding areas on a hike through the mountainside.

Day 3

Leave Dredzong today and head to Maduo, a small town at lofty heights, 4,350 meters in the sky. Once you check in to your simple guesthouse or hotel, spend some time exploring this remote area, particularly the plethora of prayer flags that blanket the hillside.

Day 4
Kyaring and Ngoring Lake - Huashixia

Wake up to the fresh, mountain air today. You’ll be traveling to Kyaring/ Ngoring Lake, which feeds the mighty Yellow River. Here, you’ll catch sights of wild donkeys and Tibetan antelopes, so make sure to have your camera ready. The afternoon will consist of a short hike along the hill between the two lakes, where you’ll get spoiled by even more incredible views from your spot 4,500 meters above sea-level. Overnight in Huashixia at a simple but comfortable guesthouse or hotel.

Day 5
Huashixia - Amnye Machen near Dawo Sholma

Today, your journey will take you to the north side of Amnye Machen, the highest peak of the incredible mountain chain by the same name, also known as the holiest and most beautiful snowcapped mountains in the area. Say hello to the nomads who inhabit the surrounding grasslands. Check in to a simple guesthouse for the night.

Day 6

Leave Huashixia this morning, and hit the open road once again, passing fields upon fields of rolling grasslands. Today’s destination is Chabcha - a trading town. Here, you can explore the town, which isn’t particularly large or particularly small, heading to the markets, and enjoying a bite to eat, before checking in to your guesthouse for the night.

Day 7
Chika (Gui'de)

Leave Chabcha today, heading towards Gui’de, an ancient city once part of the Ming Dynasty. Here, you’ll be treated to incredible views of the Yellow River, said to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. Check in to a guesthouse in Gui’de for the night, and relax for the evening.

Day 8

Today will be the last day of your journey, and you’ve still a few sights to visit before you depart. Head to Jokhang Temple in Tibet’s capital, Lhasa, and learn why it’s considered by many Tibetans to be their country’s most sacred temple. Once you reach Qinghai, stop by Kumbum Monastery, the famed birthplace of the man known for reforming the Gelukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. Upon arrival in Xining, you will be transported to the airport in time for your onward journey.


Suggested Accommodations

Qinghai Lake Hotel

Qinghai Lake Hotel

Guests may enjoy their time at Qinghai Lake, the largest inland and salt water lake in China, with a stay at the Qinghai Lake Hotel. Situated steps from the lake’s south shore, the hotel features stunning views and a prime location for those looking to soak up the sun. About a three-hour drive to Xining Caojiabao Airport, the hotel is an easy drive off the main highway. While guests should not expect much English to be spoken, the hotel’s staff provide excellent service and help as best they can. After days exploring the lake and surrounding areas, guests can head back inside and enjoy traditional Chinese cuisine in the on-site restaurant. 

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Our co-founder & CEO Catherine Heald lived in China for 7 years and returns often. She loves trekking in the rice terraces of Ping An, and hugging baby pandas in Chengdu!
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