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16Days Yunnan-Sichuan-Qinghai Overland Tour

     Very much off the beaten track as the trail heads along some of the most remote, difficult but beautiful roads in Kham Tibet. A high adventure trail with big rewards for the hardy. Passing through what many consider the religious and cultural heartland of Tibet, the advantage of taking these remote trails is to be able to check out some extremely difficult-to-get-to monasteries. The area stands out as having historically been a stomping ground for all five major schools of Buddhism - a radical and refreshing change from the orthodoxies of central Tibet - and indeed this area provided the heartbeat for the 19c non-sectarian Rimed movement. This combination of high Tibetan culture and high roads is a heady one indeed. The nature of the roads makes it even more difficult than usual to pin down an exact itinerary. Tents as well as the full complement of luxury camping gear will be available so as to be free of the need to make it to the next town to find accommodation.


Summary

Tour Date Destinations Today's Activities Meals Included
Day1 Arrive in Lijiang Lijiang Ancient Town, Black Dragon Pool, Dongba Culture Museum
Day2 Lijiang-Shangrila the First Bend of Yangtze River, Shigu Ancient Town, Stone Drum, Iron Chain Bridge, Tiger Leaping Gorge (the upper part)
Day3 Shangrila - Derong Songzanlin Monastery, Dukezong Ancient Town, the Giant Prayer Wheel, Napahai Lake, Moon Bend of Yangtze River
Day4 Derong - Batang the upper Yangtze River,Wutsi Nature Reserve,Batang River, Batang Gompa Monastery
Day5 Batang - Litang Batang River Gorge,Litang Monastery, Litang Grassland
Day6 Litang - Xinlong Yalong River,Zera Gompa Monastery,Xinlong County
Day7 Xinlong-Baiyu Dorkho Gompa Monastery,Pelyul Gompa Monastery,Katok Gompa Monastery
Day8 Baiyu - Derge the Karma Kagyüpa School,the Parkhang Printery,Gonchen Gompa Monastery
Day9 Derge - Yilhun Lhatso - Manigange the Zi-chu river gorge,Tro La (4916m), Que'er Mountain
Day10 Manigange-Shiqu the 4633m Muri La pass,Dzogchen Gompa Monastery,Zhechen Gompa Monastery
Day11 Shiqu-Yushu Sershul gompa Monastery,Shiqu County,Bumnying Gompa Monastery
Day12 Yushu Jyekundo Gompa Monastery, Wencheng Prince Temple
Day13 Yushu-Maduo Bayan Kala Mountain pass(4832M),Tongtian River,Xinzhai Giant Mini Stones
Day14 Maduo - Gonghe the source of Three Rivers,Gonghe County
Day15 Gonghe - Kokonor Lake - Xining Kokonor Lake,Xining city
Day16 Departure from Xining Departure.

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From $1889 P/P

  • Tour Code: WCT-GZPT04
  • Duration: 16 day(s)
  • Departure Date: From April to October.
  • Tour Type: West China Overland Tour

Terms and Conditions

Price Inclusions

1.Accommodation with daily breakfast as indicated in the hotel list as below;

2.Chinese lunches and dinners as listed in the itinerary;

3.All land transfers & transportation with private air-conditioned coach;

4.All transfers and sightseeing with skilled English-speaking tour guide;

5.All entrance fees as mentioned in the itinerary;

6.Domestic air tickets fares with airport tax and fuel extra fee based on economy class mentioned in the program

7.Service charge and all government taxes;

8.Luggage transfers between airport and hotels;

9.Travel Agency's Responsibility Insurance coverage

Price Exclusions

1.Any arrival and departure international airfares or train tickets;

2.Any meals which are not specified in the tour itinerary.

3.Chinese visa fees;

4.Excess baggage charged by Airlines;

5.Single room supplement;

6.Tips to guides and drivers;

7.Personal expenses and gratuities to service staff.

8.Personal travel accident insurance.

9.All optional programs;

Tour Itinerary Price Details Customize Tour
  • Day 1 :Arrive in Lijiang

    Distance: 30KM
    Transport: Private van for hotel and airport Transfer, Arrival flight not included
    Sightseeing & Activities: Lijiang Ancient Town, Black Dragon Pool, Dongba Culture Museum
    Meals:

     

    Arrive in Lijiang, after landing, meet your local guide and transfer to the hotel located in Lijiang Ancient Town. If time permits, you'll head for the scenic Black Dragon Pool and the Dongba Museum to explore the rich Naxi minority culture. 

     

    In the late afternoon, explore Lijiang Old Town.Lijiang Old Town has a history more than 800 years; it was listed as the World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO 1997. Here you will see the wonderful wooden architecture of Naxi ethnic people. After dinner, you will attend the Naxi Orchestral Music in Naxi Concert in Lijiang Ancient Town.

     

    --Black Dragon Pool (also Heilongtan),located at the foot of the Elephant Mountain, about 2 kilometers away from Lijiang Ancient Town is the main headwater of the Yushui River which goes through the Old Town. It is just like the bright eyes of the town, shining with the wisdom. People believe that the gods of the Naxi people are living in the chestnut woods, beside the mouth of springs, behind the carved doors and below the bridges. The springs come from the god-protected mountains and gather in this place and finally form the dragon pool. Then water goes down a waterfall and becomes the Yuhe River, pouring life to the Old Town.

     

    --Lijiang Ancient Town is a largely Naxi settlement first built 800years agao, located at the foot of the Lion Hill and completely surrounded by the new city of Lijiang.In December 1986, the State Council designated it a famous ancient historical and cultural city of national caliber. In 1997, UNESCO made Lijiang a World Cultural Heritage Site. Most of the dwellings, scattered at the foot of a mountain or by the river, are brick-and-tile structures with carved doors and painted windows. Traffic across the river is facilitated by a large number of tiny stone bridges. The town is similar to the Zhouzhuang Water Town in the south of the Yangtze River.

    • Lijiang Ancient Town,Yunnan.
      Lijiang Ancient Town,Yunnan.
  • Day 2 :Lijiang-Shangrila

    Distance: 220KM
    Transport: Private transfer
    Sightseeing & Activities: the First Bend of Yangtze River, Shigu Ancient Town, Stone Drum, Iron Chain Bridge, Tiger Leaping Gorge (the upper part)
    Meals:

     

    From Lijiang, you'll drive about 60KM to the First Bend on the Yangtze River with imposing gorge scenery, and the Iron Chain Bridge in the Stone Drum town. The town of Stone Drum got its name from a large, cylindrical, marble tablet shaped like a drum. The scenery is magnificent as the road running through the Lijiang valley which is filled with wheat fields and drying haystacks. You will have an experience of the floating from the First Bend of the Yangtze River to Longpan Town, after one hour floating, meet the driver and trasfer to Tiger Leaping Gorge.

     

    Visit the Tiger Leaping Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world. With 34 rapids of the Yangtze River, it is called the Jinsha in this area because you can find gold in the river. Afternoon, you'll head for Shangri La, the former Zhongdian which is welknown as the paradise destination for every tourist. Upon arrival in Shangri La, you will have entered the Tibetan cultural area and a landscape of barley fields and yaks scattered in the valleys. Walk around Dukezong Ancient Town, an important town of the Ancient Tea-horse Trade Caravan from Yunnan to Tibet and India.

     

    -- Tiger Leaping Gorge is on the Jinsha River of the upper reaches of the Yangtze, located 105 kilometers south of Shangrila County. The gorge is 17 kilometers long with a drop of 213 meters. Tiger Leaping Gorge is divided into three sections: Upper, Middle and Lower Hutiao. At the narrowest spot the river is only 30 meters wide. The mouth of the gorge is 1,800 meters above sea level. The river is flanked by Yulong and Haba snow mountains, with a height difference of 3,900 meters. It is one of the deepest gorges in the world.

    • Tiger Leaping Gorge in Lijiang.
      Tiger Leaping Gorge in Lijiang.
  • Day 3 :Shangrila - Derong

    Distance: 180KM
    Transport: Private transfer
    Sightseeing & Activities: Songzanlin Monastery, Dukezong Ancient Town, the Giant Prayer Wheel, Napahai Lake, Moon Bend of Yangtze River
    Meals:

    Visit Dukezong Ancient Town and the Giant Prayer Wheel, as well as Songzanlin Minastery in the morning.

     From Zhongdian it’s an easy 2-hour ride to the Tibetan town of Benzilan on the banks of the Yangtze, which for centuries was an important stop on the old trading route into Tibet (indeed in central Tibet, imported Chinese tea was often known as ‘Benzilan tea’!). Here the road crosses the Yangtze to enter Sichuan, following a windy road towards Derong, through a landscape of dipping valleys and steep river banks, dotted with typical signs of a Tibetan area - prayer stones, stupas, and flags. Derong itself, small but thriving, is tucked tightly in a gorge of the Ding-chu river which the town straddles. Camping tonight, weather providing. 

    • Songzanlin Monastery in Shangrila.
      Songzanlin Monastery in Shangrila.
  • Day 4 :Derong - Batang

    Distance: 150KM
    Transport: Private transfer
    Sightseeing & Activities: the upper Yangtze River,Wutsi Nature Reserve,Batang River, Batang Gompa Monastery
    Meals:

    This is a less trodden route, as the rougher roads will testify, following the Yangtze upstream through a pretty valley which skirts the Wutsi Nature Reserve, on a relatively untrodden road north-west to Batang. Set in a wide, prosperous valley alongside the Batang River, it’s just over 30 km east of the Yangtze-TAR border. Its low (for these parts!) altitude (2470m) gives it a mild climate, and the town itself, though small, rates as quite a hub of activity (boasts its own radio station!) owing to flow of trans-border traffic made of truckers plying the Lhasa-Chengdu route. Two sites worth seeing are the Batang gompa (Gelukpa since 1639), heavily damaged in Sino-Tibetan wars of 20c, some amazing frescoes destroyed, it’s been gradually repaired over the years. Some 400 monks reside, and the Jakyung Rito Pendeling Gon - smaller and older.

    • Cuopugou National Forest Park in Batang County,Sichuan.
      Cuopugou National Forest Park in Batang County,Sichuan.
  • Day 5 :Batang - Litang

    Distance: 179KM
    Transport: Private transfer
    Sightseeing & Activities: Batang River Gorge,Litang Monastery, Litang Grassland
    Meals:

    Trail heads due east on the main Sichuan-Tibet highway, following the Batang river gorge upstream to the township of Taksha. Trail then ascends a pass (4230m) offering some views of high mountain lakes and empty plains indicative of this area’s extreme environment, uniquely suited for nomadic pastoralism. Crossing a watershed pass (separating the Batang and Li river systems) we’re soon arriving in Litang, which at 4100m is one of the highest towns in the world, set on a broad grassland with Lithang gompa dominating it from the north.

    Litang itself has played a central part in the region, from its days as an independent Kingdom, allied with Kagyü rulers of the Kingdom of Dêrge, through its absorption by the great Gelukpa expansion east in the 16th, 17th & 18th centuries, to its position as a (nominal) outpost of the Qing dynasty all the way through to its role as a centre of resistance in the Khampa uprising against the incoming PLA in the 1950’s. As with Ganzi further north, it’s a market town and administrative centre, heavily coloured by its roots as a trading post for the Khampa nomads that populate the high plains.

    • Litang Monastery in Litang County,Sichuan
      Litang Monastery in Litang County,Sichuan
  • Day 6 :Litang - Xinlong

    Distance: 155KM
    Transport: Private transfer
    Sightseeing & Activities: Yalong River,Zera Gompa Monastery,Xinlong County
    Meals:

    Up early to catch Litang’s superb morning views and pay a visit to Lithang gompa, a huge monastery complex and one of Kham’s most prominent Gelukpa centres, founded 1580. After breakfast a day’s extreme back-country drive, north as the trails wends its way through forested valleys and grassland, to Xinlong, capital of Nyarong county and largely unvisited due to a road only recently completed/repaired Xinlong is a small town set alongside the banks of the Yalong River, largely unvisited due to a road only recently repaired/completed. It’s the capital of Nyarong county, a relatively poor area compared to its neighbours. Set atop the hill behind town is Zera gompa, a teaching monastery with about upwards of 50 monks here.

    • Yaqing Monastery in Ganzi,Sichuan.
      Yaqing Monastery in Ganzi,Sichuan.
  • Day 7 :Xinlong-Baiyu

    Distance: 254KM
    Transport: Private transfer
    Sightseeing & Activities: Dorkho Gompa Monastery,Pelyul Gompa Monastery,Katok Gompa Monastery
    Meals:

    From Xinlong follow the the steep gorge of the Nyarong valley due south into deep Nyingmapa country, following the Yalong through a forested, fairly secluded valley. Then veer west on a little travelled road past the Dorkho gompa (Sakyapa) before reaching Baiyu, a pretty Tibetan town with tree-lined streets and the river Ding-chu flowing through it.

    The important Pelyul gompa (Nyingmapa) is located atop a hill behind town. Today can choose to continue on to Katok gompa - from Baiyu follow the Yangtze (on the other side of which is the TAR) to Hepo. The early 12c Katok gompa is located 850m above town. Excepting Samye (near Lhasa) this is the oldest surviving Nyingmapa monastery, a hugely religiously significant site, a privilege to be able to visit it.

    • Palyul Monastery Baiyu County,Sichuan.
      Palyul Monastery Baiyu County,Sichuan.
  • Day 8 :Baiyu - Derge

    Distance: 101KM
    Transport: Private transfer
    Sightseeing & Activities: the Karma Kagyüpa School,the Parkhang Printery,Gonchen Gompa Monastery
    Meals:

    Not a whole lot of miles covered this day, so to have time to do the detour to Pelpung gompa via a scenic narrow road. The establishment of this 18c monastery quickly made this region the centre for the Karma Kagyüpa school. It’s been designated one of world’s most important endangered monuments by World Monuments Fund. It’s a huge complex, visible for miles from its hilltop perch. Known as the Little Potala, some reckon its architecture to be Kham’s most stunning. Back on the main road, continue following the Yangtze to Dege, a remote city with a long history, once the seat of the Kingdom of Dêrge, whose kings ruled this area independent of interference from either Lhasa or Beijing. Its most famous building is the Parkhang Printery, the main source of printed materials for much of the Kham area. Today it’s possible to observe the monks at work, using the same age-old wood block techniques. Gonchen gompa, largely gutted, has now been restored, but with the original shell largely intact.

    • Pelpung(Babang) Gompa Monastery in Derge County,Sichuan.
      Pelpung(Babang) Gompa Monastery in Derge County,Sichuan.
  • Day 9 :Derge - Yilhun Lhatso - Manigange

    Distance: 111KM
    Transport: Private transfer
    Sightseeing & Activities: the Zi-chu river gorge,Tro La (4916m), Que'er Mountain
    Meals:

    From Dege, the trail is enveloped between the steep sides of the Zi-chu river gorge, before ascending a series of switchbacks up to Tro La (4916m), leaving behind the forests and snowy peaks to crest onto a vast grassland. Soon visible is Yilhun Lhatso (4500m), a beautiful blue lake surrounded by snowy mountains, held very sacred by Tibetans as evidenced by all the mani stone piles and prayer flags. Weather providing, camp tonight along its banks, with the glaciered 6186m Mt. Que’er as the backdrop if lucky. Or can opt to continue to the wild west town of Manigange on the Sichuan-Qinghai 'highway', home to Yazer gompa (Nyingma).

    • Xinluhai Lake in Derge County,Sichuan.
      Xinluhai Lake in Derge County,Sichuan.
  • Day 10 :Manigange-Shiqu

    Distance: 220KM
    Transport: Private transfer
    Sightseeing & Activities: the 4633m Muri La pass,Dzogchen Gompa Monastery,Zhechen Gompa Monastery
    Meals:

    Proceed north over a fantastic (and tarmacked!) stretch of road across wide nomad country rarely visited by outsiders, that foreshadows the huge grasslands of Amdo, still a couple of days north. First cross the 4633m Muri La pass, then nearby, set in a 'hidden valley', is the 17c Dzogchen gompa (Nyingmapa), one of the most important monasteries in Kham and a renowned school for teachings of Dzogchen.

    Time providing also make a detour to visit Zhechen gompa via a pristine valley surrounded by mountains, as well as Tsatsa gompa and Rinyur gompa, before arriving for the evening to Shiqu - recently a small concrete town filled mostly with Han Chinese PLA and police, it’s now a busy market town, mostly Tibetan. Bumnying gompa (Gelukpa) is here, home to some 200 monks.

    • Muri La Mountain Derge County,Sichuan.
      Muri La Mountain Derge County,Sichuan.
  • Day 11 :Shiqu-Yushu

    Distance: 146KM
    Transport: Private transfer
    Sightseeing & Activities: Sershul gompa Monastery,Shiqu County,Bumnying Gompa Monastery
    Meals:

    A little outside of Shiqu is the Sershul gompa, probably the only monastery you’ll ever see built with pink (!) tiles - a large and obviously rich monastery, it’s a bit more Han Buddhist than Tibetan Buddhist, overlooking a Tibetan village. The countryside rises from hills and plains to wide open grasslands, fantastic stuff. Lunch in the tiny hamlet of Xiewu, combined with a visit to the Sakyapa monastery set on the hillside above town. The roue then heads south to Yushu, en route passing Gyanak Mani - a football field-sized pile of mani stones which must surely be the largest such mani dui from here to Lhasa - before finally arriving at the hopping town of Yushu.

    • Sershul gompa Monastery in Shiqu County,Sichuan.
      Sershul gompa Monastery in Shiqu County,Sichuan.
  • Day 12 :Yushu

    Distance: 60KM
    Transport: Private transfer
    Sightseeing & Activities: Jyekundo Gompa Monastery, Wencheng Prince Temple
    Meals:

    A relatively big town, there’s plenty of street life to entertain oneself, and even a few internet cafes. Jyekundo gompa (Sakyapa) on a hill overlooking town is worth a visit, before heading out of town to see some of the sites (the 7c Wencheng Temple, Benchen gompa, Trangu gompa).

    • Jiegu Monastery in Yushu County,Qinghai
      Jiegu Monastery in Yushu County,Qinghai
  • Day 13 :Yushu-Maduo

    Distance: 333KM
    Transport: Private transfer
    Sightseeing & Activities: Bayan Kala Mountain pass(4832M),Tongtian River,Xinzhai Giant Mini Stones
    Meals:

    Retracing part of the trail from a couple days ago to Xiewu, cross the border of Kham, leaving the gorge country of Kham and head into Amdo Tibet, birth place of many of the DLs and an area strong in Mongol influence. It’s a great road dotted by yaks and the black-haired yak tents of the Golok nomads, sightings of the Asiatic wild ass (kiang) and the Tibetan Gazelle relatively common, amid vast rolling plateaus surrounded by distant mountains The road climbs steeply to Drubgyuling gompa, well worth a visit, with hundreds of young student lamas. At Huashixia, a one-yak truck stop providing only the most basic of accommodation, turn right and the unmistakable profile of Machen Gangri (6282m) - the highest peak of the Amnye Machen (Magyel Pomra) range, held sacred by all schools of Tibetan Buddhism as well as by Golok nomads and followers of B?n - is soon visible.

    • Xinzhai Giant Mini Stones in Yushu.
      Xinzhai Giant Mini Stones in Yushu.
  • Day 14 :Maduo - Gonghe

    Distance: 336KM
    Transport: Private transfer
    Sightseeing & Activities: the source of Three Rivers,Gonghe County
    Meals:

    the source of Three Rivers,Gonghe County

    • Amnye Machen Kora Mountain Pilgrimage Trekking Tour
      Amnye Machen Kora Mountain Pilgrimage Trekking Tour
  • Day 15 :Gonghe - Kokonor Lake - Xining

    Distance: 243KM
    Transport: Private transfer
    Sightseeing & Activities: Kokonor Lake,Xining city
    Meals:

    Kokonor Lake,Xining city

    • Kokonor Lake in Xining City,Qinghai
      Kokonor Lake in Xining City,Qinghai
  • Day 16 :Departure from Xining

    Distance: 30KM
    Transport: Private van for the hotel and airport transfer, departure flight not included
    Sightseeing & Activities: Departure.
    Meals:

    Departure from Xining (B)

    • Dongguan Grand Mosque in Xining City,Qinghai.
      Dongguan Grand Mosque in Xining City,Qinghai.
Apr.1 - Oct.31 Super Deluxe (5-star) Deluxe (4-star) Standard (3-star)
1Person
2-5 Persons
6-9 Persons
10 & above
Single Supplement
City Super Deluxe (5-star) Deluxe (4-star) Standard (3-star)

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