Day 1 Xining Arrival
Welcome to Xining, Qinghai. Once morning arrival at Xining Caojiabao Airport/Train Station, your tour guide will meet you, and then escort you to your hotel by a private vehicle.
In the afternoon,, drive about 26km to visit the famous Taer Monastery which is the birthplace of the Tibetan Buddhism master – Tsongkhapa who was the founder of Gelug(a sect of Buddhism). It is also famous as one of “6 monastery of Gelug”. You must not miss the “three bests” of Taer Monastery – murals, barbola and butter sculptures.
Day 2 Xining – Qinghai Lake (B, L)
After breakfast, drive around 2.5 hours to see the picturesque Qinghai Lake from Xining via Huangyuan, Riyue Mountain, etc. You won’t feel boring along the driving since fascinate scenery of green grassland, blue sky, white clouds, clustered flocks and herds unfold like a photo gallery.
You will stop at the Erlang Jian Scenic Area to enjoy the beauty of Qinghai Lake. As the largest inland lake, as well as the largest salt water lake in China, Qinghai Lake(3200m) stretches 105km at length, 63km at width and occupies a water area of over 4,500 square kilometers. Attracting thousands of photographers to take photos every year, this plateau lake was elected as the Most Beautiful Lake in China by China’s National Geographic. It is surrounded by harsh mountain ranges from outside. While on the foot of mountains are endless beautiful grassland and rapeseed flower lands which are connected to the lakeside. At the same time, Qinghai Lake is a sacred Tibetan Buddhist site. There are many devoted Buddhist coming from afar to worship to Qinghai Lake each year.
After the sightseeing, drive back to Xining.
1. Qinghai Lake is famous as the Paradise of Migrant Bird. If you are planning a bird watching tour, you are suggested to visit the Bird Island during May and June; 2. From late July to early August is the best time to view the vast golden rape flower fields surrounding the Qinghai Lake; 3. If you are interested and time allows, you can take optional visiting to some interesting attractions along the driving to and back to Xining, such as Dangaer Ancient City, Riyue Mountain, Jinyintan Prairie, etc.
Qinghai LakeQinghai Lake walking
Day 3 Xining – Tongren – Xiahe (B, L )
Today, you will drive to Tongren County, Qinghai, where is the originated place of the famous “Regong Art”. Visit the holy temple – Rongwu Monastery is the third largest Tibetan monastery in south northwestern China, right after Labrang Monastery, Taer Monastery. It is now a Gelug monastery. Rongwu Monastery played a very important role during the history of Tibetan Buddhism in northwestern China. Many famous Buddhist master, scholars lived and studied Buddhism here.
After then, drive across the beautiful Ganjia Prairie to the center of Buddhism center of Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan – Xiahe.
Stay overnight in Xiahe.
Day 4 Xiahe (B)
After breakfast, you will drive to visit the Labrang Monastery. Labrang Monastery is one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug (Yellow Hat) school of Tibetan Buddhism. It is Tibetan Buddhism’s most important monastery town outside the Tibetan Autonomous Region. You have chance to see the monks studying and debating about Buddhism. After then, drive to visit the Songke Prairie which is famous for its excellent pasture and frequent magnificent Buddhist ceremonies.
Drive back to Xiahe and stay overnight here.
Day 5 Xiahe – Lanzhou (B)
Today you will drive back to Lanzhou. On route, take a side trip to visit the Binglin Temple. Firstly, you will arrive at Liujiaxia Dam which is a major hydroelectric dam on the upper Yellow River. Then you will take a yacht on the dam to tour the Bingling Temple. Bingling Temple is a series of grottoes filled with Buddhist sculpture carved into natural caves and caverns in a canyon along the Yellow River. The sculptures, carvings, and frescoes that remain are outstanding examples of Buddhist artwork and draw visitors from around the world.
Leaving Bingling Temple, and drive to Lanzhou.
Day 6 Lanzhou (B)
Today you will explore the best highlights of Lanzhou city. First stop is the White Pagoda Mountain. You can hike up the staircases to the top of the mountain, which is a awesome experience. If you don’t want to bear the walk, you can take the cable car (Y35 to go up, Y20 to come down). On the top of the hill is the White Pagoda built in Yuan Dynasty with Lamasery style. Last, learn a great lesson of Gansu history and culture in the Gansu Provincial Museum. Don’t miss its two best features: Buddhism Culture Hall and Pottery Culture Hall.
Leave Lanzhou, and take high speed train about 485km(about 3.5hrs) to next destination – Zhangye. Accommodate at Zhangye City.
The Iron Bridge of Yellow River
Day 7 Zhangye (B)
After breakfast, you will go to visit the Giant Buddha Temple which is famous for having the largest indoor sleeping Buddha in Asia. This temple was built in Xixia Dynasty(1098), and keeps many precious Buddhist scriptures and wall paintings. The Buddha statue was carved by woods with a length of 34.5 meters. His ears are as big as the space which 4 adults can sit side by side. The statue tells the story of Buddha’s Nirvana. The whole Dafo Temple is a large complex with regal arrangements. The Sleeping Buddha is the centrally seated, symmetric buildings situate along the sides.
In the afternoon, drive about an hour to visit the Zhangye Danxia Landform. Danxia landform is a spectacular petrographic geomorphology landscape which is formed from red-coloured sandstones and conglomerates. The one in Zhangye was formed in the pre-Jurassic Age. Thousands of mountains and stiffs stretch like the colorful sunset glow. The barren mountains are covered by a red grit rock stratum. At the same time, some surfaces of mountains appear other colors, such as white, yellow, etc, and form many irregular lines and blocks looking like some abstract oil paintings. There are four viewing decks for you to watch and shoot. You will visit one by one, and will be transferred by interzonal buses from one deck to another.
1. Pack with sun creams, sun glasses, protective clothing and hat to protect from strong sunlight in summer; 2. sunset is the best time for taking photos which happen around 19:00~20:00 in summer and 18:00~19:00 in winter.
Zhangye Danxia Landform Views After RainGiant Buddha Temple
Day 8 Zhangye – Jiayuguan (B)
After breakfast, drive about 220km(2.5hrs) to Jiayuguan City.
In the afternoon, drive about 10 minutes to visit the Jiayuguan Fort. Before entering the fortress, take a short visit to the Great Wall Museum to learn some interesting facts about both the Jiayuguan Fort and Great Wall, including history, old photos, relics, etc. Then enter the gate to explore the grandiose fortress. The fort is farthest fortress of Great Wall of Ming Dynasty. It is a complex of towers, city walls and other military buildings covering more than 25,000 square meters. The city wall is nearly 11 meters high, and comprises an outer and inner wall. There are two large gates standing at the east and the west of the inner wall. Walkways lead to the top of the wall, allowing horses to climb up the wall.
If time allows and you are interested, you can take an optional visit to the Xuanbi Great Wall (Overhanging Wall) which is about 18km away from the Fort. The walls were built on lofty cliffs with incredibly large gradient looking like an overhanging cantilever. Climbing up to higher gives you excellent views of the surrounding land and mountains.
Jiayuguan FortGreat Wall Museum
Day 9 Jiayuguan – Dunhuang (B)
Today you will drive about 5 hours to Dunhuang from Jiayuguan in the early morning.
In the afternoon, visit the magic Echoing Sand Mountains and Crescent Lake which are located in a scenic area. In the sunny days, the sand mountains echo like Orchestra music even if there is no wind. If you slide from the sand mountains, you can hear the echoing sound clearly. There are many exciting activities for you to try, such as sand skiing, viewing from glider or helicopter, motorcycling, etc. Surrounded by the Echoing Sand Mountains, Crescent Lake is a beautiful oasis with some well decorated traditional Chinese architecture, some trees and flowers and a lake that has never dried up and shapes like a crescent moon.
In the evening, you can go out to go for a walk in the Shazhou Night Market where you can try some local food, relax in a drinking bar, or buy some interesting handcrafts, etc.
Echoing Sand Mountains
Day 10 Dunhuang Departure (B)
After breakfast, drive about 10kkm from the Dunhuang city to visit the newly opened Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center before go to Mogao Grottoes. You will watch two well-produced educational documentary movies that introduce the history, arts, and other facts about Mogao Grottoes, which will be very helpful when you visit the grottoes. After the movies, take the interzonal bus to Mogao Grottoes.
Mogao Grottoes is famed as the “Louvre of East”, which is outstanding for its exquisite mural paintings and statues. There are now 492 grottoes in which about 45000 square meters mural paintings and 2100 colorfully painted statues from which you can trace the development of Chinese art over 1600 years from one dynasty to the next because each dynasty built own caves to record its own features. There are about 40 common caves opened to the public. In the tourist area, you will be divided into groups by different tour guides who will accompany you to visit 7-8 caves among them with great introduction. After that, if you want to visit more other caves, you can do it by yourselves or follow other tour guides. Besides, there are 10 special caves (with extra fees) available for your extensional visiting.
After lunch, visit Dunhuang Museum where some precious arts and relics are preserved here. It is also a great place to learn about Dunhuang culture and history as well as the history of Ancient Silk Road.
Tour ends, and your tour guide will see you off at the airport/train station.
1. During peak seasons (May to October), there are usually a lot of visitors to Mogao Caves, so it is recommended to make a reservation in advance for at least 7 days. 2. If you want to see the Special Caves (excluded in the regular visit, and only open for limited individual visitors or small groups with reservations), you can contact our travel consultants or your tour guide to arrange for you, but you have to pay extra admission fee for each cave. 3. It is not allowed to take photos inside grottoes.
No 103, Yabaoli, Chaoyang Distirct, Beijing, China
Mon - Sun 9.00 - 20.00