Why we suggest this tour itinerary?
This is a top choice for you to release from daily grid to lay eyes on the mysterious Tibetan Buddhism, magnificent cultural heritages, along with the legendary landscape on the rarely-visited regions in the world, include Qinghai Lake - the biggest lake in China and the extraordinary sceneries of the vast expanse of prairie and wetland with all kinds of colorful flowers on the dense grass in the vast grand turning region of the Yellow River - the 5nd longest river in the world.
This fascinating tour will bring you to charming Gannan, a Tibetan self-ruled area in Gansu Province at the east edge of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and some major tourist destinations in Qinghai Province on Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau in the northwest China. They are relatively unknown to foreign travelers and rarely-visited regions in the world. This huge area is home to many Tibetan monasteries, vast grasslands, the headwaters of the three of Asia largest rivers - the Yellow River, the Yangtze River and Mekong River. It also boasts of a mosaic of ethnic groups, including Tibetan, Mongols, Tu, and Hui with a vibrant religious life. Tourists will be amazed by its exotic culture, unique highland landscape scenery and enchanted by Tibetan Buddhist Culture.
Being located in the intersection of Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan Province, Gannan is one of the important channels of the ancient silk road, which is an cultural combination of Han folk and Tibetan. It is a typical epitome of natural and humanistic resources of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It is also called Little Tibet, but it is far more easily accessible. Foreign tourists do not need to apply for the Tibet Tour Permit in advance. Covered with vast expanse of prairie, dense forest, deep valley and highland lakes, in Gannan, there are the largest green canyon in the world, Asias largest natural grassland and the most beautiful wetland in China, along with Labrang Monastery, which is one of the 6 most major Geluk (Yellow Hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism. In summer, the vast prairie and wetland in this area are covered with all kinds of colourful flowers, so it is called 9-Colour Shangri-la (or pronounced as Shambhala in Tibetan, a mythical utopia kingdom of earthly paradise in Tibetan Buddhist tradition) . The "Fairy land" like scenery here does not merely means a travel route of Tibetan and Hui minority folklore and religious art, but also the most beautiful wetland eco-tour and natural unfurnished grassland scene as well.
You can enjoy the local Tibetan’s custom in some small towns. And we will also arrange you to visit a local normal Tibetan family in Tong Ren County. To have a dinner and enjoy the local Tibetan life with them.
Tashi delek! (the Tibetan greeting to wish somebody happiness and luck)
Main Tourist Attractions in the Itinerary:
In Gansu Province:
Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu Province
Gansu Provincial Museum;
Hezuo city, the capital of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
Milarepa Buddha Pavilion;
The No.1 Bridge on Yellow Rive – the 2nd longest river in China and 5th longest river in the world, Awancang Wetland and Ximeiduohetang Flower Prairie;
Zha Ga Na Valley, Diebu Duoer Panda Nature Reserve, Dayi Village Watermills Group, Dayi Village;
Langmusi Monastery, Lanmusi Gorge
Labrang Monastery, Ganjia Prairie (include Saint White Rock Cliffs Cave, White Rock Cliffs Monastery, Octagonal City Ruins)
In Qinghai Province:
Longwu Town, the capital of Huang Nan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
Longwu Monastery, Wutun Monastery for its famous Regong Arts, the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Xining, the Capital of Qinghai Province
Taer Monastery (or called Kumbum Monastery), Qinghai Lake
Experience in the Itinerary:
* Enjoy Bronze Gallopping Horse with a Hoof on a Flying Bird, the symbol of Chinese Tourism, which is made around 2000 years ago, and the Tomb Brick with Picture of Postman, the symbol of Chinese Postal, which is also made around 2000 years ago.
* Visit Labrang Monastery and Ta’er Monastery – 2 of the 6 most major Geluk (Yellow Hat) Sect of Tibetan Buddhism to experience the unique Tibetan Buddhism culture and minority folk custom.
* To know how people there live stresslessly and in moderation. Try to find the peace of mind in the harmonious wonderland of Shangri-La.
* Uncover the exotic landscapes in the vast expanse of prairie and wetland covered with stunning colorful flowers (also called Chinese Water Tower) in Maqu County;
* Amazed at Zha Ga Na Valley – one of the Top 10 “Non-famous but picturesque Mountains in China”;
* Enjoy the fairyland like Duoer Valley.
* Explore the natural and unfurnished beauty of Qinghai Lake – the largest lake in China.
Some More Info about Labrang Monastery, Ganjia Prairie and Regong Art which you will visit in this Itinerary:
Labrang Monastery was founded in 1709 by Ngagong Tsunde (E’angzongzhe in Chinese), the first-generation Jamyang (a line of reincarnated Rinpoches or living Buddhas ranking third in importance after the Dalai and Panchen lamas), from nearby Ganjia. Known as the "World Academy for Tibetan Art", it possesses a vast number of Tibetan written works covering politics, history, culture and many other fields. The monastery is one of the six major Tibetan monasteries of the Gelugpa order (Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism). The others are Ganden, Sera and Drepung monasteries near Lhasa; Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse; and Kumbum (Ta’er) Monastery near Xining in Qinghai.
Renovations began in September 2012 with a budget of 305 million yuan ($45 million). The Labrang Monastery restoration project is the most extensive undertaken since Chinas reform and opening.
Many of the chapel halls in the temple are illuminated in a yellow glow by yak-butter lamps, their strong-smelling fuel scooped out from voluminous tubs. Although Tibet is not on your itinerary this time, the monastery sufficiently conveys the mystique of its devout persuasions, leaving indelible impressions of a deeply sacred domain.
In addition to the chapels, residences, golden-roofed temple halls and living quarters for the monks, Labrang is also home to six tratsang (monastic colleges or institutes), exploring esoteric Buddhism, theology, medicine, astrology and law.
At its peak, Labrang housed nearly 4000 monks, but their ranks greatly declined during the Cultural Revolution. Modern Labrang is again such a popular destination for young disciples that numbers are currently capped at 1800 monks with about 1600 currently in residence, drawn from Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Inner Mongolia.
More detail about Labrang Monastery at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labrang_Monastery
Located some 20 km away to the north of the Xiahe county, Ganjia Prairie features its original wild features with abundant grass and beautiful scenery，some mysterious scared Buddhist lands. Under the white-clouded blue sky, herds of sheep and cows are grazing, surely a perfect place of natural scenes for enjoying a pastoral life. Every summer the pastureland covered with grasses and all kinds of flowers vying for beauty seems to be a carpeted lawn. With a fresh and cool weather, they are the ideal places for returning to nature in which visitors can be free from summer heat while getting to know something about the nomadic life of the Tibetan people.
Regong Art includes paintings (murals and scrolls called "Thangka" in Tibetan), clay and wooden sculptures, barbola, color paintings on buildings, patterns, butter sculptures, and so on. Among these, the paintings, sculptures and designs are most famous. The contents of Regong art ranges from the story of the Sakyamuni, Bodhisattvas, Buddhist guardians and fairies, to Buddhist stories.
The period from the 10th century to the 13th century was the “Late Development Period of Tibetan Buddhism”, as well as a transferring period for the art of Tibetan Buddhism, which was also the time when Regong Art was born. During this time, Tibetan Buddhism was already widely accepted by people. Thus, being a tool to deliver the sermon, the art of Tibetan Buddhism had begun to change itself from foreign style to the style answering to the appreciation of the beauty of the nation.
During the hundreds of years of its development, Regong Art has become a unique folk art. It features in accurate and vivid characters, beautiful and delicate drawing, gorgeous and decorative colors, fully displaying the rhythmic, moving and stereoscopic sensation of the lines. It also maintains the perfection with the whole. The modest style of painting, clear and harmonious color set and life-like portraying shows the excellent culture created by Tibetan people, which is an important treasure of art among Chinese heritages.
To better protect this art, it was included in the 2nd batch of the National Folk Culture Protection Project in April 2004. And on 20 May 2006, it was listed in the 1st batch Directory of National-level Non-material Cultural Heritage. Itinerary was inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
More about Regong Arts at UNESCO official website: http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/en/RL/regong-arts-00207