Amdo Overland with National Parks / 10 days
1 Transfer from Lanzhou to Xiahe. Overnight in Xiahe
2 Visit the Labrang monastery. Overnight in Xiahe
3 Visit the Sangke grasslands. Overnight in Xiahe
4 Continue to Langmusi. Overnight in Langmusi
5 Visit Daceng Lhamo lamasery, go hiking in gorge. Overnight in Langmusi
6 From Langmusi to Jiuzhaigou National Park. Overnight in Jiuzhaigou
7 Explore Jiuzhaigou. Overnight in Jiuzhaigou
8 morning drive from Jiuzhaigou to Huanglong National Park, sight seeing Huanglong, late afternoon drive to Songpan. Overnight in Songpan
9 horse riding Songpan. Overnight in Songpan
10 Fly from Songpan to Chengdu (45 minutes)
Day 1: Arrival at Lanzhou airport or train station and transfer to Xiahe. This takes about 5 hours. Around Lanzhou, we can see many houses made of earth and the mountains are dry and brown. After three hours driving, we come into the beautiful green mountains of Xiahe.
Day 2: Today you will visit the Labrang Monastery. This is the largest Tibetan monastery outside of Tibet province. It houses more than 2000 monks from the Yellow Hat tradition and there are 6 schools of Buddhist teachings. In the morning you will join in with the monastery tour. A monk from the monastery guides this tour in English. In the afternoon, our guide will take you to see the printing temple where the sutras are still printed by using wooden blocks. You will also climb up the Golden Stupa for a bird's eye view of the whole complex and you can walk part of the kora which is the prayer wheel route.
Day 3: Today you will explore the grasslands around Xiahe where nomad families live in tents. When invited in their homes you simply can't refuse the infamous Tibetan yak milk tea and barley "tsampa". The grasslands are also a beautiful area for hiking. In summertime the flowers are like a carpet on the meadows.
Day 4: We drive along a beautiful road to Langmusi. We drive through roling grasslands and can see nomad settlements and monasteries dotted all around.
Day 5: In Langmusi the ancient Tibetan custom of sky burials is still practiced. Sky burials are now limited only to a very small area in Tibet and are a rare sight nowadays. The town of Langmusi is situated partly in Gansu province, and partly in Sichuan province, divided only by a small river. Therefore this small town has two monasteries, one in each province. We will first visit the sky burial site and from there go to the Daceng Lhamo monastery on the Gansu side of town. In the afternoon we go hiking through a beautiful gorge where you can see many eagles and vultures soaring above your head.
Day 6: Drive from Langmusi to Jiuzhaigou, aroubnd 5 hours. You will drive through the wonderful Zoige High Altitude grasslands. On the way you will stop several times for pictures of the beautiful scenery.
Day 7: Whole day to explore Jiuzhaigou National Park.
Day 8: In the morning we drive from Jiuzhaigou to Huanglong, which is about a 2,5 hours drive. We then have the full day to explore Huanglong National Park. Normally the hiking trail takes about 5 hours. We can see many different waterfalls, in spectacular colors. In the late afternoon we continue to Songpan, this is only 80 km, which will take about 1,5 hours. Overnight in Songpan.
Day 9: We spent the day on horse back, exploring the beautiful mountains around Songpan. The horses are tame but the slopes are sometimes quite steep. You will get special horse guides to help you. Today a lunch usually consisting of noodle soup is included.
Day 10: Transfer to JiuHuang airport, about 1,5 hours drive from Songpan. From here the flight to Chengdu will take you 45 minutes.