Chengdu to Chengdu / 15 day tour
1 Chengdu: visit Wenshu temple and Kuang and Zhuai ancient streets Chengdu. Overnight in Chengdu
2 From Chengdu to Maerkang. Overnight in Maerkang
3 From Maerkang to Rilong. Overnight in Rilong
4 Siguniang Mountains sightseeing. Overnight in Rilong
5 Rilong to Danba. Danba has been awarded "second most beautiful village". Enjoy the amazing Danba towers. Overnight in Danba
6 Danba to Rangtang. Visit Zamtang Monastery, pagodas in Bangtuo Monastery. Overnight in Rangtang
7 Drive from Rangtang to Aba to see the monasteries here. We visit the Kirti Gompa (Gelugpa) and a Langyi Bon religion monastery. Overnight in Aba
8 Enjoy visiting the Narshi monastery & Topgyel monastery. Overnight in Aba
9 Drive from Aba to Maqu. Overnight in Maqu
10 From Maqu through the grasslands to Xiahe. Overnight in Xiahe
11 Visit Labrang monastery. Overnight in Xiahe
12 To Langmusi. Overnight in Langmusi
13 Visit Daceng Lhamo lamasery, go hiking in gorge. Overnight in Langmusi
14 From Langmusi to Songpan via Zoige high altitude grasslands. Overnight in Songpan
15 Drive to Chengdu
Day 1: We start our tour in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. The Wenshu temple is the largest and best preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu. It is dedicated to Wenshu, God of Wisdom. The temple was founded in 700, but rebuilt in 1691. The complex has 5 main halls, these stem from the time of rebuilding in the Ming dynasty. It attracts many devoutees and tourists from all over China, but despite all that, Wenshu is a sereen and devout place. The temple also has a great teahouse. After Wenshu we visit the ancient Kuang and Zhai streets, which show you the old Chengdu. even though the alleys are abit touristy, the athmosphere is nice and it gives a good impression of the old style houses andlanes. Many vendors sell folk art and candy figures on sticks. This is a very nice place for a leisurely stroll.
Day 2: We drive to Maerkang, capital city of Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. Maerkang has beautiful natural scenery and many ethnic Tibetan features.
Day 3: From Maerkang to Rilong, at the foot of the to Siguniang Mountains. The drive today is very beautiful, a trip through the rugged mountains. We stay at Rilong town, the entrance to Mt. Siguniang National Park.
Day 4: The main attraction of Siguniang Mountains is its unspoiled natural beauty. The unusual shapes of the mountain peaks are rarely seen anywhere else in the world. The blue sky, clouds and mist, snow peaks, ancient cypress forests, rushing waterfalls, and alpine meadows make this area a nature lovers dream. Mt. Siguniangshan consists of four adjacent mountain peaks. It got its unusual name from a local Tibetan legend that says the four peaks are the embodiments of four pretty girls. Today we go hiking or on horse back in Long-Peace Valley. Here we can see the old cypress path, the Lama Temple, the dry lakes and the waterfalls are peaceful and secluded. Hikers can easily reach Withered-trees (Kushu) Shoal via a plank road built into the cliff. But if you are yearning for the true beauty of Long-Peace Valley, you must take a tour on horseback (surcharge).
Day 5: Today we drive to Danba, where the Qiang Tibetan ethnic group lives. We will admire the amazing Danba watch towers. These old towers stand on the hill overlooking the river below. The towers were originally used to warn the villagers of invaders and also to pass messages between different villages. The tallest tower measures 60 meters in height.
Day 6: Zamtang monastery in Rangtang is one of the original monasteries, belonging to the old Jonangpa sect. During the 17th century, this sect was changed to Gelukpa sect.
Day 7: Today we drive about 200 km to Aba. The people here are mainly Gyarong Tibetans. The people here speak their own dialect, very different from Amdo or Kham. The women wear beautifyully embroidered head scarves. The people have a nomadic lifestyle. Many yaks and sheep can be seen drinking from the rivers. The landscape is really amazing. There are 52 important monasteries in Aba county and today we visit the Kirti Gompa (Gelugpa) and a Langyi Bon religion monastery. This monastery is one of the largest monasterie sin Aba, more than 1000 monks reside here. It is basically the center of the town. The Langyi monastery is a Bon monastery. The Bon religion is started from Tibet at least 6000 years ago and it is therefore considered to be the real indiginous religion of Tibet.
Day 8: The Narshi monastry is the largest Bon monastry in Tibet with around 800 monks. In the bon monasteries, the art and statues are quite different from other buddhists sects. Both the Narshi monastery & Topgyel monastery and situated close to each other, and in these monasteries you can feel the true, authentic Tibetan life.
Day 9 and day 10: These are very nice days driving throught the grasslands. On these vast grasslands you will see herds of yaks and sheep, and you will enjoy some short hiking trips. You will also be able to visit a nomad tent, where you will surely be invited for some tsampa, which is the Tibetan staple food consisting of ground barley mixed with butter and boiling water. Also you can taste the delicious Tibetan yak milk tea. You can easily spent the whole day roaming around the grasslands, enjoying the scenery and the beautifully dressed Tibetan nomads.
Day 11: 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. We also climb up the Golden Stupa for a bird's eye view of the whole complex.
Day 12: We drive along a beautiful road to Langmusi. We drive through roling grasslands and can see nomad settlements and monasteries dotted all around.
Day 13: 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 14: Drive from Langmusi to Songpan. On the way you will stop several times for pictures of the beautiful scenery.
Day 15: Around 6 hour drive from Songpan to Chengdu train station. On the way, the scenery is really very nice, with many Qiang Tibetan villages.