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6 Days Tongren Shaman Festival Tour

Grand Tibetan Local Event


The Shaman Festival, also known as "June Festival", is the grandest traditional folk religious festival for the Tibetan and Tu people in the Longwu River Basin of Tongren, celebrated by all the villages and monasteries in Tongren region. It is a religious worship ceremony with a strong primitive legacy, and usually held during June 16th to June 25th of the lunar calendar. During Shaman Festival, a series of large-scale ceremonies will be organized, such as “inviting the Mountain God”, “paying sacrifice to the Mountain God”, dancing, etc. This festival has lasted for over 500 years in Tongren region. It is a rare opportunity to experience authentic ethnic culture and living. Because of its great cultural significance, Shaman Festival has been listed in the List of National Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Our 6 Days Shaman Festival Tour take you to join the local to celebrate the festival and share the happiness and good wishes, also provide a rare opportunity to dig into authentic local Tibetan culture. It can be customized according to your interest and actual festival schedules.

When Shaman Festival will be held in 2021?
- July 25 ~ August 3 (Chinese Lunar Calendar – June 16~June 25). For reference only. The final date may be changed due to uncertain factors.

When are the altitudes and weather of Tongren during Shaman Festival?
The altitude of Tongren is about 2500m. Most people won’t suffer from high altitude sickness. If you come from low plain area, avoid strenuous activities and drink more water after arriving at Tognren. The Shaman Festival is usually held during summer days when it is cool and comfortable in Tongren. The average is about 6°C~18°C. It is recommended to wear thin and light clothes. Long sleeves are necessary. Bring warm coats for night activities.

It is necessary to book tour, hotel, tour guide and other tour services if you want to visit Tongren during Shaman Festival.

Basic Trip Information

  1. 1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one double-bed room in a 4-star hotel and traveling in low seasons;
  2. 2. This price is subject to change according to your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate.
Travel Route:
Xining / Qinghai Lake / Tongren / Xining
Travel Length:
6 Days and 5 Nights
Tour Code:
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Any day you want

Full Itinerary Day by day

Day 1 Xining Arrival

Welcome to Xining (altitude: 2,261 m), the capital city of Qinghai Province in northwestern China. Upon arriving at Xining Caojiabao Airport (or Xining Railway Station), your tour guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel in the downtown by a private vehicle. After checking in, the rest of today is on your own to acclimate to the elevation and explore this historical city of China.

Arrival Ideas: You can take a flight to Xining from Beijing (about 2hrs), Shanghai (about 3hrs), Xian (about 1.5hrs), Chengdu (about 2hrs), Guangzhou (about 3.5hrs), Dunhuang (about 1.5hrs), etc., or get to Xining by high speed bullet train from Xian (about 4hrs), Lanzhou (about 1.5hrs), Zhangye (about 2hrs), Jiayuguan (about 3~3.5hrs) and other connected cities in China.

Nightlife idea: go to enjoy a great dinner and stunning night view of Xining city on Pearl of Puning which is a 188 meters tall TV & Sightseeing tower alike Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai.

Xining Railway Station
Day 2 Xining - Qinghai Lake - Xining (B, L)

After breakfast, drive around 150 km (2.5 hours) to see the picturesque Qinghai Lake from Xining via Huangyuan, Riyue Mountain, etc. You won't feel bored along the driving since the fascinating scenery of green grassland, blue sky, white clouds and clustered herds unfold like a photo gallery. As the largest inland lake, as well as the largest salt water lake in China, Qinghai Lake (3200 m) stretches 105 km in length, 63 km in width and occupies a water area of over 4,500 square kilometers. It was elected as the Most Beautiful Lake in China by China’s National Geographic, attracting thousands of photographers to take photos every year.

You will spend a wonderful time appreciating the beauty of Qinghai Lake in Erlangjian Scenic Area - the essence of the whole scenic area of Qinghai Lake. It shapes like a long and narrow sword inserting into the lake. Walking on the plank road, you will be delivered a far-reaching panorama of the sea-like lake. Due to the different salt content of different parts of the lake, the water presents different colors in the refraction of sunlight. More than the lake view, the scenic surrounding - endless grassland and rapeseed flower lands, soft sand beaches as well as flocks of grazing sheep, horses and yaks also make you enjoy yourself to the fullest. On a clear day, you will feast your eyes on a charming vista of the snow-capped mountains in the distance as well as the huge sand dunes of Sand Island on the far shore. 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.

Optional Qinghai Lake Cruise: Taking a cruise allows you to admire Qinghai Lake from a different perspective. There are two kinds of cruises available in Erlangjian Scenic Area: High Speed Cruise and catamaran. The former offers a 25 minutes’ single trip from Erlangjian Wharf to Erlangjian Peninsula at the cost of CNY140. The latter offers a 50 minutes’ round trip at the cost of CNY180. This price doesn't include your personal expense on the ship, such as drinking, food, etc. This cruise is only available during the period from May to October.

After sightseeing, drive about 10 minutes to Viewing-deck in Nanshan Mountain for a panoramic view of Qinghai Lake. The beautiful shoreline is seen clearly and the water takes on bluer color. Then, drive back to Xining for accommodation.

Warm Tips: 1) It is available to visit Qinghai Lake all the year around, but May to October is the best time because of the most comfortable weather. If you want to savor the sea of rape flowers, remember to visit in July and August. 2) The sunlight is very strong in Qinghai Lake, and it is necessary to bring hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc. to protect your skin from sun burn especially in summer. 3) Few people get serious high altitude sickness in Qinghai Lake, but it is important to be wary of high altitude sickness if it's your first time to enter the high plateau. Avoiding strenuous exercise and drinking more water will be helpful.

Riyue Mountains Rape flowers Blooming around Qinghai Lake in July Qinghai Lake Fully Blooming Rape Flowers in August Herd of Tibetan nomads around Qinghai Lake
Day 3 Xining – Tongren ( B, L )

After breakfast, drive about 165km (2.5 hours) to Tongren, which is located in the southeastern upland of Qinghai Province.

After arriving at Tongren, you will be taken to visit Wutong Monastery which outstands in a Tibetan village. It is in Wutong Monastery that the brilliant Regong Art originated and flourished. What makes the temple even more respectful is that Wutong Monastery has been teaching villagers of the area to create Regong Art for centuries, which helps Tongren become the Buddhist center of Amdo Tibetan region. So what is Regong Art? It is a collective art type which includes Thangka, Duixiu(embroidery), sculpture, architectural paintings, butter flowers and many other local art forms. The artists usually find inspiration from the life story and enlightenment of Buddha, legends and myths in Tibetan Buddhism to create Regong Art. Bright colors are grandiloquently but harmoniously used in Regong Art works. The artists also attach great importance to originality. All the pigments are refined from mineral and plant juice. As the mother of Regong Art, Wutong Monastery collects numerous exquisite Regong art masterpieces.

>Then, you will take a visit to a local family to experience the authentic living. Most importantly, you will have chance to observe how the most beautiful in Qinghai Thangkas are painted.

Qinghai Thangkas Magnificent Wutong Monastery in Tongren
Day 4 Shaman Festival ( B, L )

Today is a full day exploration of Shaman Festival. There is no fixed itinerary. Your tour guide will arrange your activities according to the actual festival schedule.

The annual Shaman Festival is held by several villages together in one village, and then repeated in each village in turn. It starts with paying sacrifice to the Mountain God. All men, women and children in the village bring offerings and gather in front of the mulberry stove in the temple courtyard to burn the leaves of cypress trees. The men pay the prepared offerings to the temple to bless for health and fortune. Then, the Shaman (or the wizard), wearing bright and colorful robes, will announce the beginning of the festival, and organize traditional activities such as offering sacrifices to gods, cheek skewer, God dancing, climbing dragon poles, playing God drums, singing "Layi", mountains opening, etc.

Shaman Festival
Day 5 Tongren – Xining (B, L)

After breakfast, go to explore Longwu Monastery (Rongwu Monastery) which is one of the three most influential Tibetan monasteries in Amdo region with a history over 700 years, but barely visited by big tourist groups so that you can enjoy a peaceful Tibetan Buddhism inspiration here. Its current Rinpoche is the 8th generation of Living Buddha who was born in Longwu family which had 8 Buddhist masters to be honored as the “State Preceptor” in Ming and Qing Dynasties. The temple is large in size and rich in styles. Explore the resplendent Buddhist palaces, temples, halls, academies, stupa, and beautiful Thangka paintings to get inspired by the most authentic Tibetan culture in the region.

Leaving Tongren, you will transfer back to Xining. In Xining, you will visit Dongguan Great Mosque, the largest mosque in Qinghai. The mosque is a sacred sanctuary for Muslims, one of the four greatest mosques in Northwest China and the highest-level institute of Islamic studies that enjoys high reputation at home and abroad. It was originally built in the early Ming Dynasty and reconstructed and expanded to current scale and layout. The pale mint-green exterior is very pretty and chic when you look from outside. As the most important Muslim community in Xining, you may see lots of Muslim disciples worshiping and attending Muslim event here.

Accommodate in Xining city.

Tibetan monks' living in Longwu Monastery in Tongren Dongguan Great Mosque is the Biggest Islamic Sanctum in Qinghai
Day 6 Xining Departure ( B )

Today is free for you to have fun until your tour guide escort you to airport or train station for your flight/train to next destination.

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