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4 Days Qinghai Lake Kanbula National Forest Park Tour

Geographic Wonder


The picturesque Qinghai Lake is the first impression of Qinghai Province for many people. Actually, Qinghai has much more to explore beyond Qinghai Lake. Only about 100km southward from Xining, the capital of Qinghai, the majestic Yellow River flows silently through deep gorges, colorful Danxia “rainbow mountains” lie in layers, Tibetan tradition is authentic… what is this magic place? It’s Guide which is also not far from Qinghai Lake.

On our private 4 Days Qinghai Geographic Wonder Tour, you will have a full day to enjoy an off-the-beaten-track geographic adventure of Yellow River and Danxia mountains in Guide, then take a day trip to Qinghai Lake. The tour starts and ends in Xining where you will spend some leisure time exploring the city highlights.

Highlights of this tour

  • Enjoy a leisure and fun trip in Kanbula National Forest Park with park bus and sightseeing boat;
  • Explore tremendous Danxia landform scenery in Guide Geopark;
  • Soak in the picturesque landscape of Qinghai Lake at its most highlighting Eerlangjian Scenic Area;
  • Experience solemn Tibetan Buddhism culture and tradition in Kumbum Monastery near Xining.

Basic Trip Information

from Request
  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 / Kanbula National Forest Park / Qinghai Lake / Xining
Travel Length:
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 - Kanbula National Forest Park - Guide (B, L )

After breakfast, set out for today's geography adventure to Kanbula National Forest Park and Guide Geopark in southern Qinghai Province.

Kanbula National Forest Park is located at the intersection of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the Loess Plateau, about 100km (1.5 hours' drive) from Xining. The scenic area covers an area of 152 square kilometers, with an average elevation of 2500 meters, and an average annual temperature of 7.8°C. The park highlights many natural wonders including Danxia landform landscape, grotesque peaks, squared mountains, deep caves , lofty cliffs, dozens of wild animals and rich plant resources, recording the evolution of the geological and ecological environment over the past 38 million years. The majestic Yellow River flows slowly through the deep gorges of Kanbula, and get tackled by Lijiaxia Dam which is one of the most important irrigation system on Yellow River Basin, providing electricity to millions of people each year. For tourists, it is a rare opportunity to get a closer touch with this China’s “mother river”.

Since the Kanbula National Forest Park is so big and there are so many things to see and experience, you will explore the park with the help of park bus and dam cruise ship. After entering the park, you will hop on a park bus which will bring you to the sightseeing spots one after another. You are also provided many opportunities to walk, take photos and relax. After the park bus trip, an exciting cruise (currently unavailable) is waiting for you. Board one of the sightseeing ships or speed-boat to cruise leisurely on the Yellow River and marvel at the stunning landscape of the surrounding. The entire sightseeing trip takes about 4~5 hours.

Leaving Kanbula National Forest Park, you will drive about 65km (1.5 hours) to Guide Geopark. Visit its most highlighting Ashigong Scenic Area which is a beautiful valley of colorful Danxia Landform. The Danxia mountains here are not only colorful, but also rich in shapes. Some of them stands like towers, houses, pillars, etc. A tranquil river flows through the valley, which makes the scenery more charming.

After Guide Geopark Danxia landscape exploration, keep drive about 20km (20 minutes) to Guide County for accommodation. As a remote small town, Guide can only offer 3-star hotels, but comfort and clean are ensured.

Kanbula National Forest Park panoramic view Walking trails in Kanbula National Forest Park Colorful danxia mountains in Guide Geopark
Day 3 Guide - Qinghai Lake - Xining (B, L )

After breakfast, drive about 135km (2.5 hours) to the picturesque Qinghai Lake. 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 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.

Rape flowers Blooming around Qinghai Lake in July Herd of Tibetan nomads around Qinghai Lake Qinghai Lake Cruise Seagullings in Qinghai Lake (Erlangjian Scenic Area)
Day 4 Xining Departure (B, L)

After breakfast, drive about 28 km (40 minutes) to visit the famous Kumbum Monastery (Ta'er Monastery). The monastery is a sacred Tibetan Buddhist temple most known as “one of the six greatest Gelug monasteries”. It is said to be the birthplace of Tsongkhapa - the founder of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism (Yellow Hat Sect) and constructed based on a memorial pagoda about him.

Inside this large temple complex, you can appreciate mixed Tibetan and traditional Chinese style architectures that are harmoniously laid, and feature in bright colors and complicated decorations. There are rich collections of Buddhist sculptures, precious Sutras and cultural relics treasured inside. The highlights are the Eight Pagodas of Buddha Shakyamuni, grandiose Grand Golden Tiled Hall, artistic Dhammapala Hall enshrining Buddhist masters’ statues. Yak Butter Sculpture of Buddha, Mural and Barbola are the noted “Three Arts” you can admire remarkable arts, aesthetics and religious culture. (You may watch a Buddhist scripture debating or witness a grand Buddhist festival by luck.)

Next, drive 37 km (about 50 minutes) to visit the Tibetan Medicine & Tibet Culture Museum. It is a theme museum highlighting the profound Tibetan medicine and folk culture. Through visits of different exhibition halls, you can look many ancient surgical instruments, medical books, specially processed specimens and calculation methods of astronomical calendar. It’s an interesting and rewarding journey to catch a glimpse of the mysterious traditional medical system and diverse Tibetan culture. Don’t miss the Guinness World recorded 618-meter-long gallery displaying over 700 exquisite Thangka paintings.

After lunch, transfer to Dongguan 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 study. Originally built in the early Ming Dynasty, it is a large building group occupying 13,602 square meters which combines traditional Chinese architectural art and Islamic features. The Worship Hall can accommodate 3,000 Muslims at one time. The pale mint-green exterior is very pretty and chic. You may see lots of Muslim disciples worshiping and attending Muslim event here.

Lastly, your tour guide will escort you to catch your flight or train to next destinations. Tour ends.

Kumbum Monastery  - A Honored Tibetan Gelug Monastery Traditional Tibetan Costume and Ornaments Exhibited in Tibetan Medicine & Tibet Culture Museum Dongguan Great Mosque is the Biggest Islamic Sanctum in Qinghai

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4 Days Qinghai Lake Kanbula National Forest Park Tour Map

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