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4 Days Qinghai Lake Landscape Tour Plus Tongren Authentic Tibetan Culture and Art Exploration

Authentic Qinghai Exploration


Spending one or two days savoring at the alluring plateau scenery of Qinghai Lake is the No. 1 thing to do during any Qinghai trip. But it only presents you the natural charm of the vast Qinghai. As the core land of Amdo Tibetan Region, Qinghai may be current best place to explore the best-preserved tradition of Tibetan culture. Tongren, only about 2 hours’ drive from Xining city, has something of really “Tibetan-and Artistic” for you. Before the establishment of the Republic of China, Tongren region had been ruled by Longwu Monastery and other Tibetan monasteries for centuries. Thus, its authentic Tibetan culture and art is preserved very well. Here, the Tibetan monasteries are big, magnificent but without crowds of tourist groups, sky is pure and blue, almost every family is good at Regong Art (painting, sculpture…). It is said most of the successful Tibetan painters are from Tongren, which is the reason why Tongren is praised as the "hometown of Tibetan painters."

Our 4 days private tour starts from Xining, then takes you to enjoy a visual feast in Qinghai Lake as well as a mind-refreshing journey in Tongren. You will have unique places to visit and interesting things to do every day, also a leisure pace with comfort and flexibility. Tour guide, transfer, hotel, meals… are all covered in the tour package. Start the exciting journey now!

Highlights of this tour

  • Have a full relaxing day to soak in the alluring scenery of Qinghai Lake – dark blue lake, lovely seabirds, sea of rapeseed flowers (Jul~Sept), lofting plateau mountains…;
  • Visit Longwu Monastery in Tongren, which keeps most authentic Tibetan Buddhist tradition and magnificent Tibetan architecture;
  • Get your jaw dropped by the superb Regong Art masterpieces in Wutong Monastery, also observe how local people and monks practicing Regong Art creation;
  • Enjoy a leisure morning in Xining city to explore local museum, Muslim mosque, etc.

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 / Qinghai Lake / Tongren / Xining
Travel Length:
Tour Code:
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Any day you want
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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 - Xining (B, L )

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

Start exploration with a visit to Longwu Monastery (Rongwo 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.

Move on to Wutong Monastery which outstands in a Tibetan village. It is in Wutong Monastery (Wutun 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. Next, you will go to a local Regong Painting School to observe closely how the teachers and students create Regong Art delicately.

After the meaningful Tibetan culture and art exploration, drive back to Xining.

A Tibetan monk was painting Mandala in Wutong Monastery Magnificent Wutong Monastery in Tongren A lovely Tibetan kid during Shaman Festival in Tongren
Day 4 Xining Departure (B)

After breakfast, you will go 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 view 80 Thangka paintings and many surgical instruments, thousands of ancient medical books, specially processed specimens of plant and animal and intelligent calculation methods of astronomical calendar. It’s an interesting and meaningful knowledge journey where you can catch a glimpse of mysterious traditional medical system and diverse Tibetan culture. Don’t miss the Guinness World recorded pectacular 618-meter-long gallery which displaying over 700 Thangka paintings embroidered with countless Barbola patterns.

Move to 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. Occupying 13,602 square meters, the mosque is a large building group combined traditional Chinese architectural art and Islamic features, whose Worship Hall can accommodate 3,000 Muslims at one time. 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.

After the sightseeing, your tour guide will escort you to catch your flight or train to next destinations. Tour ends. (Xining Caojiabao International Airport is 28 km (40 minutes’ drive) from Dongguan Mosque and Xining Railway Station is only 2 km away, for about 10 minutes’ drive.)

Tibetan Medicine and Culture Museum Dongguan Great Mosque is the Biggest Islamic Sanctum in Qinghai

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