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Amne Machin - Sacred Tibetan Buddhist Mountain in Golog Qinghai

First Impression of Amne Machin

Amne Machin (阿尼玛卿), also called Anemaqen or Anyi Machen, is a mountain range in Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the southeast of Qinghai Province and extends to the southern border of Gansu. It is respected as "Grandfather Pomra" in Tibetan Buddhism because it is the home of the chief indigenous deity of Amdo, Machen Pomra. Amne Machin is in the easternmost part of the middle branch of the Kunlun Mountains and is the largest mountain at the source of the Yellow River. The highest peak is 6282 m, around it are 18 snow peaks with an altitude of more than 5000 meters. The high altitude causes complex climate and vast area of glacier, in total 57 glaciers covering an area of 150 square kilometers. The Halong glacier (哈龙冰川) on the northeast slope is 7.7 km long, with an area of 23.5 square kilometers and a vertical height difference of 1800 meters. It is the longest and largest glacier in the Yellow River Basin.

Amne Machin Magnificent Amne Machin

Legend of the Sacred Amne Machin

Amne Machin is one of the Four Sacred Tibetan Buddhist Mountains together with Mount Kailash in Tibet, Meili Snow Mountain in Yunnan and Gaduo Juewu Peak in Qinghai.

"Amne" in Tibetan means the ancestor, beautiful heart and happiness. "Machin" means the largest mountain at the source of the Yellow River and magnificence. The local Tibetans believe that Amne Machin is one of the 21 sacred snow mountains and the mountain God it represents ranks fourth of the nine Gods who have created the world. Amne Machin is in charge of the mountains and rivers in Amdo area and is the savior of Tibetan. With such great power, Amne Machin naturally becomes a place of worship. Pilgrims will take simple clothes, cooking utensils and food to kora around the mountain. It usually takes seven or eight days and the conditions are tough. But it also shows the piety of the worshipper and they believe that in this way their sins will be eliminated and their souls will go to heaven after death.

Amne Machin Sacred Amne Machin

What to See in Amne Machin

Amne Machin is not only a sacred snow mountain, but also a paradise for wild animals and plants. There are patches of grasslands dotted with lakes, herds of deer and sheep, Buddhist temples... They all await your exploration.

Xingxiu Lake 星宿海

The Yellow River enters the Xingxiuhai basin. The river overflows and accumulates water in the lower part of the terrain, forming different sizes and shapes of ponds and lakes. The large ones are hundreds of square meters, and the small ones are only a few square meters. They are densely packed and scattered on the land, just like stars in the sky, so they are called Xingxiu Lake (Xingxiu means stars in Chinese). It also looks like a peacock spreading its tail. Therefore, the local Tibetans also call it "Mayang" (玛洋), which means "peacock shoal". The lake is surrounded by lush grassland with beautiful scenery.

Amne Machin Xingxiu Lake

Baiyu Temple 白玉寺

Baiyu Temple was founded in 1857, covering an area of more than 1000 mu (666.667 ㎡). It is the largest and most influential Tibetan Buddhist temple of Nyingma Sect in the border areas of Qinghai, Sichuan and Gansu provinces. This magnificent temple has 7 Sutra halls, 3 Buddha halls, 3 pagodas, 8 large Sutra rooms and monk houses, and more than 1000 monks. The various buildings are lined with each other occupying the whole mountain, forming a spectacular scene. Baiyu Temple holds eight Buddhist activities every year. The grandest one is "Baiyu 10 Days" from March 1 to March 10 of the Tibetan calendar. People from Qinghai, Western Sichuan and Gannan Tibetan areas will gather here to celebrate the great event.

Amne Machin Baiyu Temple

Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve 三江源国家自然保护区

Sanjiangyuan (Three-river-source) National Nature Reserve, as the name implies, is the headstream of three most important rivers in China: Yangtze River, Yellow River and Lancang River. The total area of Sanjiangyuan is more than 316,000 square kilometers and the source of the Yellow River is in Golog. In the nature reserve stands several mighty mountains which are covered by snow all year round. The large-scale glaciers and streams melted from the snow have bred the Chinese civilization for thousands of years, which owns it the title of "China water tower". Besides, the reserve boasts of high-altitude wetlands, with an average altitude of about 4000 meters, and well-reserved ecological environment with 9 vegetation types and 69 species of national key protected animals.

Amne Machin Source of the Yellow River

Zhaling Lake & Eling Lake 扎陵湖&鄂陵湖 - Closed at Present

Zhaling Lake and Eling Lake are located 30 kilometers northwest of Maduo County. They are the two largest freshwater lakes in the Yellow River Basin. After the Yellow River passes through Xingxiu Lake, it runs through Zhaling Lake and then Eling Lake. The two lakes are like sisters standing side by side. Therefore, people call these two lakes "sister lakes at the source of the Yellow River". Zhaling Lake in Tibetan means "white and long lake" and Eling Lake means "blue lake". There are many bird islands in the middle of the two lakes, inhabiting many kinds of birds, such as swans, spotted geese, red ducks, brown headed gulls, and brown backed ducks. It is another kingdom of birds smaller than the Bird Island of Qinghai Lake.

Amne Machin Eling Lake

Nianbaoyuze Mountain 年保玉则 - Closed at Present

Nianbaoyuze, also known as Golog Mountain, is said to be the birthplace of Golog Tibetan, and it is a sacred mountain respected by the Tibetan people. Nianbaoyu is composed of many high and steep peaks, with the highest peak reaching 5369 meters. In the southeastern side covers a primitive forest rich in pine and fir. There are often snow leopards, brown bears, lynx and other wild animals in the forest. On the grassland at the foot of the mountain, there are two very beautiful lakes: Yaonv Lake in the south and Xiannv Lake in the northwest, covering an area of more than 10 square kilometers, surrounded by mountains on three sides.

Amne Machin Nianbaoyuze Mountain

Hiking Route of Amne Machin

There are many ways to travel around Amne Machin. The pilgrims usually travel on foot to show their piousness. Taking a full walk around the mountain takes about 7 days, which is very challenging. For tourists, you can just take a part of the trekking path to see the awe-inspiring mountain.

If you want to see more of the scenery, it is also available to travel by car. By taking a car, you can enter from Huashixia or Dawu depending on which direction you come. On the way you will find Amne Machin appearing before your eye gradually and you can have a closer view of the sacred mountain and Halong Glacier at Zhihaidai Pass.

☛ 7 Days In-depth Discovery Tour of Qinghai Culture & Nature

Amne Machin Amne Machin Hiking Map

How to Get to Amne Machin

Amne Machin is located in Xueshan Touwnship, Dawu County, Maqen County, Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qqinghai 青海果洛藏族自治区玛沁县大武镇雪山乡. To get to Amne Machin, people usually get to Xining first. Amne Machin is about

Step 1: Get to Xining First

As the capital of Qinghai Province, Xining acts as a transfer hub in northwestern China and can be reached easily. It is available to take a flight to Xining from Beijing (about 2.5 hours), Shanghai (about 3.5 hours), Xian (about 2 hours 45 minutes), Chengdu (1 hour 40 minutes), Guangzhou (3 hours 15 minutes), as well as many other major cities or provincial capitals. Located in Lanzhou-Xinjiang High Speed Rail, travelers can take a high speed train to Xining from Lanzhou, Zhangye, Jiuquan, Jiayuguan, Turpan and Urumqi. Normal trains are also accessible to Xining from Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, etc. but they take longer time. Read more about Xining Transportation >

Step 2: Xining to Amne Machin Transfer

There are 2-3 direct flights from Xining Caojiabao International Airport to Guoluo Maqin Airport and the flight only takes 1 hour. After you get to Golog, you can charter a car to Amne Machin, which is about 120 km (2 hours' drive) away. Or you can take a bus from Xining to Dawu county, which is about 8 hours and then transfer to Amne Machin, about 110 km, 1.5 hours by car.

Travel with China Discovery: If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers sightseeing, dining and transfer from us. Our knowledgeable local tour guide and skilled driver will escort you to Amne Machin with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing. Contact us to customize a worry-free Amne Machin tour package now!

Amne Machin Location Map Click to enlarge Amne Machin Location Map
Xining Flights Map Click to enlarge Xining Flights Map
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Best Time to Visit Amne Machin & Dressing Ideas

Amne Machin is cold all year round, especially from November to March (January is the coldest when the temperature at the peak can drop to -50℃). The snow will not melt on the peak so you can see the snow mountain whenever you come. If you want to take an Amne Machin trip on a relatively temperate day, June to October is more recommended. If you want to see the highland flowers and the vast green grassland, come between June and mid-August, but it is better to avoid mid-June to July because it is the rainy season.

Where to Wear & Pack: Keeping yourself warm is always important because it is cold even in summer. It is recommended to wear winter outfits such as thick coat, sweater, boots, etc. Sunscreen, sunglasses and hat are also advised because the sunlight is strong.

Amne Machin Amne Machin & Vast Grassland

Warm Tips for Amne Machin Travel

1. Where to Stay

There is no place to stay a night in Amne Machin unless you take your own tent, which is not recommended because it is neither comfortable nor safe. Tourists can find some hotels and homestays in nearby Dawu County to meet your basic accommodation needs.

2. How to Avoid Altitude Sickness

The average altitude of Golog is about 4200 m. It is possible that tourists get different degrees of altitude sickness. You can take Rhodiola for a couple of consecutive days before the trip to help prevent the sickness. During your trip, do not take strenuous exercise. If you have a cold or do not feel well, it is not recommended to continue the trip.

3. Bring Enough Supplies

Prepare enough food and water when traveling to Amne Machin as there are no stores or restaurants on the way. It is also helpful to bring a pair of alpenstocks.

4. Respect Local Customs & Protect Local Environment

Amne Machin is a sacred Tibetan Buddhist mountain and it stills remains its primitive features, we should respect local customs and religion and try our best to protect the environment.

How to Plan a Qinghai Amne Machin Trip

As a remote region in southeasten Qinghai, Amne Machin is seldom traveled alone but with Xining or other destinations in Qinghai.

The most popular and classic itinerary is to spend 1 to 2 days visiting main attractions in & around Xining including Kumbum Monastery, Dongguan Mosque of Xining, and make a day trip to the beautiful Qinghai Lake and another day tour in Chaka Salt Lake and then drive a few hours or take a flight to Dawu in Golog.

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You can spend a night in Dawu County to get a good rest and start your Amne Machin trip the next day. It is amazing to see the sacred mountain gradually appearing and finally in front of you. On the way, you may encounter herds of sheep, vast grassland, running stream, and prayer flags that carry the blessings of local people.

☛ 7 Days In-depth Discovery Tour of Qinghai Culture & Nature

After sightseeing Amne Machin, travelers can continue a journey to more destinations in Qinghai such as Yushu (Hoh Xil Nature Reserve, Princess Wencheng Temple...) and Tongren (Rongwo Temple, Regong Art Museum...). You can also travel beyond Qinghai to Zhangye, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, and Xinjiang along the Silk Road or to Tibet, where you may need 3 to 4 days to discover the holy Lhasa and more days to visit Shigatse, Mount Everest, Mount Kailash, etc.. You can also contact us to customize a trip according to your own itinerary and interests. Just tell us your needs and we will take care of everything!

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Amne Machin Amne Machin
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