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11 Days Travel through Qinghai-Tibet Highway

11 Days Travel through Qinghai-Tibet Highway

(TTO006) Xining - Chaka - Golmud - Amdo - Nagqu - Lhasa overland tour


Qinghai-Tibet highway (1900km) is taken as the most important gateway from northwestern China to Tibet, and there is plenty of stunning natural scenery on the way to Tibet and you will pass Qinghai lake, Chaka salt lake, Kekexili nature reserve, and the source of Yangtzi river and Namtso lake. Besides, every so often tourist can watch the Qinghai-Tibet train passing rapidly beside you at the backdrop of snow-capped mountains. 

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Xining

Upon your arrival, our guide will meet you and transfer you to the city center. And you may explore freely in Xining.

Stay overnight in Xining

Day 2: Xining to Qinghai Lake (159km)

Today, we will start our overland trip from Xining, and take the first stop to the Kumbum Monastery, the most important monastery in Qinghai Tibetan Area.

Next to Qinghai Lake, also called Koko Nor Lake, where you will see birds assembling in the bird island, which has become a very large sanctuary for the birds in spring and summer.

Stay overnight at the shore of Qinghai Lake, Grassland Hotel

Day 3: Qinghai Lake to Chaka (200km or so)

After breakfast you will have a good chance to walk briefly around the Qinghai Lake, which is the largest inland saltwater lake in China. Drive to Chaka in the late morning.

Stay overnight in Chaka

Day 4: Chaka to Golmud (515.5km)

Today you will be driven to Golmud. This afternoon go to see Gobi sight, oasis in the desert, and so called Treasure bowl, also one of the four basins in China Qaidam basin on the way.

Stay overland to Golmud

Day 5: Golmud - Tuotuoheyan (420 km)

Take a drive through the vast wilderness and Tsaidam meadow on the Tibet-Qinghai-Plateau. This journey moves along the road that lies at the foot of the Kunlun-mountain. Move upwards through a steep valley to cross over the 4.837- meters-high Kunlun Pass. After that you pass by the First Bridge over the Yangtse River reach Tuotuoheyan (located in head stream of River Yangtse)

Stay overnight in Local Guest House

Day 6: Tuotuoheyan - Naqu (430 km)

Move southwards as you cross Tangra Shan Mountain. The environment is in harmony with local animals like eagles, sheep, cattle and yaks along with the snow-capped mountains and tents belonging to Tibetan farmers. It is a place to relax.

Stay overnight at Local Guest House

Day 7: Naqu-Namtso (390km)

Today, you will drive across immense northern Tibet Qiangtang Grassland and have close contact with the Tibetan Nomad, and drive to Namtso Lake. Today, your will have enough time to play on the grassland, visit the nomad family, and go into the tent to drink fresh yak milk, play with the Tibetan Children, and Sheep, Yaks and wander on the glass land, ride horses.

(Notice, the nomad visit is only available at summer time from June to August). Namtso Lake is the Heavenly Lake which is one of the three holy lakes of Tibet and also the highest salt lake. You can do a very relax trekking around the lake side and Tashi Island.

Stay overnight at Lake Shore Guest House, dorm bed

Day 8: Namtso/Yangpachen hotspring/Lhasa (220km)

While enjoying the clear morning at the lake shore, you can trek along the lake shore to Tashi Dor Island to explore the meditation caves and drive to Dumxung to have lunch.

In the afternoon, you will visit Yangpachen hot spring which is noted for its highest geothermal power plant in the world on the way back to Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Day 9: Visit Potala Palace, Jokhang and Barkhor Street

Potala Palace is the landmark of Lhasa and is recently considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. In November 2000,the UNESCO put the Potala Palace architecture group into the world heritage list.

In the afternoon, tourists will visit Johkang temple, built during songtsen Gonpo's reign by princess wencheng of tang dynasty. The highlight in Jokhang is the sacred goat head in the Jampa chapel which is believed to be 'self-arisen' i.e. not manmade. Then explore the famous Barkhor Street and enjoy around the busiest street in whole Tibet.

Spend a night in Lhasa

Day 10: Lhasa Sightseeing: Sera Monastery/Drepung Monastery

Drepung monastery is situated at the foothill of a mountain and was founded by Jamyang Choeje in 1416. It was once home of 10000 monks and Ganden podrang in Drepung is famous as it was the government centre during fifth Dalai Lama and later moved to the famous potala palace during fifth Dalai Lama.

Then you can also visit the Nechung monastery located 1km southeast of Drepung and is the abode of the protector deity pehar and the seat of the state Oracle of Tibet.

In the afternoon explore the Sera monastery which was founded in 1419 by Tsongkapa's disciple Jamchen Choeje. The most dramatic scene is monks debiting held there in the courtyard at around 6-7:30 in the afternoon.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Day 11: Leave Lhasa to your next destination

A private car will take you to the airport for your flight to next destination.

On the other hand, if you prefer to stay longer in China, you can extend your trip to other parts of Tibet like Shigtse, Tsedang, and Everest Base Camp etc. - if you need, please contact us.

Service Guide

Service Included:

  • Tibet travel permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
  • All entrance ticket fees for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
  • Personal knowledgeable English-speaking Tibetan local tour guide;
  • Personal comfortable, clean and safe vehicle with reliable Tibetan local driver; vehicle ranging from 4WD land cruiser to minibus depending on your group size;
  • All lodging listed in the itinerary; it’s your decision about the accommodation class: luxury 5-star international hotel, comfortable 4-star hotel, economic 3-star hotel or budget hostel, guesthouse or tent. Please tell us your accommodation preference when submitting the enquiry; we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
  • Domestic flight/train tickets listed in the itinerary;
  • All meals listed in the above itinerary;
  • Tourist accident/casualty insurance;
  • First aid kit;

Service Excluded:

  • International flight to and out of China;
  • Chinese visa (Note: we could help you with the Chinese visa application, like providing the invitation letter, presenting the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies, etc that you may need. )
  • Domestic flight/train not listed in the itinerary. (We can provide you the domestic flight/train ticket booking service at the BEST discount price; please contact us our travel experts for the details.)
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary; usually it costs about USD3-15 per person for one meal in TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region).
  • Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver;
  • Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks (please do the best to avoid the alcoholic beverages during your Tibet trip), optional tour activities, etc.

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