Kham Journey of Eastern Tibet

On this tour you will experience one of the last truly wild and nomadic places on the earth and will experience the banks of the Yangtze River and some of the largest and most prestigious monasteries in Tibet. Unlike tours in Lhasa and the Everest Base Camp region, this tour requires no special permits and offers cultural and natural treasures that are as unscripted as they are unique. 

In the first few days of  this journey we will view Mount Gongga, also known as Minya Konka by the local Kham Tibetans, which is the highest mountain in Sichuan Province, China. It is also known to locals as “The King of Sichuan Mountains”.

Situated between the Dadu River and the Yalong River, and just a 30 minute drive from Tibetan town of Kangding, this mountain trek offers some of the best trekking in all of the Tibetan Plateau with a viewpoint of the highest peak in the range at 7,556 m (24,790 ft) from upper Riwuqie pass at 4,937 meters (16,200 ft.)

S tart and finish your journey in Chengdu, China. Then spend a few days acclimatizing in the charms of Kangding town while viewing monasteries and taking in the sights of snowy mountains from a few day hikes near the town. From Kangding we will venture into the heart of Kham as we explore some of the largest monasteries in Tibet in Pelyul, Tibet’s famous Dege Parkhang Printing Press where 70% of Tibet’s holy Buddhist scriptures are still block printed on wooden blocks,  and one of Tibet’s holiest and most serene blue lakes near Manigango, Yihun Lhatso (Lake).  From forests to mountains to nomadic grasslands to mystical lakes this is a journey through the best scenery of Eastern Tibet and its characteristic architecture and gorgeous people.

Trekking Nangchen: Splendor and Majesty

From China to Vietnam, the Mekong River is the longest river in Southeast Asia and the 12th longest on earth.

In total it flows through six countries:

China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

With its headwaters in a remote corner of the Tibetan Plateau the Mekong flows to the southeast, through Laos and Thailand to the equatorial flood plains of Cambodia and Vietnam, then finally flows into the South China Sea.

The Mekong River, with a total length of over 4,500kms / 2,700miles, starts in a remote and desolate open wilderness that  is far off the beaten track and therefore offers lots of chances to view unique wildlife like Tibetan antelope, Tibetan Wild Ass, Blue Sheep, Black-Necked Cranes, and the rare and elusive Tibetan fox. From it’s source to its winding banks along the Tibetan Plateau, the entire Mekong River area is stunning. It offers everything from high snow-capped mountains to grasslands filled with yaks to verdant evergreen forests. The Tibetan culture in this area is some of the best preserved in all of Tibet.

Every turn is full of surprises as we trek mountains, explore monasteries, and discover cultural highlights while we make our way to and from the edge of both the Kyichu and the Mekong Rivers. This trip is for those who want to experience fullness of the food, traditions, and culture in Tibet’s remote villages and the beauty and diversity of some of Qinghai’s biggest and most ornate monasteries, tucked away in stunning mountain scenery that has ever been seen by few, if any, western tourists.

Qinghai Lake Adventure

 

Qinghai Lake

As the largest saline lake in China, Qinghai Lake, historically known as    KokoNor, is situated in  the northeast corner of Qinghai Province. The names “Qinghai” and “Kokonor” both  reflect the vast beauty of the lake and both mean “Blue Sea” in Standard Mandarin and Mongolian respectively. Twenty-three rivers and streams empty into Qinghai Lake, most of them seasonal. Five permanent streams provide 80% of the total influx.

Situated in the Northeast of Qinghai Province and with an area of 4,489 sq.km (988 ac.), it is twice as large as the famous Tai Lake. It is a beautiful lake not only for its scenic spots, vast views, and beautiful islands and but also for the lively Tibetan culture surrounding the lake shore. Located in the northeast of 4,500-meter-high (14,764 ft.) Tibetan Plateau, Qinghai Lake can look like a bright reflective mirror calmly seated between the vast grasslands and surrounding snow mountains.

Qinghai Lake is an important place in history which has been the traditional meeting place between Mongolian and Tibetan cultures. Despite its salinity, Qinghai Lake has an abundance of fish but most of these species are illegal to catch and fish. Sadly, the lake is shrinking at a rate of 10 cm a year as there is no permanent outflow and the inflow has decreased with increased water usage. Most of the rivers and lak.
es that used to feed into the lake are drying up due to a combination of over grazing, farming downstream, water diversion for crop irrigation, and damming.
The lake has a number of attractions that draw travelers in this region in, but many of these spots, including Sand Island and Bird Island, have been closed as of Fall 2017 to help protect the sensitive environment of this fragile region.

Wild Rebkong

Rebkong sits on the edge of the Tibetan plateau in a region historically known to its nomadic inhabitants as Amdo and is now very accessible via a 2.5 hour drive due to the recent construction of the elevated highway from Xining. The town’s origins stretch back several hundred years when it emerged around the establishment of the Longwu Monastery.

Rebkong’s elevation is 2,600 meters (8,530 feet) and is surrounded by several mountains and large expanses of nomadic pastureland.  Rebkong is famous for it’s Tibetan traditional arts and cultural preservation, especially the Amdo Rebkong Monlam Festival in winter and the Rebkong Shaman Festival in summer. These are the two of the largest festivals in the Amdo Tibet region and the colorful dances and ceremonies give the viewer an intense insight into the deep spirituality of Tibetan Buddhism. The Rebkong Shaman Festival is an important religious ceremony where local nomads join in a circle ritual dance around one man, whose cheeks are pierced through with long needles, who shakes and dances uncontrollably under the powerful possession of spirit. This possessed man serves as an oracle or spiritual medium for the local mountain god. The spectacle runs to a rhythm of drummers pounding drums around the jerky, wild movements of the crazed oracle.

There are several monasteries and villages around the main hub of the central town which are home to hundreds  of professional artists – many of these teenagers with the steady hands and excellent eye sight that lend well to the detailed skill of Thangka painting. The most well known areas that produce these traditional Thangka paintings are those around the monasteries of Upper and Lower Wutun.

These sleepy, humble villages are, surprisingly, the center of Buddhist art all across Tibet. It would not be uncommon to visit monasteries in any area of Tibet and to find that most of the Thangka paintings in those remote monasteries came from this area.

Victoria Shanghai Academy Hong Kong with the Hutong

The Hutong, in partnership with Elevated Trips, is happy to offer this amazing opportunity to VSA Hong Kong.

While this region is known as the Gateway to Tibet, its unique culture is also influenced by its large Muslim population and proximity to Mongolia and Sichuan.

Still undisturbed by the furor of tourism, Qinghai and Gansu both offer the chance for true adventure. Be prepared for challenges of every kind, whether picking up a new phrase in Tibetan or breathing at an altitude of more than 2000m, and also for the chance to create memories that will last a lifetime.

If you are looking for the packing list, menu, a detailed PDF itinerary and a ton of beautiful pictures you can find all the materials here at this Google Drive link.

Here are a few videos of the tour so you know what to expect:

 

 

And, if you like maps, here is a 3D view of the Red Rocks hike on Day 3 of the trip:

 

 

And here is the 3D map of the Huagai god Mountain hike on Day 4:

 

Qinghai Lake and Kanbula National Park

Qinghai Lake

As the largest saline lake in China, Qinghai Lake, historically known as Koko Nor, is situated in  the northeast corner of Qinghai Province. The names “Qinghai” and “Kokonor” both  reflect the vast beauty of the lake and both mean “Blue Sea” in Standard Mandarin and Mongolian respectively. Twenty-three rivers and streams empty into Qinghai Lake, most of them seasonal. Five permanent streams provide 80% of the total influx.

Situated in the Northeast of Qinghai Province and with an area of 4,489 sq.km (988 ac.), it is twice as large as the famous Tai Lake. It is a beautiful lake not only for its scenic spots, vast views, and beautiful islands and but also for the lively Tibetan culture surrounding the lake shore. Located in the northeast of 4,500-meter-high (14,764 ft.) Tibetan Plateau, Qinghai Lake can look like a bright reflective mirror calmly seated between the vast grasslands and surrounding snow mountains.

Qinghai Lake is an important place in history which has been the traditional meeting place between Mongolian and Tibetan cultures. Despite its salinity, Qinghai Lake has an abundance of fish but most of these species are illegal to catch and fish. Sadly, the lake is shrinking at a rate of 10 cm a year as there is no permanent outflow and the inflow has decreased with increased water usage. Most of the rivers and lak.
es that used to feed into the lake are drying up due to a combination of over grazing, farming downstream, water diversion for crop irrigation, and damming.
The lake has a number of attractions that draw travelers in this region in, but many of these spots, including Sand Island and Bird Island, have been closed as of Fall 2017 to help protect the sensitive environment of this fragile region.

Kanbula National Park

 

 

The Kanbula area is famous for its unique sandstone Danxia landforms. This scenic area has abundant rainfall and a cool and moist climate and, unlike most barren places in Qinghai Province, there are prolific evergreen forests here; the forest coverage rate is about 28% and its plant resources are extremely rich with some of the best wildflowers in all of Qinghai Province. Some of the tree species represented in Kanbula National Park are the Qinghai spruce, chinese pine, white birch, and various species of azaleas and honeysuckle.  Other species include Ulmus glaucescens, Prunus sibirica, Salix oritepha, and Spiraea alpina.  Kanbula also hosts a number of rare birds (including larks and cuckoos) and fauna like blue sheep, argali.

Buddhism here has a long history and this park is known for its meditation caves situated high above the park where monks and nuns silently retreat for periods of 2 months to 2 years eating only a simple diet with a singular bowl of rice per day.  This is a ritual and discipline that is part of the practice of Tibetan Buddhism and is thought to help the practitioner release themselves from the attachments and distractions of the world. The hermitage caves are a short 45 minute hike up wooden steps just above the Aqiong Namzong Temple and are located on a 20 minute ride down a bumpy dirt road that leads off the main paved park road.

Qinghai Lake and Serdzong Monastery

Qinghai Lake

As the largest saline lake in China, Qinghai Lake, historically known as Koko Nor, is situated in  the northeast corner of Qinghai Province. The names “Qinghai” and “Kokonor” both  reflect the vast beauty of the lake and both mean “Blue Sea” in Standard Mandarin and Mongolian respectively. Twenty-three rivers and streams empty into Qinghai Lake, most of them seasonal. Five permanent streams provide 80% of the total influx.

Situated in the Northeast of Qinghai Province and with an area of 4,489 sq.km (988 ac.), it is twice as large as the famous Tai Lake. It is a beautiful lake not only for its scenic spots, vast views, and beautiful islands and but also for the lively Tibetan culture surrounding the lake shore. Located in the northeast of 4,500-meter-high (14,764 ft.) Tibetan Plateau, Qinghai Lake can look like a bright reflective mirror calmly seated between the vast grasslands and surrounding snow mountains.

Qinghai Lake is an important place in history which has been the traditional meeting place between Mongolian and Tibetan cultures. Despite its salinity, Qinghai Lake has an abundance of fish but most of these species are illegal to catch and fish. Sadly, the lake is shrinking at a rate of 10 cm a year as there is no permanent outflow and the inflow has decreased with increased water usage. Most of the rivers and lak.
es that used to feed into the lake are drying up due to a combination of over grazing, farming downstream, water diversion for crop irrigation, and damming.
The lake has a number of attractions that draw travelers in this region in, but many of these spots, including Sand Island and Bird Island, have been closed as of Fall 2017 to help protect the sensitive environment of this fragile region.

Serdzong Monastery

After a night near Qinghai Lake, we will continue to drive 3 hours south to a very remote monastery seen by very few foreigners, Serdzong Monastery.

From Qinghai Lake we will drive to the town of Xinghai 兴海  and then drive through a gorgeous desert canyon to arrive in front of the gnarled cliffs that envelope Serdzong Monastery. The monastery is interesting in its own right but most of the larger temple buildings have been newly built from concrete and lack some of the older character of other older monasteries. Nonetheless, the sparkling temple roofs as they shimmer and glint in the sun is quite stunning.

You could spend a few hours strolling through the monastery. These days the monastery is seeing lots of construction. When I was there  in August 2017 there were quite a few construction diggers and bulldozers working over the exterior of the monastery. Which took away from the serenity of the monastery.  My personal favorite thing to do is to hike behind the monastery and walk right under the sheer 200 meter cliffs that hover ominously over the monastery in the valley.  This is altogether probably about a 2-3 hour hike and, in the first 45 minutes, you get to a high ridge full of colorful Buddhist prayer flags

 

In the shoulder seasons (April, May, September, October, and November) there are no tent hotels available, but there are 2-3 fairly nice three and four hotels in Xinghai that can host foreigners.

Glamping in the Plateau

A stay at our luxury tent camp is an extraordinary way to experience the magnificence of Tibetan culture and the astounding natural beauty of the Tibetan Plateau in style and comfort. Situated just twenty minutes outside of Labrang, the famous Tibetan monastic town in the Tibetan Autonomous Kanlho Prefecture, Gansu Province, China, this luxury tent camp is a place where awe-inspiring memories are made.

The site of this luxury adventure tour is a traditional winter grazing ground for nomad herds. Covering 11 hectares (27 acres), it is surrounded by the rolling hills and distant mountains of the high plateau; it borders a meandering river and is home to hares and marmots, foxes, gazelles, and many birds including pheasants. Flowering bushes dot the landscape, and in summer the ground is a carpet of wildflowers that bloom in stages from May into October.

Two Unique Monasteries

Note:  the above video gives a general glimpse of Qinghai Province.  Not all areas located in this video are included in this specific day tour.

 

Xining ( 西宁 Xīníng, ཟི་ལིང་། Ziling) is the capital of Qinghai province in western China, and the largest city on the Tibetan Plateau. As of the 2010 census, it had a popluation of 2,208,708 inhabitants. With so many people in Xining, it can be hard to know what to see and how to travel.  Elevated Trips wants to help you simplify all that so that you can see some of the best the high plateau has to offer without bumbling around and asking for directions in broken Chinese. 

Here is a little history to get you started on your tour. Xining was a commercial hub along the Northern Silk Road’s Hexi Corridor for over 2000 years, and was a stronghold of the Han, Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties’ resistance against nomadic attacks from the west. Although long a part of Gansu province, Xining was added to Qinghai in 1928. Xining holds sites of religious significance to Muslims and Buddhists, including the Dongguan Mosque and Ta’er Monastery. The city lies in the Huangshui River valley, and owing to its high altitude, has a cold semi-arid climate. It is connected by rail to Lhasa, Tibet and connected by high-speed rail to Lanzhou, Gansu and Ürümqi, Xinjiang.

 

 

On this tour we will be viewing two monasteries that are relatively close to Xining.  The monasteries are the Kumbum Monastery and the Nanshan Temple. Both monasteries will give you a fairly good insight into the culture and traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. 

 

Kumbum Monastery (Tibetan: སྐུ་འབུམ་བྱམས་པ་གླིང་ )  also called Ta’er Temple or 塔尔寺 in Chinese, is a Tibetan gompa in Huangzhong County, Xining, Qinghai, China. It was founded in 1583 in a narrow valley close to the village of Lusar in the historical Tibetan region of Amdo. Kumbum Monastery is a actually under a satellite of the famous Drepung Monastery in Lhasa.  As the religious activity center for both monks and followers of the Yellow Hat Sect (also named Gelugpa Sect, a branch of Tibetan Buddhism), Kumbum Monastery (Ta’er Monastery) is located 25 kilometers (about 16 miles) south ocapital city of Qinghai Province – Xining.

Kumbum Monastery houses over 800 monks and is a wonderful, brightly colored architectural complex that contains 9,300 rooms and 52 halls, including Buddha halls, scripture halls, Buddhist pagodas and lamas residences. The monastery is actually comprised of several temples, scripture chanting halls, Buddhist pagodas and monk housing, and incorporates both Tibetan and Han Chinese architectural styles.

Tsong Khapa was born in this place and it is said that his mother buried her placenta here after giving birth to her son and a tree grew up in the middle of the courtyard which bears leaves that hold mystical Tibetan letters. In order to commemorate Tsong Khapa (1357-1419), founder of the Yellow Hat Sect, the Kumbum Monastery was built in 1577 more than 150 years after his death. Now it is considered a sacred place in China.

In the Tibetan language, Kumbum means ‘10,000 statues of Buddha’. During its long 400 years of history, it has gradually become a place of interest for its distinct ethnic color and native style. The whole area covers more than 144 thousand square meters (about 36 acres) with mountains surrounding it.

Kumbum Monastery is grand and imposing and is one of the famous six big lama temples in western China and Tibet (the other five temples are Tibet’s Sera monastery, Drepung monastery, Tashilhunpo monastery, Ganden monastery and the Labrang monastery in Gansu province0).  Kumbum enjoys a high reputation throughout the country and all of Southeast Asia.

 

 

The Nanshan Temple 南山寺 (shown in the video just above), located on Nanshan Lu just above downtown, is also quite a nice place to see locals worshipping. Whenever I have visited I have found it to be extremely quiet and peaceful even though it is only a 100 meters from the traffic of Xining below. Between the two main temple complexes is a small alleyway which winds uphill between narrow brick walls.  You probably wouldn’t suspect that this little alley way goes anywhere important, but if continue farther along this alley up the steps you’ll find a nice pathway that takes you above the temple and along a ridgeline of Xining’s south mountain all the way to beautiful mountaintop Nanshan Park. This is definitely worth a walk and you can see the whole city of Xining sprawled out beneath you in an excellent panoramic view.

All in all this is a great day trip and great way to take in the sights and smells of authentic Buddhist culture in a short amount of time.

If you are interested in this tour, fill out our contact form below and we would love to hear from you!

 

Incredible Northern Yunnan

*Note:  The above video actually portrays hiking through the Tiger Leaping Gorge.  While the rest of the video is accurate, this particular itinerary does not hike through the gorge but we can easily add one to two days onto the tour and we can help you trek through this amazing scenery if you want to experience it by foot!

CULTURAL IMMERSION

Our adventure will have participants immersed in stunning terrain while interacting with the area’s local communities. Each day, travelers will have the opportunity to participate in carefully designed activities that are sure to bring new challenges, new flavors, new stories, and new friends. From the expansive views of Tiger Leaping Gorge to the friendly villagers around the picturesque Shaxi Valley, participants are sure to experience China like never before and take home a new, unique perspective of the Middle Kingdom.

TIBETAN BUDDHISM IN YUNNAN

Probably the most striking feature of Yunnan’s culture is its diversity. With over 20 different ethnic groups, each with their own traditions, customs, and languages, it is sometimes impossible to pin Yunnanese culture down with broad generalizations. Yunnan’s diversity makes it unique, and the Yunnanese are quite proud of this fact. While Yunnan is diverse, the hub of traditional Tibetan culture is located in Shangri-La. Here you can spend hours roaming through monasteries and watching monks meditate to the slow, melodic flicker of yak butter candles.

Chola Mountain

In the local Tibetan language “Chola Mountain” means the mountain where the eagle cannot fly. Its spectacular scenery is second to none in all of China’s six-thousand-meter mountain peaks. In the mountains surrounding the area, there are more than 20 peaks of more than 5,000 meters.

The climb is very special because it has the real feel of a snow-capped technical mountain with an incredibly safe climbing route that can be climbed by beginners. The route calls for 3 entire days on the glacier traversing crevasses and climbing two major ice faces along the way. It’s climbing season is from July 1st to October 15th, with the best time to climb from mid July to the end of August. All in all, it is truly a one of kind mountain that provides an utmost physical challenge while still extremely safe. As well, its scenery is a mesmerizing combination of grassland, high elevation forest, rock, and glacier. A climb of Chola Mountain will not leave its climbers disappointed.

 

Climb Distance: 30 km/ 2000 meters of vertical elevation gain

Length: 10 days  

Meeting Point: Ganzi, Sichuan

You can see the 10 hour bus (832km bus) from Chengdu to Ganzi here

Climb level: Medium/Difficult

Gansu’s Silk Road Hexi Corridor + Amdo Tibet

Our program takes participants through the remote regions of Amdo Tibet into the high grasslands and monasteries that are the heartbeat of Tibetan nomadic culture. Eat a cup of tart yak yoghurt, walk under the tall golden spires of monastery halls and giant Buddhas, and trek through rugged mountains to discover how nomads have kept their ways alive for centuries in the midst of an often unforgiving high-altitude environment. With the opportunity to stay with nomads, we’ll have insight into their daily routines and learn to appreciate the richness of their culture.

From the wild grasslands of Amdo Tibet we will then head to Zhangye, Jiayuguan, and Dunhuang.  These are desert towns of western Gansu Province and they were important arteries for trade along the Hexi Corridor of the Silk Road.   See the rainbow striped mountains of Zhangye Danxia National Park and explore the westernmost section of the Great Wall in Jiayuguan.  Much of this section of the Great Wall has been entirely covered by drifting desert sand but there still remains a few exposed sections that still whisper rumors of conquest and empire. Next we will have the opportunity to take a camel ride in the desert and stroll through the lively night market of Dunhuang as you watch the traditional art of Chinese paper cutting and block painting.  We will end our tour in Gansu’s best grottoes as we walk into the hidden caves of the mystical Mogao Grottoes to see ancient Buddhist cave paintings in the sandstone cliffs of the desert.

 

This tour is a must for culture and art buffs! From wooly yaks to regal camels, this tour really hits all the best monasteries and scencic spots in all of Gansu Province and even includes China’s largest salt lake.

Mongolian Lunar New Year

This tour is designed for those who like to challenge themselves with extreme winter outdoor activities and are not afraid of the cold. This tour is ideally suited for backpackers.

Your participation in this trip is helping to financially support nomadic families living in Mongolia. And 3% of our profit will be donated to children’s orphanage in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Team Building Weekend at Kanbula National Park

Activities may include:

Map and Compass course

Team building activities

Hiking in the natural environment of the red rock canyons

Learning about local food and culture

Bonfire

Picnic in the park

Mount Haba Expedition

Mount Haba is a great challenge! The high altitude and the ever-changing weather present even experienced climbers with difficulties. Climbing Mount Haba takes a combination of physical strength and mental fortitude!

Mount Haba can be climbed at any time throughout the year. Although, the best time of the year is in autumn, and, in particular, September and October.

 

Registration Requirements

Mount Haba is a great entry level high-altitude climb for beginners. Those who have healthy, good physical condition and hiking experience are welcome to climb with us. Before climbing each climber must have had a general physical within one year and be able to supply the documentation. During the climb, our professional alpine guides will carry out the mountaineering training necessary to enable all clients to have the best chance of reaching the summit.

Four Sisters Mountain Peak Three

Four Sisters Mountain Peak Three can be climbed virtually any time of the year with the majority of climbers climbing between May and November. The best time of the year to climb the mountain is in October and November.

Not only offering hiking, but this trip offers you a chance to practice your horsemanship skills! Clients can ride horses all the way to base camp and after the summit we will provide a horse for you to ride back to Siguniang town at no additional cost.

A final perk to this trip is that on the way back to Chengdu we will be able to stop and see China’s most beloved and wild animal, the panda!

 

Registration Requirements

Four Sisters Peak Three is a great entry level high-altitude climb for beginners. Nonetheless, Peak Three does present some some technical challenges, but not any overwhelming difficulties for beginner climbers.Those who have healthy, good physical condition and hiking experience are welcome climb with us. Before climbing each climber must have had a general physical within one year and be able to supply the documentation. During the climb, our professional alpine guides will carry out the mountaineering training necessary to enable all clients to have the best chance of reaching the summit.

Four Sisters Peak One, Peak Two, and Peak Three Combined

Four Sisters Mountain Peak One, Peak Two, and Peak Three can be climbed virtually any time of the year with the majority of climbers climbing between May and November. The best time of the year to climb the mountain is in October and November.

Not only offering hiking, but this trip offers you a chance to practice your horsemanship skills! Clients can ride horse to the base camps of each respective peak and after summit of Peak Two and Peak Three we will provide a horse for you to ride back to Siguniang town at no additional cost.

A final perk to this trip is that on the way back to Chengdu we will be able to stop and see China’s most beloved wild animal, the panda!

 

Registration Requirements

Four Sisters Peak One, Two, and Three are great entry level high-altitude climbs for beginners. Peak Three is the most difficult as it presents some, but not any overwhelming technical challenges. Those who have healthy, good physical condition and hiking experience are welcome climb with us. Before climbing each climber must have had a general physical within one year and be able to supply the documentation. During the climb, our professional alpine guides will carry out the mountaineering training necessary to enable all clients to have the best chance of reaching the summit.

Four Sisters Mountain Peak One and Peak Two

These two mountains are extremely suitable for hikers and regular exercisers.
Still, problems are possible from time to time due to the the high altitude and the variable weather. Nonetheless, most people are able to succeed in making it to the summit with perseverance and determination!

Four Sisters Mountain Peak One and Peak Two can be climbed virtually any time of the year with the majority of climbers climbing between May and November. The best time of the year to climb the mountain is in October and November.

Not only offering hiking, but this trip offers you a chance to practice your horsemanship skills! Clients can ride horses all the way to base camp of each respective peak and after the summit of Peak Two we will provide a horse for you to ride back to Siguniang town at no additional cost.

A final perk to this trip is that on the way back to Chengdu we will be able to stop and see China’s most beloved wild animal, the panda!

Registration Requirements

Four Sisters Peak One and Peak Two are great entry level high-altitude climbs for beginners. Those who have healthy, good physical condition and hiking experience are welcome climb with us. Before climbing each climber must have had a general physical within one year and be able to supply the documentation. During the climb, our professional alpine guides will carry out the mountaineering training necessary to enable all clients to have the best chance of reaching the summit.

Four Sisters Mountain Peak Two

Four Sisters Mountain Peak Two can be climbed virtually any time of the year with the majority of climbers climbing between May and November. The best time of the year to climb the mountain is in October and November.

Not only offering hiking, but this trip allows you a chance to practice your horsemanship skills as well! Clients can ride horses all the way to base camp and after the summit we will provide a horse for you to ride back to Siguniang town at no additional cost.

A final perk to this trip is that on the way back to Chengdu we will be able to stop and see China’s most beloved wild animal, the panda!

Registration Requirements

Four Sisters Peak Two is a great entry level high-altitude climb for beginners. Those who have healthy, good physical condition and hiking experience are welcome climb with us. Before climbing each climber must have had a general physical within one year and be able to supply the documentation. During the climb, our professional alpine guides will carry out the mountaineering training necessary to enable all clients to have the best chance of reaching the summit

Four Sisters Mountain Peak One

Four Sisters Mountain Peak One can be climbed virtually any time of the year with the majority of climbers climbing between May and November. The best time of the year to climb the mountain is in October and November.

Not only offering hiking, but this trip offers you a chance to practice your horsemanship skills! Clients can ride horses all the way to base camp and after the summit we will provide a horse for you to ride back to Siguniang town at no additional cost.

A final perk to this trip is that on the way back to Chengdu we will be able to stop and see China’s most beloved and animal, the panda!

Registration Requirements

Four Sisters Peak One is a great entry level high-altitude climb for beginners. Those who have healthy, good physical condition and hiking experience are welcome climb with us. Before climbing each climber must have had a general physical within one year and be able to supply the documentation. During the climb, our professional alpine guides will carry out the mountaineering training necessary to enable all clients to have the best chance of reaching the summit.

Yuzhu Feng Expedition

Then this trip is for you!  Climbing Yuzhu Feng offers affordable and accessible basic mountaineering and snow travel for those who are looking to get above 6,000 meters/ 19,685 feet without a lot of technical climbing experience. All levels of experience are welcome for those looking for an adventure of a lifetime!

Our team of head guides is fluent in both English and Chinese and we want to help change your dream of climbing a massive, glaciated peak into a reality! We look forward to offering you first-class service and technical excellence as we journey together to the summit of Yu Zhu Feng!

Yu Zhu Feng, altitude 6,178 meters (20,269 feet) , is the highest peak in the eastern KunLun Mountains and located about 3 hours by car outside of GeErMu (Golmud), in Qinghai, China. The climbing season is from May to October with the best time of year in July and August.

Yu Zhu Feng is an ideal mountain for beginners. The mountain has two climbable slopes: the north slope and the south slope. The north slope of the mountain rises from a wide flat plain that begins at 4,300 meters above sea level near the small village of Xi Da Tan. The north slope is good for technical mountaineers looking to practice their skills and also those hoping to acclimatize and rest at Xi Da Tan before heading over to the southern slope. Over the KunLun Mountain pass is the southern slope of Yu Zhu Feng at an altitude of 5,050 meters. The southern slope of Yu Zhu Feng is much more friendly for beginner climbers as the shape and formation of the glacier makes it an ideal place for first-timers and beginners to climb a high-altitude peak. The southern slope will serve as our playground as we set out for the summit of Yu Zhu Feng!

Although Yuzhu Feng is one of China’s accessible commercial peaks, still the amount of oxygen in the air is low and adapting to the high altitude is difficult.  Nonetheless, a high level of climbing skills is not needed and overall the mountain is very safe. Yu Zhu Feng is prime staging grounds for practice to go climber higher peaks of 7,000 and 8,000 meters.

The Headwaters of the Yellow River

The Golok Tibetan people live in some of the wildest and most magnificent lands in all the Tibetan Plateau. In this in-depth overland tour we start and finish in Xining, the gateway to the Tibetan Plateau. On this tour you will stand at the bottom of the glaciers of Amnye Machen, experience the richness of authentic Tibetan culture, and view China’s largest salt lake at 3,200 meters.  We will also see the bright turquoise waters of Kyaring Lake and Nyoring Lakes, thought to be the source of the Yellow River, the cradle of Chinese civilization and the seventh longest river in the world.

The Yellow River, with a total length of over 5400kms /3400 miles, starts in a remote and desolate open plateau that offers lots of chances to view unique wildlife like Tibetan antelope, Tibetan Wild Ass, Black necked cranes, and the rare and elusive Tibetan fox. From it’s source to its winding banks along the Tibetan Plateau, the entire Yellow River area is stunning. It offers everything from high snow-capped mountains to grasslands filled with yaks to farmlands. The Tibetan culture in this area is some of the best preserved in all of Tibet.

The Golok tribe is located in the Golog Tibet Autonomous Prefecture (མགོ་ལོག་བོད་རིགས་རང་སྐྱོང་ཁུལ་) which is located in

southeastern Qinghai province, in the Amdo region of Tibet. Most of the Golok people are nomadic with many of them living in traditional style Tibetan tents woven from coarse yak hair. A good portion of Golog is well above 4000m / 13,120 feet, but we will acclimate slowly to this altitude following the Yellow River to its source from China’s largest salt lake, Qinghai Lake. Golok is famous across the Tibetan Plateau as being the home of Amnye Machen, one of the 4 main holy mountains of Tibet. Each year, thousands of pilgrims make their way to Amnye Machen, Qinghai’s tallest mountain at 6282m / 20,605 feet.

On this spectacular journey, we will make a loop to and from Xining with Amnye Machen as our furthest point along the way. But getting there is half the fun! Every turn is full of surprises as we trek mountains, explore monasteries, and discover cultural highlights while we make our way to and from the glacier’s edge. This trip is for those who want to experience the food, traditions, and culture in Tibet’s remote villages. Come out and sip some yak butter tea in a mud hut, eat some delicious and creamy yak yoghurt, learn how to herd sheep with a yak hair slingshot, and see the beauty and diversity of some of Qinghai’s biggest and most ornate monasteries.

Trekking Legendary Minya Konka

Situated between the Dadu River and the Yalong River, and just a 30 minute drive from Tibetan town of Kangding, this mountain trek offers some of the best trekking in all of the Tibetan Plateau with a viewpoint of the highest peak in the range at 7,556 m (24,790 ft) from upper Riwuqie pass at 4,937 meters (16,200 ft.)

Start and finish your journey in Chengdu, China. Then spend a few days acclimatizing in the charms of Kangding town while viewing monasteries and taking in the sights of a few day hikes near the town.

Then fully submerge yourself in a 6 day trekking expedition that explores this wonderland of large vertical relief over the deep nearby gorges and monstrous snowcapped mountains that make up the Minya Konka range.

Team building Weekend Event

This 2 night/ 3 day event takes us into the wilderness of Huzhu Beishan to experience a refreshing change that will challenge your team to grow in both self-awareness and performance.

NOTE: We suggest that the participants in this event carry no cell phones to enhance the experience and really engage the community environment. Don’t worry- you really will survive without your phone for 2 nights 🙂
The below is just a sample itinerary. We would be happy to custom-build an itinerary with activities that suit the needs of your own unique team.

Niko

Niko is a Greek word for “to overcome” or “victory”. This is the same root as the word used for the Nike shoe brand.  We offer 5-6 day backpacking trips that put our participants in the middle of challenges in the wilderness to experience victories in both personal and corporate accomplishment and self-awareness. By engaging these challenges they will grow as leaders and team players and build skills that they will use the rest of their lives in both the classroom and job field. Using skills in teamwork and leadership, groups participate in activities that range from using a map and compass to find their way in the wilderness to performing tasks that are out of their usual comfort zones. These tasks include cross cultural ones that stretch our worldview and service projects to a local community.  This course focuses on team building, surrender, leadership development, and service. All these combine as models to build character and strengthen personal confidence.Students will be empowered as individuals and as powerful agents of change in their communities.

In Niko we break up into small groups of 4-5 students so that the learning and one-on-one feedback can have the greatest impact. For instance, a group of 20 students would have 4 teams of 5 participants. Each student will receive the opportunity to be the “Leader of the Day” to practice real-life decision making and leadership.

Laji Mountain one day team building

If you are looking for a team building event, don’t just sit inside a gym or go out to karaoke together. Get outside into a beautiful place and really give an opportunity for growth, challenge, and shared fun for your team. This could really be the difference for your group between mediocrity and excellence in the work place.

Sharzong Ritod Monastery Day Trip

Sharzong Ritod is one of the coolest monasteries we have ever been to.  It is not a big monastery.  In fact, there are probably only 10-15 monks in the whole monastery.  So, unlike other larger, more influential monasteries like Rebkong Longwu Monastery or Labrang Monastery, this is a quaint, countryside monastery that is virtually undiscovered.

What we love about this monastery is it’s location.  It is located right in a very dramatic cliff face that hides the monastery away from the rest of the world. And because virtually no tourists make it to this monastery, it has a very special sense of peace and quiet.  This is where you want to go if you have one day to get out of the city and you want to hear birds sing amidst the light and airy twinkling of soft monastery bells and chimes. This is a place to gather your thoughts and see what Tibetan culture was like 200 years ago.

Qinghai Lake Day Trip

Drive 2 hours from Xining to Qinghai Lake.
Qinghai Lake is the largest lake in China and as such is a great way to find the very middle of China’s huge land mass because it appears readily from space on every modern map. It is a high altitude salt lake seated at 3,205 m (10,515 feet) and is home to nomads who herd yaks and sheep in the windswept barren grasslands arounds its icy banks. It is a brilliant turquoise color – especially against the dry, brown mountains that surround its southern edge. From there we will continue to the lake’s windy edge to view the span across the 120km chasm of open water under the colorful flapping of holy Tibetan prayer flags.
We will eat a Tibetan style lunch at a nearby restaurant (or we might just have a picnic on the shores of the lake) and then explore the lake shore and issues on desertification and salinization the lake faces.
As we depart the lake back to Xining we will come to some sand dunes on it’s eastern side and stop there to walk over the ridges of the dunes.
Return to Xining by dinner time

Note: If you would like to make this a 2 day/ 1 night trip OR a 3 day/ 2 night trip that can be easily arranged. Accommodation can be provided in a small guesthouse at near Qinghai Lake. It’s very nice place to enjoy the sunrise over the lake. There are also excellent day hiking possibilities to peaks at 4,000 meters that surround the lake’s shore.
Please inquire about possibilities to include Qinghai Lake into other itineraries.

Kanbula and Labrang

Walk side by side around a monastery kora with Tibetan pilgrims as they spin prayer wheels around the 1 km kora loop. Relax with a cup of yak butter tea and some authentic Tibetan food.

DDQ Wild! Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand

The entire course will take place in and nearby a peaceful lodge set right on the Lang River with individual cabins made in the the traditional Thai style. It is a perfect place to get away from it all and experience the refreshing wonders of of nature. Here you can wake up to cool mists and the sounds of birds singing in the trees.

This area is not only an excellent place to wind down, it is surrounded by lush walks in the forests, pristine rivers, and world class caving – including caves that have preserved 2,200 year old wooden tombs and excellent large formations. This once-in-a-lifetime adventure will fill fast. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

The following itinerary details our adventure tours in caving, kayaking, and hiking. Note that no prior experience is needed in these activities because qualified guides will be provided to give oversight and prepare us adequately for these trips. However, while no specific skill or experience is needed, these elements will demand at least a general level of fitness and a “can-do” willing attitude.

DDQ Wild! Qinghai, Western China

In a busy world, we so rarely get such moments and we promise that this time will be well spent and refreshing to you as you soak up the beauty and wonder of 4,500 meter tall peaks and contemplate your gifts and callings! During the course, you will be guided through counseling material that will help you discover your potential as you explore your own personal design and wiring.  Each day has about 4-5 hours of hiking and 4-5 hours of professionally guided counseling and meaningful reflection time. Your journey in the pristine wilderness will parallel your own personal journey and questions as you discover what you are made for! It was because of this course that our lead guide, Ben Cubbage, felt empowered to pursue his own dreams and run this program for others to help them, too, achieve their dreams and potential. It is our hope that this course will release you to do the same in your own journey.
The following itinerary details our adventure tours in hiking. Note that no prior experience is needed in these activities because qualified guides will be provided to give oversight and prepare us adequately for these trips. However, while no specific skill or experience is needed, these elements will demand at least a general level of fitness and a “can-do” willing attitude.

DDQ Wild! Mount Rinjani, Indonesia

Mount Rinjani dominates Indonesia’s Lombok island, the nearest neighbor of Bali, and forms the second highest peak of all of the 76 historically active Indonesian volcanoes. It is famous for its beautiful 8.5 km wide, oval-shaped caldera which contains a pristine turquoise lake at around 2,000 meters. We will start the hike in the savannah at the base of the volcano and then hike to the rim of the volcano and spend a night at the caldera lake. The next day we will then hike to experience an incredible sunrise on top of the volcano summit at 3,726 meters. We will descend the summit and return for a restful afternoon at a natural hot spring on the mountain. After a rest day at the lake for reflection we will descend from the rim through the Rinjani rain forest, and arrive in Senaru village in the afternoon. From there we will transfer to the airport and say our goodbyes.

DDQ Wild! Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

We will be sleeping in an authentic Mongolian ger (yurt) camp every night and will use this as a base camp into the beauty of the boulders and the trees to journey on our full an half day treks by foot and on horseback. As the view opens around us, so will your mind to the possibilities and the potential ready to be released in your own life. Dig into your most vibrant dreams on a mountain ridge. Explore your values by a gurgling river after a fulfilling day on horseback. Find out what you were really made for in the wild heartland of Mongolian nomads.
The following itinerary details our adventure tours in hiking. Note that no prior experience is needed in these activities because qualified guides will be provided to give oversight and prepare us adequately for these trips. However, while no specific skill or experience is needed, these elements will demand at least a general level of fitness and a “can-do” willing attitude.

Amdo Soul

Rolling grasslands, lakes, rivers and mountains along with plenty of Tibetan nomads and farmers are found in the area. Though lesser known than Lhasa and central Tibet, Amdo promises customers a good Tibetan experience in more off-the-beaten path locations.

This tour from Xining to Chengdu takes you through all the best of Amdo Tibet seeing majestic monasteries and coming up close and personal with the thriving grasslands and livestock that are the heart and soul of the nomads who live here.

Xunhua to Rebkong Backpacking

As you walk, you’ll grow in understanding of Tibetan culture by staying in Tibetan homes and/or Tibetan nomad tents, visiting monasteries, and walking around holy sites.

In addition to the cross cultural elements, we are happy to include hands-on educational opportunities for adults and students looking to discover more on the Tibetan Plateau. Our lead guide, Ben Cubbage, has an Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science and has spent many years as a naturalist and guide leading groups into fun-filled discovery . Ben loves to teach on this unique ecosystem of the Tibetan Plateau including such concepts as environmental stewardship and responsibility and high altitude ecology and weather.

This trip is for those who want to experience the food, traditions, and culture in Tibet’s remote villages. Come out and sip some yak butter tea in a mud hut, eat some delicious and creamy yak yoghurt, learn how to herd sheep with a yak hair slingshot, and see the beauty and diversity of some of Qinghai’s biggest and most ornate monasteries. We can put together a schedule that is tailor suited to your group and can also incorporate team building activities.

The Spirit of the Glacier: Trekking Amnye Machen

This trip is for those who want to experience the food, traditions, and culture in Tibet’s remote villages. Come out and sip some yak butter tea in a mud hut, eat some delicious and creamy yak yoghurt, learn how to herd sheep with a yak hair slingshot, and see the beauty and diversity of some of Qinghai’s biggest and most ornate monasteries. We can put together a schedule that is tailor suited to your group and can also incorporate team building activities.

Sutras and Saddles

We will climb to to the top of an old meditation temple high on the soaring sandstone towers in Kanbula National Park. After that, we head to Labrang Monastery to see the largest and most influential monastery outside of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. We finish it all off with a horse ride through the quintessential freedom of the Amdo grasslands to see how nomads make their daily “commute” in the mountains.
Tibetan Horse trekking and homestay with Kanbula National Park.
See the stunning Red Rock Cliffs of Kanbula National Park and then watch monks debate in one of Amdo’s largest monasteries. On the last day we will ride a horse through nomadic Tibetan grasslands and return to Xining.

Red Rocks and Monasteries

And we finish it off with the largest monastery in Qinghai Province, Rebkong Longwu monastery, famous for its hand painted Tibetan Thangkas.

Prayers in the Plateau

While this region is known as the Gateway to Tibet, its unique culture is also influenced by its large Muslim population and proximity to Mongolia and Sichuan.

Still undisturbed by the furor of tourism, Qinghai and Gansu both offer the chance for true adventure. Be prepared for challenges of every kind, whether picking up a new phrase in Tibetan or breathing at an altitude of more than 2000m, and also for the chance to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Here are a few videos of the tour so you know what to expect:

 

 

 

And, if you like maps, here is a 3D view of the Red Rocks hike on Day 4 of the trip:

 

 

And here is the 3D map of the Huagai god Mountain hike on Day 5:

 

Pilgrim’s Pride

Then cap your tour off with a horse trek through the grasslands to sleep in a nomad tent or homestay.
Find your inner pilgrim as you discover two culturally rich and vibrant Tibetan monastery towns that are the epicenter of nomadic life and culture.

Wild Golok: The tribe of the Yellow River

The Yellow River starts in a remote and desolate open plateau that offers lots of chances to view unique wildlife like Tibetan antelope, Tibetan Wild Ass, Black necked cranes, and the rare and allusive Tibetan fox.

Summary

Golog Tibet Autonomous Prefecture (མགོ་ལོག་བོད་རིགས་རང་སྐྱོང་ཁུལ་) is located in southeastern Qinghai province, in the Amdo region of Tibet. Over 90% of the 125,000 people who live in Golog are Tibetan. Most of the people in Golog are nomadic with many of them living in traditional style Tibetan tents. Most of Golog is well above 4000m / 13,120 feet so summers are short and winters are long and cold. Golog is famous across the Tibetan Plateau as being the home of Amnye Machen, one of the 4 main holy mountains of Tibet. Each year, thousands of pilgrims make their way to Amnye Machen to make a pilgrimage around the mountain. The trek around the mountain takes around 7 days. Amnye Machen rises to 6282m / 20,605 feet and is the highest mountain in Amdo.

Another famous holy mountain in Golog is Nyenbo Yurtse. Nyenbo Yurtse is located in the remote far eastern corner of Golog prefecture and stands at 5369m / 17,611 feet high. This mountain sees very few foreign travelers, but is possibly the most beautiful place in all of the northern Tibetan Plateau. A deep fresh water lake sits at the base of the mountain. Several rivers run into the lake from the surrounding craggy peaks. The area around Nyenbo Yurtse is excellent for hiking.

Another highlight of the tour is visiting the source of the Yellow River at 4,300 meters above sea level. The Yellow River is the second longest in China with a total length of over 5400kms /3400 miles. From it’s source to its winding banks along the Tibetan Plateau, the entire Yellow River area is stunning. It offers everything from high snow-capped mountains, to grasslands filled with yaks to farmlands. The Tibetan culture in this area is some of the best preserved in all of Tibet.

Nyenbo Yurtse

And getting there is half the fun! Along the way to Nyenbo Yurtse you will get to walk through the mud-daubed alleys of Labrang Monastery and see the untamed grasslands and the nomads who worship there.

This particular itinerary offers 3 days of trekking, but the trek can be modified to be as short as 3 days or as long as 11 days depending on your desired schedule – so contact us and let us know what you want in your itinerary.

Note: As described below the trek can be done carrying your own gear in backpacks. However, horses can be arranged if you wish to have a horse carry your bags so that you can walk with just a light day pack. Please inquire with us about this possibility.

Mountain Reverie

On this trek we will walk between 3,200 and 4,500 meters in the high mountains of northern Sichuan Province. Highlights will include walking 8-15 km every day through pristine terrain that almost no foreigner has ever stepped foot in, camping under the stars, and enjoying a good cup of steaming hot cocoa together at night.

During the course of the trek we will stop for a solo day where we have all day to rest, journal, and take in the vast mountain views in front of us from prominent mountain peaks. Enough time and space to let your mind and your body truly wander into the unknown. Enough challenge to keep your heart beating and exhilarated. This is a trek you don’t want to miss out on!