Day 1 → ARRIVE IN YUSHU AIRPORT AND TRANSFER TO HOTEL
In the mid-morning we will pick you up at the Yushu YUS Batang airport and then drive to Yushu town, with about 100,000 people. The Tibetan name for Yushu is Jyekundo and we will stay at a locally owned 5 star rated star hotel in the middle of town. We will spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the cultural sites in town. The elevation of Jyekundo is 3700 meters (12,140 feet). For the next few days we will spend time in Yushu town to properly acclimatize to the altitude.
Sleep in a hotel in Jyekundo (Yushu).
Day 2 → JYEKU MONASTERY AND GYANAK MANI STONES
8:00am - Breakfast in hotel in Yushu
9:00am - In the morning we will walk around the largest Mani Stone Pile in all of Tibet where you can watch 1000’s of pilgrims make a religious pilgrimage around millions of stones hand-engraved with sacred Buddhist prayers. Here we will study the the ancient craft of carving these holy relics as we learn from local craftsmen about painting the sacred language into the stones.
12:00 noon - Lunch near Yushu town
2:00pm- In the afternoon we will visit the unique Jyeku Monastery with a great view of Yushu town and then walk through town.
6:00pm - Dinner in Yushu
Day 3 → EXPLORING YUSHU: WENSHENG TEMPLE AND BATANG GRASSLANDS
8:30am - Eat breakfast in hotel
9:30am - Depart Yushu town, drive 45 minutes to a sacred Buddhist temple dedicated to Princess Wensheng. This temple offers about 1-2 hours of hiking over hills that are entirely covered by colorful prayer flags placed by many generations of devoted pilgrims.
12:30pm - Eat lunch in Yushu town including some freshly made yak yoghurt (yoghurt may depend on seasonal availability). Spend the afternoon doing a 1 hour horse ride in the Batang Grasslands about 30 minutes from Yushu town. The horse ride contributes to a locally owned ecotourism village and during this time we will focus on the historical importance of the horse in Tibetan culture as we ride through the high grasslands.
5:30 pm - Arrive back in Yushu for dinner. Clean up at hotel or homestay
6:00pm - Authentic Tibetan dinner and settle into our hotel in Yushu.
Day 4 → VOLUNTEER DAY
8:30am - Eat breakfast in hotel in Yushu
9:30am - Today we will help local village Tibetans by running an English or Sports Activity camp. We will meet the local children and spend the day learning about nomadic life through the eyes of underprivileged youth.
12:00 noon- Lunch with our new friends
1:00pm - In the afternoon continue our educational experience as we engage the youth of Yushu and help them have new opportunities in learning and problem solving.
5:30pm - Return to Yushu town
6:30pm - Dinner in Yushu then return to hotel
Day 5 → YUSHU TO ZHIDUO, ZHIDUO ECOVILLAGE
8:00am - Breakfast in local hotel in Yushu
8:30am- Today we depart Yushu as we make our way to Zhiduo and the Headwaters of the Yangtze River, the largest river in Asia. This will begin our journey into Sanjiangyuan or the Three Rivers National Park where we will be learning about the ecological importance of the Yellow River, the Mekong River, and the Yangzte River as they all have their source in Qinghai Province.
2:00pm- We will arrive at a traditional black yak hair tent and learn about the traditional rhythms of Tibetans herders as they lived in harmony with nature. We will learn about weaving techniques and try to rediscover this almost lost art of weaving and combining yak wool to produce an almost 100% waterproof tent.
5:00pm- Dinner with our Tibetan nomad hosts and we will sleep in or near the black yak hair tent which is part of an ecotourism village cooperative to preserve traditional Tibetan craft and lifestyle.
Day 6 → ZHIDUO TO QUMALAI
8:00am- Breakfast with our Tibetan host family. In the morning we will get to see the family as they milk the female yaks and from there we will learn about the traditional art of making yoghurt, cheese, and butter. We will also get to taste some of these Tibetan specialties after we learn about the hands-on process.
10:00am- We will depart the Tibetan black tent to drive for 2 hours to Qumalai. Qumalai is a nomad outpost that is known as a trading town for yak and sheep skins and is full of tall, Tibetan cowboys dressed in their traditional long Tibetan robes. As we drive we will pass through high altitude grasslands and stop for a short hike to learn about the ecological significance of this areas.
4:00pm- Settle into hotel in Qumalai
6:00pm - Dinner in Qumalai and sleep in a locally owned hotel
Day 7 → WILDLIFE DISCOVERY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION. SLEEP IN QUMALAI.
8:00am - Today we will drive to the edge of Kekexili National Park to explore the wildlife there. The far western portion of Yushu prefecture is an uninhabited nature reserve known as Kekexili 可可西里 in Chinese. The Kekexili Nature Reserve covers an area of 83,000 square kilometers and is the largest uninhabited region in China and the third largest uninhabited region on earth after the north and south poles. This region lies at an average elevation of 4800 meters and is permafrost. It is home to abundant wildlife including wild yaks, Tibetan antelope, white-lip deer, brown bears, snow leopards, black-necked cranes, wild donkeys and Himalayan marmots. We will spend the day looking for these unique species in the high plateau and talk about ways we can conserve and protect these sensitive lands and the animals that inhabit them
7:00pm- After an amazing day out on the high plateau, we will return to Qumalai for dinner and sleep in a hotel in Qumalai
Day 8 → DRIVE FROM QUMALAI TO MADUO
8:30am - Eat breakfast in hotel in Qumalai
9:30am - Drive 2 hours over remote, windswept plains to two stunning alpine lakes: Kyaring and Nyoring Lakes - considered the source of the Yellow River. Here we may have the chance to see all sorts of unique alpine animals like wild donkeys, Tibetan Antelope, and the Tibetan Fox among the Tibetan highlands.
12:00 noon- Photograph the pristine turquoise lakes at 4,500 meters (14, 763 feet)
5:30pm - Arrive in Maduo, the highest nomad town in Qinghai Province, at 4,350 meters (14,300 feet). This town is known as “base camp" for exploring the remote reaches of the source of the Yellow River
6:30pm - Dinner in Maduo then return to hotel
Day 9 → AMNYE MACHEN
8:00am - Breakfast in hotel in Maduo
9:00am - Set out for our longest and most epic day of the trip as we follow the path of pilgrims and nomads on motorbikes as they make their circumambulation around one of Amdo’s tallest and most holy mountains, Amnye Machen at 6,282 meters ( 20,610 feet). We will drive from Maduo at 4,200 meters in elevation to photograph the snowy peaks of this holy peak.
10:30am - Stop at the base of the Amnye Machen glacier for photos
3:00pm - After a long day at the foot of the mountain, we will drive back to Maduo and settle into our hotel in Maduo
6:30pm- Celebration dinner together as we look back on our epic day at the base of the Amnye Machen glaciers.
8:30pm- Sleep in hotel in Maduo
Day 10 → MADUO - SERDZONG MONASTERY
8:00am - Breakfast in hotel in Maduo
9:00am - Drive 215km through nomadic grasslands to Xinghai as we make our way north and east from the heart of Golok Tibet into the Amdo region of Tibet.
12:00 noon - Along the way stop for lunch in Huashixia town
2:00pm - Reach Xinghai and settle into hotel
3;00pm- In the afternoon drive 30km to explore the labyrinthine alleys of Serdzong Monastery to find out what life as a monk is really like. Then hike above the monastery for an excellent view of the limestone formations and prayer flags at 4,000 meters ( 13,123 feet). .
6:00pm - Dinner in Xinghai
8:00pm - Rest in hotel in Xinghai
Day 11 → SERDZONG MONASTERY - QINGHAI LAKE
8:30am - Eat breakfast in hotel in Xinghai
9:30am - Drive 2.5 hours from the high grassland town of Xinghai at 3,300 meters (10,826 feet) to Gonghe.
12:00 noon- Lunch in Gonghe town
1:00pm -.Visit a traditional nomad home and learn about Tibetan culture and the history of Qinghai Lake, China’s largest salt lake at an altitude of 3,200 meters above sea level
5:30pm - Relax by the open shores of Qinghai Lake on the beach and enjoy the sound of waves lapping at our feet
6:30pm - Dinner near Qinghai Lake and then settle into hotel near the shores of the lake.
Day 12 → QINGHAI LAKE - XINING
8:00am - Eat breakfast in hotel near Qinghai Lake
9:00am - Depart hotel in Qinghai Lake, drive 2.5 hours to Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province
12:00 noon- Check into hotel.Clean up and enjoy a nice hot shower after a long trip. Lunch in Xining and then take the afternoon to rest. Possible visit to the Tibetan History Museum in Xining with the world’s largest Thangka painting at over 600 meters in length.
6:00pm - This will be our last celebration dinner in Xining and we will look back together on an incredible trip and a lifetime full of memories.
8:30pm- Return to hotel in Xining and pack and get ready to depart.
Day 13 → DEPART XINING
Today in the mid-morning we will drop you off at Xining XNN airport as we say our goodbyes with a lifetime full of memories from your time with these beautiful Tibetan people.