Experience Tibet and the magical splendors that exist in the Tibetan traditional regions of Kham and Amdo. Gain insight into Tibetan culture, customs and traditions while enjoying extraordinary horse festivals in Yushu and Litang. Horse festivals are the most famous and popular events in Tibet as they are the only ones that encourage full family participation, unlike religious or other ceremonies that do not. While providing a magnificent display of historical traditions amidst the blooming, summer flowers in the stunning backdrop, locals congregate from all over, for euphoric sessions of singing and dancing in their best attire, used to express their level of wealth and prominence. The highlight to these festivals are the horse races themselves, when local nomads and herdsmen race for the finish line in a brave attempt to win. What makes this festival even more outstanding is the emotionally-charged atmosphere that arises from children being reunited with their parents, and lovers meeting after long periods of time due to the nomadic lifestyles that forces separations over prolonged durations.
Featured Program: Day 1: Arrive in Xining, the capital city of Qinghai Province, where you’ll find a guide ready and waiting to transfer you from the airport to your hotel. Day 2: Today you will be given an opportunity to explore the Great Monastery of Kumbum, as well as other sites of significance in the area, such as the city’s Great Mosque. Day 3: Next, you’ll drive around 2.5 hours to explore the region’s natural beauty with a visit to Qinghai Lake, enjoy spectacular views and absorb the historical atmosphere that resides in these locations. Day 4: Departing Xining, you’ll take a short 1.5-hour flight to your next destination, Yushu. Enjoy engaging with the locals who, through gestures and welcoming hands, will display their local customs and introduce you to their culture. Day 5: Centered around horse races, these seasonal festivals attract an influx of people coming from hundreds of miles away. Taste the local wine, dine on fantastic homemade food, sing and dance as you join the masquerade, and enjoy the craziness that surrounds the famous trading associated with all festivals. Gain an experience like no other as this intriguing festival enlightens you into the real, non-commercial side of Tibet. Day 6: Today you will join the merry crowds once again as the nomads take off on their famous horse race to earn the reputable title. Enjoy a heartfelt lunch supplied by local families to regain energy for more dancing, cheering and singing. Make sure to take plenty of photos before heading back for a delightful last dinner and relaxing overstay at your hotel. Day 7: Today you will leave the unforgettable town to explore the wonders of Serxu (3.5 hours away), where you will visit the famous Serxu Monastery. Enjoy the stunning scenery as you look over the mountains in the distance. Colorful prayer flags will give you an authentic feel to this incredible Tibetan site. Day 8: Wake up nice and early to head out on another scenic route as you make your way up to the beautiful glacial mountain of Derge Grand Canyon. En route, capture a breathtaking view of Manigange and Chaola Mountain, where you can expect an outstanding view of Xinluhai Lake, and the heavenly white peaks of the cascading mountains and their glaciers. Take time to explore the Dzogchen Monastery. Day 9: Head towards the Kham province, where you will reach the larger town of Derge and its famous Printing House (Parkhang). Derge town is historically-renowned in this region of Tibet, for being the capital of the Derge Kingdom that once ruled the whole northern Kham area. At the printing house, watch the artisans at work as they silently carve their woodblocks. Day 10: Have a relaxing day of sightseeing as you head five hours toward the nomad town of Litang. Experience luscious, picturesque views as you weave through the Yajiang Valley and over the Litang Grassland. Get a good sleep tonight to prepare for the famous Horse Riding Festival that is hosted in this high-altitude village. Day 11: Join the crowd at one of a series of horse racing festivals, attracting Tibetans from all over the plateau, including Qinghai, Sichuan and Tibet. Enjoy watching local rituals as Tibetans from all over flock in early to set up their tents. The women dress to impress with their extravagant jewellery. Get a feel for the festivities as you witness traditional opening ceremonies and mingle with local nomads in their rapidly-assembled trade market, where you can be sure to collect a few valuable souvenirs at a low cost, bartered price. Day 12: Rise with the early chants of nomads and their families as they prepare for the major horse riding event that will take place today. Day 13: Today’s journey will see you travel for 8 hours from Litang to Danba, via Tagong and Bamei. The Yak Canyon and Danba County (Rongzhag), will be your highlights of the day. Famous for nomadic Yak animal and impressive watchtowers respectively, allow these sites to deliver cultural insight into the Tibetan lifestyle. En route to Danba, wisit the Tagong Monastery, a well-known Tibetan Buddhist monastery of Sakya sect. Day 14: Spend a full day exploring the legendary Danba Tibetan villages that are perched in the green mountains, including Jiaju, Suopo and Zhonglu. The Tibetan villages in the Danba region are famous for their soaring watchtowers and traditional fortress-like houses. These stone watchtowers were built hundreds of years ago for defence, transmitting messages and storage. Day 15: This morning head east to Dujiangyan, which takes around 6 hours, including several stops en route. During the drive, pass by the Four Sisters Mountain, often referred to as the Oriental Alps. Day 16: This morning, visit giant pandas at Dujiangyan Panda Base. After you visit, drive to Chengdu in the afternoon, around an hour and a half away, and check in to your hotel. If energy permits, enjoy a leisurely stroll along the traditional alleyways of Chengdu’s old neighborhood, and explore the reminders of Chengdu’s past. Day 17: After a truly spectacular journey learning about and experiencing first-hand the culture, customs and traditions of the Tibetan people and their flamboyant ceremonies, you will be transferred to the airport, where you can check in for your onward journey.
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