11 days Unique Sichuan and Gansu Exploring Tour —no Tibet Permit required
- Detailed itinerary
- Extend or shorten tour
- Optional activities
Day 1 Chengdu - Luobo Qiang people’s village –Songpan ancient town homestay
In the morning, meet your private guide and driver at your hotel lobby. We will visit Luobo Qiang people’s village which is called “The village up in the clouds” on the way. Continue onto the Maoxian Qiang minority group museum, where you can learn about the minority, Qiang people’s culture. In the afternoon, arrive at Songpan ancient city. Homestay in a Tibetan family house.
Day 2 Songpan - Huanglong Scenic Area—Jiuzhaigou
After breakfast, we will drive 1.5-2hrs to the Huanglong Scenic Area. It is famous for peaceful valleys, snowcapped peaks, verdant forests and colorful pools formed by calcite deposits. The total length of wooden plank is 3.6km one way. The convenient cable car up is included to save you time and energy. Then walk up to summit (altitude at 3990m) to enjoy the most beautiful of this areas highlights, Five Color Ponds consisting of many ponds of different size and colors, looking like beautiful emeralds. Its highly recommend walking down through the whole scenic area to enjoy and take in all the beautiful views. In the afternoon, we will drive to Jiuzhaigou zhangzha town.
Day 3 Jiuzhaigou National park
After an early breakfast, throw yourself into the fairland Jiuzhaigou National Park. Jiuzhaigou literally means Nine Village Valley. No doubt, you will have a bite of Tibetan culture while enjoying the spectacular scenery here. This hidden and mysterious place has never been visited by outsiders, until it was discovered in the middle of 20th century. Jiuzhaigou is famous for the most beautiful colorful lakes in China which is hidden in three beautiful valleys - Rize Valley, Shuzheng Valley and Zechawa Valley. The valleys forms a north-orientated Y-shape. The sightseeing bus will take you to all the scenic stops in the three valleys, including Long Lake, five-colored lake, Nuorilang Waterfall, Primeval Forest, Pearl Beach Falls etc... At the same time, planking roads connect one small attraction to another in each valley, if you want to have some leisurely walking. It can easily take a whole day of sightseeing this area. If you want an in-depth tour, a two day hiking tour is recommended.
Day 4 Jiuzhaigou - Ruoergai grassland- Langmusi town
Today you will continue to explore Tibetan culture. After breakfast we will drive to Ruoergai grassland. It's on the east edge of the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau, and has an altitude between 3000 and 3600 meters. This charming grassland is endowed with unique peace and harmony. Countless small lakes scatter the ground like stars. Flower Lake is vastly dotted across the wetland area. Every summer, the grasses comes into beautiful blooms, which gives the lake its name. Apart from the amazing scenery, Ruoergai grassland has been witness to touching stories of the Red Army passing through it during the "Long March". In the afternoon, you will arrive at Langmusi, a small border town between Sichuan and Gansu Province, and inhabited by a colorful mix of Han Chinese, Hui and Amdo Tibetans.
Day 5 Langmusi Temple
In the morning, we will start to explore this unique town, with two Buddhism temples on opposite sides of valley to each other, and one Mosque in the middle of valley. The two monasteries are both historically significant and are held in high regard among Tibetans. Kirti Monastery however, is much larger and more impressive than Sertri Monastery. Kirti monastery was built in 1713 by a lineage of Kirti incarnated Lama named Tala, which is now inhabited by 700 monks. The Sertri Monastery, located in the Gansu Province on the other side of the river, can be dated back to 1748 and is one of the few locations of Tibetan Sky Burials. Many Tibetan pilgrims starting their Kora begin at Sertri before taking off on their journey. If you are lucky, maybe you can have a peek of the holiest Tibetan Celestial burial.
Day 6 Langmusi
Free day. Options include: Horse riding on the vast grassland / visiting a Chinese Hope Primary School / visiting local Tibetan family. Contact us for more detailed information.
Day 7 Langmusi—Xiahe
Today it’s time to leave Sichuan for Gansu province. After a 2.5 hour drive, you will arrive at the monastic town of Xiahe (literally means Xia River). The name comes from the Daxia river which runs through the town. If you feel that you have no chance or time to visit Tibet, don’t worry. You will have a glimpse into the life of Tibetan people and monks, living and working here. Have a lunch upon arrival. Then in the afternoon, visit Labrang Monastery, one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries outside the Tibet Autonomous Region. The monastery was founded in 1709 by a monk, who thereby became the first-generation living Buddha. Nowadays there are about 1200 monks living and studying here. You will have a guided tour by a resident monk, normally including the Institute of Medicine, Manjushri Temple, Golden temple, main Prayer Hall and a museum of relics and yak-butter sculpture. Please note that photos are not allowed inside the temple, except the museum of yak-butter sculpture. Accommodation for the night will be in a hotel
Day 8 Xiahe
Today will be your free day in Xiahe. Other than Labrang Monastery, there are different options such as shopping for Tibetan souvenirs, people watching, biking to surrounding villages or hiking to the summit of peaks where you can have a great view of the whole town. We would be glad to offer the optional activity to the grassland, visiting local Tibetan people’s yurt, tasting their yak butter tea and Tibetan tsampa with a homestay tonight.
Day 9 Xiahe--Binglingsi—Lanzhou
Time to say goodbye to Tibetan region. Today we are going to show you completely different scenery. After a 3 hour drive, we will arrive at a dock, where you will board a speed boat to Binglingsi Grottoes. The boat tour is about 30 minutes long, but you will be rewarded with stunning scenery on the Yellow River. The grottoes are the achievement of 1600 years of continuous expansion. Nowadays you can still see the difference among statues and murals built in different dynasties. The highlight is 27-meter tall Buddha, built 1200 years ago. In the afternoon, drive to Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province. In the evening, let’s explore a Night Market, where you can try various food from delicious barbecue and noodles to special sheep head or feet dishes. Stay in hotel tonight.
Day 10 Lanzhou
After breakfast, we will visit the Gansu Provincial Museum. It is home to precious linen and silk fabrics, books, wooden and bronze vessels, and a great many bamboo slips for writing from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220), frescos and many other items. The treasure is the globally known bronze, Galloping Horse's Hoof Stepped on a Flying Swallow. After this, let’s explore the most traditional transportation on the Yellow River--Sheep Skin Rafting. The boat is made buoyant with sheep skins filled with air. It will be one of the most unique and unforgettable experiences during your day. In the afternoon, visit Zhongshan Bridge, made by Germans 100years ago and White Pagoda Park.
Day 11 Lanzhou Departure
After an exploration in Sichuan and Gansu, your guide and driver will transfer you to airport. The End!