On this expedition, we cross the Eastern Himalayas from the capital of Qinghai Province (Xining) and drive to the capital of Sichuan: Chengdu. We cross grasslands, drive along the Yellow River through landscapes of sandstone, meet nomads, and visit one of the largest monasteries of Tibet: Sertar. We often pass areas beyond 3000 meters and cross curvy mountain passes. At the Tibetan Thanka handcraft center at Tongren we learn about Tibetan art and visit the old town with pilgrims. A journey through the original, rural China and Tibet. This adventure can be booked together with the Chengdu – Dali journey



Tour Overview:

Date: On request
Price: On request
Highlights / Route: Xining – Qinghai-Lake (Kokonor) – Yellow River – Tongren – Xiahe (Labrang-Monastry) – Langmusi – Sertar- – Aba – Chengdu
Length: ~ 1.900 Km
Duration : 11 days
Style / Character: Adventure tour with overnight stays in hotels and guesthouses
Vehicles: 4×4, SUV, Van, Bus


Google maps only offers a basic overview on the route. Many smaller roads are not documented.

Daily itinerary for Xining – Chengdu:  Through Eastern Tibet and over the Himalaya –

Day Route: Description

 Xining arrival day:

Pick-up service from the airport and acclimatization. Joint Dinner in the provincial capital of Qinghai.


Xining – Kumbum Monastery – Qinghai Lake:

After breakfast we start with our trip. Before we get to the nearby 3,800 meters Qinghai Lake, we take a break and visit the Kumbum Monastery (Ta He Si). The monastery dates from 1578 and is one of the six largest monasteries of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. The Qinghai Lake (Kokonor) is considered one of the largest salt lakes in the world.

[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”] 3h


Qinghai-Lake – Yellow River:

From Qinghai Lake we go further to the Tibetan highlands and continue over a plateau inhabited by nomads and grazing yaks, before arriving on the shores of the Yellow river. The view of Qinghai Lake from the top is spectacular. We visit the Xiaqiong Monastery, which is one of the most important in this part of Tibet (Amdo).

[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”] 4h


Yellow River – Tongren:

The journey takes us over Tibetan grassland to Tongren, where we spend the night in a hotel. Before we arrive in Tongren, we pass the monastery Achung Namdzong. It is one of the most important monasteries of the Nyingma school. Tongren is a center of Tibetan art and culture. Here you can purchase hand-painted Thangkas ( Tibetan paintings on animal skin ) or just watch the goings on the street.

[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”] 4h


Tongren – Xiahe (Labrang-Monastery):

Labrang is one of the largest temple complexes of the Gelugpa school in the world. Several mountain slopes are planted with small one- or two-story accommodation and temples for the monks. The mountain slopes are surrounded by grasslands and around 2800m altitude. Today the monastery is one of the most important educational institutions of Tibet. In the 18th century, it became a trading center because of its location on the Silk Road. The monastery is located in a river valley.

[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”] 3h


Xiahe (Labrang-Monastery) – Langmusi:

Langmusi is a small Tibetan village amidst grassland and coniferous forest and marks the boundary between the provinces of Gansu and Sichuan. The village is surrounded by small red and white painted monasteries, such as the Kerti Monastery, yak herds and pine trees. This night we stay in a small guest house.

[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”] 4 1/2h


Langmusi – Kirti Gompa:

The road leads along the Yellow River on our way to the south. Soon we are back on almost untrodden roads surrounded by grassland, mountains, nomads, and the vast sky. Today’s destination is near the Kirti Gompa, another important monastery.

[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”] 6 1/2h


Kirti Gompa – Sertar:

The Way to Sertar (or: Seda) leads over 50 km of slopes. The effort is worthwhile, because Sertar is a highlight of this trip. Sertar is the largest Buddhist educational institution in the world and was built up the hill over generations. The amazing view and the architectural extent cannot be understood only by looking at photos.

[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”] 8h


Sertar – Aba:

Slowly but surely we are leaving the Tibetan grasslands and driving through pine forest and along small lakes to Aba where we will stay a longer time in our camp.

[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”]  5 1/2h


Aba – Chengdu:

On the last day of driving, we get back to civilization. Chengdu is a large, modern, and vibrant city and also the provincial capital of Sichuan.

[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”]  6h


 Chengdu Departure Day:

Transfer to the airport.


Included Services:

5 Overnights stays in hotels and guest houses
English speaking tour guide
Meals (Breakfast, Lunch), Mineral Water
Help with applying a Chinese visa

In traditional Tibetan concepts, Tibet consists of Ü-Tsang, Amdo, and Kham. It is not an official administrative division but a tradition that reflects the difference in history, geography, and culture of these three Tibetan regions. The Kham is a vague geographical framework without a precise geographical boundary