Join In Groups, The Great Outdoors, Lost Trails, Epic, All

Headwaters of the Yellow River

Join In Groups, The Great Outdoors, Lost Trails, Epic, All

Headwaters of the Yellow River

Join In Groups, The Great Outdoors, Lost Trails, Epic, All

Headwaters of the Yellow River

Join In Groups, The Great Outdoors, Lost Trails, Epic, All

Headwaters of the Yellow River

Join In Groups, The Great Outdoors, Lost Trails, Epic, All

Headwaters of the Yellow River

  • Destination

    Qinghai

  • Trip duration

    8 days, 7 nights

  • Price

    From 19800 cny

  • Availability period

    1 Sep. 2022 - 8 Sep. 2022

  • Min/Max travelers

    Min.10; Max.16

  • Transport

    Private Van

  • Accommodation

    Well-selected 4 star hotels

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.

On this spectacular journey, 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. On top of that you will be lead by an exceptional chaperon,  Jeremiah Jenne. Rarely you will find most informative and fun Cicero on the China roads.

Read his Bio in our Testimonial section. 

Headwaters of the Yellow River

-

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.

Qinghai, China

You may be interested in

Join In Groups, Lost Trails, Epic, All

Dharma Shaman Festival

6 days , 5 nights
From 11800 cny
Discover
Day 1

PICK UP AT XINING AIRPORT, TRANSFER TO HOTEL

Arrive Xining airport (XNN) at 2,500 meters by afternoon Settle into hotel Opening Tibetan Dinner in Xining

Food

-/-/D

Accommodation

4 STAR HOTEL

Day 2

Xining - Qinghai Lake

Drive 2 hours to Qinghai Lake at 3,200 meters Qinghai Lake, the largest lake in China, is a saltwater sanctuary for bird migration, acting as a stopover for many unique species that fly across Asia. The high altitude grasslands near the lake are home to Tibetan nomads who make their living by herding yaks and sheep. Spend the afternoon relaxing and picnicking by the bright turquoise shores of the Lake. Sleep in a guesthouse near the Lake where we can view the sunset over Qinghai Lake.

Food

B/L/D

Accommodation

GUESTHOUSE

Day 3

Qinghai Lake - Serdzong Monastery

In the morning drive 3 hours to the high grassland town of Xinghai at 3,300 meters. Local lunch with fresh yak yoghurt in Xinghai town. Afternoon exploring Serdzong Monastery Half-day hike behind monastery to 3,800 meters in the craggy cliffs of the monastery Serdzong, home to over 350 monks, is a remote Buddhist monastery set on the side of a rugged mountain and provides excellent photography and hiking opportunities.

Food

B/L/D

Accommodation

4 STAR HOTEL

Day 4

Serdzong Monastery - Madao

We will drive 215km through nomadic grasslands to the highest nomad town in Qinghai Province, the small town of Madao at 4350m/14,300 feet. This town is named in Tibetan for its proximity to the headwaters of the Yellow River and offers an incredible depth of folklore and legends. Among the most important of these is that of traditional horse racing festivals including the horse racing grounds where the once poor, humble boy named Gesar won his fame and his bride through his exploits as an expert horseman and ultimately became king of the Ling Kingdom.

Food

B/L/D

Accommodation

4 STAR HOTEL

Day 5

Headwaters of the Yellow River

Explore regions around Madao: Kyaring Lake and Nyoring Lake. From Madao we will drive 1.5 hours over the windswept high altitude plains to view some rare and indigenous wildlife that can be seen few other places in the world: Tibetan Antelope, Wild Ass, and the flat-faced Tibetan Fox. Arriving at 4,500 meters, we will explore and photograph the stunning clear blue lakes that are considered as the main sources of the Yellow River, Kyaring Lake and Nyoring Lake. Here we will also delve into the fascinating histories of these two lakes and their spiritual connection to the Kya Lao family and consequently to Tibetan King Gesar’s wife, Dromo

Food

B/L/D

Accommodation

4 STAR HOTEL

Day 6

Mighty Amnye Machen

Today we follow the path of pilgrims and nomads as they make the circumambulation around one of Tibet’s holiest mountains. We will drive from the dusty truck stop town of Huashixia to Machen and on the way we will pass the glaciers of Amnye Machen, the heart of the Golok tribe. Based on our gradual acclimatization over the last few days, we will drive to the base of the Amnye Machen glacier to catch our first view the glorious peak at its height at 6282 meter/20,610 feet. Despite being the highest mountain in Amdo and being incredibly beautiful, Amnye Machen sees surprisingly few foreigners. Since most of this area is between 4200 and 4600 meters, the weather can be quite cool and even cold year round. Light snow flurries are common throughout summer while spring and fall can bring cold, clear weather perfect for photographing the peaks and the mysterious blue glow of the glacier’s light. After a satisfying day at the foot of the mountain, we will drop down to Machen at 3,753 meters/ 12,253 feet. Machen, with around 10,000 people, is the largest town in Golog and as such is the capital of Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Stay in Machen for the night.

Food

B/L/D

Accommodation

4 STAR HOTEL

Day 7

Machen - Zeku

Departing Machen town in the morning, we will drive along the gurgling banks of a winding river through red rock canyons along one of the most beautiful roads in Qinghai Province. Along the way, you will visit the ancient halls of Ragya Monastery built into the deep, rich red clay of the Kayka cliff face. As the canyon opens up, we continue through expansive grasslands to Zeku, a town famous for its high altitude pasture and nomadic hospitality. At an elevation of 3,700 meters, the region around Zeku is almost entirely nomadic pastureland; outside of town, few permanent dwellings are to be seen in the vast expanses that make this a herder’s Shangri-la!

Food

B/L/D

Day 8

Zeku - Xining

This is our last day immersed in the wonders of one of the last truly nomadic cultures in the world. Take in the sights of a high pass as prayers flags flap in the breezes of the rolling hills. Take in the scents of burnt offerings of juniper and barley offered to local deities at nearby altars. Time to say our goodbyes as we leave with a lifetime full memories and hearts aching for more of this beatiful adventures

Food

B/-/-

Accommodation

-

Travel is an emotional experience, cherishing new corners and venture into unknown landscapes.
Respecting this and giving back to society has taken an important role in our endeavours in leaving only footprints and taking only memories.

To Know More
various

Well-selected 4 star hotels and local guesthouses

Across the region, we selected lodging solutions in 4* Hotels and local guesthouses, for a warm and genuine hospitality . (Do not worry, the tent is not for you)

Travel is an emotional experience, cherishing new corners and venture into unknown landscapes.
Respecting this and giving back to society has taken an important role in our endeavours in leaving only footprints and taking only memories.

To Know More
Jeremiah Jenne PhD - your chaperon

Jeremiah is a writer and historian based in Beijing since 2002. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, and taught Late Imperial and Modern Chinese History for over 15 years while also leading educational and research trips to every part of China. His essays and articles have appeared in The Economist, South China Morning Post, and numerous other publications. Jeremiah is the proprietor of Beijing by Foot, which organizes historic walking tours of Beijing's most famous sites and less-traveled byways, and leads workshops on history, culture, and cultural adaptation for students, embassies, companies, and community groups. Along with David Moser, Jeremiah is also the co-host of the podcast Barbarians at the Gate.

Benjamin Cubbage - your chaperon

Ben Cubbage, environment and local lore specialists has traveled and trekked extensively in Tibet and Nepal and has guided trips to the base camp of Mt. Everest, the headwaters of the Yellow River, and the base of Amnye Machen. He participated in and staffed multiple 90-hour Wilderness First Responder trainings. Ben has also thru-hiked the 2,150 mile (3,440 kilometer) Appalachian Trail along the east coast of the US and actively involved in conservation and sustainability in western China.

Create the experience of your dream with our travel experts

Make your own trail