Discover Southern Gansu’s “Garden of Eden.”
Step into the life, land and culture of this stunning Tibetan-Chinese prefecture.
Discover the Tibetan temples of the Labrang Monastery and Saichisi temple, learn the traditional story-painting art of Thang’ka, follow an explorer’s steps to Gansu’s “Garden of Eden” of Zhagana, trace the veins of exquisite Buddhist wall murals into the heart of the religion at Anduo Hezuo Milarepa Buddhist Monastery.
All this - plus the Baishiya Karst meditation cave, nomad herding experience and more.
Lanzhou meetup day. Explore Lanzhou’s CBD.
Lanzhou meetup day.
Meet up in Lanzhou. Check in. Explore Lanzhou CBD.
Meet up in Lanzhou on Day 1.
Make your way to the westerly city of Lanzhou. Check in at our designated hotel.
Explore Lanzhou’s CBD.
Arrive early and you can explore the Lanzhou CBD: see the Yangtze River on Zhongshan Bridge, climb up to the pagoda on nearby Baitashan Park for a panorama of the city, or eat your way through a smorgasbord of traditional ethnic snack cuisine on Zhengning Food Street.
Lanzhou. Linxia Autonomous Prefecture. Gansu Ganjia Plateau Tents/Cabins. ‘Erqia’ shepherds sling crafting experience.
Lanzhou to Linxia Autonomous Prefecture. Gansu Ganjia Plateau Tents/Cabins.
After breakfast we hit the road. Your adventure begins.
Depart Lanzhou, setting down for lunch in the self-governed Chinese prefecture of Linxia, a home of the Hui Muslim ethnic group. Be treated to Hui hospitality, eat Hui cuisine for lunch.
Finish eating, then press on into the Tibetan Autonomous region. Pass through Xiahe County to arrive at the “tent grounds”, where we will (later) settle down for the night.
‘Erqia’ shepherds sling crafting experience. Sunset.
Step onto the grasslands and follow us over to meet locals. Get acquainted, then learn an old local heritage artform – watch as the Tibetans show you how to hand-braid an “Erqia” shepherd’s sling.
Braid your own.
Afterwards, find your tent. Sit out at twilight to enjoy the open air and a stunning Tibetan highland sunset.
Plateau Sunrise. Tibetan Livestock Droving. Caving at the Baishiya Karst Caves. Hands-on Thang’ka Holy Art. To Xiahe
Plateau Sunrise. Tibetan Livestock Droving.
Dawn, day three. Get up early, sip hot coffee and watch a plateau sunrise, or sleep in (it’s up to you).
After breakfast, grab your hand made Erqia slings from the tent then walk out onto the fields for a real local livestock herder’s experience. Learn how to use your Erqia.
Caving visit at the Baishiya Karst Caves. Lunch.
Afterwards we head to caving at the Baishiya Karst Caves. These caves aren’t average – ever since the great founder of Tibetan Buddhism, Padmasambhava, known as “the Lotus-born”, came to enlightenment here 1200 years ago, these have been the sacred solitary caves at which many monks would attain their enlightenment. Arrive, meet your ‘Aka’ monk guide and follow them deep into the heart of these mysterious spiritual caves.
Return after exploring. For lunch we will try Tibetan cuisine.
Hands-on Thang’ka Holy Art. To Xiahe.
Lunch finished, crafting begins. Head to the local workshop to learn holy Thang’ka painting together with the local students in a craftsman-guided experience.
Arrive in Hexia County, eat an evening meal, then settle in for the night.
Labrang Temple. The Guomang Wetlands. Langmusi. Namo Grand Canyon Hiking
Labrang buddhsit Temple visit.
After breakfast, enter one of Tibetan Gelug sect Buddhism’s great six temples – the Labrang Monastery.
The temple features the Corridor of the Turning Scriptures. In the disciple’s tradition, walk slowly along the corridor as you gently turn the scriptures while humming the words “ong ma ni bei mei hong”. See what feeling comes over you.
The Guomang Wetlands.
From the temple, ride across the Guomang Wetlands towards Langmusi. Camp smoke, tents, grazing livestock herds, the road takes us through scenes native life on these plateau grasslands.
arrive at Langmusi. Hiking at Namo Grand Canyon.
Arrive in an area nicknamed “the Switzerland of the East” - Langmusi. When visiting this place, hiking the unreal scenic landscape is a must. We’re confident you’ll leave enchanted.
Return to Langmusi town at dusk. Arrive at the hotel. Check in and rest.
Sichisi Temple. “Garden of Eden” Zhagana. Free roam in paradise.
Sichisi Temple visit.
Sleep in on Day Five. Rise for an easy breakfast, followed by an easy tour of the Saichisi Abbey (also known as the Setri Gompa Monastery).
“Garden of Eden” Zhagana.
After the tour is complete leave Saichisi behind for Zhagana – explorer Joseph F. Rock’s “Garden of Eden”. Surrounded by towering natural peaks of stark gray stone, Zhagana calls to mind the image of an ancient castle. When people talk about the Zhagana “Stone Castle”, this is what they mean.
Free roam in paradise - the zhagana wander.
Upon arriving at Zhagana individual free roaming begins. Enjoy the atmosphere of this primitive, pretty, Eden-esque village to the fullest on your own terms. The locals enjoy meeting visitors, so perhaps pop your head in at a local home for tea and a chat. Wander from scenic vantage point to scenic vantage point and take in the atmosphere under the Tibetan sun.
Tonight your rooms are reserved at a local Zhagana hotel.
Zhagana 'garden of eden'. Morning Tea watching the Mists of Dawn on the Zhagana Peaks. Lazikou Pass. Stay the night in Zhuoni County.
Zhagana. Morning Tea watching the Mists of Dawn on the Zhagana Peaks.
Make the most of the supple morning light.
Rise early, head out and hike to a spot known as Faerie Beach. Animals grazing freely on lush grass, the village like a snapshot of the past, morning mist wrapping the mountain peaks. Enjoy morning tea in the natural beauty of Zhagana. (By the way, this isn’t just “tea” – this is the full, traditional Tibetan spread.)
Leave Zhagana. Lazikou Pass. Stay the night in Zhuoni County.
Pick up and leave Zhgana behind. Make tracks for Zhuoni County. We set down to explore at a place called Lazikou Pass.
‘Lazikou’ meaning “precarious narrows of the mountain road” in the local language, this spot holds a special place in history for the battle fought here between Mao’s Red Army and the Kuomingtang resistance.
Arrive and check in at our Zhuoni hotel at dusk.
Village snack hunt. Train station send-off.
Wander into another world at the mystifying [Huaiyuan Lou] Tulou. Afterwards, go snack hunting on the village streets.
Head to the station. Exchange wishes and goodbyes. End this tour.
See you next tour!
Zhuoni county. Anduo Hezuo Milarepa Buddhist Monastery. Return to Lanzhou.
Wake up without the alarm clock on Day Seven. Eat breakfast, meet up and head off toward the grand Monastery at Hezuo.
Anduo Hezuo Milarepa Buddhist Monastery.
The nine-story Monastery of Milarepa was built in the name of Milarepa and his disciples – the great founders of the various sects of Tibetan-school Buddhism.
Each level of Buddhist tower is a sanctum, the walls painted with elaborate thematic murals. The theme of the murals are different for each level of the tower.
Return to Lanzhou.
After seeing the monastery board transport and settle in for the ride back to Lanzhou. Check into the hotel upon arrival.
Tour End in lanzhou.
Day eight concludes our scheduled itinerary.
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