West Sichuan & South Gansu Tour: Journey to Siguniangshan, Changping Valley, Danba, villages of Gyarong Tibetans, Langmusi, Xiahe and Lanzhou

Tibetan house with a watchtower in western Sichuan

Day 1:Arrive in Chengdu
Arrive in Chengdu and transfer to hotel to check in.

Day 2: Chengdu/Rilong-B, L, D
After breakfast, depart Chengdu and travel to Rilong. At Yingxiu Town, witness ravages of earthquake. Then continue to Siguniangshan National Park, lit. meaning Four Girls National Park. Visit Shuangqiao Valley, the most accessible valley with vistas of snowy peaks, pastures, grasslands and forests. It is the most beautiful valley of Mt. Siguniangshan. Overnight at Rilong Town

Day 3: Rilong /Danba-B, L, D
Tour Changping Valley with its long, gently sloping hillsides  Changping Valley is one of the most admired valleys by visitors as it is a true gateway to absolutely pristine nature. After lunch, drive to Danba. On the way, visit the headman’s watchtower of Wori. At Danba township, visit Qiang People’s watchtowers at Suopo village nearby before checking to the hotel.

Day 4: Danba /Maerkang-B, L, D
This morning, tour Jiaju Tibetan village, hailed by National Geography as the most beautiful village in China. In this area of Gyarong (Jiarong) Tibetans there are many villages with massive stone-built farmhouses and eye-catching towers. These towers were constructed for defensive purposes, when fighting most used weapons were bows and arrows. From here proceed to Maerkang for the night.

Day 5:Maerkang /Ruoergai-B, L, D
Today admire the Grand Zhuokeji Tibetan Mansion, a 5-storey Tibetan house and a stone fortification, built almost one hundred years ago. It”s regarded as an architectural wonder, and one of historic locations associated with the Long March. Move on to wander in the stone-constructed Tibetan village of Xisuominju, just opposite the Tibetan Mansion. After lunch, travel to Ruoergai, one the way visit the First Bend of the Yellow River at Tangke, where the river forms part of the borderline between Sichuan and Gansu. Arrive at Ruoergai in late afternoon and check in to the hotel.

Day 6: Ruoergai/ Langmusi-B, L, D
Morning is at leisure. After lunch, drive to Langmusi. En route, visit the famed Flower Lake, a nature reserve for black-necked crane protection and the largest fenland in China. Arrive Langmusi in the afternoon. Tour Langmusi Monastery (Sichuan part) before checking to the hotel. The whole Langmu Monastery is like a small town. The Grand Hall does not have any enclosing walls. The murals, the painted red columns and the tranquil surrounding are all awe-inspiring.

Day 7: Langmusi/ Xiahe-B, L, D
After enjoying breakfast, behold Langmusi Monastery (Sichuan part). Then travel to Xiahe. Along the way, Visit Gahai Lake, the largest fresh water lake in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and an important wetland in the east of Tibetan-Qinghai Plateau. Gahai Lake is a part of the National Gahai Zecha Natural Reserve. Arrive Xiahe in the afternoon and check in to the hotel. Set in a beautiful mountain valley, renowned as ‘Little Tibet’, Xiahe is populated largely by ethnic Tibetans, as well as some Hui and Han Chinese.

Day 8: Xiahe/Lanzhou:B,L,D
This morning, visit Labrang Monastery, once regarded as one of the largest Buddhist monastic universities, and the most important monastery town outside the heart of Tibet. It is situated at the crossroads of four major Asian cultures—Tibetan, Mongolian, Han Chinese, and Chinese Muslim. Later, tour Gongtang Pagoda, and admire the view of the shiny golden roofs of the monastery, the old Tibetan town and the nearby green hills. After lunch, travel through the scenic Jishi Mountain Pass to Lanzhou for the night.

Day 9: Lanzhou/B, L, D
Today marvel at the Binglingsi Grottoes. The Caves, with a history of some 1600 years, were excavated during the Jin Dynasty, in the early 3rd century AD . Because of relatively good natural conditions and little man-made damage, Bingling Buddha Caves have survived well over the centuries. There are 776 Buddha statues and more than 900 square meters of murals.

Day 10: Depart Lanzhou.
After checkout in the morning, transfer to the airport for your flight onward. If the region is of interest to you, compare the above itinerary to another Western Sichuan Explorer Tour.

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