Explore the Natural Environment of Amdo, Tibet
All visitors to Amdo remark on the beauty of the region. Combined with a strong Tibetan culture, Amdo is an obvious destination for the conscious traveler. Come with us to explore its spectacular natural and cultural history. Amdo, one of the three traditional areas of Tibet, is the home of many important Buddhist lamas and scholars who had a major influence on the religious development of Tibet and, accordingly, contains many great monasteries. Although Amdo covers a large part of present-day Qinghai Province and adjoining parts of Sichuan and Gansu Provinces, we will focus on southern Amdo where these three provinces meet. In this region Tibetans constitute more than 50% of the population, and most speak the Amdo Tibetan dialect. The goal of our journey is to explore the connection between historical and current Tibetan cultural practices and the natural environments and wildlife of Amdo.
Amdo lies on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, and our journey will takes us up to elevations between 10,000 and 14,000 feet. Besides its rich cultural heritage, Amdo is blessed with spectacular mountains, stunning lakes, extensive grasslands, abundant wildflowers, impressive wetlands, and stately forests. These natural environments provide habitats for numerous birds, wildlife, and domestic livestock, including lots of yaks. Amdo is a great destination for those interested in traditional Tibetan nomadic culture. Yak and sheep herding remain a vital part of the lives of most Tibetans in this traditional area. We expect to encounter more than 120 species of birds on the plateau, as well as other wildlife, such as pikas and marmots.
Recovering from your flight, we will spend the first day in Chengdu visiting local areas. The following day we will ascend onto the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and head north to Chuanzhusi. We will then explore the Zoige wetlands and grasslands, and in Taktsang Lhamo will learn of efforts to manage and restore nomadic grazing lands. Here we will visit the wetlands of Gansu Gahai Zecha Nature Reserve. Heading northwest to Labrang, we will experience one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism and Labrang that at one time housds more than 4,000 monks. After exploring Labrang, we will drive back to Chengdu via Zoige and Chuanzhusi.
Please be aware that this journey will spend eight full days at elevations of 10,000 feet or higher. Expect temperature between 32o and 65o F on the plateau; it will be much warmer in Chengdu. Most days, we will spend several hours hiking or walking. Realize that tourist infrastructure is rudimentary in most rural areas. This journey differs from a “normal” birding trip in that we will weave Tibetan culture and conservation into the birding experience. If you would like extend your journey, you have option of adding a three-night trip to Lhasa or other parts of China. Conscious Journeys will be happy to customize an excursion before or after the planned journey.
Arrive in Chengdu and recover.
Morning birds at Chengdu Botanical Garden. Afternoon at Dafu Cottage and Welcome Dinner.
Chengdu to Chuanzhusi (zhen) drive in morning. Afternoon visit to the Bon monastery. (9,800’). Chuanzhusi(zhen) is a Tibetan town located near Songpan. The town is mostly used as a base-camp for exploring the nearby national parks and Tibetan Villages. As the beginning of our Tibetan Amdo experience, we will visit an old Bon monastery and explore Sino Soviet memorial area as we walk through deep forest to look for birds.
Morning birding along the road to the scenic area. Drive to Zoige town for lunch at Hui Restaurant. After Lunch, stop along the way for grassland birds and nomads. Late afternoon drive to Takstang Lhamo (Langmusi). Evening video presentation grazing issues on the plateau (10,900’).
Return to Zoige wetland park for a morning walk on the boardwalk. Lunch at Langmusi and afternoon visit to the Langmusi monastery.
Morning walk for birds in the sacred forest of Langmusi monastery. Lunch in town and free afternoon in town.
Drive to Labrang (Xiahe) stopping by Gansu Gahai wetlands (Kyangthang Tso) and the Zecha Stone forest scenic area (9,700’).
Visit Labrang monastery, Lunch in monk’s hall. Afternoon visit to nomad family.
Hike around the mountains around Labrang in the morning. Free Afternoon in Xiahe.
Drive from Labrang to Zoige. Afternoon drive and birds in mountains east of Zoige (11,300’)
Drive from Zoige to Chengdu
Morning visit to Panda Breeding Center and Wenshou temple in the afternoon.
Depart Chengdu. Arrive back in USA.
Is this not quite what you are looking for? With access to a vast network of Tibetan travel companies and tour guides on the Tibetan Plateau, Conscious Journeys offers an incredible range of experiences with customized trips for everyone. Please take a few minutes and tell us what you want by filling out this Tailor-Made Journey inquiry form today.