Upon arrival in LANZHOU, you will be greeted by our Asia Senses representatives. They will then provide you with a transport to your hotel for check in. Lanzhou is the capital city of northwest China's Gansu Province with a history of more than 2000 years. It has been an important garrison and transport hub on the ancient “Silk Road” since ancient times. As soon as arrival in Lanzhou, you will be impressed by Lanzhou with its harmonious combination of the modern and the old.
The sightseeing today begins with a visit to Zhongshan Iron Bridge which was built in the 33rd year (1907) of Emperor Guangxu’s reign in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). From the bridge, proceed to White Pagoda Mountain (Baitashan) to visit White Pagoda Temple, a seven-story pagoda with a height of 17 meters (about 55.8 feet). Enjoy bird's eye view of the whole of Lanzhou city, from the top of pagoda.
After that, continue to Gansu Provincial Museum, commonly called Gansu Museum, one of must-visit sites for every foreign visitor coming to Lanzhou on their trip to the ancient Silk Road in China. It has a collection of over 350 000, including historical and cultural relics, modern cultural relics, ethnic cultural relics, paleontological fossils and specimen.
In the evening, free to explore Lanzhou night market and try the hand-pulled beef noodle for your dinner. Overnight in Lanzhou.
Following breakfast, embark on an excursion to the Binglingsi Grottoes, a series of grottoes filled with Buddhist sculpture carved into natural caves and caverns in a canyon along the Yellow River. The site is well-preserved, including 183 caves, 694 Buddha stone statues, 82 earth Buddha statues, more than 900 square meters mural painting which are scattered around the cliff of 200 meter long and 60 meter high on the west bank.
Afterwards, take a boat cruise (small and basic, but private) from the cave to a simple restaurant to enjoy lunch on the riverbank.
Then proceed to XIAHE which is 190km far from the Binglingsi Grottoes. The driving time can take up 3 hours depending on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…). Dinner and bonfire at camp. The rest of day is free at leisure.
OPTIONAL: On request, we may prepare a Finnish sauna: the perfect place to decompress! A bucket-fed hot shower is available to complete the experience and the deck overlooking the river offers the perfect place to linger.
Overnight in Xiahe.
In the morning, take a short transfer to Sangke Grassland which is about 18km southwest of Xiahe county. The grassland is a natural prairie, which looks like a green carpet rife with numerous colorful flowers.
Upon arrival at this beautiful grassland, pay a visit to Lungta Cooperative, where you can experience the real life of local people. The cooperative is a ground-breaking enterprise founded by a group of farmers from Tsayig Spread over 100 hectares of rolling hills. The cooperative also comprises 140 yaks, six mud colored cabins, a yak hair nomad tent and other tents staffed by twelve nomadic men and women.
At this cooperative, you will have chance to ride horse and yak on the beautiful Sangke Grasslands, observe nomadic life, hike to the surrounding hill. For the lunch, share the traditional meal which includes yak or lamb meat, fresh butter, fresh yogurt, local bread and tsampa with locals.
OPTIONAL: Visits the area’s highlights. Begin by heading to Darzong, a highland lake located just north of 3,000 meters (10,000 ft.) and surrounded by forested mountains. Afterwards wander through the Sangke Grasslands, the prominent feature in this Tibetan Enclave where endless green carpets are dotted by black nomad tents and herds of yaks and sheep.
Overnight in tent on the grassland.
Our sightseeing tour today will focus on the Labrang Monastery, the center of Tibetan Buddhism and culture of Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan. Located at the foot of Fengling Mountain by the side of Daxia River, in the western suburb of Xiahe County, the Labrang Monastery is ranked as one of "Six Greatest Gelug School Monasteries" of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery consists of six grand halls, 84 temples, 31 Tibetan-style buildings and 30 Buddhist palaces. Here, you will see the monks studying and debating about Buddhism.
During the visit, you will be guided by a local Tibetan monk through a maze of rooms and inner temples while getting an ‘insider’s’ scoop of monastic life. After that, hike up to the surrounding hills to enjoy the stunning view of the Labrang Monastery and modern town. A healthy lunch will be prepared after that.
Following the lunch, pay a visit to a local market to experience the local way of life. Towards the end of the day, return to the tent. Overnight in Xiahe.
Today, we will drive back to Lanzhou. En route, make a stop at LINXIA (106 km from Xiahe) to visit a local street market and beautiful mosques. After that, you will be transferred to Lanzhou Airport for your departing flight to the next destination.
NOTE: To avoid any unpleasant experiences, you should not discuss about religion, politics and other sensitive topics with guides, drivers and locals.