Amdo Tibet

The region of Amdo Tibet lies on the North Eastern part of the plateau known today as the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It covers a large part of present day Qinghai Province as well as the adjoining parts of Sichuan and Gansu Provinces. This distinct region of Tibet lies the farthest away from Lhasa and is still primarily characterized as nomadic, especially throughout the prefectures of Golog (Golok), Huangnan, Hainan, Aba, and Gannan. Nomadic communities are spread across this vast area yet, unlike Kham Tibet, maintain a common dialect throughout. Amdo herdsmen fit the stereotypical image many people have of Tibetans as nomads, and the Golog tribe of southern Amdo are renowned as the most wild even by Tibetans themselves.

The Amdo Tibetans are unified by their relatively similar forms of the language, mainly based on archaic nomad dialects that seem to have changed relatively little over the centuries. Today the Amdo claim the highest levels of Tibetan literacy and are proud of their scholars both lay and monastic. Relative to Kham Tibet, this region is less mountainous with vast grasslands that are painted in green throughout the summer months while herds of yak and sheep graze under the care of shepherds. Winter brings an especially desperate environment to this part of the Tibetan plateau with low temperatures mixed with relentless winds.

The Chinese cities of Chengdu, Lanzhou, and Xining are the main gateway cities to Amdo Tibet. From these three cities there is convenient access to much of the region via land or air. Public buses are more comfortable than most people think these days, and if you are traveling in a group it is very economical to hire a private vehicle. Your guesthouse or hotel should be able to assist with arranging your ground transport depending on your needs. Airports are also conveniently located in Jiuzhaigou, Xiahe (Labrang), and Hongyuan.


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Diebu ( Tewu) County

Diebu county (or “Tewu” “ཐེ་བོ་རྫོང་།” in Tibetan) is one of seven counties located in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. It is primarily a forested region comprising of a diversity of wildlife, peaceful Tibetan villages, and beautiful mountains. The population of Diebu county is around 60,000. It is 2,300 meters above sea …

Luqu County

Luqu county ( ཀླུ་ཆུ་རྫོང་། in Tibetan) is an administrative district and one of seven counties of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Luqu is 3,500-meters-high grassland home. For a significant part of the year in Luqu, Tibetans still live in traditional nomad tents. However, more and more of them are being resettled …

Maqu County

Maqu County Gesar Square

In Southwestern Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Region (Gansu Province) you’ll find a gem of Tibetan nomad culture and history—Maqu County. རྨ་ཆུ་རྫོང་། in Tibetan. ) Maqu is named after the Yellow River (it literally means “Yellow River” in Tibetan). It is located at the first bend of the Yellow River, whose abundant …

Geji Nyima Tribe Homestay

Two and a half hours north of Chengdu, there is a valley. In that valley, there is a village. And in that village, there are nearly 200 Tibetan families. Most of those families open their homes to travelers. One of the best that we’ve found is the Geji Nyma Tribe …

Zhuoni – Jonê

Zhuoni (卓尼)is the Chinese name for the Tibetan county of Jonê(ཅོ་ནེ།) located 2,500 meters above sea level in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu province. With over 100,000 people, Jonê is a mix of Tibetan, Han Chinese, Hui, Miao, and Tu minorities. Yet, the majority (70%) is Tibetan. The History of …

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Zhagana

Zhagana Valley, Amdo Tibet

Zhagana, “Rock Box” Zhagana བྲག་སྒམ་ནང་། in Tibetan ) Zhagana is in Yiwa Township, Tiewu County, Gannan (Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture), Gansu province. It’s mountain regions on the northeastern rim of the Tibetan plateau, with an average altitude of 3,200 meters. Zhagana means “Rock Box” in Tibetan language, which is fitting as it …

Zö ( Hezuo)

A lot Packed into Two Letters Zö (གཙོས་) means “antelope” in Tibetan. It also signifies the city of Zö (or Hezuo in Chinese). As the capitol of Gannan Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, Zö is naturally the economic, political, educational, and cultural center of the prefecture. Zö lies on the northeastern edge of the Tibetan plateau …

Mtsho khra khrap (Flower Lake)

Flower Lake

Officially known as Ruoergai Wetland National Nature Reserve, this area is commonly known in Chinese as Hua Hu which literally translates: Mtsho khra khrap (མཚོ་ཁྲ་ཁྲབ།) In Tibetan. We call it Flower Lake in English. The name comes from the flower shape of the lake, not because it holds an abundance …

Erdaohai Lake

Entrance to Erdaohai Lake

Located just outside of Songpan in the Mounigou Gulley Scenic Area is the breathtaking Erdaohai Lake. While this is not the only lake or scenic spot located in the park, it is one of the two most famous places in the Mounigou Gulley, ensuring the park is known by this …

Lianbaoyeze Holy Mountain

Nice View in Lianbaoyeze Holy Mountain

Driving about an hour and a half north of Aba town, travellers are rewarded with the spectacular views to be found at the Lianbaoyeze Holy Mountain (གཉན་པོ་གཡུ་རྩེ།) Scenic Area. With a mountain range surrounding a large lake, the air here feels clear and pure. The area surrounding the Lianbaoyeze Mountain …

Ngawa (Aba)

Aha County Town

Located in the Northwest of Sichuan Province at an elevation of 3,200 meters above sea level is the town of Ngawa (རྔ་བ་རྫོང།), also known as Aba (阿坝县) in Chinese. Aba is located on the Tibetan plateau, and the town is the seat of Ngawa (Aba) County. The city holds a population …

Datshe Khupa (Yueliangwan)

Moon Bay (Yueliangwan)

Located just outside of Hong Yuan in the Amdo Tibetan region in Sichuan, one can find the scenic area known as Yueliangwan in Chinese, ཟླ་ཚེས་ཁུག་པ། in Tibetan. Moon Bay in English.  The Chinese call this place Yueliangwan, while the Tibetan’s know it as Datsikhepa. Aptly named for the shape the river …

Zoigê (Ruoergai)

Ruoergai

The county town of Zoigê (མཛོད་དགེ་རྫོང་།)is located in the Amdo Tibetan region of Sichuan. Known for its Tibetan Nomads, Flower Lake, the Hequ horse, and more, this is a popular place for travellers wishing to see the Tibetan Plateau.Ruoergai (若尔盖) in Chinese. Things to Visit Around Ruoergai Flower Lake Located a half …

Zhuokeji Tusi Official Manor

outside of Zhuokeji Tusi Official Manor

Located 8 kilometers outside of the prefectural capital of Maerkang lies the sleepy Rgyalrong Tibetan town of Zhuokeji. Follow the signs to the Zhuokeji Tusi Official Manor and take a step back in time as you explore this village to get a feel for ancient Tibetan lifestyle, art, and architecture. …

TurJe Chen Po (Guanyin Temple)

entrance to Guanyin Temple (TuJa Chan Po)

Located in the Jinchuan County of the Rgyalrong Tibetan Region, one will find the TurJe Chen Po(ཁྲོ་སྐྱབས་ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཆེན་པོ།). Known in Chinese as Guanyin Temple(观音庙), this is the most pilgrimaged site in Amdo Tibet. The monastery is located at the top of Guanyin Mountain, and overlooks the Checen River as it flows …

Hong Yuan (Krhongche)

Hong Yuan County Town

The city of Hong Yuan(红原) is located on the Tibetan Plateau in the Amdo region of Sichuan, and is also known in Tibetan as Krhongche (ཁྱུང་མཆུ།). Hong Yuan sits at an altitude of 3,400m (11,000ft.), and has a population of about 50,000 people. The town was named in 1960 by …

Tsongon Po (Qinghai Lake)

Known as Qinghai Lake in Chinese (meaning Green Lake), Kokonor in Mongolian (meaning Blue Lake) and Tsongon Po (མཚོ་སྔོན་པོ།) in Tibetan (meaning Teal Sea), this largest inland saltwater lake in China is found in the Qinghai Province. Amidst the lofty mountains of Xiangpi, Datong, Riyue, and the South Mountain, Qinghai …

Rebkong (Tongren)

The town of Rebkong (རེབ་གོང་།) in the Huangnan Prefecture has much to offer travelers. Known throughout the years for its art, monasteries, agricultural and mining community, and even for its cultural revolution, visitors can spend days taking in all this historic town has to offer. While the town of Tongren …

Sungchu (Songpan )

Located in the North of Sichuan Province, with a population over 68,000, is Sungchu (ཟུང་ཆུ). Until recently it was an agriculturally dominated community, but with an influx of foreign students and travelers to and from Huanglong, Sungchu, known in Chinese Songpan County (松潘), has added tourism to being one of its …

Rongwu Monastery

Rongwu Monastery

History of Rongwu Monastery Named for the Rongwu River, which it is located alongside, the Rongwu Monastery (རོང་པོ་དགོན་པ།)rests in Tongren County, Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and is less than 200 km from Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province. The Monastery first began as a site for three temples in 1341. …