5-7 Days: Xining-Qinghai Lake-Repkong-Labrang & Tashikyil-Lanzhou or Xiling
This itinerary can easily be combined with Home-Stays.
This itinerary will allow you to explore the capital city of Xining, which developed through trade between China and Persia. With a population just under 1 million, the city is known to Tibetans as Tsongkha. Leaving the city, you'll enjoy a scenic drive to Qinghai Blue Lake and Bird Island (Kokonor).
Your next destination is the region of Repkong to the south. There are many small but traditional monasteries there as well as a thriving center for sacred painting (thangka) and Tibetan medicine. Repkong is world famous for sacred art. You will also visit Riwu Gongchen Monastery, one of the largest monasteries in Amdo (Gelug tradition).
Labrang Town (aka Xiahe) is a Muslim and Tibetan mix and has good facilities for tourists. Nearby Tashikyil Monastery is another of the largest Gelugpa centers in Tibet. Fortunately, it survived the years of the Cultural Revolution but much has been renovated and rebuilt. Just outside the main gate, is the important School of Buddhist Studies where some of the greatest masters still teach.
From Labrang Town, you can complete your journey by driving to Lanzhou or returning to Xining. Lanzhou is an industrial city of about 3 million. It’s a beautiful modern mountain city with the Yellow river flowing through the center. Many travelers to Amdo, or the Silk Road, will begin or end their journeys here.