Expert-Led Group Tour

China group tour - Qinghai Festivals & Textiles

A fascinating insight into China's minority tribes

18 days

from £3,195pp
  • Get under the skin of Tibetan culture with a Tibetan guide, meet locals and visit their homes
  • Experience two traditional Tibetan Festivals
  • Travel with Gina Corrigan an expert in textiles of this region
  • Spend a day with a nomadic family, gaining an insight into their lifestyle

This trip is all about the Tibetan culture, visiting an area in northwest China on the Tibetan plateau. Most of what will be seen during this tour is more Tibetan than Chinese. During the trip gain a fascinating insight into the culture and traditions of China's minority tribes including the Hui, Tu, Mongolians and Tibetans, travelling in a part of the country far removed from the trappings of modern China.

Travel to many Tibetan villages, meet the villagers and visit monasteries including Tibet's most revered Labrang monastery with its famous Buddhist philosophy school. It is home to the largest number of monks outside the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Experience the hospitality of a nomadic family, spending a day discussing their lifestyle and examining a ger (a traditional portable round tent).

One of the highlights of this trip is experiencing two traditional Tibetan festivals. The first being the Molam Prayer Festival, one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist celebrations of the year. The second on the trip is the Tongren Shaman Festival, a grand occasion for local Tibetan and Tu people to show their devotion to the Mountain God. These are both special festivals to experience where few tourists visit and a chance to see locals in their finest traditional clothing.

This tour is led by Gina Corrigan, an expert on textiles and embroidery, much of the emphasis on this trip will be on textiles, learning about traditional weaving techniques and discovering the meaning of the varied and historic costumes still worn by the local people in Qinghai.

WHY SHOULD I JOIN THIS GROUP TOUR?

To travel with Gina Corrigan, a specialist in textiles and Tibetan culture, who has been visiting this area for over 40 years. Also, travel with a Tibetan guide which will give an incredible insight into the local culture and customs, you will get to integrate with local people and be welcomed into their homes.

WHAT IS THE ACCOMMODATION LIKE?

Simple local hotels with private bathrooms.

DO I NEED TO BE FIT TO JOIN THIS TOUR?

You don’t need to be physically fit as there will be no long trekking but the areas visited will be at altitude of up to about 4,000 metres.

WHAT ARE THE ROADS LIKE IN CHINA?

Generally good tarmac roads throughout.

DO I NEED TO BE A TEXTILE EXPERT?

No, while the emphasise will be on textiles it is also a trip exploring the Tibetan beliefs and traditions. 

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.



Departing on:
  • 16th July 2018

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

DEPART UKARRIVE UKPrice Excluding Flights (£)Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour LecturerStatus 
16th Jul 2018 2nd Aug 2018 £ 3,195 £ 850 £ 415 Gina Corrigan Available

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Beijing

Day 2

A Day at Leisure
Spend the day relaxing after your flight. The hotel is within walking distance of Tianamen Square and the modern shopping street of Wangfujing. Alternatively, rest at the hotel before having an early dinner, the tour leader, Gina Corrigan will be on hand to offer suggestions.

Beijing is China's capital, and a city of epic proportions. It is a cauldron of history, culture and enterprise. Offering a feast of elaborate and ambitious architecture, world famous landmarks, and culinary delights.


Dinner included


You will be staying at Jianguo Garden Hotel

Day 3

Fly Beijing to Lanzhou

Drive from Lanzhou to Linxia (Road Journey)


Linxia is located in the valley of the Daxia River, 90 miles southwest of the provincial capital Lanzhou by road.


Sightseeing on the way to Linxia
Meet your Tibetan guide and driver before heading to Linxia, driving through rounded hills, heavily eroded, but covered with thick layers of loess, that surround the Lanzhou area. Farmers grow wheat, rape, lily bulbs and temperate fruits. En route are Hui villages with mosques and markets. Linxia is host to many markets and antique and textile shops that sell Tibetan wares.


Breakfast at your hotel. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants.


You will be staying at JJ Sun Hotel

Day 4

Drive from Linxia to Jone (Road Journey)


Jone County is an adiministrative distrct in the Gansu Province. The county covers both banks of the middle section of the Lu-chu. The country town and adjacent Jone Monastery are on the north bank, while the valleys on the southern side used to be branches of the ancient kingdom of Jone. Jone County borders the Tibetan area and is inhabited by Tibetans.


Visit Jone county and Jone Tibetan Monastry
Jone county borders the Tibetan area and Tibetans live in the region. The Tibetan women in this area have a very different dress style, which will be seen in the town. Tour the town, including taking a visit to the famous Jone Tibetan monastery.


Breakfast at your hotel. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants.


You will be staying at Huiyi Zhongxing Hotel

Day 5

Drive from Jone to Hezuo (Road Journey)


Located at the junction area of Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan provinces, is it the business centre for Tibetan and Chinese exchanges. Situated at the northeast edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Hezuo is 170 miles north of Lanzhou.


Molam Festival - Sunning the Buddha
Attend the Molam festival, also known as Sunning the Buddha. A huge silk thangka will be carried out from the monastery by the monks and rolled down the hillside, which will be crowded with Tibetan onlookers. The festival takes place at around noon, so a picnic lunch will be organised for after the event on the rolling grassland. After lunch there will be a visit to a Tibetan household and a talk about their lifestyle, costume and farming techniques.


Breakfast at your hotel. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants.


You will be staying at Gannan International Hotel

Day 6

Molam Festival - The Masked Dance
Return to Amchok Monastery for the colourful masked dance which begins around 11:00 and continues until 16:00. A picnic lunch will be arranged and the guide will show you the local jewellery and a typical chuba (long tradiotional coat) of the area. There will also be a visit to a Tibetan household to discuss their lifestyle, costume and farming techniques.


Breakfast at your hotel. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants.


You will be staying at Gannan International Hotel

Day 7

Drive from Hezuo to Xiahe (Road Journey)


The town of Xiahe is set in a scenic mountain valley and is a major centre of Buddhism. The people of Xiahe are a mixture of Tibetans and Muslims. The Tibetans rely largely on farming and herding and are swelled in number by visiting pilgrims. They are semi-nomadic whilst the Muslim population are engaged in trading. The town is home to Labrang Monastery, one of the most important monasteries of the Tibetan Yellow Hat Sect monasteries in China. There are now 1000 lamas at the monastery from an original total of 4000.


Breakfast at your hotel. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants.


You will be staying at Xiahe Baoma Hotel

Day 8

Tour the Labrang Monastery
Tour the monastery in the morning, taking in an overview of the vast complex. A Tibetan guide will show you the impressive interior of the Assembly Hall and other temples, with the sculptural images of Buddha and the protective deities.


Explore Xiahe
In the afternoon, take a visit to the cloak makers and walk part of the kora. Later on there will be time to explore the Tibetan shops, which provide the needs of nomads and the monastic communities. These shops sell items such as prayer flags, hand-painted sutras and nomadic jewellery.


Breakfast at your hotel. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants.


You will be staying at Xiahe Baoma Hotel

Day 9

Visit Ganja and Bon Monastry
En route during the drive to Ganja, stop by Narang La Pass to enjoy the beautiful wild flowers. On arriving in Ganja, visit a Bon monastery which was founded 600 years ago. The Bon indigenous animist and shamanistic belief system of Tibet revolves around the worship of nature and predates Buddhism. The day includes a visit to a local family who will demonstrate weaving and show you nomadic costumers. The family will also provide a simple lunch.


Breakfast at your hotel. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants.


You will be staying at Xiahe Baoma Hotel

Day 10

Drive from Xiahe to Machu (Road Journey)


Machu is the centre of a nomadic area, where the government built housing for the nomads on the edge of the town. The town has a number of tailor and fabric shops and an interesting market.


A Visit to the Centre of a Nomadic Area
Drive to Machu, the centre of a nomadic area. The government has built housing for the nomads on the edge of the town.The visit will include hearing about the lives of the nomads and the changes they have made. The town has a very interesting market, with women braiding and making horse regalia. The town has numerous tailor and fabric shops making chubas. Walk down the main street and take in the sights.


Breakfast at your hotel. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants.


You will be staying at Himalaya Hotel

Day 11

Drive from Machu to Henan (Road Journey)


Henan has a diverse landscape with floodplains in the east and the Xionger and Funiu mountains in the west. The Yellow River passes through central Henan, entering from the northwest. Henan is home to approximatley 120,000 historical relics, including over 40,000 rare ones. The economic prosperity resulted from Henan's extensive fertile plains and its location at the heart of the country.


Breakfast at your hotel. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants.


You will be staying at Suluding Hotel

Day 12

A Day with a Nomadic Family
Spend a day with a nomadic family on the grassland, discussing their lifestyle, seeing their animals being milked, watching them ride and examine one of the remaining gers. The best sheepskin chubas in Qinghai are made in Henan, famous throughout the province. The guide will explain the process of how the skins are treated and sewn. Lunch will be local food, taken on the grassland.


Breakfast at your hotel. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants.


You will be staying at Suluding Hotel

Day 13

Drive from Henan to Tongren (Repkong) (Road Journey)


Located on the edge of the Tibetan plateau, it is a small monastic town in the Qinghai province. The city is home to Dongshan Temple and the Statue of Zhou Yiqun Martyr. The Mount Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve is perhaps the most famous scenic area in the region.


Breakfast at your hotel. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants.


You will be staying at Xingshijia Hotel

Day 14

Day 1 of The Shaman's Festival
Two days will be spent at Tongren for the annual Shaman's Festival. The Tibetan villagers worship the Mountain God and no Buddhist priests are allowed to take part in the ceremony. The village men dress in traditional chubas, meet early in the morning to pray and then perform slow, elegant dances in the centre of the village. Various sacrifices are made to the Mountain God by the Shaman. The Shaman remains in a trance throughout the day and whirls and dances with the men picking on any villager who has misbehaved in the past year. Later on, girls in chubas will dance. There are also costumed comedy skits. All the villagers dress in their best clothes to watch the performances until the final sacrifice is made. The thangka of the Mountain God is then returned for safe keeping to the temple.


Breakfast at your hotel. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants.


You will be staying at Xingshijia Hotel

Day 15

Day 2 of The Shaman's Festival
Spend a second day at The Shaman's Festival, allowing you to take in more of the vibrant and colourful festival.


You will be staying at Xingshijia Hotel

Day 16

Drive from Tongren (Repkong) to Xining (Road Journey)


Xining is the capital of Qinghai Province and lies on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau at 2,200m.


Visit the Tibetan Culture Museum
On arrival in Xining, visit the Tibetan Culture Museum in the afternoon. The museum has a wide range of Tibetan artefacts, traditional Tibetan medicine and textiles. It is one of the best museums of Tibetan Culture in China.


Breakfast at your hotel. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants.


You will be staying at Xining Shengwang Hotel

Day 17

Visit the Tibetan Market
While in Xining, the guide will take you to visit the Tibetan market.

Fly Xining to Beijing


An Afternoon at Leisure
Spend the afternoon at leisure, either at the hotel or discover the local area.


Breakfast at your hotel. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants.


You will be staying at Jianguo Garden Hotel

Day 18

Fly Beijing to London

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of China

Charles Knights, Travel Expert

"Charles was most attentive without becoming intrusive, he changed the schedule several times to meet our changing needs."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Tour expert

Gina Corrigan

Gina Corrigan
In 1987 Gina organised her first textile tour to south west China and from then on, became fascinated by Guizhou. Concerned that they were going to disappear, she began collecting and documenting costumes and textiles of the ethnic peoples from Guizhou. In 1999, Gina’s collection of over fifty costumes was acquired by the British Museum. The textile collection has been complemented by Gina’s book, ‘Miao Textiles from China’ in the British Museum’s Fabric Folio series. In 2005 Gina published ‘Miao Embroidery’ edited by Ruth Smith and a team of embroiderers who analysed the stitch techniques of other Miao costumes in Gina’s additional collection. This was followed by a companion book ‘Minority Textile Techniques from South West China’ also edited by Ruth Smith.
Enquire about this Expert Led tour:

Group Size:

Min 6 / Max 15

Tour Expert:

Gina Corrigan

Departure Date (S):

  • 16th July 2018

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