Pieter Neele - Guide to New Destinations in China





Sakya monk in Yushu




along the Garze to Yushu road

along the Yushu to Gonghe road

along the Zaduo to Yushu road

Khampa, Manigango


Sichuan and Qinghai: Kham and Amdo

to Yunnan's Southeast
  Yunnan's Northwest
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Mekong beyond Zaduo

More pictures ...

on my flickr site

Kham and Amdo, the southeastern and northeastern part of the Tibetan world, offer a more pure Tibet than the area around Lhasa these days. They are spread out over the Chinese provinces of Yunnan, Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai and the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Unlike in Central Tibet, there is no big influx of Han Chinese, and there are very few tourists - western nor Chinese. Scenery is diverse and very beautiful, with deep and steep forested valley's, imposing rockpeaks, snowy mountains,  undulating grasslands with yaks and nomads or yellow fields of barley. Monasteries mostly belong to the Kagyu and Sakya sects, yet another difference with Central Tibet where the Geluk (Yellow Hat) sect is predominant.

Sichuan: out of the way monasteries

Major towns along the two main Chengdu-Lhasa roads are Kangding, Litang, Garze, Dege. Some of the out of the way monasteries are Pelyul (Ch. Baiyu), Katok (Ch. Gatuo), Sertar (Ch. Seda). Fascinating! So is Dzogchen (Ch. Zhuqing) with its monastic retreat and mountain backdrop and a great village rush hour early morning.


Qinghai: sources of the Yellow River, Yangtze and Mekong

Asia’s three main rivers all originate on the Tibetan plateau in Qinghai province. The source of the Yellow River is marked by the ‘Bull Head Marker’ 70 kilometers west of Maduo county town. Its location on a hill at 4.610 meters between Ngoring Lake and Kyaring Lake is spectacular, but in fact the Yellow River’s source is 250 kilometers more to the west, much harder to access. (Some scientist opt for the head of the Kari Qu tributary to the southwest as the Yellow River’s real source.)

Sources for the Yangtze are the head of the Dam Chu below the Tanggula Mountains and the head of the Tuotuo He at Geladandong west of the Golmud to Lhasa railway. These Yangtze sources are still on my wish list.

As to the Mekong, I believe I have discovered its real source, see my blog and my article.


Yushu – Xining routes

Yushu was completely destroyed by a 2010 earthquake. It has since been rebuilt, but its original soul and character haven’t returned.

There is a direct road to Xining (G214), but a great alternative routes pass through Darlag (Ch. Dari) and Machen (Ch. Maqing) more to the east. And to the west is a back route crossing the Yangtze – Yellow River divide on a great high pass.



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