Pete's Trip Reports

Amdo/Kham Tibet - Useful Info

Some assorted notes on the route. No guarantees of accuracy for these, but they should be reasonably OK. Elevations are from my Suunto Vector watch, and if an elevation is marked on top of a pass I usually recalibrate (unless the figure on the sign seems suspect). There are a lot of dogs, most are fine, but a few are really vicious. Tie a piece of chunky metal to a length of rope and leave it looped over your handlebars. Swinging this while calmly walking your bike past them will keep them at bay until they lose interest. I have noted places with obvious accommodation, but there are sometimes places to stay in the smaller tibetan villages (which I have left out for obvious reasons), always worth checking. I had good results with Schwalbe Marathon XR, no punctures in 4400km, impressive given the amount of broken glass on the roads. Make sure you bring a Tibetan phrasebook, don't assume that most Tibetans will also speak Chinese, because away from the towns most people don't.

Route Notes: Xining to Yushu

Interesting route, quite wild and bleak at times, lots of wildlife (antelopes, eagles, wolves etc). Towns visibly more Tibetan as you get further south.

Elevation Distance Milepost
Xining 0
Pass
Daotanghe (倒淌河). Shops, cafes 102 102
Small pass 3578 109 109
Village. V. Basic shop 3090 133 133
Gonghe. Plenty hotels, shops. Internet 2900 109 109
Santala. Basic shops, cafes. Small monastery. 3105 198
Daheba (大河坝). Shops, cafes, fruit 3245 210 210
Small pass. Camping better on far side 3900 234 234
Turn W at junction 3600 241
Drop down & cross river 3740 263 263
Very basic shop 3705 279 279
Pass 4489 318 318
Wenquan (温泉). Few shops, cafes 3975 334 334
Pass 4460 351 351
Pass R turnoff to ?? 4275 392 392
Pass L turnoff to ?? 4180 397 397
Huashixia (花石峽). Shops, cafes. Small monastery 4205 407 407
Pass 4515 428 428
Small town. Basic shops. Pass turnoff to Madoi (3km) 4245 485 485
Cross Yellow River 489 489
Small community, no facilities
High point 4365 505 505
Pass signposted (although not much higher than surroundings) 4302 532 532
Small town. Shops. Small temple 4325 543 543
Bayan Har Pass (巴颜喀拉山) 4824 602 602
Small temple and community, no facilities 4500 644
Small temple and community, no facilities 4465 657
Qingshuihe (清水河). Colourful place. Plenty shops and cafes 4430 668
Pass R turnoff to Highway 308 4435 677 677
Small temple and community. Basic shop 4320 721
Pass R turnoff to ?? 4300 725
Pass 4470 755
Xiwu. Few shops, cafes. Pass turnoff to Serxu (see route below from Xiwu to Ganze) 3905 771
Cross big river 3610 789 789
Large and impressive Domkar Lhundrub Dechen Sadon Chokhorling monastery on hillside 3650 805
New looking monastery/retreat on far side of river 3675 810
Gyanak Mani. Basic shop 3740 814
Yushu centre (玉树). Plenty shops, cafes, hotels. Internet 3760 819

Xiwu to Ganze

Even better! Crosses more high passes, nomad encampments, small tibetan villages, and monasteries. Road varies from rough tarmac to rocky dirt road. From Yushu, backtrack 48km to Xiwu, then head west at the main junction at the centre of town.

Elevation Distance Milepost
Xiwu. Plenty small shops, cafes 3900 0 0
Pass. After pass, mileposts restart at 0 4700 21 21/0
Sershul monastery 4255 68 44
Cross river 4325 77 52
Pass 4570 67 72
Serxu (石渠). Plenty shops, cafes, hotels, Internet 4305 98 73
Bunyming monastery 4190 106 81
Cross river, monastery up valley on R 4120 127
Pass man made lake, monastery on far side on hillside 4130 128
Junyung monastery 4115 135 107
Small pass 4365 165 137
Tsatcha. Small shops 4160 176 147
Small town. basic shops. monastery on L 4260 164
Pass 4570 210 179
Trugu monastery on R 4190 197
Small village with large shrine. tiny shop 3990 217
Pass turn to Axu 3885 233
Dzogchen monastery on R 3960 243
Muri la pass. Superb mountain views 4645 299 264
Manigango. Hotels, shops, cafes. Join Hwy 317 at Milepost 834 4000 329 293
Monastery on L on far side of river 3840 822
Small village in lovely valley, no facilities, monastery on hillside 3815 810
Small monastery high up on hillside to L 3740 804
Pass. Good views of mountains 4150 371 794
Rongbhatsa. small shops 3645 390 776
Dargye monastery on L 3640 772
Small monastery on hillside to L 3570 766
Small pass. Kablung monastery in walled town 3565 410 756
Cross large river just before Ganze 3515 747
Ganze. Plenty shops, cafes, hotels, internet 3525 422

Ganze to Lanzhou

The route back up to Lanzhou, interesting progression, through quiet steep river valleys with houses and temples clinging to the hillside, then on to long plains and grasslands, separated by higher passes. As you go further north, you can see that this area is starting to get more visitors, with occasional 'tourist reception' tents on the grasslands and new hotels springing up in places. And on to the superb monastery towns of Langmusi and Xiahe.

Elevation Distance Milepost
Ganze. Plenty shops, cafes, hotels, internet 3525 0 741
Pass 4055 26 718
Small place, few small shops 3515 46 700
Damdo Xiang. small place, couple tiny shops 3470 63 673
Small place, couple small shops 3420 84
Luhuo. Plenty shops, good cafes, hotel. Large monastery on hillside 3370 100
Cross river, signed Seda 153km 3280 101
Small village, tiny shops 3320 117
Pass 4350 156 595
Weng Da Zeng. small shop 3475 173 577
Small village, tall temple, tiny shop 3335 188 564
Jia xue Xiang. Couple small shops 3305 191 558
Small village. Couple small shops, prayer wheel circuit 3220 204 546
Switch to newer mileposts! 3185 211 512
Pass L turn to Rangtang 3145 214 509
Shi Li, tiny shops (village sign is 7km earlier) 3065 237 485
Shang Zhai, few shops, decent looking cafes 3040 246 478
Er ga Li. Small shops, cafes 2775 288 437
Guan Yin Qiao. Plenty shops, cafes, colourful clothes shops. fruit 2725 300 424
Small village. shop. Cross bridge, go L signposted Maer Kang 2455 338 391
Song Gang. Prayer wheel temple 2725 365 364
Maer Kang. Big chinese town. Plenty shops, cafes, couple of hotels 2850 380 391
Zhuo Ke Ji. Few small shops, cafes 2805 391 340
Shuo Mo. Small shops, cafes 3060 413 318
San jia Zhai. Couple of tiny shops. Pass R turn to Cheng Du 3325 436
Now on hwy 209. Mileposts change
Shua ma lu Kon. Tiny shops, cafes. Pass another R turn to Cheng Du 3420 448
Shuajingsi (刷经寺). Small village but decent shops, cafes 3500 457 248
Pass monastery on L 3560 470 235
Pass R turn to Hei Shui. Small shop and 'Tourist reception' tents! 3685 484 222
Pass. Signposted as watershed of Yellow/Changiang rivers, 4125m 3935 503 203
Small town, couple shops, cafes 3690 519 188
Take R at fork, signposted Hong Yuan 48km (and Lanzhou 698km!) 3685 524 183
Small village, couple of shops, prayer wheel circuit 3675 544 165
Hong Yuan. Plenty shops, cafes, hotels 3645 575 134
Small village, temple, shrines, mani stones. No facilities 3575 613 98
Wa Qie Xiang. Tiny shops, few restaurants 3575 618 93
Turn R signposted Ruoer Gai (straight on to Tonghe, 2km) 3595 654 58
Small pass 3770 662 50
Pass R turn for Ruoer Gai (Xoige) (若尔盖), few km 3565 713 0
Small pass 3750 782
Pass R turn across river to town and large monastery 3320 790
Turn off L to Langmusi 3430 799
Langmusi (郎木寺). Shops, cafes, hotels. Monastery 3485 802
Back at Langmusi turnoff. Go L back on to highway. Milestones appear 3430 806 432
Pass 3720 814 423
Goinba. Couple of decent shops. fruit. 3615 819 419
Qacaong. Tiny shops 3610 830 408
Gaxu. Tiny shops, restaurant, prayer wheels 3590 864 377
Small pass. Signposted as watershed of yellow/yangtse rivers 3750 869 371
Pass R turn to Luqu 3310 888 353
Succession of small colourful tibetan villages 3380 916 325
Turn L to Amqog for good dirt road to Xia He 3215 928 313
Amqog. small shops, cafes. fruit. Monastery on hillside 3215 933
Mileposts appear 3350 946 49
Pass 3730 963 35
Dirt road hits Sanke road. Turn R 3230 984 16
Xia He. Plenty shops, cafes, huge monastery. Popular tourist stop 3090 997
More to follow........