Tibetan Culture in Qinghai (Tsinghai)

Many Tibetans live in Qinghai Province (roughly 20% of their whole population) because Qinghai Province directly borders Tibet. Most of them are in the five Tibetan autonomous prefectures and the rest are in one shared Mongolian and Tibetan autonomous prefecture. If you look at the map of Qinghai, you will find that these six autonomous prefectures pretty much occupy the whole of this province.

If you visit Qinghai, although you are not in Tibet, you will get a very strong sense of what real Tibetan culture is like. In these prefectures, Lama Temples are the most important and holy places for local residents. You will find Marnyi stones and praying flags throughout the Tibetan prefectures. Tibetans who live here have still maintained their original life style and traditional dress.

The scenery in this province is unbelievably magnificent. This province is made up of prairie lands, parts of the Gobi desert and the beautiful Qinghai Lake. The snowy Kunlun Mountains cut through the centre of the province, while the Qilian Mountains form a natural protective barrier in the north. In this province you will also find the Kekexili state nature reserve, which is the home of the precious Tibetan antelope. The River Huanghe begins in this province. Qinghai is one of the largest provinces in China, which means there are hundreds of scenic spots there that are worth a visit. This means you really need to think carefully about exactly what you want to see and where you want to visit on your journey. It is paramount that you have a solid travel plan when you visit Qinghai. It is important to note that the accommodation in this region is very basic, and the transportation is sometimes quite inconvenient or difficult to navigate. If you need any information about visiting this mysterious land from people who have first-hand experience, please contact us at info@asiaculturaltravel.co.uk.

Amazing towns on the Ancient Tea – Horse Road (the second Silk Road)

There is a mysterious, ancient road hiding in the mountains of southwest China. Hoof prints are imbedded into the narrow trails along the high cliff edges and turbulent rivers flow under precariously suspended chain bridges. This is the road that was once treaded by merchant caravans.

The Tea – Horse Road was developed because of the ancient Tea – Horse Mutual Trade, which was established 1300 years ago in China’s southwest region. However, the Ancient Tea – Horse Road was not only a passage for trade, but also a thoroughfare for cultural exchange.

Along the Ancient Tea – Horse Road there are many plateaus. Trading posts were established on these plateaus and were used by merchant caravans to do business and trade with one another. These trade points were developed gradually thanks to the prosperity and increasing length of the Ancient Tea – Horse Road. Eventually some of them grew into flourishing towns.

Most of these towns are in Yunnan Province, Sichuan Province and Tibet. They are beautiful and worth a visit not only because of their fantastic scenery and architecture, but also because they are home to many unique cultures. Most of the towns have been developed to accommodate tourists so it’s relatively easy for travellers to visit these towns alone. However, it is still vital that you have a well-prepared travel plan. After all, it is a region dominated by ethnic minorities who won’t speak English and who probably won’t even speak much Mandarin. If you want to gain an in-depth knowledge of their culture, we advise that you do some research and learn about some of the history behind the towns and the ethnic minorities before you travel there.  If you need any help planning your fantastic tour of these mysterious towns, please do not hesitate to contact us at: info@asiaculturaltravel.co.uk.