Golok Pilgrimage

Tibet (Amdo) | 17 Days



This journey takes you through the incredible nomadic landscapes of Golok in the Tibetan regions of Amdo, where the local cultural and spiritual heritage remains deeply rooted in the hearts of its local inhabitants. During the trip, you will visit many local monasteries, most of them of the Nyingma tradition, the oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism. This will also include a special visit to Larung Monastery, a dynamic Buddhist center with a massive monastic community of more than 10,000 monks and nuns. Finally, you will also discover the sacred mountains of Nyenpo Yutsé, which is considered to be place of origin of the Golok people; and then Anyé Machen, which is considered to be a very sacred and enlightened deity. 


  • Your Tibetan guide who will introduce you to his culture.
  • Visit some of the most important monasteries of Golok including Larung Monastery, with over 10,000 monks and nuns.
  • Visit of Golok’s two most sacred mountains – Nyenpo Yutsé and Anyé Machen
  • Discover the life and landscape of Tibetan Nomads and spend a night at a nomadic camp.


Day 1: Arrival in Chengdu (500 meters above sea level)

  • You will be met at Chengdu Airport by one of the Global Nomad team members.
  • Depending on the time of your arrival you will visit Wenshu Buddhist monastery (Wenshu is the Chinese name of Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of wisdom and knowledge).
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 2: Chengdu – Lanzhou – Labrang (2,900m)

  • CHENGDU: Transfer to Chengdu Airport and flight to Lanzhou, capital of Gansu Province.
  • LANZHOU: Your local driver and guide will meet you at Lanzhou Airport and you will drive directly to Labrang (Xiahe in Chinese). Distance: 300 km. Approximate travel time: 4 hrs.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 3: Labrang

  • VisitLabrang TashikhyilMonastery, the largest monastic complexof Amdo. This monastery was founded in1709 bythe first Künkhyen JamyangZhépa,whowas regardedas an emanation ofMasterTsongkhapa, the founder of GélukSchool. You will alsovisit theprinting house of the monasterywhereyou will seethe traditional method ofprintingthat uses intrically carvedwooden blocks. These holytexts areprinted in this monastery and then usedin monasteriesin the area.
  • You are then free towalkaround the monastery with pilgrims and in the nearby village and surrounding hills.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 4: Labrang – Taktsang Lhamo (3,200m)

  • Distance: 280 km. Approximate travel time: 4 hrs.
  • You’ll drive to Taktsang Lhamo (Langmusi in Chinese), a small town with two Tibetan monasteries set beautifully in the mountains, forests and meadows which surround them.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 5: Taktsang Lhamo

  • Visit Kirti monastery, associated with the Dalai Lama’s Gélukorder. Behind the monastery there are twocaves, the Tiger Cave(Taktsang means Tiger’s Den in Tibetan) and the holy cave of Palden Lhamo (a female divinity and protector of Tibet). It is said that Padmasambhava, the great Buddhist master who introduced Buddhism to Tibet, came to bless this area, but the people did not dare approach it because of the presence of Much later, Kirti Rinpoche, a student of Tsongkhapa (founder of the Géluk order) made the tigers leave, allowing pilgrims to access this sacred site and to make offerings to Palden Lhamo. A little further on you will find a path that enters a beautiful valley where you may stroll through a meadow with eagles and vultures circling above you.
  • You will go to the Sertri monastery (Sertri means ‘golden throne’) from where you can enjoy the scenery, walk around and discover a sky burial site.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 6: Taktsang Lhamo – Nyenpo Yutsé (3,500m)

  • Distance: 310 km. Approximate travel time: 7 hrs.
  • You will depart early to Chikdril (Jiuzhi in Chinese) and enter a beautiful remote area of the nomadic grasslands of Golok and then cross the Yellow River; its source also in Golok.
  • You will visit Taklung Monastery, which is dominated by a 20m high statue of Padmasambhava, the great Buddhist master who introduced Buddhism to Tibet.
  • You camp in the idyllic setting of the holy mountain of Nyenpo Yutsé (5,369m). According to local legend, it is believed the 14 peaks on the mountain are the origin of the Golok people. Here, you can walk to the foot of the lake at the holy mountain and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
  • Overnight:


Day 7: Nyenpo Yutsé – Péma (3,200m)

  • Distance: 170 km. Approximate travel time: 3 hrs.
  • Drive to Péma (Banma in Chinese). It is a beautiful area with forests bordering the region of Gyelrong. Overall, this region is a stronghold of the Nyingma tradition.
  • On the way, you visit Lungkar Monastery (of the Géluk tradition) and Pellung Dartang Monastery (Darthang Dongak Shedrup Dargyeling), a branch of the famous Pelyul Monastery in Kham (of the Nyingma tradition). It has approximately 1,200 monks and 30 tulkus (reincarnated lamas) and it is an important teaching center of the Nyingma tradition in the Golok area and beyond.
  • Overnight: Camp (about 25 km after Péma city)


Day 8: Péma – Dzamtang (3,000m)

  • Distance: 140 km. Approximate travel time: 2 hrs.
  • In the morning, you will visit Akyong Gya Monastery (of the Jonang tradition) with its beautiful stupas.
  • Discover Zangdok Pelri Temple, which was built by beggars. There are many temples of this type throughout Tibet and they are special as its shape symbolizes the pure land of Padmasambhava.
  • Visit the Monastery of Pennak (Nyingma tradition).
  • Drive to Dzamtang.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 9: Dzamtang – Serta (3,900m)

  • Distance: 150 km. Approximate travel time: 3 hrs.
  • Drive to Serta (Seda in Chinese). Along the way you visit two important Nyingma monasteries: Dodrupchen Monastery, founded in the 19th century by the second Dodrupchen and Nyenlung Monastery.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 10: Serta

  • Visit Larung monastery*, a massive monastic community of more than 10,000 monks and nuns, whose shape evokes the Garuda, the mythical bird from Southeast Asia. This famous Buddhist institute was founded by Jikmé Püntsok Rinpoché and enjoys great prestige across both Kham and Amdo for its high quality Buddhist teachings.
  • Nearby you will discover a sky burial* site and the Dungka*
  • Overnight: Hotel.

* This visit will be possible only if local authorities permit.


Day 11: Serta – Nomad Camp (4,000m)

  • Distance: 150 km. Approximate travel time: 4-5 hrs.
  • In the morning you will visit Yarlung Monastery*, which was the seat of 1st Dodrupchen Jigme Trinle Ozer Lama.
  • You will then drive towards Darlak (Dari in Chinese) through the beautiful Golok grasslands. On the way, you will stop for the night with a family at a nomad camp.
  • Thanks to your guide who will play the role of translator, you will have the unique opportunity to communicate with your hosts and learn about their life.
  • Overnight:


Day 12: Nomad Camp – Darlak (4,000m)

  • Distance: 150 km. Approximate travel time: 4-5 hrs.
  • Today, you will wake-up early towatch the milkingof thedri(female yaks) and take part, I you wish to, in your host family daily activities.
  • Then, you will continue your journey toward Darlak. Just before arriving in town, you will visit the small King Gésar of Ling Museum. The epic of King Gésar of Ling is one of the greatest works in Tibetan literature and has been transmitted across generations for over 1,000 years through a combination of songs and stories, often told in trance states for many hours. On this day you will also visit the monastery of Traling of the Nyingma tradition, which was founded in 1895 and is affiliated with the Kahtok Monastery in Kham.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 13: Darlak – Dawu Zhölma (4,300m)

  • Distance: 250 km. Approximate travel time: 5 hrs.
  • Early in the morning, you will drive toward the holy mountain of Anyé Machen and see its summit of 6,282m. Machen Pomra is the divinity that represents this mountain and he is revered by Buddhists as well as by Bonpös (practitioners of the Bon religion, the ancient religion of Tibet). Many pilgrims make the kora (a pilgrimage circuit) around the mountain, on foot or by prostration. You will also go around it in a clockwise direction in two days by car. Near the village of Dawu Zhölma, you will visit Guru Monastery, a branch of Dzokchen Monastery in Kham.
  • Overnight:


Day 14: Dawu Zhölma – Machen (3,800m)

  • Distance: 200 km. Approximate travel time: 6 hrs.
  • For the second part of the kora, you will go over the Drakdo Latse Chogon Pass (4,328m) from where we have a breathtaking view of the glaciers of Anyé Machen’s. A little further on, you will visit a small Temple at Chukarna, which has a beautiful thangka representing the deity protector – Machen Pomra. You will continue your journey towards Machen (Dawu in Chinese), capital of Golok‘s prefecture.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 15: Machen – Trika (2,000m)

  • Distance: 330 km. Approximate travel time: 5 hrs.
  • On this day you will drive to Trika (Guide in Chinese).
  • After two hours, you cross the Yellow River and reach the foot of Mount Anyé Khyung Gön (literally meaning ‘Grand-Father Garuda Protector’) at Ragya Monastery. This monastery of the Géluk tradition is affiliated with Séra Monastery in Lhasa, and was built in 1769 by Arik Géshé, a great Mongol Lama, on the advice of the 7th Dalaï-Lama.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 16: Trika – Xining (2,257m)

  • Distance: 120 km. Approximate travel time: 2 hrs.
  • Today you will head to Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province.
  • In Xining, you will visit the Museum of Tibetan Culture and Medicine. This large museum displays an exhibition of thangkas and material related to traditional Tibetan medicine. On the upper floor there is a remarkable 618m long thangka, illustrating in a systematic, detailed and artistic way almost all aspects of Tibetan culture.
  • Overnight: Hotel.


Day 17: Departure from Xining

  • Transfer to the airport for your flight to Chengdu.


Please note that the transportation time is an estimation and doesn’t include stops to go to toilets, take pictures… The travel time might also be longer related to weather, road constructions or local traffic police policies.

Departure from From To Price
Chengdu 8 August 2019 24 August 2019 US$ 3114

Price for a group of 6 to 7 persons:

US$ 3,114 per person in dual occupancy – hotel or tent

US$ 3,511 per person in single occupancy* – hotel or tent


This price includes

Airfare from Chengdu to Lanzhou (Day 2) and from Xining to Chengdu (Day 17)

In Chengdu:

  • Transfer from airport to hotel and from hotel to airport by private vehicle with driver
  • Accommodation: one night, breakfasts included
  • One dinner (drinks included: tea or mineral water)
  • Services of one of the Global Nomad team members

From Lanzhou to Xining:

  • The transfers mentioned in the program, by private vehicle with driver
  • Accommodation, breakfasts included
  • Lunches and dinners (drink included: tea or mineral water)
  • Entrance tickets for sites included in the program
  • Services of an English-speaking Tibetan guide
  • Tents and camping mattresses. Sleeping bags are not provided (it is possible to rent sleeping bags in Xining if you inform us when you register to your trip. Renting price: US$ 45).


This price excludes

  • Your Chinese visa fee
  • Health and accident insurance
  • Medical or repatriation costs
  • International airfares
  • Extra expenses due to circumstances beyond our control
  • Drinks and personal expenses
  • Sleeping bags for camps
  • Tips for guide and driver




Following hotels or similar:

Chengdu : Buddha Zen Hotel (3*)

Labrang : Baoma Hotel (2*)

Taktsang Lhamo : Langmusi Hotel (3*)

Dzamtang : Dzamtang Hotel (1*)

Sertha : Shambala Hotel (2*)

Darlag : Gesar Hotel (2*)

Machen: Guru Hotel (2*)

Trika: Ledu Hotel (3*)

Xining: Jinjiang Inn Hotel (2*)


Please note accommodations listed are rated and assessed by Global Nomad

1* = Basic accommodation

2* = Simple and clean

3* = Nice, very comfortable


Due to the high altitude of the places visited (2 nights at an elevation of over 4,000 m), it is essential to be in good physical condition to register to this trip. If your health is not so good, you should check with a doctor before taking the decision of coming to Tibet. During the trip, especially the first few days and above 4,000 m, it is important to drink a lot of water (at least 2 liters per day).

We reserve the right to modify the itinerary should circumstances beyond our control, namely those related to the specific situation of Tibetan areas, require us to do so.

It is strictly forbidden to talk about political matters with guides and Tibetans in general. This could have extremely serious consequences for them, the driver, the local agency and all agencies’ employees. Likewise, it’s forbidden to bring anything that could make local authorities unhappy.

During the trip, clients must follow the instructions of the guide and of the local agency.

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Golok Pilgrimage

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