6 Days Qinghai Lake–Zhangye Circle Line Trip

Xining, Zhangye, Qilian, Gangcha, Qinghai Lake

Traveler Reviews

Tour Code: TCT-Scenice-12

Tour Type: Private Tour

Tour Highlights:

 Fine-designed tour route, avoid tourists crowds

 Enjoy the stunning view of the best nature wonders in Northwestern China

 One of the best photography tour route in China for you shutterbugs

Best Travel Time: May to October

From on request

Free Inquiry

Day 1Arrival Xining
Transfer service to hotel, Ta'er Temple, Free time

Meals: No meals
Accommodation: In Xining

In the morning, arriving in Xining airport, you will be met and transferred to hotel. In the afternoon, visit Ta’er Temple; a wonderful architectural complex contains 9,300 structures, including Buddha halls, scripture halls, Buddhist pagodas and lamas residences.

Enjoy your free time for the rest of the day. If time is enough, you could visit Dongguan Mosque by yourself. It is one of the largest mosques in northwest China with a history more than 600 years. Architecture of the mosque combines traditional Chinese style and the local features, with grand appearance and delicate, dazzlingly inside ornaments.

Enjoy your dinner with authentic local food, such as local yak yogurt, copper hot pot, hand-grabbed mutton, etc.

Ta'er Monastery
Ta'er Monastery

Day 2Xining – Zhangye (380 km, 6 hrs driving)
Menyuan rapeseed flower fields, Qilian Grassland, Mati Temple Grottoes

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Zhangye

After breakfast and hotel check out in the morning, your local guide  picks you up and start this yearning trip. After 2.5 hours driving, we will arrive at Menyuan, who is well-known for its rapeseed flower fields, integrating with the mountains. The flowering phase is in July every year. For other season, we will drive and overlook the Ganska Snow-capped Peak, crossing this gateway of Hexi Corridor. Then avoid the tourist crowds, enjoy the amazing view of Qilian Grassland, Snow Mountains in distance as well as the flocks and herds scattering on the grassland. 

Lunch will be arranged at a local restaurant to enjoy the authentic local food. 

In the afternoon, visit  Mati Temple after a leisure breakfast, which is about 60km from Zhangye. Mati Temple is also called Puguang Temple or Horse’s Hoof Temple in Chinese definition. The whole Buddhist temple complex is composed of Shenguo Temple, Puguang Temple, Qianfo Cave (Thousand Buddha temple), Jinta Temple, Upper Guanyin Cave, Middle Guanyin Cave and Lower Guanyin Cave. It is known as a fairyland on earth, as a national AAAA-level scenic area, integrating grotto art, religious culture, ethnic customs, and natural scenery. 

After a long-drive trip, check in a comfortable hotel in Zhangye and have a good rest.

Zhangye Danxia Landform
Zhangye Danxia Landform

Day 3Zhangye – Zhuoer Mountain - Xining (510 km, 6.5 hrs driving)
Zhangye Danxia Landform Park, Zhuoer Mountain

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: In Xining

In the morning, go to visit Zhangye Danxia Landform Park; enjoy the beauty of the enchanting Rainbow Mountains by avoiding crowded tourists successfully. It is recognized as the surface of Mars and a mecca for countless photographers. 

Then we move to Zhuoer Mountain. It belongs to a branch of the Qilian Mountains, and it is also a Danxia landform. The Zhuoer Mountain Observation Deck has an excellent location with a wide view of the mountaion. Looking directly across the mountain, you will see the Niuxin Mountain, which has a panoramic view of the four seasons. The white snow is clearly visible, with Ladong Gorge and Baiyanggou scenic spots on the left and right sides, leaning against the rolling Qilian Mountains.

Have a rest on the car. We will take a long drive back to Xining. 

Zhangye - Zhuoer Mountain distance: 210 km, 2.5 hrs driving
Zhuoer Mountain - Xining: 300 km, 4 hrs driving

Zhouer Mountain
Zhouer Mountain

Day 4Xining – Gangcha (200 km, 3 hrs driving)
Tibetan Food Experience, Huangyu Fish Migration (Jul-Aug)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Gangcha

In the morning, after a leisure breakfast in the hotel, we will start our trip to Gangcha. At noon time, we enjoy a wonderful Tibetan food culture experience, which is arranged at a local Tibetan restaurant. Sitting around, drink authentic Tibetan butter tea and have Zanba(fired highland barley powder). You may also try to put on a traditional Tibetan costume and pretend you a local Tibetan. 
Note: The Tibetan food culture experience can only be arranged from June to October. 

Then we will have a chance to see Huangyu Fish Migration, which can only be seen in the period of July and August. "Huangyu" (Gymnocypris przewalskii) is a special fish in Qinghai Lake. It belongs to the family Cyprinidae. Its scientific name is "Qinghai Lake Naked Carp". It is a national second-level protected animal and a rare species unique to Qinghai Lake. We will stay overnight in Gangcha tonight. 

Qilian Mountain
Qilian Mountain

Day 5 Gangcha – Chaka Salt Lake - Qinghai Lake (330km, 6 hrs driving)
Chaka Salt Lake, Erlangjian Scenic Area, Qinghai Lake sunset

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: at Qinghai Lake

Today we will travel from Gangcha to Qinghai Lake. Check out and set out for Qingjhai Lake along Huanhu West Road, which is regarded as the most beautiful section of the road around Qinghai Lake. Enjoy the beauty of this sea-to-sky road. Stop at a lake cliff, to enjoy the panoramic view Qinghai Lake from a different angle. You may have chance to come across some rare birds, such as black-necked crane, Larus ichthyaetus, etc.

We arrive at Chaka Salt Lake in the afternoon. It is a new online celebrity destination for northwest tour. When it is a fine day, it is a mirror of the sky; when the weather is bad, it is a lake of salt water. But it is said that only 25% of the tourists are lucky enough to meet a bad weather.

Check in a hotel at Qinghai Lake, then Finish today’s trip by the amazing Qinghai Lake sunset. 

Gangcha - Chaka Salt Lake distance: 180 km, 3 hrs driving
Chaka Salt Lake - Qinghai Lake distance: 150 km, 3 hrs driving

Chaka Salt Lake
Chaka Salt Lake

Day 6Qinghai Lake – Xining (150 km, 2.5 hrs driving), Departure
Qinghai Lake, Huanhu East Road, Transfer to airport/railway station

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, you may enjoy a natural wake-up or get up early and enjoy the quiet but beautiful sunrise at Qinghai Lake. Then we will experience a horse ride along the lake bank, which will make your Qinghai trip more impressive. 

Then drive back to Xining, we come across the Huanhu East Lake, where fewer tourists visit, but it is one of the highlights of Qingdao Lake. 

Transfer to Xining airport or railway station, finishing your memorable Qinghai Lake-Zhangye Rainbow Mountains trip. 

Qinghai Lake
Qinghai Lake


Service ends

Tailor-made Free Inquiry

Tour Price (US$ per person)

Due to the uncertainties of this tour, such as special local conditions , the changes of accommodation rate, etc, the tour has to be tailor-made and its price is on request. Please tell us in advance your group information inclusive of departure date, number of pax, and other individual needs, which will be helpful to work out a fit program and the right price.

Traveler Reviews Feedbacks & Photos >>Feedbacks




Great Hotel stay Very Nice Tour guides Convenient planned daily trips Average selection of restaurant for food though


We were looking for a tour in SW China while in the area for work and found this one. While we wouldn't normally get a private tour but surprisingly it was actually cheaper than most of the group tours in the area and was great value. While I would usually rather keep one guide for the whole tour, as you get to know each other and they get to know what you are interested in, we changed guides 5 times during this trip (fortunately we had the same guide in Kunming at the start and end of the tour which was a real bonus as Murphy, our Kunming based guide, was excellent.) In this case changing guides had the advantage of local knowledge at each site so compensated for the change. Of the 4 guides we had 3 excellent and 1 very good with each of them working hard to look after us and make sure we enjoyed our trip. Vicky, our Dali based guide was also extremely good making our time there a highlight. The tour gives you 2 days at each base ie travel in the morning, have the afternoon and the next day touring the area then drive to the next base. We chose the driving tour as we feel it gives you a better experience of the area and you get to see the locals in action. All the drivers we had were great - they went out of their way to look after us and were very safe, which is saying something for driving in China. While all of the guides were very fluent in English none of the drivers could speak English which was a slight disadvantage as you didn't have the guides with you when traveling between bases but the friendliness and helpfulness of the drivers more than made up for this. The tour was very well organised and we knew what we were doing from the time we met our guide on arrival at the Kunming railway station to when we walked through security at the airport on our way out. The tour comes with 4,5 and 6 star accommodation choices and we went for the cheapest 4 star option. While the English at the hotels was limited the guides made sure we were checked in and out and took care of any issues (which were minimal). The 4 star option is largely "Chinese style" hotels ie designed for Chinese visitors with breakfast consisting of what many westeners would consider dinner style food but there was always eggs and toast for the less adventurous. The hotels were all clean and comfortable and generally very well located. The Hotel in Kunming (Jin Jang Inn) was a bonus as it seemed higher than 4 star and we stayed there both on our way in and out. As well as breakfast, lunch came with the tour which was enjoyable as the guides choose the restaurants so we got a variety. I got the feeling that most of the restaurants were owned by friends or family or there was some arrangement with the guide, but as you get to formally review each guide and the meals at the end of each stop they work hard to make sure you enjoy the meal and there was always an abundance of food. We tried a range of local cuisine and there was only one meal we didn't think was up to par. You get your own dinner which also suited us as there is invariably a range of restaurants or for the more adventurous there is the street vendors and you can choose what you want. The vehicles we were driven in were all very good- plenty of space and very comfortable. Being a private tour, while there was a set itinerary, which was diverse and very interesting with something for most people, the guides could tweak it to suit individual interests eg more time at one site and less at another. It is easy to get a bit templed out but overall the itinerary was a good mic of nature and culture. I would thoroughly recommend the tour and the company and we will be looking to the company if/when we go back - Guilin is next on the list as the guides were very happy to discus what they thought we would and wouldn't enjoy based on working with us on this tour,


Excellent guides, flexible and knowledgeable travel agent. They speak good English. Our trip was very well organized. We are 100% happy and I can recommend Top China Travel to everybody.
Wesley O


I contacted Top China travel for a 13 day China vacation (Beijing/Xian/Yangtze River cruise/Shanghai) and right from the start Bonnie provided me with great choices and package options. Throughout the entire planning and even during the trip Bonnie was there for us following up and making sure everything was perfect. Thank you Bonnie for making our China vacation unforgettable.


From the minute I contacted Vicky at Top China Travel to book our holiday, to the time we were taken to Pudong airport for our flight home, the experience was perfect. My wife and I visited Beijing, Xian and Shanghai and all of our tour guides were fluent in English, very knowledgeable and very friendly. Thank you Vicky and all at TCT and I will definitely be in contact when I return to China.


I went on a Top China Travel group tour. Everything was so well organised that I never had to worry about anything. I really liked that the group was small and it felt like we were a big group of old-friends all travelling together, not just a passenger on the bus. Every hotel, guide, driver and restaurant was very well picked. I was very happy with how well-informed each guide was, how flexible they were to ensure we all had a great time, and their English was all very good. At every step of the way, guides had us fill in a Top China Travel feedback form which I am certain the company take very seriously since their service was so good. I will be passing on their details to all my friends and family who want to travel in China.


Thanks to Ms Raylene He we had a wonderful and well organised trip to 5 destinations which all went off without a hitch including being met by guides and drivers in each city and looked after very well. This all included several domestic flights a train trip and permits. I have no qualms in recommending this company to other travellers.


With forty years of travel to the far corners of our world we have encountered many guides. Like most travelers some have not been very good, some decent and the rare few that are outstanding. During our three weeks in China last month we encountered just such a rare individual. Our guide in Guilin was a young women named Ping (I'll provide her email later). Ping demonstrated knowledge and command of the history, stories and culture all along the way. Beyond that, Ping exuded infectious enthusiasm not only for our touring, but for us personally as well. We had a serious medical issue occur suddenly, in fact one of us went into diabetic shock. It was four in the morning but no matter, after calling Ping she took command and arranged for the hotel to send us, with a car, driver, and assistant to a hospital. Upon our arrival there was Ping who obviously thru on some clothes, got on her motorbike and rushed to meet us. There she not only served as translator but as though a family member, she became invested in our proper care and recovery. Truly remarkable to have such a person supporting you. In small ways she flavored her guiding with a sense of our interests and preferences, like the day we mentioned our love of pomegranates and the next morning there she is smiling and with samples for us as a treat. When we left a jacket behind, once again was on it as Ping arranged for its shipment to out next stop and tracked it until it was in our hands. Beyond that, Ping was in frequent contact to make certain of our full medical recovery and to offer her help where or whenever it might be needed while in China. Amazing! Ping can be contacted at bellakanas@163.com Sheila Hertz, Howard Entin


From the first email to Top China Travel with Joyce to our wonderful Tour Guide Linda and our driver I can not say more happily what a wonderful trip we have had. Linda was very Kind and very informative with all your tours. The vehicle used was at very high standard and the Driver very safe. We had a private Tour for myself and my Husband we would totally recommend this company.


Top China Travel is the the tops! I booked an 21 day tour of China for my husband and I and from the very first contact with Lily Lui I was totally impressed. We communicated via e-mail and Lily was very quick and helpful with her responses. Because this was not our first trip to China, I wanted an itinerary that was different from the norm. Lily's recommendations were top notch. The hotels she used were top shelf as we requested. Our guides and drivers were fantastic. What impressed me the most was that when we were in China, Lily called to speak to me and make sure everything was going well. When I ran into some issues due to altitude sickness, I contacted her and she had the itinerary changes done and finalized within an hour. This was a private tour with guide and driver and I honestly can say there was not one thing I wished we had done differently. Thanks to Top China Travel and Lily our trip to China was perfect. I will definitely be contacting Lily when we return to China for yet another visit.


I am a tour leader from Italy and this was my first cooperation with Janet and how lucky we met her!! We followed the trip with her to remote areas in China including some ethnic group area in Guizhou province and Sanjiang, Longsheng and Guilin, we enjoyed completely throughout the whole trip and some arrangement even out of our surprise, like we went to Janet’s home to learn how to pack Chinese Ravioli, she invited a Taichi teacher and we had a 1 hour Taichi class inside her home community. Everything was fine and our group members are all like her very much. We strongly recommend Janet Chan (janet@topchinatravel.com) as your China trip consultant! She is so considerate and carefully planned each detail of our trip. Guizhou is a very interesting and primitive place for visiting, you should include in your China trip as well! Thank you Janet! You are very professional!!
Salim A


When I planning our private trip to china I have read many trip adviser reviews and I have noticed Janet Chan’s name came up a number of times so i sent her an e-mail asked for the best two weeks private tour in China for 6 persons , whiten two days she replied me recommending 5 cities ( Zhangjiajie, hangzhuo , shanghai, Beijing , Guilin ) we went through the program which she sent to us it was excellent so we asked her to go ahead to arrange our journey . it was a great choice we made, The tour guides were knowledgeable and helpful. The hotels which reserved for us by TCT were excellent We can only say thanks for TCT and especially Janet Chan
Karan J


From the 1st point of contact till the end Joyce was great and helped plan a perfect trip which I was for a short time in Beijing. I was traveling alone and was recommended to join a small group of fellow travelers which was perfect. Great tour guide with a clean bus. Pick up on time and overall a great experience.
Ms Masha B


My husband and I booked a two week private tour of China with Top China Travel. It was an excellent experience. Vicky, a tour consultant, offered us a very good program visiting Beijing, Xian, Zhangjiajie, Shanghai and Nanjing. We really enjoyed every location. The tour guides were knowledgeable and helpful. In Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing me made our own hotel reservation and in Xian an Zhangjiajie TCT made the reservations for us. Lunch was included in the tour and the selection of the restaurants was excellent in most locations (except Xian). Overall great tour!
Chris W


When planning our China trip we read many trip advisor reviews and noticed Janet Chan’s name came up a number of times so we asked for her to arrange our journey across this fascinating land. What a great choice we made, she listened and responded to our questions and arranged all our trip that went off without any problems. We didn’t want shopping nor group travel and she responded brilliantly. Two days hiking on the wall with fabulous guide Miko, in fact all our guides and drivers were just excellent. High speed train meant we saw lots of China’s varied countryside and went to some out of the way places. We can only say great things about TCT and especially Janet Chan if you are planning a trip. Thank you Janet for an exciting and memorable trip! Chris n Jools Winstanley
Raghavan A


We signed up with TCT after reading reviews of Tibet tour agencies. Our trip included 4 days in Lhasa, two in Shigatse and one at the base camp. TCT made all the arrangements including the Tibet permit, hotels, tour guide, car and the driver for the entire trip. The arrangements were superb. The guide and the driver were very accommodating to our needs and made the entire trip very convenient. At the base camp, the guide even arranged for extra oxygen in case we need it. She was also very helpful in advising us as how to get acclimated to the altitude. The entire trip was smooth and enjoyable and we would highly recommend TCT for travel to Tibet.


wonderful visit and wonderful guide Li. Li showed us all the charms of this great city together with our Li river tour. We fell in love with this place and Yangshou. Great place to visit and it was a favourite city in all the cities we visited. great guide
Natasha J


I can't recommend this company enough!! I started talking to Yocky via the chat system on their website, as we wanted to do a 2.5 week trip around China. Our itinerary was: Shenzhen-Beijing-Xian-Kunming-Dongchuan-Chengdu-Guilin-Sanya Here's how things went: 1) She was instant in her replies and responded to subsequent emails within the hour (and trust me, I sent A LOT of emails). She was always so thorough and efficient. 2) She made us a tailor made trip that covered everything we wanted, including some slightly more off the beaten track attractions. 3) She helped us keep to our budget and suggested reasonable things we could cut out when things were too expensive (not something many companies would do as they are trying to make a quick buck). 4) She listened to all of our requests for things such as early morning flights, vegetarian food, and readjusting itineraries. 5) All our drivers and guides were EXCELLENT; they were prompt, kind, spoke excellent English and had a wealth of knowledge about all the sites we saw. All the cars on our private tours were nice and comfortable and had water. 6) Despite asking for 3* hotels, all 7 hotels we stayed in seemed like 4* to us and all included breakfast. 7) With such a large and complicated trip there were bound to be a few hiccups (e.g. there was a marathon in Xian one day which meant a lot of roads were closed, so we couldn't access sites). Yocky was in touch with us the entire time and helped us rearrange our plans quickly and ordered complimentary tickets to a show to make up for the inconvenience. We were so nervous about our first trip to China as we speak no mandarin and are strict vegetarian but honestly this was one of the best trips of our life; this company made it so easy for us and I really can't imagine having been able to do it myself any better!


The views are stunning and the boat that we were on had VIP seating for just our group with a private balcony to view the river.
Candi S


Raylene did a wonderful job organizing our tour to meet our time constraints. She answered all questions very efficiently. Our tour guide Rocco met us at the airport and the Driver was waiting near by. I have specific dietary restrictions and the guide was extremely helpful communicating that with the restaurants. The trip was so easy and we always felt safe. My husband and I are looking forward to booking a more extended trip in the future. There is so much to see and the food is wonderful!

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