The island holds its name due to the approximately 10,000 birds that, at different seasons throughout the year, migrate here from all over the world. Of the rarer species that can be found,included are Griffon vultures, Mongolian larks, black-necked cranes, bar-headed geese and giant swans. For those not ornithologically wise, there are more common varieties that can also be found including gulls, cormorants, egrets, sandpipers, skylarks, swans, geese, crows, minivets and many more. Because of the highly saline and cold waters, the huge lake teems with fish and it is this that makes it the perfect breeding ground for many of these species.
The island has a number of bird watching pavilions and is nice to simply wander about, with the vivid and contrasting colours that are a part of the lake's scenery. The optimum time for bird watching is between March and July, when many of the birds migrate here to breed and take their summer holidays. If you can weather the cold and are an intent bird watcher, November to February are the time to catch the famed giant swans. The island also contains the Longbao Black-necked Crane Sanctuary, a conservation project for these protected species.
Day 1: Fly to Xining. Drive to Kumbum - Koko Nor Lake 210 km. In the morning drive to Kumbum Monastery (Ta'er Si) of Gelukpa-sect, which was built in 1560 in Huangzhong county and also one of the six grand monasteries in Tibet. Then cross over Sun-and-Moon Mountain (Ri Yue Shan). The Sun-and-Moon mountain has always been an distinguish line between meadow and agriculture area. After that make a short trekking by the Koko Nor lake, the biggest salty lake in China, with an area of 4,500 square kilometers and an altitude of 3,194m high above sea level. The big lake is acclaimed as "pearl on the highland" and the scenery of which is unusually fascinating and appears different shapes even at the same time.
Day 2: Drive to kokonar Lake. Koko Nor Lake - Dulan 320 km. In the morning drive to Dulan along the Koko Nor Lake, the biggest salty lake in China, with an area of 4,500 square kilometers and an altitude of 3,194 m above sea level.In addition a small island known as "the heaven of the birds" lies in the lake. After an approx. 200 km long driving make a short stopover by the Tsaka salty lake where even the wind should be salty. Late in the afternoon arrive in Dulan.
Day 3: Drive to Golmud. Drive to Golmud 360 km. Drive through the Tsaidam basin, among which most part is desert with some oasis dotted in. This basin lies in the north of the Amnyemaqen Mountain and the road to Golmud is just along the foot of the mountain. The Xiangride oasis is the last one seen in this desert. Late in the afternoon arrive in Golmud,which is a civilazation center where Tibetan culture and Han culture melt each other.
Day 4: Drive to Tuotuohe. Drive to Tuotuoheyan 420 km. Drive through the vast wilderness and Tsaidam meadow on the Tibet-Qinghai-Plateau along the road in the foot of the Kunlun-mountain and go on upwards by steep valley to cross over the 4.837-meter-high Kunlun Pass. Afterwards pass by the First Bridge over the Yangtse River and arrive in Tuotuoheyan, which is lain in the head stream of the Yangtse River.
Day 5: Drive to Nagqu. Drive to Naqu 430 km. Cross southwards over the Tangra Shan mountain. On the way the eagles, flocks of sheep and cattle, yaks, Snow Mountains, tents of Tibetan farmers everywhere altogether form a harmonious unity and allow the spirit and soul of people to relax.
Day 6: Drive to Lhasa via Namtso Lake. Drive to Lhasa Jeep 480 km. Drive on the vast Qiangtang Grassland for Nam Tso. Cross the 5,150 m Lhachen La Pass and reach the Namtso or Tengri Nor along the newly paved way and set up camp at Tashi Dorie peninsula. It is said the holy lake and the holy mountain Nyenchentangla are a couple of lovers, who altogether guard the vast pasture and cattle. In the afternoon drive to Lhasa (3650 m), capital of Tibet Autonomous Region.
Day 7: Sightseeing. Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor street. The first day of sightseeing starts from Lhasa's cardinal landmark- Potala Palace, a structure of massive portions. Its towering image already appearing on various occasions, but your first sight of the Potala will still be an awe-inspiring moment. It takes at least a good 2-hour to visit those rooms, halls and chapels. In the afternoon, we will drop a visit of the Jokhang Temple, the spiritual center of Tibet. Everyday, pilgrims from every corner of Tibet trek a long distance to the temple. The temple is the product of Han, Tibetan and Nepalese architectural techniques. Then we will visit Barkhor, the oldest street in a very traditional city in Tibet.
Day 8: Sightseeing. Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastey. About 8 km west of central Lhasa is the Drepung, once world's largest monastery with about 10,000 monks. This day's sightseeing begins with these white monastic buildings piled up on the hillside. Walking up to the hill is a pleasant thing, an easy break from the solemn ambience inside the halls and chapels. At the plat roof of hillside, you can have very good views of the whole Lhasa city and the distant mountains. Drepung is one of Lhasa's two great Gelugpa monasteries, the other is Sera. Around 5km north of central Lhasa, Sera may not be as grandiose as Drepung, but is more serene surrounded by many small temples. The 'Buddhism Scriptures Debating' in Sera is very famous.
Day 9: Transfer to airport. Lhasa to Chengdu or other destination.
- Duration: 9 days
- Destination: Xining, Koko Nar Lake, Yamdok Tso Lake, Lhasa
- Maximum Altitude: 5050 m
- Best Season: May to Sept; Black nick crown (Aug to Sept)
- Photo Spot: Amdo Koko Nar Lake, Lhasa, Yamdoktso lake.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Tibet Nature & Wildlife Birdwatching
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