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Trip details

7 Days Biking around Qinghai Lake

7 Days Biking around Qinghai Lake

Date: Aug. 22 & Sept. 1, 2021, 2022

Price: From 2160USD/PAX

Trip Focus: Adventure + Cycling

Status: Open to Booking

Route: Xining-Xihai Town-Erlangjian-Niaodao Township-Gangcha-Xining

Trip Code: A003


Cycling around Qinghai Lake has become a very popular choice for cyclists to explore Qinghai differently. Join us for an adventure on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau by riding a bike that will allow you to enjoy the holy lake, alpine meadows, snow-capped mountains, highland wildlife, Tibetan life, nomadic culture, etc. July and August are the best months to explore the areas around Qinghai Lake when the cole flowers around the lake fully bloom and decorate the villages around this holy lake with patches of golden natural carpet. For birders, Qinghai Lake is a place that hard to be skipped. As one of the important summer breeding grounds for plateau birds, Qinghai Lake and the wetlands around are home to a good variety of birds including Black-necked Crane, Bar-headed Goose, Ruddy Shelduck, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Mongolian Lark, Tibetan Lark, etc.


• Ride around the largest inland and saltwater lake in China and explore Qinghai Lake at your preferred pace. Vist some interesting Tibetan villages scattered along the way.

• Encounter some unique plateau wildlife like Plateau Pika, Black-necked Crane, Przewalski’s Gazelle, Bar-headed Goose, Tibetan Wolf, etc.

• Enjoy the stunning scenery in the best season of Qinghai Lake with the most comfortable temperature.

Introduction to Trip Destinations and Activities:

Ta’er Monastery (Kumbum Monastery)
Located 28 km southwest of the Xining City of Qinghai Province, Ta'er Monastery was built in 1560 in memory of Tsongkaba (1357-1419), the founder of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery is considered as the center of Tibetan Buddhism in northwestern China and one of the six major monasteries of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The three unique Tibetan art forms namely butter sculpture, barbola, and mural painting from the monastery are accepted as the three artistic treasures of the Ta’er Monastery.


Qinghai Lake
Qinghai Lake is located in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, about 100 kilometers to the west of Xining City, with an altitude of about 3,200 meters. It is famous for the beautiful scenery and mixed ethnic culture formed by Muslims, Mongolians, and Tibetans.
Qinghai Lake is the largest inland lake in China (salt lake) and an important nesting ground for summer breeders. In the summer, millions of birds fly here and breed their young. It is also a major stopover place for some migratory birds in spring and autumn during their migration.


Tibetan Culture Experience
The Tibetans live around Qinghai Lake mainly engage in husbandry and agricultural production. The Tibetans from the pastoral areas live in tents, take Zanba, yak butter tea, yogurt, beef, mutton, etc., as their main food. The Tibetans from the agricultural area mostly live in houses, and mainly eat Zanba. Like all Tibetans from Tibet, Yunnan, and Sichuan, Qinghai Tibetans are bold and good at singing and dancing. It is a good choice for experiencing the lifestyle of the people living around Qinghai Lake.


About Qinghai Lake International Cycling Race
Since 2002, the Qinghai Lake International Cycling Race is held every summer (usually each July). It is a top professional road race in Asia, each year there will be over 150 cyclists representing 15-20 countries, attended by thousands of spectators! What is more, the professional racers cover the entire length of 1,300 km on the altitude around 3,300 meters! As amateurs, you are welcome to join this 7 days Qinghai Lake cycling tour provide by the AbsolutePanda team.

How Can We Make This Trip Special?

• A team of passionate guides specializing in photography and wildlife with rich experiences of guiding and solid knowledge about wildlife and local places.

• Can be customized to better meet your travel style.

• 20-plus years of working in the travel industry and serving Travelers from all over the world enable us to know how to make great trips for travelers of different travel styles.


What Makes AbsolutePanda Excellent? 

• We are one of the premier travel companies focusing on wildlife in China.
Since 2003, our professional tour leaders and wildlife experts have helped thousands of travelers gain an in-depth understanding of Giant Panda and their companion animals, enjoy stunning sceneries all over China, and explore the authentic local cultures.

• Exclusive quality & value guarantee.
We define our quality by well-designed itineraries, stunning destinations, creative interactions, small groups, professional guides, and reasonable prices.

• Explore China in comfort and your style.
Beyond selected accommodations, meals, and vehicles, we would like to show you the real China by an authentic experience with incredible wildlife and lovely locals.

• We care and share.
We believe the best way to help wildlife is love and appreciation. By bringing nature lovers to enjoy the beauty of nature in China, we hope that local people can realize the beauty of wildlife and learn how to love and appreciate those beautiful creatures living near their villages.


Dates and Prices

1. Dates

Group A: Aug. 22 to Aug. 28, 2021
Group B: Sept. 1 to Sept. 7, 2021
Group C: Aug. 22 to Aug. 28, 2022
Group D: Sept. 1 to Sept.7, 2022
July and August are the tourist peak season mainly due to the students’ summer vacation. We choose to avoid the crowd by making the tours depart in late August and early September (may still have some chances for golden cole flowers). Sure if you do not mind about the peak season, we are happy to arrange the trip base on your time.
Email us to tailor-make a tour that can meet your taste, budget, and schedule best.
2. Prices
The AbsolutePanda team works hard to provide the highest-possible quality tour experiences at a fair price. However, after working in the travel industry for more than 20 years, our team knows that no two travelers are alike in terms of their travel styles, personal interests, choice of guides, and preferences in restaurants and hotels. For AbsolutePanda, our client’s satisfaction is a top priority. To meet the needs of different clients and ensure they enjoy a trip suited to their preferences, you are welcome to email us with specific requests ranging from trip themes, guides, the grade and brand of vehicles, accommodations, restaurants, etc. We will try our best.
To ensure our guest the best trip, we set our minimum departure number as five travelers and the maximum departure number as ten travelers. That means the trip size is 5 to 10 participants.
The land cost for a group of 5 to 10 people: 
Single supplement:
The land cost includes:
1. Vehicles listed on the trip. Fuel, tolls, airport pick up and drop off are included in the price. The size of the vehicle is based on the number of participants for this itinerary;
2. A cycling leader for the whole trip;
3. Meals listed above as BLD;
4. Bottled water and snacks;
5. Entrance charges listed in the itinerary;
6. China Domestic Travel Insurance;
7. Hotels listed above;
8. Bike rental listed in the itinerary;
9. Vehicle supported during biking days.
The land cost excludes:
1. Alcoholic drinks during the meal;
2. Extra charges due to change of itinerary from client-side or factors beyond the control of AbsolutePanda such as natural disaster and governmental policy change;
3. Discretionary tips to the guide and driver;
4. All personal expenses, such as laundry service or for personal shopping;
5. Train ticket or airfare to and out of Xining;
6. Any items not listed in the itinerary as included;
7. Entrance fee, car rental, or meals during your free time trip;
8. Single supplement.
This trip price is based on two clients sharing one twin-bed room in 3-star standard hotels in big cities and local best guesthouses in a remote area. If you prefer to use a private room or we cannot find a roommate for you, then a single supplement will be added to your trip price.
3. Experienced Guides

• Kevin: Graduated from Southwest University of Science and Technology in 2016 majoring in Engineering Management, Kevin pursued a different road compared with most of his classmates because of his affection in nature. His involvement in nature has started far before his graduation, he has become a famous outdoor enthusiast and nature lover among his classmates during his campus life. He has actively participated in lots of outdoor activities like cycling and mountaineering. He successfully organized biking from Sichuan to Tibet Autonomous Region and cycling around Hainan Island. He trekked the Poon Hill in Nepal and 20 plus mountains of different sizes in China. He participated in the emergency aid training class provided by the Red Cross Society of China and has got the First Aider Certificate.
To our AbsolutePanda team, our clients' overall satisfaction with their trip is the top priority. We can create a different option to make it easier for you to choose a tour that fits your style and budget. If you prefer to travel in a different style than the option we've provided here, please feel free to contact us.
For travelers who hope to tailor-make the programs with their specific travel preferences in mind (transportations, hotels, exclusive privileges, and famous local experts), tailor-making a tour is the best way to ensure your desires are met. Please contact us with your specific needs and we will prepare an itinerary based on your expectations. Once you are satisfied, we will work out the cost and send it to you. Please feel free to ask any questions to learn more.
Please note that our guides with specialized knowledge are not always available, especially during our busy season from April to October. If you have an on-planning trip, please contact us as early as possible so that we will block the date of our expert guide for you.
When you put your trust in our team, we are certain to help you enjoy an unforgettable travel experience in China!



Day 1. Arrive Xining. (D)
The airport pick-up. Overnight: Xining (2,261m)
Day 2. Xining-Xihai Town. (100km, 2h, by car) (BLD)
Drive to Xihai Town after paying a visit to Ta’er Monastery. Pick your bike. Overnight: Xihai Town (3,100m)
Day 3. Xihai Town-Erlangjian. (BLD)
Ride about 78km. Overnight: Erlangjian (3,200m)
Day 4. Erlangjian-Niaodao Township. (BLD)
Ride about 118km. Overnight: Niaodao Township (3,200m)
Day 5. Niaodao Township-Gangcha. (BLD)
Ride about 67km. Overnight: Gangcha (3,300m)
Day 6. Gangcha-Xihai Town (87km)-Xining (100km, 2h, by car). (BLD)
Ride about 87km. Return the bike, drive back to Xining. Overnight: Xining (2,261m)
Day 7. Depart Xining. (B)
The airport drop-off.

Day 1. Arrive Xining. Meals: D
The airport pick-up. Drive to your hotel and have a good rest. Based on the time you arrive, you can enjoy some free exploration around Xining which is the capital of Qinghai province in western China, and the largest city on the Tibetan Plateau. Or you can just slow down to get used to the high altitude and get ready for the biking trip in the following days.

Overnight: Xining (2200m)

Day 2. Xining-Xihai Town. Meals: BLD
In the morning we will pay a visit to Ta’er Monastery (Kumbum Monastery). Ta' er Monastery has a history of over 400 years and is considered as the center of Tibetan Buddhism in northwestern China and one of the six major monasteries of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The whole facility consists of a group of buildings in a mixed Tibetan and Han Chinese style. Then, we will head to Xihai Town to get your bike for the cycling tour. Get used to the highland and test your bike.

Overnight: Xihai Town (3100m)

Day 3. Xihai Town-Erlangjian (Ride about 78km). Meals: BLD
Xihai Town-Jinshawan (27km)-East Lake Breeding Sheep Field (14km)-Erlangjian (37km). First biking day. Depart Xihai Town, you can view the endless plateau meadow. Then after some down-hill pass, you will enter the desert landscape area. If you come around July and August, you will be attracted by the golden cole flowers sea by the road.

Overnight: Erlangjian (3,200m)

Day 4. Erlangjian-Niaodao Township (Ride about 118km). Meals: BLD
Erlangjian-Jiangxigou (26km)-Heimahe (47km)-Shinaihai (35km)-Niaodao Township (10km, near Bird Island). We will ride a long distance with some challenges but you will find that it is the highlight of the biking tour around Qinghai Lake today. During the flower season, you will be fully amazed by the patches of golden cole flowers in perfect match with the blue lake and beautiful mountains in distance. Heimahe is the best place to see the spectacular sunrise and sunset at Qinghai Lake.
Notes: Bird Island was closed and it is not open to the public.

Overnight: Niaodao Township (3,200m)

Day 5. Niaodao Township-Gangcha (Ride about 67km). Meals: BLD
Niaodao Township-Quanji (38km)-Gangcha (29km). Today is an easy-riding day. The western side of Qinghai Lake has lots of beautiful lakeside wetlands where we can search for a variety of birds such as larks, finches, shrikes, gulls, ducks, and geese. The riding road meets the Qinghai-Tibet railway, there is a good chance for you to take a photo of the train.

Overnight: Gangcha (3,300m)

Day 6. Gangcha-Xihai Town (Ride about 87km) -Xining. Meals: BLD
Gangcha-Haergai (28km)-Ganzihe (14km)-Xihai Town (45km), return the bike in Xihai town. Our driver will drive us back to Xining.
Today, when riding on G315, if you are lucky you get a chance to see Przewalski's Gazelle as we will pass part of the Przewalski's Gazelle Nature Reserve. Today you can also view the beautiful Qilian Mountain Range.

Overnight: Xining (2,261m)

Day 7. Depart Xining. Meals: B
The airport drop-off. Thank you for choosing us and enjoying a great trip with us.

Bird Island was closed and it is not open to the public. But we can still enjoy the birding trip on the road around Qinghai Lake during our cycling trip if you are interested in birds.
If you need help in arranging a flight to Xining from Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Xian or other cities, or a flight out of Xining, please feel free to contact us, we are very happy to provide any assistance that can facilitate your trip planning.
3. In t
his trip we will visit some remote areas of high altitude. Please seek advice from your doctor on altitude sickness and bring necessary medications before you decide to join this trip. In some events, high elevation can cause severe health complications for those with cardiovascular diseases or other poor cardiopulmonary function diseases.



Map of the Biking Trip around Qinghai Lake 



AbsolutePanda firmly believes travel is an art. To ensure every trip traveling with us is a great travel art for our client, the AbsolutePanda team does all we can to consider every possible detail. The choice of hotels is an essential part of making a great trip. After many years of running a travel business, we have built up our network of cooperative hotels at different levels. We understand people are different in the choice of hotels when they travel. If you want to use some specific hotels, please feel free to let us know, we are delighted to book it for you at a competitive price to make the hotel choice better meet your taste, budget and travel style. We can either reserve a hotel with competitive price for you or simply include the hotel into your trip cost if possible. You are welcome to contact us and tell us your requests, we will do our best to create the best travel itinerary for your private use.

If you need help with hotel booking in other big cities of China at different styles and luxury levels (International-brand Hotels, Local Brand Hotels, Economical Hotels), please feel free to email our team at info@absolutepanda.com.



1. Is there any altitude problem for this trip?
This trip will venture into the high altitude from 2,200m to 3,300m. Our guide has rich experience in taking care of our clients for the cycling trip on the highland. Surely, we also will suggest you to seek advice from your doctor on altitude sickness and bring necessary medications before you decide to join this trip. In some events, high elevation can cause severe health complications for those with cardiovascular diseases or other poor cardiopulmonary function diseases.

2. Will we see some wildlife on this trip?
Yes. Our clients who have done the trip with us took good photos of Plateau Pika, Golden Eagle, Woolly Hare, Przewalski's Gazelle, Black-necked Crane, Bar-headed Goose, Ruddy Shelduck, Little Grebe, Mongolian Lark, Tibetan Lark, etc.

What kind of road conditions or landforms will we meet on this trip?
The road condition is good and wide. We will cycle across grassland, desert and farmland, with the lake or snow-capped mountains around. On the way, you can enjoy the changes of the landforms and view the wild nature and nomadic culture by your side.

4. What kind of bikes will you provide?
We mainly offer Giant Bicycles such as ATX700, ATX830, ATX735, ectIf you prefer some other types of bikes, do feel free to contact us and we are happy to try our best to find the one if possible.

5. Is this cycling trip suitable for children?
Well, this cycling trip will cover the area of a high altitude of around 3,200m, it requires lots of strength. We think it will be a challenge for children to ride long distances from 76km to 118km per day. We will have a support vehicle following us each day with our luggage or other logistic staff. If your child has some biking experiences and is interested in this trip, you can try. The children can give up whenever they feel exhausted and take the support van for a rest.

Email us if you have any questions. Read our FAQ



The best travel company I have ever worked with.
Where to begin? I am an international tour leader. This team is our partner company, and for the last 5 years, they have proved time and time again to be by far the best, most meticulous, detail-oriented, experienced, and honest company I have ever encountered. These guys get it- travel is an art. They are focused on the experience, not the profit, and this is very rare in China. The founder, Philip, is one of the top birders and nature experts in Sichuan and is well respected throughout the province and beyond for all of his efforts to support local culture and conservation of wildlife. He is from the remote Tibetan region and understands how to operate in the wild, unexplored regions of china- the real china. He is an excellent teacher and judge of character and has built an amazing team of loyal guides who cannot be topped. If you travel with these guys, you have made a wise decision.

— Brad
Date of experience: May 2017

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Trip Photos


We will visit Ta'er Monastery in Xining.

We will meet new friends by biking around Qinghai Lake.

Riding on the road with grassland by your side.

Biking on the road with the desert by your side.

The snow mountain and lake are waiting for you there by the end of the road.

Herdsmen‘s home and their sheep.

There is a Woolly Hare that sits under the prayer flags.

We may meet Tibetan pilgrims kowtow along the road.


We will have a chance to see a train goes by on our bike ride trip.

Yaks are enjoying their meals near Qinghai Lake.

The charming sunrise near Qinghai Lake is a bonus.

In July and August, the cole flower is a highlight of Qinghai Lake.


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