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The Great Qinghai Wildlife Safari

 Watching the herd of Kiang
As a traditionally sparsely inhabited region with a variety of different climatic zones, Qinghai province is a broad nature reserve, surrounded by snow-covered mountains, icy peaks, the Gobi deserts, and vast pastures. Qinghai is home to a profound variety and abundance of wildlife. Tibetan Buddhist beliefs prevalent in the region have worked in many respects to preserve the natural wealth of the wider region. The wildlife abundance of Qinghai and the beauty, richness were directly linked to a harmonious balance between animals and human. Here in Qinghai, respect for nature and animals equal to respect for God. Over 250 wild animals inhabit here including wild camel, wild ass, Chiru (Tibetan Antelope), white-lipped deer, snow leopard, black stork and wild yak.
Our Great Qinghai wildlife safari will cover three very important national nature reserves which are among the biggest national reserves in China---Qinghai Lake National Nature Reserve, Hoh Xil National Nature Reserve and Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve. Depart from Xi’ning, we will first visit the kingdom of birds---Qinghai Lake and then heading south to least populated area in China--- Hoh Xil in Geermu. We will venture east to the biggest wetland reserve in China ---Sanjiangyuan and head back to Xi’ning in the end.
• Tracking endangered wildlife on "the Roof of the World";
• Birding at "Kingdom of bird"---Qinghai lake;
• Exlpore the biggest nature reserve in China on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Qinghai Lake National Nature Reserve is known for its largest inland saltwater lake in China--- Qinghai Lake. Established in 1975,Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve is located in the northeastern part of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau covering an area of 495,200 hectares. The Reserve was listed as “Wetland of International Importance” in 1992. The main protection targets are rare birds and plateau wetland ecosystem. Qinghai Lake as a main body is surrounded by lakeside plain, grassy swamp, alpine grassy marshland, semi-desert and dry grassy beach with abundant wetland ecosystem and bio-resources. There are altogether 200 species of birds and beasts in Qinghai Lake and lakeside area including gulls, cormorants, swans and blank-necked cranes. As a plateau lake, it is the kingdom of birds. In spring and summer, around 100,000 birds mainly fly to the Reserve to go through the summer. Qinghai Lake also boasts abundant fish resources, some of which serve as good food for birds there. Qinghai lake is the home to profuse array of wildlife which makes it a wonderful destination of wildlife safari in the western China.
Hoh Xil (or Kekexili) National Nature Reserve, located in the northeastern part of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, is a high grassland area that sits at 4700 m (15,416ft) above sea level. Established in 1995, Kekexili is the largest nature reserve in China covering 45,000 square kilometers in the joint border of southwest Tibet Autonomous Region, northwest Qinghai Province and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Its main protection targets are the 202 species of highland wild plants and 16 species of  endangered mammals and about 30 species of birds in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau including Chiru, white-lipped deer, wild ass etc, as well as their living environments. Snow leopards, golden eagles, gorals and yaks are put under the state protection.
Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve is located in the Sanjiangyuan area where the Yangtze River, Yellow River and Lantsang River originate. It is paradise for wildlife safari. It is the most concentrated reserve of living creatures in high altitude localities and the highest natural wetland in China. Established in 2000, the reserve was set up to protect its eco-system and the wetlands, provide favorable living habitats for its wild animals, and preserve its original physiognomy and unique natural scenery. The reserve nurtures many types of vegetation with 3 types of plants under state protection (category II) and another 34 types under special provincial protection. Besides the vegetation, 85 types of beasts, 237 types of birds and 48 types of reptiles and amphibians also dwell there including Tibetan antelope (Chiru), snow leopard, wild yak and Himalayan blue sheep.

What make AbsolutePanda excellent?
We are the only travel company who focus on wildlife in China
Since 2003, our professional tour leaders and wildlife experts have helped thousands of groups to gain in-depth understanding about Panda, their companion animals, stunning scenery in panda habitat along with the history of local culture.
Exclusive Quality & Value Guarantee
We define our quality by unique itineraries, stunning destinations, creative interactions, small group and professional guides. If you can find any other travel company who is able to offer tours of same quality with better price, we are willing to reimburse you with the difference.
Explore China in comfort and your own style
Beyond luxury accommodations, meals and vehicles, we would like to show you the real China by an absolutely authentic experience with incredible wildlife and lovely locals.
We care and share. We believe the best way to help the wildlife is love and appreciation. By bringing nature lovers to enjoy 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 village.

  Wild Yak

 Black-necked Crane

 Kiang on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Tibetan antelope


Day 1 Xi’ning-Qinghai Lake

Gathering in Xi’ning---the capital of Qinghai province, we directly venture west to Qinghai Lake via the rolling grassland. On the 4-5 hours’ drive, our local tour guides will give an introduction about this wildlife safari program. If time permits, we will drive to the Bird Island for sunset. 
Overnight: Gangcha County
Day 2 Qinghai Lake National Nature Reserve
Today we will get up early and get ready for bird watching. The amount and varieties of birds enabled Birds Island the world’s densest “Kingdom of Birds”. After the breath-taking bird watching, we will pay a visit to Sun and Moon Mountains, Daotang River and Qinghai Lake to discover the mammals.
Overnight: Qinghai  Lake
Day 3 Qinghai Lake-Geermu
Today will be the longest driving day in the whole journey. We will across the plateau driving all the way down to Geermu. We will have a few stops along the way to discover Tibetan Sandgrouse. Mammals are very conspicuous along this road, and along with large numbers of Kiang and Tibetan Gazelle. We hope to encounter small groups of Tibetan Antelope along with an outside possibility of wild Yak.
Overnight: Geermu
Day 4 Geermu-Hoh Xil
Geermu is not far away from Hoh Xil. A 3-4 hours’ drive will take us to the least populated area in China but with abundant wildlife of highland. 
Overnight: Hoh Xil
Day 5-6 Hoh Xil National Nature Reserve
Despite the harsh climate, Hoh Xil is home to more than 230 species of wild animals, 20 of which are under Chinese government protection, including the wild yak, wild donkey, white-lip deer, brown bear and the endangered Tibetan antelope or chiru. The abundant plateau pika, a small burrowing rodent, is the main food of the region's brown bears. Today we will explore this area for these amazing wildlife.
Overnight: Hoh Xil
Day 7 Hoh Xil-Qumalai
Leaving Hoh Xil, we depart to Sanjiangyuan Area. Today we will cross half of the plateau and stop by Qumalai. Qu Ma Lai is famous for “The Original Place of Yellow River” Monument, Tibetan Buddhism Temples, and Mount. Kunlun. Most importantly, there are variety of wildlife animals inhabiting in this area. We will definitely enjoy the wildlife trip here.
Overnight: Qumalai
Day 8 Qumalai
Today we continue tracking wildlife on the vast Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. We will search for the rare and precious white lipped deer, wild bear, leopard, kiang and wild yak, and also rare birds, such as black-necked crane, snow cock, golden eagle.
Overnight: Qumalai
Day 9 Qumalai- Mado
With completing the cross of the Plateau, we are heading Mado. Mado is rich in nature resources and wild animals. Many endangered species, like wild donkey, wild yak, white lipped deer, brown bear, leopard, red fox etc. A lot of resident birds, like brown-headed gull, bar-headed goose, black-necked crane, common redshank live here. There are also varieties of migration birds come in May and leave in October.
Overnight: Mado
Day 10 Maduo-Gonghe
We will drive to the splendid Gonghe plateau. The high altitude plateau scenery, mysterious Tibetan Buddhism and profound Tibetan culture make this place to be one of the most attractive spots in China. It is well-worth to driving long way in the fabulous views. What’s more, we can see the rare Chinese Oryx, if we are lucky.
Overnight: Gonghe
Day 11 Gonghe-Xi’ning
Heading back to Xi’ning, we will complete our “Great Qinghai wildlife safari”. This city is also worth visiting. Xining is widely considered to be a perfect summer resort. Culture is dominant here, evidenced by the famous monastery and mosque. We will be fascinated by the diversified towers, walls and halls in the 600-year-old mosque----Dongguan Mosque.

We can customize this trip so as to better meet your timing, budget and interests or arrange a private extension to explore China as you wish. Please contact us for more information.



Late June


Date & Price notes
1. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and are given in US Dollars. Fees may be different due to different seasons.
2. The hotel and vehicle could be customized.
3. Dates may change and could also be customized.

1. General Questions
2. Pricing Questions
3.  Health & Safety Questions
4. Traveling in China, Before Arrival Questions
5. Traveling in China, After Arrival Questions



1. General Questions


a. Why should I choose AbsolutePanda?  

AbsolutePanda is the ONLY travel company in the world focused on pandas and other endangered animals in China, providing eco-friendly trips to gain comprehensive experiences and life-time memories. We are an experienced travel operator and the experts gather from varies field. We help our clients obtain better understanding of native animals, their habitats, and neighboring minority cultures through carefully-planned visits.

b. Can I see examples of past clients whom you have served?

You may visit TripAdvisor,  where we are proud to have 100% positive feedback as “Excellent”. You may also check our “testimonial”, “gallery” and “Videos”. 

c. Does the pandas still exist in the wild?

The Panda is a conservation-reliant endangered species. There are only about 1864 individuals living in the wild. However, we do have opportunities to spot wild pandas in the carefully selected natural sites. Giant Panda Breeding Base also offers a program in which people can interact with a captive panda after paying a certain amount of donation. 

2. Pricing Questions


a. How do I complete the reservation?

To make a reservation, a deposit of US$200 per person is required for trips less than 8 days, a deposit of US$500 per person is required for longer trips. Please be aware that the cost of transportation (airplane ticket, railway…) has to add up to the total amount of deposit, either paid by wire transfer or sent by Paypal. Complete payment is required 30 days prior to departure. For trips booked less than 30 days before departure, complete payment is required immediately. Tour prices are made on the basis of per person and double occupancy. If a customer fails to make full payment of the trip as stated above, AbsolutePanda reserves the right to cancel the tour and retain the deposit.  

b. What is included in the tour cost?
The quotation of tour cost can be varied. In general, the quotation includes the following:
• All land costs, as indicated in the itinerary.
• All accommodations on twin-bed room sharing basis.
• All admission fees and activity expenses including charges for special arrangements or permit as noted in the itinerary.
• All meals, as noted in the itinerary, and snack food, fruit, and drinking water.
• Services of a AbsolutePanda guide and complete logistic support
• Domestic flight between major cities.
• Provide continental breakfast in the rural area.
• Provide invitation letter for visa.
• Chinese domestic travel insurance (coverage of 100,000RMB)

c. What is excluded from the tour cost?
• International Flight
• Chinese Tourist Visa, which is required for most foreign passport holders.
• International SOS Emergency Evacuation Service Plan
• Meals not included in the itinerary and alcohol.
• Expenses of  a personal nature (e.g. mini bar, personal telecommunications, laundry, etc.)
• Excursions and activities not included in the itinerary.
For specific itineraries, please refer to the pricing tab associated with those trips. 
d. Can I request to buy my own domestic flight tickets?

You may purchase your own domestic flight tickets, but please be aware to avoid restricted discount tickets. Those tickets are typically non-changeable once they are issued, and may result in unforeseen complications.  
e. Is travel insurance needed and accounted for in the AbsolutePanda cost?     
Although AbsolutePanda will buy Chinese domestic insurance for every clients, we strongly suggest all travelers purchase an International SOS Service Plan through AbsolutePanda, which provides for emergency evacuation to the nearest medical facility of international standards.



3. Health & Safety Questions

a. Can you accommodate allergies and food preferences?

Yes, AbsolutePanda team is very serious about the enjoyment of meals and choice of restaurants, because we take each meal as a chance to show you a unique local cooking culture, and regard it as vital part of our trip quality. All restaurants will be carefully picked and all the allergy information will be properly handled. For people who are allergic to certain items, we will avoid any chance of contacting those items in our arrangement. Generally, we request restaurant chefs to not use MSG to dishes.  For travelers who have severe allergies, please consult their physician prior to traveling. Please inform us if you are allergy to specific food, such as peanuts, fish, or shellfish, so that our guides can be prepared and arrange restaurants ahead of time. 

b. What kinds of altitudes do travelers experience?

The altitudes is under 1000 meters for regular city tours in chengdu. However, to seek endemic animals and attractions away from the city, our tours may experience altitudes above 3,000 meters. Acute Mountain Sickness(AMS) may occurs to some travelers, resulting in fatigue, headache, nausea and loss of appetite. Our itineraries are carefully crafted to ensure travelers have plenty of time to rest and adjust to the altitude. 

4. Traveling in China, Before Arrival Questions


a. How do I get a visa? What kind of visa should I get?

Nearly all foreign visitors to China will need a tourist visa. You may contact the Chinese Embassy in your area. Please note that travelers from certain countries, including the U.S., are now required to submit a letter of invitation with their visa application. If needed, AbsolutePanda will be happy to provide this letter after you have completed your booking.

b. What inoculations should I get before visiting China?

You may wish to refer to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which provides a comprehensive list of recommended immunizations prior to traveling in China: http://www.cdc.gov/travel

c. What kinds of toiletries should I bring?

Be aware most of restrooms doesn't provide toilet paper in China. We recommend that you can bring your own toiletries if you favor in particular brand. It is very useful have hand sanitizer during outdoor journey. We will send you a handbook with a suggested packing list in PDF format prior to your departure.  

d. What kinds of medications or medical supplies should I bring?

During the trip, AbsolutePanda will have a general first aid kit. We also recommend that you can bring antibacterial ointment, antihistamines, anti-nausea medication, anti-diarrheal medication (Loperamide), insect repellent containing DEET, hydrocortisone cream for itches, Ibuprofen or other pain-relievers, and sunscreen (30+ protection factor). 

e. Are there baggage weight limits while traveling by air within China?

Yes, the luggage limit is 20 kg (~44 lbs) per person for economy-class flights.



5. Traveling in China, After Arrival Questions


a. What is the state of the restrooms in China?

There are seat-toilets available in most of hotels, but be aware that squat-toilets are very common in public restrooms. You may also want to bring some toilet paper to the areas where hygiene condition are subpar. 

b. How easy is it to change currencies upon arrival?

It is quite easy, you may change the currencies in the international airports, large banks, and hotels. China is still very much a cash-based economy, so major credit cards are only accepted at few locales.

c. Are there any restrictions on photography?

China is a very photogenic country. Most people are very comfortable being photographed. Ask first if you have any doubt, photography could be prohibited in some temples, monasteries, and museums. It is prohibited in all military bases.

d. Is it safe to drink tap water in China?

Tap water is not safe to drink in China. AbsolutePanda provides bottled water throughout the journey, and we allow restaurants to serve only purified water.

“The Only Choice for Travel in China”

I must confess, I write this review because it's ultra personal to me. I've only known about AbsolutePanda for a couple of months but have worked with them very closely with our tour company from the U.S. 

AbsolutPanda represents China, like Americans would want a tour company in the U.S. to represent America- with professionalism, pride and respect while their actions speak in a way to that oozes with historical consciousness, both culturally and ecologically. 

They take care of their clients and bend over backwards to make sure they are given the trip they paid good money for. 

Whether you hire AbsolutPanda for a cultural, sightseeing tour or to see the Tibetan Plateau where you will feel like the only tourist for a hundred miles, you'll leave knowing more about China than you started with, that's for sure. But it's more than that. You will understand what China was and what it wants to become now... and it's a lot more optimistic for the world than people might think.

---Justin G from US

“Absolute Panda Continues It's Excellent Service”

I returned to China in September with my friend and China travel companion, Rick. We had asked Philip to set up a trip into the Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan that would really show us Tibetan culture and some beautiful places most Westerners don't see. We had a wonderful 22 day trip with stops in Yading, Hounglong and Jiuzhaigou National Parks, and many small villages and towns along the way. We managed to see many monasteries, meet and talk with local monks and villagers and do a lot of photography, a passion of both us and Philip. Having a car and driver allowed us flexibility that one would not have on a larger tour. And again, Philip's knowledge and willingness to work with us made the trip.

---Steve Z from California

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