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Qinghai Mountaineering Tour

by Meirong Lee
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Qinghai Mountaineering Tour

Qinghai Mountaineering Tour: Qinghai’s charm also lies in its breathtaking natural scenery, which makes it a favorite destination of plateau travelers. Qing­ hai’s average altitude is more than 3,000 me­ters. The Kunlun Mountains bisect the prov­ ince from east to west. To the south and north of the Kunlun Mountains tower the Tanggula Mountains, the Bayan Har Mountains and the Qilian Mountains. Qinghai is blessed with snow-capped peaks, boundless grasslands, vast Gobi Deserts as well as the fertile Hehuang region. The beautiful province unfolds a pristine, intact, magnificent and wonderful picture before visitors.

1. Lushan Mountain Rock Paintings

Qinghai Mountaineering Tour, Lushan Mountain

The rock paintings are found on the northern slope of Nanshan Mountain in Jianghe Township, Tianjun County. They are also known as Lumanggou Rock Paintings, which were created in the late North­ern Dynasty (A.D.386-581), the Sui Dy­ nasty (A.D.581-618) and the Tang Dynasty (AD.618-907). These masterpieces of rock paintings showcase exquisite craftsmanship, unique styles and rich contents. They depict people, animals, plants, as well as scenes of hunting, herding and dancing, presenting vivid pictures of the ancient culture of the Oaidam Basin area.

Transport: Take a long-distance bus from Xining to Tianjun.

2. Amidongsuo Peak “god of all mountains”

Qinghai Mountaineering Tour, Amidongsuo Peak

The peak is two kilometers southeast of the Qilian County seat, and 290 kilome­ters from the urban area of Xining. In the Tibetan language, Amidongsuo means “god 01 all mountains.” As the Amidongsuo Peak looks like the heart of the ox, it is also called “Ox Heart Mountain.” The peak is the symbol of Qianlian County. With a height of 4,667 meters, the Amidongsuo Peak is shrouded in clouds and mist all year round. On the southern slope of the peak lies a forest of grotesque stones, called Foyeya, or “Rocks of Buddha,” by local residents. The view is gorgeous. On the northern slope of the peak, there is a place where Muslims gather for service and other religious activities.

3. Daban Mountain Tunnel

Daban Mountain Tunnel

The tunnel is at the Yueling Ridge sec­ tion of Daban Mountain Yueling for National Highway 227, which runs from Xining to Zhangye. Daban Mountain is a branch of the Oilian Mountains. The precipitous mountain towers into the sky, 3,940 meters above the sea level. The winding road across Daban Mountain was hewed from cliffs, and spirals up and down the ridges. The typical tunnel in a high-altitude cold area is 1,530 meters long and averages at a height of 3,792.75 meters above sea level, the highest of its kind in the world. The tunnel was open to traffic in 1999.

Transport: Take a long-distance bus from Xining to Zhangye or Menyuan, and then get off at the Dabanshan Mountain Tunnel.

100-Ii Sea of Rape Flowers between the Qilian Mountains and Daban Mountain

Rape Flowers

A vast piece of flat and fertile land lies between the Qilian Mountains and Daban Mountain in Menyuan County. It is one of the biggest rape production bases in North China, producing top-grade rape.

Under the azure blue sky dotted with white clouds, visitors can see the spectacular view in this place, where golden rape flowers are blooming with a refreshing fragrance, and swamps of bees are busy gathering honey from the sea of flowers.

Transport: Take a bus from Xining to Menyuan County; or take a bus from Xining to Qingshizui, and then to Menyuan via the DabanshanTunnel.

4. Riyue Mountain gateway to Tibet and the Western Regions

Riyue Mountain

Riyue Mountain in Huangyuan County, Qinghai Province was called Red Mountain in the past because the mountain is covered with red arenyte. Since ancient times, the mountain has been a major gateway from China’s heartland to Tibet and the Western Regions. It is also an important geographic demarcation line in China. The natural views on the two sides of the mountain are totally different. On the eastern side, there are villages and farms, whereas on the western side, there is a vast stretch of grassland with herds of sheep and cows.

In A.D.641, Princess Wencheng (625-680) of the Tang Dynasty left her magic Riyue Mirror in the mountain on her way to Tubo, where she was to marry Tubo King Songtsan Gambo. Local people named the mountain Riyue, the Mountain of the Sun and Moon, to commemorate the princess. They also built two pavilions on the mountain-Riting, or the Pavilion of the Sun, and Yueting, or the Pavilion of the Moon.

Transport: Take a bus from the Xining Long-distance Bus Station. It takes about one hour to get to Riyue Mountain.

5. Niangniang Mountain “Sacred Mother of the Golden Mountain”

Tianchi Lake in Niangniang Mountain

Niangniang Mountain is located southwest of Qiaotou Town, Datong County. Legend has it that Jin’e, a beloved concubine of Emperor Yangdi of the Sui Dynasty (581-618), was buried there after her death. The emperor granted the mountain the title of “Sacred Mother of the Golden Mountain”. Major attractions there include the Imperial Banquet Terrace, the ruins of a temple dedicated to Imperial Consort Jin’e and Tianchi Lake at the top of the mountain. “Sunrise at Jin’e Mountain” is one of the eight most famous ancient views of Xining.

Transport: Take a bus at the Xining Railway Station or the South Liuyiqiao Bus Station to Qiaotou Town, Datong County.

6. Laoye Mountain the Mountain of the Lord

Laoye Mountain

Laoye Mountain is located in Qiaotou Town, Datong County. The mountain is 2,900 meters is above sea level. It is called Laoye, or the Mountain of the Lord, because Lord Guan Yu of the Three Kingdoms Period (AD.220-280) is worshipped in the Taiyuan Palace at the top of the mountain.

Major tourist attractions include the Hall of Lord Guan Yu, the Palace of the Jade Emperor, the Leizu Hall, Doumu Palace, the Temple of Three Officials, and the Tiger Cave and the General’s Rock.

The Folk Song Festival on the sixth day of the sixth lunar month attracts crowds of people to admire the flowers that cover the mountainside. Some of them Sing Hua’er local love songs. The festival is a rare opportunity for young people to seek and express love.

Transport: Take a bus at the Xining Railway Station or the South Liuyiqiao Bus Station to Yihaoqiao, Qiaotou Town, Datong County. Cross the bridge and walk about 100 meters eastward.

Guanlin Temple Luoyang

Guanlin Temple said to be the burial place of Guan Yu’s head a prominent general of the Shu Kingdom in the Three Kingdoms Period.

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