Horse Racing Festival of Litang and Nagchu

Horse Racing Festival of Litang and Nagchu 22 Days / 21 Nights

Trip Code: HAT83

Trip Type:
Festival Tours of Tibet

Maximum Altitude:

22 Days

Trip Starts:
Chengdu, Sichuan

Trip Ends:
Lhasa, Tibet

Hotels and guesthouses

Best Time For Travel:
March to October

Trip Over View

This trip begins in Chengdu - the capital of Sichuan Province of China and traverses through Kham and Amdo regions of traditional Tibet including the two famous horse racing festivals of Tibet at Litang in Eastern Tibet and Nagchuin Northern Tibet. Kham and Amdo are new frontiers for adventure travelers, a place where one can find unclimbed summits, galloping horsemen, old-growth forest, villages and monasteries where no foreigner has set foot in fifty years.
Litang and Nagchu horse festivals are the most popular Tibet festival tours
The Annual Litang Horse Race, held at the high altitude Tibetan town of Litang (4200m) in Kham from August 1st to 7th is the most celebrated holiday in the Tibetan cultural area. Thousands of Tibetan Khampas will come from all over the plateau, from Qinghai, Sichuan and central Tibet to set tents for a week of horsemanship displays, trading and the local version of a fiesta. After the wonderful ceremony with traditional Tibetan dancing and songs, the most exciting event is the horse racing. The brave riders will take to their pretty decorated horses to participate in the races and showcase their excellent horse riding skills.
Women are all in their beautiful clothes with magnificent jewelry as they shower their applauses on their heroes. The festival is also a good time for trade and various Tibetan-style goods are exchanged here amongst the visitors. Our trip has a special departure to coincide with this festival and we spend 3 days at Litang to watch the horse races and are hopefully able to capture some of the most thrilling moments on film. There are opportunities to make friends with the friendly Tibetan people and of course, also visit the Tibetan monastery in our free time.
Visit a Tibetan monastary
Nagchu Horse Racing Festival officially falls on the 10th of August each year, the golden time of Northern Tibet grassland. Thousands of nomads ride to Nagchu from all directions with different kinds of local products. A temporary tent city appears to the north of Nagchu, the festival includes these programs: horse racing, archery, sports, the world-famous Gesar Epic ballad recitation and so on. The Damxung Horse Racing is held every August, being a tradition on Changthang grassland as well. During the festival tourists can appreciate traditional programs such as horse racing, archery and horsemanship. Stone lifting, tug-of-war and other activities are performed. The large-scale goods exchange is held too.

Outline Itinerary

Day 01: 26th July: Arrival in Chengdu.

Day 02: 27th July: Chengdu sightseeing.

Day 03: 28th July: Chengdu-Leshan Giant Bhudda-Chengdu.

Day 04: 29th July: Chengdu-Kangding ( 256km, 7hrs).

Day 05: 30th July: Kangding-Xinduqiao-Litang (4200m, 295km, 6hrs).

Day 06: 31st July: Litang Sightseeing.

Day 07-08: 1st Aug - 2nd Aug: Litang Horse Racing festival.

Day 09: 3rd Aug: Litang-Xinlong-Gantse.

Day 10: 4th Aug: Gantse to Derge.

Day 11: 5th Aug: Derge Sightseeing.

Day 12: 6th Aug: Derge to Chamdo.

Day 13: 7th Aug: Chamdo Sightseeing.

Day 14: 8th Aug: Drive to Dengchen (4200m).

Day 15: 9th Aug: To Nakchu (4500m).

Day 16-17: 10th -11th Aug: Nakchu Horse racing festival.

Day 18: 12th Aug: Nakchu-Damxung-Namtso Lake.

Day 19: 13th Aug: Namtso-Damxung-Yangpacheng-Lhasa.

Day 20-21: 14th-15th Aug: Lhasa sightseeing.

Day 22: 16th Aug: Depart Lhasa.

Day 01: 26th July Arrival in Chengdu

Flight arrival in Chengdu (from Bangkok, or Singarpore), Shuangliu airport pick up and transfer to Jinjiang Hotel (5*).

Day 02: 27th July Chengdu sightseeing

A full day sightseeing in Chengdu: in the morning we will see the panda bears in China Panda bears research Center. Then visit Dufu Cottage and Wuhou Temple in Chengdu. Evening to Qingyang Palace, view the antique Sichuan Opera - “Face Changing”in “ShuFengYa Yun”, and taste typical Sichuan snacks. Overnight at Jinjiang Hotel (5*).

Day 03: 28th July Chengdu-Leshan Giant Bhudda-Chengdu

A full day trip to Leshan (170km one way, 3hrs roundtrip): Visiting Leshan Giant Buddha (the largest cliff carving Buddha in a sitting pose in the world (listed as bi-hermitage on nature and culture in UNESCO) and floatdown the river to view the panorama of the Buddha. In the evening, we can walk in the “Jin li” ancient street to enjoy the remarkable Sichuan folk items like clay sculpture, candied drawing, crafts, etc. Overnight at Jinjiang Hotel (5*).

Day 04: 29th July Chengdu-Kangding ( 256km, 7hrs)

We embark on an exhaustive 4WD adventure trip to Ya’an, Luding and Kangding (Dartsedo in Tibet 256km). Kangding is a medium-sized Tibetan town in Sichuan. Today's trip covers the attractions of Ngachu Gonpa Monastery, Dordrag Gonpa and Zhara Yutso Lake. Overnight in Kangding at Jiaotong Hotel (2*).

Day 05: 30th July Kangding-Xinduqiao-Litang (4200m, 295km, 6hrs)

Drive to Litang via Zheduo Pass (4298m), XinduQiao (bridge) and Yajiang. Overnight in Litang at Minzhu guest house or similar.

Day 06: 31st July Litang Sightseeing

Sightseeing in Litang: Litang Monastery (ChangQingchun in Chi), established in 1580 by the 3rd Dala Lama, Suonam Gyatso. It is the biggest Monastery of Yellow Hat Sect in Tibetan Buddhism in the Kham area with its magnificent architectures, various religion utensils, multiform and exquisite statues, etc. We take a walk in the old city of the town. Overnight at guesthouse or tent.

Day 07-08: 1st Aug-2nd Aug Litang Horse Racing festival

Join the great Litang Horse Racing Festival, overnight in Litang guest house.
Litang horse racing festival begins on 1st August officially.

Day 09: 3rd Aug. Litang-Xinlong-Gantse

Drive north-west to Xinlong, then to Gantse (330km), the traditional center of Kham, “Shangri-La” of Sichuan Province, overnight in Gantse Khampa Hotel.

Day 10: 4th Aug Gantse to Derge
Visit the Gantse Monastery and Dakin Monastery in Gantse, drive northwest to Dege via Manigonggar and Mt. Que’er (Sparrow, 5600m) as well as beautiful Xinlu Lake. Manigango has its exotic meadow with snow covered mountains and Xinlu Lake (4040m) a sacred ice-clogged lake with a great glacier beside it. It has a beautiful name in Tibetan called “Yilong Lhatso” which commemorates the legend of King Gesar and his lovely concubine.

Day 11: 5th Aug Derge Sightseeing

Visit Derge Parkhang (Storehouse of printing blocks), Conchen Monastery and Tibetan Hospital. Derge Parkhang is established in 1729 by Derge’s King Tenpa Tsering. It is Tibet’s largest center for producing and storing religious texts. Overnight in Derge guest house.

Day 12: 6th Aug Derge to Chamdo

Drive west to Chamdo via Jamda, Gangba Valley, Jinsha River and Mt. Dalama (dirt road, 360km), overnight in Chamdoat Kangsang Hotel or guest house.

Day 13: 7th Aug Chamdo Sightseeing

Visit the Jampaling Monastery and Karo Ruins in Chamdo, overnight in Chamdo.

Day 14: 8th Aug Drive to Dengchen (4200m)

Drive southeast along the Nagchu Highway in the northern grassland of Tibet, 108km to the Riwoche town (Ratsaka in Tibetan), visit the Riwoche Tsullakhang (29km north-east from town), an important offshoot of Taglung Monastery in Kham. Continue driving to Dengchen (148km). Overnight in Dengchenat Grain Department Guesthouse.

Day 15: 9th Aug To Nakchu (4500m)

In the morning visit the Bon monastery of Dengchen and drive towards Sok via Barchen (120km). Enjoy the fabulous views of Nyenchen Tanglha (Tangula) snow mountain range, nomad camps and yak herds in the northern Tibet grassland. Another 238km drive to Nagchu, the capital of Northern Tibet, where you are well and truly in northern grassland of Chhangthang. Overnight in Nagchuat Hotel or Tented Camp.

Day 16-17: 10th -11th Aug Nakchu Horse racing festival

Enjoy two full days in Nagchu and enjoy the biggest Horse Racing festival of Tibet held each year from 10th till 16th August.

Day 18: 12th Aug Nakchu-Damxung-Namtso Lake

Drive southwest to Namtso via Damxung and Chhangthang grassland, and heavenly lake, which is the biggest lake in Tibet and the second biggest salt lake in China as well as the highest lake in the world (4748m). It is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, playing an important role among Tibetans. Overnight lin a odge at lake side (basic accomodation with common toilet).

Day 19: 13th Aug Namtso-Damxung-Yangpacheng-Lhasa

Early morning, enjoy the view of the splendid sunrise lake side and walk around to the Tashi Heritages. Drive southwest to Lhasa along the Qinghai-Tibet highway, you can take a bath in the Yangpacheng hot spring en route (bath tickets are to be paid by yourself), it would be a unique experience for you to swim with background of snow mountains. Arrive in Lhasa, and overnight in Lhasa Hotel (4*).

Day 20-21: 14th-15th Aug Lhasa sightseeing

2 full days sightseeing in Lhasa with tourist mini-bus: Potala Palace, Jorkhang Temple, Barkhor street, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery and Norbulinka.

Day 22: 16th Aug Depart Lhasa

In the morning, you are transferred to airport and fly out to Chengdu with connecting flight to Bangkok/Singarpore/Hongkong, etc. You can also fly directly from Lhasa to Beijing or to Kathmandu in the Kingdom of Nepal. Tour ends!!
  • Includes

    • Accommodation in twin share.
    • Daily Breakfast.
    • All transportation by a 4WD Toyota Landcruiser Jeep.
    • English speaking Local Guide.
    • Tibet permits.
    • Sightseeing Admission Fees.


    • International and internal air fare.
    • Airport Taxes.
    • Chinese visa fee.
    • Lunch and dinner except indicated.
    • Drinks, tip and other expenses of personal nature.
    • Travel & Health Insurance.
    • Medical Immunizations.
    • All extra expenses caused due to nature or unforeseen events.
    • Excess baggage charges.
    • Optional tipping to local staffs, hotels etc.
    • Items of a personal nature (sodas, alcoholic beverages, laundry, telephone etc).