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Home Travel in Qinghai Amne Machin Range
Amne Machin Range
Travel in Qinghai

Amne Machin Range
The Amne Machin range (ā ní mǎ qīng shān 阿尼玛卿山) itself is an eastern extension of the greater Kunlun Mountain range (kūn lún shān xì 昆仑山系), one of Asia’s longest most legend laden mountain chains. Located in the Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (guǒ luò zàng zú zì zhì zhōu 果洛藏族自治州), it is here that the Yellow River (so named because of wind-blown loess that is carried in from Central Asia) rises before winding eastward. At its rounded and almost friendly white peaks it achieves just over 6,200 meters.


Amne MachinAmne Machin is a famous god mountain in the snowland plateau which plays an important role in the Tibetan traditional culture. Large number of worshipper coming from far away to kotou and bring sacrifice to the mountain god unceasingly. Machen Kangri, the main peak of the Amne Machin, consists of three ridges of over 6,100 meters above sea level. Since its opening in 1980, it has received numerous mountain climbers, horse-riders, hikers, science researchers and other tourists from countries all over the world.


Amne Machin ClimingThe massif had long been considered a sacred mountain and a place of pilgrimage, when before the Communist “liberation” up to 10,000 Golog Tibetans would make the 120-mile circumambulation of the mountain each year. The first European to describe the mountain was the British explorer Brigadier-General George Pereira on his expedition on foot from Peking to Lhasa of 1921-2, sometimes reckoned one of the great geographical discoveries of the twentieth century. Pereira, who saw Amne Machin from about 70 miles away, thought its "height must be at least 25,000 feet, and might be anything; it dwarfed all other mountains near it".

Amne Machin ClimingHowever, the massif remained unclimbed until 1949. The Amne Machin Mountains had been overflown by a few American pilots who overestimated the elevation to 30,000 feet. A 1930 article of the National Geographic estimated the peak elevation to 28,000 feet according to the report of Joseph Rock, an American botanist and explorer. For a while, the mountains were considered as a possible place for a peak higher than Mount Everest. In 1949, a Chinese expedition climbed the mountain, but it was demonstrated in 1980 that this expedition did not climb the right peak.

The Amne Machin peak was first climbed in 1981 by a U.S. expedition (the first foreign expedition authorized by the Chinese government). Galen Rowell, Harold Knutsen and Kim Scmitz reached the summit successfully and reported its true elevation to be 20,610 feet.


Geography of Amne MachinThe Amne Machin range runs in the general northwest- to-southeast direction in eastern Qinghai (Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and the adjacent areas of the Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture) and the southwestern corner of Gansu's Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (gān nán zàng zú zì zhì zhōu 甘南藏族自治州). The existence of the ridge results in one of the great bends of the Yellow River, which first flows for several hundreds of kilometers toward the east and southeast along through the entire Golog Prefecture, along the southern side of the Amne Machin Range, until it reaches the borders of Gansu and Sichuan, and then turns almost 180 degrees and flows toward the northwest for 200-300 km through several prefectures of the northeastern Qinghai.

Machen Kangri

Machen Kangri is the main Peak of Amne Machin Range. It is ranked number 23 in height among the mountain peaks of China. The 6282m peak of Machen Kangri (mǎ qīng gǎng rì 玛卿岗日), or Mt Amnye Machen (Tibtean: A'nyêmaqên), is Amdo’s most sacred mountain-it’s eastern Tibet’s equivalent to Mt Kailash (gāng rén bō qí  冈仁波齐) in western Tibet. Tibetan pilgrims travel for weeks to circumambulate the peak, believing it to be home to the protector deity Machen Pomra (mǎ qiān péng lā 玛千彭拉). The circuit’s sacred geography and wild mountain scenery make it a fantastic, though adventurous, trekking destination.

The full circuit takes seven to nine days, or five on a horse, though many foreigners limit themselves to a half circuit. Several monasteries lie alongside the route, including Guri Gompa near Xiadawu and Chörten Kharpo (White Stupa) at Chuwarna. Some nearby spots are linked to the Tibetan hero Gesar of Ling.

Machen KangriIndependent trekkers can hire pack horses and Tibetan- and Chinese-speaking guides (Y50 per day for a horse) from Xueshan and Xiadawu, the two main starting points for the trek, but beyond that you need to be totally self-sufficient. Organized trips are possible but not cheap. Travel agencies such as Qinghai Tibet Adventures and Wind Horse Adventure Tours arrange all-inclusive trips for around 80$ to 110$ per day. At the mountain you may find yourself asked for an admission fee of Y100, as well as an ‘environmental fee’ of Y30 per day. With almost all of the route above 4000m, and the highest pass hitting 4600m, it’s essential to acclimatize before setting off, preferably by spending a night or two at nearby Mǎqìn (3760m). You can make a good excursion 70km north of town to Rabgya Gompa (lā jiā sì  拉加寺), an important branch of Tibet’s Sera Monastery. The best months to trek are May, June and September.

Location: It is located in Xueshan Town, Maqin County of Golog Prefecture, being 80 km away from Dawu Town.
Transportation: It takes 5 hours from Maqin Contry to Machen Kangri by a car, at the cost of CNY800-1000.
Tel: 0975-8383842 or 0970-8644379
Opening Hours: The whole day
Admission Fee: Free
Recommended Golden Season: Winter

Legend of Machen Kangri

legend of Amne MachinMachen Kangri is regarded as one of twenty-one holy mountains in whole Tibet, for it has protected to Tibetan area for thousands of years. It is said that since the earth and sun appeared, it has stood in the region to charge all mountain in the world. The whole Amne Machin Range gathered with 9 smaller mountains, each of them is as high as Amne Machin, and they are regarded as Amne Machin’s father, mother, brothers, wife and 360 relatives.

Natural Scenery

natural scenery of Amne MachinThe average altitude in Animaqing region is about 3,500 to 4,000m high, and the mountain area gathered high grassland, glacial lakes, wide forest and mountains valleys. In winter this area is covered by snow, but in summer flowers, sheep, yak and plants are everywhere. The Tibetan nomads family live in the each valley and you can find in every place very traditional Tibetan nomads in their clothes and their life.


circuit of Amne MachinAs the Machen Kangri is a holy mountain in Tibetan, so many people from different places make Kora around it during Sakedawa year (the water horse year). It is said go around Animaqing Mountain for a time will make you feel rebirth into this human world again. Tibetan nomads and farmers from different places shear for seven days with their families to make Kura around this mountain. If you are there you can see all kinds of dressing, real Tibetan cultures.

Location: 85 kilometers away from Dawu Town, Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
Tel: 0975-8383842
Transportation: Tourists can approach the mountain from two directions. It's possible to take the bus to Maqin Country and then hitch or hire a minivan out to Chuwarna, the traditional starting point of the kora (pilgrim path). Buses to Maqin Country (nine hours) depart Sining (xī níng 西宁) at 8.45am (CNY62) and 9.30am (CNY77) and there are also evening sleepers (CNY82). From the west, first get yourself to Maduo Country (mǎ duō 玛多) or Huashixia (huā shí xiá 花石峡), and then find a jeep to Xiàdàwǔ. From Sining, buses to Maduo (CNY83, 10 hours) leave daily at 8am.
Opening Hours: The whole day
Admission Fee: Free