Jentsa (Jianzha) 尖扎县 གཅན་ཚ་རྫོང་།


When people see Jentsa’s densely-populated (for Qinghai) fertile strip of land along the Yellow River – and the barren redrock mountains beyond – they generally assume that, while the scenery might be pleasant, there’s not much more to the place.

Think again. Thanks to a wildly diverse geography, Jentsa is a microcosm of the entire Amdo region. In a tiny package (less than 2000 square kilometers), you can find desert, lush forests, productive farmland, redrock pinnacles, and – to the surprise of many people, given what can be seen from the main Yellow River highway – the same high, cold nomadic grasslands that make up much of the plateau.

As very few roads lead from Jentsa’s interior into other counties, this is a good place to explore at random. Make sure, however, to make time for the spectacular landscapes and religious structures at Kanbula, and for a visit to the extremely friendly and surprisingly bustling county town at Maketang.

Maketang (County Town)  མ་གི་ཐང 马克唐

Kanbula (Khamra) National Geological and Forest Park གམས་ར་། 坎布拉国家地质、森林公园

The beautiful, diverse landscapes of Khamra are reason enough to make the trip. Add an important and spectacularly sited nunnery (Namdzong), hiking trails winding through forests and over peaks, and small villages replete with homestays and tastefully designed inns – and you’ve got a perfect mix for a relaxing weekend adventure.

While Khamra might be relatively small, there’s more than enough here to keep you entertained for several days.

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