Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture/ མགོ་ལོག་བོད་རིགས་རང་སྐྱོང་ཁུལ: is located to the south of Qinghai Province at the Eastern edge of Tibetan Plateau. As it lies in the upper reach of Yellow River, this region also known as the Source of Yellow river. Golog is one of the biggest Tibetan Populated prefecture in Qinghai Province. There are 18.560.000 people live in 760.000 square km. 90% of population are Tibetan and living in a traditional way of nomadic life style with average altitude 4200m/13450ft.
Golog Tibetan Prefecture consists with six counties which are Machen (Ma Qin Xian), Gade (Gan De Xian), Mato (Maduo Xian), Padma (Bai Ma Xian), Jigdril (Jiuzhi Xian) and Darlag (Da Ri Xian). The capital city of Golok is Tawu, which is located 450km south of Xining, the capital city of Qinghai Province.
By far, Golog prefecture is second remote region on the Tibetan Plateau after Ngari Prefecture in the west Tibet.
Machen County / Ma Qin Xian
The Tawu town of Machen County is capital of Golog Prefecture. This wild west town was a small trading town for nomads to exchange wool, butter and other milk products for goods and food supplies. However, the old face has been changing to a whole new town with many new buildings for hotel, guesthouse, government offices and others. The tawu is the largest town in Golog prefecture. Many Tibetans work and live in the town. It became gathering place for nomads who live on the grassland nearby. Beside this sacred mountain in Amdo, Machen also have some famous monasteries such as Ragya Monastery which you will see on the way to MaQin Xian from Xining.
The Holy mountain Amnye Machen or Machen Gangriཨ་མྱེས་རྨ་ཆེན། alt 6282m/20603ft) is located 70km in the southwest of Tawu town of Machen county. Amnye Machen is one of the four main holy mountains of Tibet along with Mt.Kailash, Mt. Minyak Gongga and Mt.Karwa Karpo.
This snow covered mountain is not a source of spiritual in the region but also provides rich grassland to the nomads life on the foot of Amnye Machen. There is one grass or root of a flower called Yartsa Gunbu ( Caterpillar Fungus) which is a fine medical and heath medication material in Tibetan, Chinese and some other Asian market which became very worthy. The best caterpillar Fungas are from the foot of Mt. Amnye Machen which made the nomads who own the grassland in the region very big fortune. And the life ofthese people are dramatically changing after they bought apartments and houses in the Machen town.
Mato lies 495km from Xining and 330k from Yushu. The average altitude of this county is 4300m which is one of the highest county in Qinghai Province. This county contains the source of Yellow River which lies of the Bayankala watershed. Besides some monasteries in the region, you can also visit crystal clear lakes. This famous two sisiter lakes also called Tso Kyaring Lake and Ngogring Lake lies about 80km from Maduo. A Huge monument of yak head was built on the top of hill which separates the two lakes. Many wildlife such as wild donkeys, fox, wild yaks, bear(dramo), black-necked cranes and other rare plateau bird species.
The best time to visit Maduo area is in July – September.
Gade County / Gande Xian
Gade is a small town surrounded with small hills, It lies in south of Mt. Amnye Machen range within bends of Yellow River. This areas is an important breading area for the rare black-necked cranes. There are several monasteries belongs to different sects in Tibet Buddhism in the county including one Jonangpa monastery.
Gade county is about 88km to the southwest from Machen and 526km to the south of Xining. This region is not officially open for foreign tourists.
Darlarg County / Dari Xian
Darlarg lies 600km south of Xining, Qinghai Province. The capital of Darlarg is called Gyume town which lies on the south shore of Yellow River. This is a nomadic town which formed by only one big street. Darlag has several Nyingmapa Monasteries, the Traling Monastery (Tralang Monastery) is the biggest among all. The monastery is located 11 km west of the town. This county is also a stopover town for cars going from Qinghai to Sichuan province.
Padma County / Pema county / Bai Ma Xian
The Padma county is right at the border with Sichuan Province with an average elevation of 3700m. It lies southern edge of Qinghai Province about 768km from Xining and 320km from Golog Machen county. Selitang is the capital town of Padma County lies on the south side of Marchu River with an elevation of this county is the lowest among all Golog Counties. The Selitang is surrounded by forests mountains unlike the other counties, the building style are a combination of Sichuan and Qinghai style.
There are about 22 monasteries scattering in the county. 20 of them are Nyingmapa tradtion and one Kagyu and one Jonang tradition.
This county is not officially open for foreign tourists.
Jigdril County / Jiuzhi Xian
Jigdril county, situated on the southeast of Golog with the watershed between the Yellow River basin and the Ngachu tributary. The county capital is Drukchen Sumdo. 420km from Tawu town of Machen and 910km from Xining. It is border town between Sichuan province and Qinghai Province, only 75km to the south is the Ngawa town of Aba prefecture in Sichuan Province.The average altitude is 3800m above sea level. Jigdril is famous for it’s landmark mountain – the Nyenbu Yultse and the ferry lakes scattering around the mountain. This snow capped rocky mountain is only 50km to the west of Jigdril town. Nyenbu Yultse offers great trekking opportunities which takes from 7-12 days. The famous master, Gyarul Rinpoche who was also the seventh throne-holder of Nyingmapa Monastery of Pelyul in Kham founded Tarthang Monastery nearby Mt. Nyenbu Yultse in 1857 which became the biggest monastery of all in Jigdril.