The region of Amdo Tibet lies on the North Eastern part of the plateau known today as the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It covers a large part of present day Qinghai Province as well as the adjoining parts of Sichuan and Gansu Provinces. This distinct region of Tibet lies the farthest away from Lhasa and is still primarily characterized as nomadic, especially throughout the prefectures of Golog (Golok), Huangnan, Hainan, Aba, and Gannan. Nomadic communities are spread across this vast area yet, unlike Kham Tibet, maintain a common dialect throughout. Amdo herdsmen fit the stereotypical image many people have of Tibetans as nomads, and the Golog tribe of southern Amdo are renowned as the most wild even by Tibetans themselves.
The Amdo Tibetans are unified by their relatively similar forms of the language, mainly based on archaic nomad dialects that seem to have changed relatively little over the centuries. Today the Amdo claim the highest levels of Tibetan literacy and are proud of their scholars both lay and monastic. Relative to Kham Tibet, this region is less mountainous with vast grasslands that are painted in green throughout the summer months while herds of yak and sheep graze under the care of shepherds. Winter brings an especially desperate environment to this part of the Tibetan plateau with low temperatures mixed with relentless winds.
The Chinese cities of Chengdu, Lanzhou, and Xining are the main gateway cities to Amdo Tibet. From these three cities there is convenient access to much of the region via land or air. Public buses are more comfortable than most people think these days, and if you are traveling in a group it is very economical to hire a private vehicle. Your guesthouse or hotel should be able to assist with arranging your ground transport depending on your needs. Airports are also conveniently located in Jiuzhaigou, Xiahe (Labrang), and Hongyuan.