Sogwo (སོག་བོ་) in southeastern Qinghai is a Mongolian Autonomous County, although it is located in the heart of the Amdo region of Tibet. The population is made up predominantly of Mongol yak and sheep herders, though they speak the Amdo dialect of Tibetan. In fact, little of the culture in this area is Mongolian. In addition to the language, the customs, dress and religion are all the same as the native Tibetans who live in this region. The only real noticeable difference between the Tibetans and Mongols in Sogwo is that most of the Mongols still live in the felt style of yurts (pictured below) that are common in Mongolia.
Sogwo, known as Henan in Chinese, is located 39kms south of Tsekog and 140kms south of Rebkong. The area lies between 3500m and 3800m and consists mostly of grasslands. These grasslands are some of the best in the Qinghai region of Amdo. Sheep, yaks, goats and horses are seen throughout the area. Nomad tents are dotted all across the grasslands. Sogwo is a great place to go to experience nomadic culture (shearing a sheep below). There are daily buses to Sogwo from both Rebkong and Xining. It is also possible to go from Sogwo to the Tibetan towns in Gansu province such as Luchu (Luqu), Machu (Maqu) and Taktsang Lhamo (Langmusi).
Very few foreigners make their way to Sogwo. It is only listed in a handful of guidebooks, but is a great place to go with great scenery and an amazing culture to experience. It is one of the few places across the Tibetan Plateau to see Mongols. In the county town of Sogwo, there are a few hotels and guesthouses to stay at, but the best way to experience this area is to bring a tent and camp alongside a nomad family. For more information about this area, please send an email to [email protected]