Meng Ding Mountain, the Taoist was the first person to plant tea in the world, and was known as ”the ancestor of tea planting”.
EKD01 Explore The Last Shangrila – Yading Nature Reserve Chengdu-Kangding-Yading-Danba-Chengdu 13 Days Circle Tourfrom
Highlights: Yading Nature Reserve,Explore “the last Shangila”,Hailuogou Glacier Forest Park,Mt. Gongga, “King Mountain of Sichuan”,Muge Tso Lake,Zhonglu Tibetan Fortress Villages etc.
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Vacation Style Holiday TypeGuided Tours
Activity Level Moderate
Duration: 13 days 12 nights
Departure: April – December.
Route: Chengdu -138km/2hrs15mts- Mt. Mengding -160km/3hrs- Hailuogou Glacier Park -75km/1hr45mts- Kangding -78km/2rs- Xingduqiao -196km/4hrs- Litang -150km/2.5hrs- Daocheng -110km/2.5hrs- Yading Nature Reserve -110km/2.5hrs- Daocheng -150km/2.5hrs- Litang -132km/2hrs20mts- Yajiang -94km/2hrs- Tagong -114km/2.5hrs- Zhonglu Tibetan Village -112km/2hrs40mts- Siguniangshan town -100km/2hrs- Wolong Shengshuping Panda Center –118km/2hrs- Chengdu.
*Hailuogou Glacier Forest Park, the lowest altitude modern oceanic glacier
*Mt. Gongga, “King Mountain of Sichuan”, the highest mountain in Sichuan.
*Muge Tso Lake, the biggest alpine lake in northwest Sichua
*Xinduqiao Town is the “Light and Shadow World”, paradise of photographers.
*Litang, one of the highest county on earth, really experiencing the roof of the world.
*Yading Nature Reserve — Explore “the last Shangila” in mysterious Kham
*Tagong Grassland,the most harmonious and beautiful grassland in the Tibetan plateau.
*Zhonglu Tibetan Fortress Villages, known as the most beautiful villages all over China.
*Mt. Siguniang, reputed to be the “Queen of Mountains in Sichuan” and “The Oriental Alps”.
*Wolong Shenshuping Base, also known as China Giant Panda Garden in Wolong Nature Reserve.
Explore “the last Shangila” — Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve from Chengdu, discover the most incredible beauty of the land including majestic snow mountains, expansive meadows, glacier lakes and forested valleys. Yading Nature Reserve in Daocheng is one of the most beautiful places on the Tibetan plateau in western Sichuan, famous for its wonderful sceneries including three holy snow capped mountains, forested valleys, clear rivers, glacier-fed lakes and abundant wildlife. This overland tour will take you to the real Shangri-La in the world – Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve. The landscapes along the drive and Yading Nature Reserve itself will make the whole journey worthwhile. Additional you will also be arranged to visit the Buddhist monastery in Tagong grassland and the Zhonglu Tibetan village in Danba to learn the Tibetan religion and culture. The travel season we recommend for Yading Nature Reserve is from late April to early Nov. . April to June is the best time to see the flourishing flowers blooming and the majestic snow peaks in the clear weather. July to August is the rainy season, the forest is at its best green, but however the trails up to the milk lake and five color lake may be get destroyed by the water sometimes and there is a big chance that you may not see the peaks due to the foggy weather. September to October is considered as another best time to visit Yading Nature Reserve, the scenery along the overland journey and at Yading Nature Reserve is at its most brilliantly colorful in Autumn season and the snow capped peaks will be often seen due to the clear sky.
Overview of Kham Tibetan Area:
Kham is one of the 3 main traditional regions of Tibet, along with U-Tsang and Amdo and is located in the eastern and southeastern corner of the Tibetan Plateau. Kham is a large area covering over 924,000 kilometers² (356,000 miles²). Kham is home to approximately 2 million Tibetans or 35% of the total Tibetan population. Parts of Kham lie in the eastern portion of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), western Sichuan, southern Qinghai and northwest Yunnan provinces.
Kham is the most geographically diverse region of Tibet. Kham, traditionally known as Chushi Gangdruk which means “4 Rivers, 6 Ranges”, contains the headwaters of many of Asia’s longest and most important rivers. The Mekong, Yangtze, Yellow and Salween rivers all begin in Kham. These rivers cut deep canyons and gorges throughout eastern Kham. There are numerous mountain ranges and high peaks throughout the area. The Kunlun Mountains (which includes the Bayan Har/Bayan Kala Range) form the far northern boundary of Kham while the far eastern extent of the Himalaya’s form the southern boundary. The rugged Hengduan Range, which includes the Daxue Mountains, are along the eastern border of Kham and mainland China. The highest peak in Kham is Minya Konka, which rises to 7556 meters. Other notable peaks in Kham are Mt. Chola, rising to 6168 meters in Dege county and Mt. Bukadaban in Drido county rising to 6860 meters.
Unlike in TAR where tourism is strictly restricted, the Tibetan regions of old Kham are open to foreigners just like all other areas of China. Only some parts are exceptions, like Larung Gar are not open to foreign visitors. You can visit Kham with only having a Chinese visa. Kham as the “Ethnic Corridor Of Tibet”, as its vast and sparsely populated territories are inhabited by over 14 culturally and linguistically distinct ethnic groups. The Kham even has well preserved the Tibetan Culture and lifestyle. here are lots of beautiful home-stays and less restriction to travel around the villages, you can also easily interact with locals and enjoy the local lifestyle. Join us to experience the stunning landscapes, beautiful homestay, authentic Tibetan culture and lifestyle in Kham. Welcome to join us for a memorable experience in Kham.
Itinerary at a glance:
Day1: Arrive in Chengdu, transfer to hotel, check in. O/N in Chengdu
Day2: Chengdu -138km/2hrs15mts- Mt. Mengding -160km/3hrs- Hailuogou Glacier Park O/N in Moxi Town
Day3: Full day Hailuogou Glacier Park Exploration O/N in Moxi Town
Day4: Moxi Town -75km/1hr45mts- Kangding -78km/2rs- Xingduqiao O/N in Xingduqiao
Day5: Xingduqiao -196km/4hrs- Litang -150km/2.5hrs- Daocheng O/N in Daocheng
Day6: Daocheng -110km/2.5hrs- Yading Nature Reserve O/N in Yading Village
Day7: Yading Nature Reserve -110km/2.5hrs- Daocheng O/N in Daocheng
Day8: Daocheng -150km/2.5hrs- Litang -132km/2hrs20mts- Yajiang O/N in Yajiang
Day9: Yajiang -94km/2hrs- Tagong -114km/2.5hrs- Danba O/N in Zhonglu Tibetan Village
Day10: Zhonglu Tibetan Village -16km/45mts- Suopo Ancient Towers -16km/45ts- Zhonglu Tibetan Village (2,200m) O/N in Zhonglu Tibetan Village
Day11: Zhonglu Tibetan Village -112km/2hrs40mts- Mt. Siguniang O/N in Siguniangshan town
Day12: Siguniangshan town -100km/2hrs- Wolong Shengshuping Panda Center –118km/2hrs- Chengdu O/N in Chengdu.
Day13: Drop off to Chengdu airport, service end !
Arrive in Chengdu, transfer to hotel, check in. O/N in Chengdu
Be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. If time permits, visit the Kuanxiangzi (wide lane) and Zhaixiangzi (narrow lane), it used to be home to officials in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties and are among the city’s cultural heritage sites still intact today. Originally, single-story houses and courtyards featured the specialty of the area. To relive the taste of local life years ago, tea houses and folk arts are readily found in the area while displays of the lifestyle, dialects, food and customs of Chengdu in the past will be reinstated in museums. As an option in the evening(200CNY extra), enjoy a wonderful variety show of Face changing and Flame Spitting Out of Sichuan Opera.
Chengdu -138km/2hrs15mts- Mt. Mengding -160km/3hrs- Hailuogou Glacier Park O/N in Moxi Town
While traversing the Western Sichuan Plain, drive to Hailuogou National Glacierg via Chengdu-Ya’an express way. On the half way, visit Mountain Meng Ding, it is the birthplace of the world’s tea culture, as well as being home to the earliest tea plantations ever recorded in written Chinese, according to the earliest legend of tea planting by Wu Lizhen (200 BC-53 AD), from Mingshan County, Ya’an, Sichuan. Living at the top of Meng Ding Mountain, the Taoist was the first person to plant tea in the world, and was known as ”the ancestor of tea planting”. The altitude, soil and climate of Meng Ding Mountain are very suitable for growing tea, so as far back as over 2,000 years ago, in the Western Han Dynasty, ”the ancestor of tea planting”, Wu Lizhen, began to plant domesticated wild tea, symbolizing the beginning of a human-plant tea history. Mengshan tea has long been regarded as a magic bullet for curing diseases among people, so it got the name of ”Holy Tea” and Meng Ding Mountain has been hailed as ”the Hometown of Holy Tea”.
Full day Hailuogou Glacier Park Exploration O/N in Moxi Town
Hailuogou National Glacier and Forest Park with its entrance located at the Moxi Ancient Town. We advise you to buy some snacks or have a quick lunch before entering the national park, because it’s inconvenient to have meals inside the national park. Take the sightseeing bus to Camp 3 (1 hour), from there you can either take the cable car (CNY 150, round trip) to camp 4 to view the large icefall of the glacier or hiking downwards to the beautiful glacier relics, to choose which totally depends on weather. If weather is good, to Camp 4 is advised, otherwise, glacier relics are also very good choice. The last cable car from Camp 4 down to Camp 3 departs at 4 PM and the last sightseeing bus leave Camp 3 to entrance departs at 5PM, so make sure you won’t miss anything. There is one 4 star hotel at Camp 3 if you want to stay inside the national park, though it’s more expensive, yet you can not only enjoy the famous Hailuogou open air hot spring spa at Camp 2 surrounded by the snowcapped mountain but also view the golden sunrise over the Mt. Gongga next morning just through the window of the hotel.
Moxi Town -75km/1hr45mts- Kangding -78km/2hrs- Xingduqiao O/N in Xingduqiao
Drive to Kangdin via Yajiageng Red Rock Beach Park, Yajiagengis part of the National Scenic Area of Gongga Mountain and is also the boundary mountain of Kangding and Luding County. Red stone created the magic of Gongga Mountain – the first red rock beach in the world. On the banks of the glacier, each stone is covered with a red coat, and the red rocks that accumulate on both sides of the river turn into a flowing red color, which flows down the clear glacier water. The color is bright red, endless, and magnificent. Red stone was born in ancient times. Like the dinosaurs and ancient ferns in the ancient ice age, red stone already existed before human beings were born. Today, the existing red stone is extremely rare. From the perspective of the distribution area, the Red Rock in the Gongga Yanzigou is the world’s largest. Kangding (Dartsendo), the largest city and capital of Ganzi (Garze) Tibetan Prefecture, in western Sichuan Province. Historically it was an important business center between China and Tibet on the Tea-horse-road. It is the center of Kham Tibet, a religious, economy center of Sichuan. After lunch, Visit Muge Tso Lake, about 26km away from Kangding. Muge Tso Lake covers an area of 500 square km. At an altitude of approximately 3’800m.it is the biggest alpine lake in northwest Sichuan, it is a national protection area. Afterwards continue drive pass the 4218m Zheduo mountain to Xinduqiao-the photographer’s paradise. Xinduqiao Town is a wonderful fairyland known as the ”Light and Shadow World” and is also a great location for photography lovers. The magical land has endless grasslands, winding streams, golden cypress, rolling hills dotted and cattle and sheep that graze peacefully.
Xingduqiao -196km/4hrs- Litang -150km/2.5hrs- Daocheng O/N in Daocheng
At Xinduqiao, you can catch a glimpse of the Gongga Mountain peak and Millennium Temple. Visiting Xinduqiao during the different seasons you will capture the changing colors of the village. During spring and summer Xinduqiao is blooming with amazing colors. By the time autumn approaches the whole scenery is red and yellow with the leaves ready to fall. In the cold winter you can expect to capture fantastic snow scenes. Continue drive to Daocheng via Litang. We’ll pass two 4300m high mountains-the Jianziwan & Kazila mountain. Lunch at Litang. With its 4010m altitude, the county is with no doubt the highest one in the world. In addition to its beautiful scenery & spectacular local Tibetan customs, another tourist attraction is the Hose-racing Festival in every August. Another 150km ride to Daocheng will be continued. Daocheng is a county that you will enjoy because of its rich soil & Tibetan culture. And a good place for recharging yourself before Yading. You may relax yourself by bathing at the hot spring & the Tibetan local dancing show. Daocheng county is of mountain plateau, including the Bowa Moun-tain and the Chitu River. On both banks of the river are broad pastures and stretches of forest. Mt. Bowa, grand and scenic,is sharply distinct during the four seasons: in spring and summer, azaleas bloom to vie each other for beauty, in autumn, leaves as red as flame cover the trees, while in winter, snow clothes all and gleams.
Daocheng -110km/2.5hrs- Yading Nature Reserve (Pearl Lake) O/N in Yading Village
Get up early for a 110km ride to Yading as the road condition from Shangri-la tow to Yading is bad, and what is more important is you still will tour the Yading Valley. One more thing will amaze you in spite of the view is the our young kids. Whenever you pass by, they will stop by the road & solute to you! This must be their way to greet our tourists. So please prepare some small gifts for them. After reach Yading, you’ll enjoy the 2-hour-horse ride to Luorongniuchang and anther 2-hour-ride back to Chonggu monastery. We would like you enjoy the ride but please walk for a while sometime during the horse-riding as you may mot able to walk! Another chance to stay at the local family tonight but it might not has the same good condition as Daocheng’s.
Yading Nature Reserve (Luorong Pasture + Milk Lake & Five Color Lake) -110km/2.5hrs- Daocheng O/N in Daocheng
Try to get up early in the morning and go to Chonggu Temple for the stunning sunrise, then take the local battery cart to Luorong Pasture, it is nestled on a high and flat valley encircled by the three sacred mountains with expansive meadows and surrounding forests. The pasture is dotted with brooks, lakes and the Gongga River cuts through the grassland posting a majestic view. Then hike up to Milk Lake and Five color lake (altitude 4,700m) (roughly 6 hours round trip by hiking) or you can take the horseback riding to Sheshengya first, then trek up to Milk Lake & Five Color Lake (about 4-5 hours, the horse riding fee is on your own). It is a challenging trekking, but its all worth for the spectacular scenery. Later afternoon get back to Yading village and take the local sightseeing bus back to Shangri-la town where you will meet the driver and head to Daocheng for overnight.
Daocheng -150km/2.5hrs- Litang -132km/2hrs20mts- Yajiang O/N in Yajiang
Drive back from Daocheng to Yajiang via Litang on the half way. Have lunch in Litang, visit Litang Monastery and Litang Old Town in the afternoon. Litang Monastery was built in 1580 by the 3rd Dalai Lama, soon it became one the biggest monastery in Eastern Tibet with more than 4000 monks. The monastery is dedicated to the great Maitreya, the Buddha of the future. In Chinese, the name of the monastery is translated to “forever young monastery”, seems to suggest the mysterious Litang lover of the 6th Dalai Lama and their hopeless love. The monastery is of Gelugpa School, it comprises Jo-Khang (the temple of Buddha), Tso-Chen (Assembly Hall), Tsong-kha-pa Temple (in maintenance), Faxiang (the college) and Tantric Hall, it also preserves treasures like sutras written in Gold, etc. Being a romantic poet, the 6th Dalai Lama wrote one famous poem about Litang: oh you white crane, lend me your wings, I will not linger far, just fly to Litang and back. After his disappearance in 1707, his followers believed this poem has foreshadowed his reincarnation in Litang: the 7th Dalai Lama(1708~1757) therefor was found in the house of Ren-khang who later ruled Tibet for a half century. Today, some auspicious signs are still visible (e.g Lion milk traces on the pillar head) inside Ren-khang. This house is also the birthplace of another 6 important Rinpoches(living Buddha).Ren-khang also has a private museum and a meditation retreat. Around Ren-khang, you may explore the most traditional town of Litang. Among the winding lanes, you can find Litang Folk Museum, Holy Land Youth Book Coffee, Cangyang Village Restaurant, Namtso-Dagye Tibetan Medicine/Incense Workshop, etc.
Yajiang -94km/2hrs- Tagong -114km/2.5hrs- Zhonglu Tibetan Village (2,200m) O/N in Zhonglu Tibetan Village
The scenery is absolutely fabulous en the route to Tagong grassland! Tagong monastery (altitude 3,730m), a nice example of a typical Tibetan monastery, with its statues, painted walls, thangkas, incents smells and plenty of monks dressed in their carmine robes. Continue a 113km drive, you will arrive at Danba– a county where you may see different Tibetan people. Because the local Tibetans here are called “Jiarong Tibetan”. This is what you come here for. Furthermore, you may have the very good chance to enjoy the Jiarong Tibetan customs & stock house slides show by the researchers. A legendary place with plenty of beautiful scenery which is famous of ‘Country of Women’. Danba is also the “East Female Country” in history. Danba Tibetan Villages, a retreat from the world, are known as the most beautiful villages all over China, it is the hometown of Jiarong Tibetans in Sichuan Province. Jiaju Tibetan Village is known as one of the six most beautiful ancient villages in China, is the most unique tourist attraction in Danba County with more than 140 families residing here. The houses are located in the sunny slope of the mountains. Its name, Jiaju, means ‘a hundred families’. It is always the highlight of a Danba tour, during which you will not only enjoy the marvellous nature beauty, but also experience the unique culture of the local Tibetans in Sichuan. Drive to Zhonglu Tibetan Village for overnight.
Zhonglu Tibetan Village -16km/45mts- Suopo Ancient Towers -16km/45ts- Zhonglu Tibetan Village (2,200m) O/N in Zhonglu Tibetan Village
Wake up early and you may take a walk around at Zhonglu Tibetan Village for peace of mind. You may also discover Tibetan culture and life. Afterwards, set out to visit Suopo Ancient Towers. Suopo has 84 ancient watchtowers remained, are the most concentration of watchtowers in the world. The exteriors are built with stone to make them as solid as they could be, while the inside facilities are mostly made of wood. These watchtowers have angular shape and slip walls with wide bottoms and narrow tops in the height ranging from 20 meters to 60 meters. Watchtowers were originally constructed to watch out threatens and attacks from the outside world. Some were built to store valuable goods, or were used as a place of worship. Zhonglu Tibetan Village has an altitude of 2,200 m, is located in Danba County. Zhonglu in Tibetan means worship place together of human and God. Zhonglu Tibetan village has many attractions such as historic watchtowers and many local houses of Tibetan residents.
Zhonglu Tibetan Village -112km/2hrs40mts- Mt. Siguniang O/N in Siguniangshan town
Drive to visit Mt. Siguniang, hiking in Changping Valley, one of the valleys at Mount Siguniang National park which are famous for the four snow-capped peaks and the three beautiful valleys stretching from Siguniangshan town with the landscapes of alpine forest, grasslands, and lakes etc. Mt. Siguniang consists of 3 big valleys, namely Shuangqiao Valley, Changping Valley and Haizi Valley; as Shuangqiao Valley is possible to visit mostly by sightseeing bus with some good hiking trails, Changping Valley and Haizi Valley are suitable for enthusiastic hikers, both valleys take one full day to explore by foot, horse-riding service (self-paid) is available throughout those two valleys also. Bring yourself with some water and snack on the way because there is no restaurant inside the valleys. If you choose hiking, today must be a tiring day, but the amazing sceneries on the way definitely pay off at end of the day. Most tourists praise that those 3 valleys plus the peaks compose the most beautiful picture s in western Sichuan.
Siguniangshan town -100km/2hrs- Wolong Shengshuping Panda Center –118km/2hrs- Chengdu O/N in Chengdu.
After breakfast, we will retrace back to Chengdu via Maobiling Ridge, a place where we could enjoy the full view of the Mount Siguniang. Continue drive to Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base is also known as China Giant Panda Garden. The base is highly simulated to Giant Panda’s habitat hidden deep into mountains. Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base (China Giant Panda Garden), a research center newly constructed after Wenchuan Earthquake, is about 22 kilometers from the former site – Wolong Hetaoping Base and covers a total construction area of nearly 20,000 square meters, about 20 times the area of Hetaoping Base. This project is supported by Hong Kong SAR Government and designed according to Green Samsung standards. From the perspective of appearance, the open and spacious base is like a villa in Tibetan and Qiang minority style, which allows a large activity space for pandas. Afterwards drive to back to Chengdu.
Drop off to Chengdu airport, service end !
Hailuogou Glacier Forest Park, the lowest altitude modern oceanic glacier.Mt. Gongga, “King Mountain of Sichuan”, the highest mountain in Sichuan.
Xinduqiao Town is the “Light and Shadow World”, paradise of photographers.
Litang, one of the highest county on earth, really experiencing the roof of the world.
Scenery on the way to Yading Nature Reserve
Yading Nature Reserve — Explore “the last Shangila” in mysterious Kham
Zhonglu Tibetan Fortress Villages, known as the most beautiful villages all over China.
Mt. Siguniang, reputed to be the “Queen of Mountains in Sichuan” and “The Oriental Alps”.
Wolong Shenshuping Base, also known as China Giant Panda Garden in Wolong Nature Reserve.