EKM02 Kham Gyarong Exploration:Chengdu-Danba-Derge-Yarchen Gar-Kangding-Chengdu 13 Days Circle Tourfrom
Highlights:Zhonglu Tibetan Fortress Viilage,Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House,Palpung Monastery,Gatuo Monastery,Yarchen Gar Monastery,Hailuogou Glacier Forest Park etc.
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Vacation Style Holiday TypeGuided Tours
Activity Level Moderate
Duration: 13 days 12 nights
Departure: April – December.
Route: Chengdu -90km/1.5hrs- Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base -98km/2hrs- Siguniangshan Town
-100km/2.5hrs- Danba County -163km/3hrs20mts- Daofu County -166km/3hrs- Garze County -188km/3hrs20mts- Dege County -99km/2hrs10mts- Palyul County -129km/2hrs45mts- Yarchen Monastery -108km/3hrs- Garze County -365km/7hrs- Kangding -56km/1hr- Luding -51km/1hr Hailuogou Glacier Park -285km/4.5hrs- Chengdu
*Wolong Shenshuping Base, also known as China Giant Panda Garden in Wolong Nature Reserve.
*Mt. Siguniang, reputed to be the “Queen of Mountains in Sichuan” and “The Oriental Alps”.
*Zhonglu Tibetan Fortress Viilage, known as the most beautiful villages all over China.
*Xinluhai Lake is a specific lake and one of the largest glacial moraine-dammed lake in China.
*Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House,the Dazzling Cultural Pearl,the Encyclopedia of Tibetan.
*Palpung Monastery, the historical seat of the successive incarnations of the Tai Situ in Kham.
*Gatuo Monastery, the “mother” of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.
*Palyul Monastery,one of the six main monasteries of Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
*Yarchen Gar Monastery, monastery with lineage of the Nyingma Pa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism .
*Tagong Grassland,the most harmonious and beautiful plateaus in the Tibetan plains.
*Xinduqiao Town is the “Light and Shadow World”, paradise of photographers.
*Hailuogou Glacier Forest Park, the lowest altitude modern oceanic glacier,Mt. Gongga “King Mountain of Sichuan”
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.
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.
Itinerary at a glance:
Day 1: Arrive in Chengdu, transfer to hotel, check in. O/N in Chengdu
Day 2: Chengdu -90km/1.5hrs- Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base -98km/2hrs- Siguniangshan Town O/N in Siguniangshan Town
Day 3: Explore Mt. Siguniang O/N in Siguniangshan Town
Day4 : Siguniangshan Town -112km/2hrs40mts- Suopo Ancient Towers -16km/45ts- Zhonglu Tibetan Village (2,200m) O/N in Zhonglu Tibetan Village
Day5 : Zhonglu Tibetan Village -175km/3hrs45mts- Daofu County O/N in Daofu County.
Day6: Daofu County -166km/3hrs- Garze County -188km/3hrs20mts- Dege County O/N in Dege County.
Day7: Dege County Exploration O/N in Dege County.
Day8: Dege County -99km/2hrs10mts- Palyul County O/N in Palyul County
Day9: Palyul County -129km/2hrs45mts- Yarchen Monastery -108km/3hrs- Garze County O/N in Garze County
Day10: Garze County -365km/7hrs- Kangding O/N in Kangding City
Day11: Kangding -56km/1hr- Luding -51km/1hr Hailuogou Glacier Park O/N in Moxi town
Day12: Hailuogou Glacier Park -285km/4.5hrs- 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 -90km/1.5hrs- Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base -98km/2hrs- Siguniangshan Town O/N in Siguniangshan Town
Drive about 1.5 hours to reach Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base. This 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, we drive towards Mt. Siguniang (2 hours). On the way, we can see the ruined old panda base. The road snakes across the beautiful Wolong Nature Reserve, passing by rivers and gorges till it reaches the Balang Mountain tunnel. It’s one of the highest mountain in Sichuan, and sometimes on the mountain, one can see vast spreading clouds-sea. When descending at Maobilang Pass at another side of mountain, one can get the best panoramic view of Mt. Siguniang.
Explore Mt. Siguniang O/N in Siguniangshan Town
Hiking in Changping Valley, the best of the three 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 -112km/2hrs40mts- Suopo Ancient Towers -16km/45ts- Zhonglu Tibetan Village (2,200m) O/N in Zhonglu Tibetan Village
Drive westward Danba, Upon arrive 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” means ”a desirable place for human and gods” in Tibetan. The scenic village integrates canyons, Holy Mountain, temples, watchtowers, unique dwellings andfertile barley fields, constituting a remarkable cultural landscape.
Zhonglu Tibetan Village -175km/3hrs45mts- Daofu County O/N in Daofu County.
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. After lunch, drive west towards Daofu County via gorges and grassland, on the way, we could also view famous Yala Holy Mountain from its west face. Today, we will experience a Tibetan family-inn stay in the Daofu County because the beautiful and delicate Daofu Dwellings are exactly the most famous and impressive landmark of the county.
Daofu County -166km/3hrs- Garze County -188km/3hrs20mts- Dege County O/N in Dege County.
Drive to Dege county via Luhuo and Garze county. the first county we will pass is Luhuo County, this only takes 1.5 hours. Another 2 hours’ drive brings us to Garze County; reroute, we can have a short stop to view the Kasa Lake. Continue to drive after lunch in Garze County, 2 hours later, visit the holy lake of Xinluhai Lake near Manigange Town, King Gesar’s wife was said to bath here once and loved this lake very much. Afterwards, drive to Dege County via Chola Mountain, this mountain used to be the highest and toughest mountain to pass from Sichuan to Tibet, but now a tunnel has been built and opened from May, 2017, so it’s much easier now to pass this mountain.
Dege County Exploration O/N in Dege County.
Dege means ”a kind place” in Tibetan Buddhism. As one of the three major cradles of Tibetan culture, Dege County is the core area of Kham culture, the birthplace of the South Sect of Tibetan medicine, and the hometown of King Gesar, the hero in the world’s longest epic Gesar Epic, which is also known as ”the Oriental Iliad”. In the morning, we will visit the very famous Dege Sutra Printing House, as one of the three major Tibetan sutra-printing houses; Dege Sutra Printing House is the key cultural relics under national protection and the best preserved Tibetan sutra printing house in the world by far. It owns 70% of all cultural books in Tibet and more than 300,000 engraved plates. That’s why it’s entitled as ”the World Encyclopedia of Tibetan Culture”. In the afternoon, visit Gonchen Monastery which has been serving as the family temple of Dege Headman’s clan since 1448. It was directly controlled by the Headman and played an important role in aiding the political and religious govern of Dege family. According to family’s stipulations, no Rinpoche is appointed in Gonchen Monastery and the power of leadership is hereditary within the family.
Dege County -99km/2hrs10mts- Palyul County O/N in Palyul County
Drive south towards Palyul County along the Jinsha River, the border between Sichuan Province and Tibet Autonomous Region. Half way, we choose to visit either Palpung Monastery or Kathok Monastery. Palpung Monastery is the seat of Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhist in Kham region. It is known as one of the most beautiful monasteries in Kham region and is called the ”Little Potala Palace”. There are many Tibetan paintings and sculptures in Palpung Monastery, with ancient frescos on the walls of the splendid hall. Kathok Monastery was founded in 1159, over 800 years’ history makes the monastery the most ancient monastery in Kham, admired as the ”mother” of Buddhism in Kham. Padmasambhava (Lotus-Born) personally consecrated the monastery 13 times, the same for Mahabodhi Temple, the Vajra Seat in India, hence the Kthok Monastery is also called ”Vajra Seat the Second”. There are only three principal Vajra Seats in the world, specifically in India, Kathok and Mt. Wutai. In the late afternoon, visit the Palyul Monastery in the Palyul County. With the monastery buildings covering the entire mountain and huts plus houses for Sanghas arranged in rows, Palyul Monastery looks majestically beautiful in the sunset glow.
Palyul County -129km/2hrs45mts- Yarchen Monastery -108km/3hrs- Garze County O/N in Garze County
Drive east towards Garze County. On the way, visit Yarchen Monastery that was built in 1985, it is as famous as the Seda Larong Wuming Buddhist Institute for its grand scale, now there are over 10 thousand sanghas living here, most of them are nuns. Yarchen Monastery lies on grassy island surrounded by river and mountains. The nearby hills are scattered with box-like max 2 square meters size red meditation-huts built by nuns, in which nuns will spend around 3-5 months long meditation period. On the hilltop, there is a statue of Padmasambhava (Lotus-Born), where tourists can have an overview of the island. Sitting here and enjoying the view appeals to your mind no less than other monasteries in Kham.
Garze County -365km/7hrs- Kangding O/N in Kangding City
Drive south towards Kangding City. Have lunch at Daofu County where we experienced family-stay on day three. Further south on the way back, we will firstly arrive at Tagong Grassland which is noted for its stunning nomadic views; a horse riding experience on grassland (self-paid) is possible if you want to try. Afterwards, drive towards Xinduqiao Town that is famed by photographers as the Heaven of Photography, because the autumn color of miles of huge and tall trees on both sides of road in Xinduqiao Town is highly fascinating. Reach Kangding City after pass Zheduo Mountain.
Kangding -56km/1hr- Luding -51km/1hr Hailuogou Glacier Park O/N in Moxi town
Drive about 2 hours later, we can reach the 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.
Hailuogou Glacier Park -285km/4.5hrs- Chengdu O/N in Chengdu
Have a short visit of the Moxi Ancient Town and then drive 4.5 hours back to Chengdu. If you stay at hotel in Camp 3 last night, you can take the sightseeing bus back to entrance of the national park and leave for Chengdu directly. We do not advise you to book your flight or train ticket leaving Chengdu this afternoon or evening, because this section of road often sees traffic control lasts hours long due to road repair, particularly in the rainy season of July and August. So, booking your tickets to leave Chengdu next day is strongly advised, especially in summer of rainy season.
Drop off to Chengdu airport, service end !