Gateway to Tibet - Small Group Tour

Attention: by choosing this selection, you are paying to book a private room on top of what you have already purchased previously (i.e. paying to not share a bedroom with another tour guest).
Eastern Tibet offers some of the most authentic, untouched corners of the Tibetan world. While more well travelled places require enduring the crowds, in Eastern Tibet you will experience little to no tourism traffic along with an untouched natural environment. From low-lying Panda country to high-valley river towns and big-sky grasslands, the landscape of Eastern Tibet is also much more diverse. Enjoy the best of Tibetan culture and hospitality, while taking in the breathtaking mountain vistas and vast grasslands found only on the roof of the world. This quick three day trip offers you a glimpse into these remote areas that are so close, yet seemingly a world away. 

This trip is perfect for those already in Chengdu and wanting an extended weekend away, or for those who's travel time is limited but wish to see authentic Tibetan culture and lifestyle. Heading out of Chengdu, you will be whisked along to the gateway town of Kangding. Perched on the Eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau, this historic trading town remains a city of commerce and communication between Han Chinese and Tibetan peoples.  

From Kangding you criss-cross your way up to the Zheduo Mountain pass at 4200m, to arrive at the Tibetan Plateau! This truly is the Roof of the World. On the plateau, Tagong introduces you to Tibet’s traditional nomadic lifestyle. At roughly 3800 meters, you will experience the thrill and exhaustion of life at high elevation. After a full day of exploring this "Wild West" town, you will loop back to Kangding for the night, and then reluctantly depart for Chengdu the next day. 

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3 Days

Upcoming Group Trip Dates:

  • June 7-9, 2019
    Register by May 24th
Key Destinations

Kangding, Tagong grasslands, Yala Mountain, Lake Mugecuo


Private vehicle with driving distance 850 KM

Starts / Ends

Starts and end in Chengdu

  • Private vehicle and driver from Chengdu
  • Excellent English speaking guide
  • All meals
  • Accommodation based on double occupancy (2 nights)
  • Activities and entrance fees enroute (per the itinerary)
Not Included
  • International airfare
  • Medical, travel, and trip interruption insurance
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Activities not included on the trip itinerary
  • Souvenirs, laundry, items of a personal nature

DAY 1 - Chengdu to Kangding

Accommodation: Zhilam Hostel, Kangding

Leaving Chengdu early today, you head out of the Sichuan basin and deep into the mountains that guard the approach to the Tibet-Qinghai plateau. You pass through a virtual time warp on your four hour journey. Everything becomes new: landscape, climate, cuisine, language, customs, and of course, the people. Arriving in Kangding (elev. 2600m), the first thing you notice is that everywhere you look goes up! Kangding is perched on the edge of the plateau. After lunch, you have many options as you explore this mountain city. Visiting Ngachu monastery will give you an introduction to monastic life; a walk (or optional cable car) to the top of Paoma Mountain look-out will give you a good view of the city; and a stroll through the markets will show you why this town remains a key historical trading center between Tibetans and the Chinese. Community dances are held in the town square every evening in Kangding. Feel free to join in!

DAY 2 - Kangding/Tagong Loop

Accommodation: Zhilam Hostel, Kangding

Winding your way up, up, up and over the Zheduo Mountain pass (4200m) your first stop is the renowned frontier town of Tagong (2.5 hr drive, 3700m). Weather permitting, you'll see the peak of Gong-ga Mountain (7566m) along the way - the highest peak in China outside of the Himalayas. The road then opens up to Tagong’s high altitude grassland where nomadic families have spent generations herding yaks. The town of Tagong itself is often bustling with nomadic traders. Your journey today will bring you to various cultural religious sites, like Ani Gompa nunnery and the historic Tagong Monastery, which is considered a major pilgrimage site for many who can’t make it to Lhasa. On a clear day you will have spectacular views of Mt. Yala, as you wrap your way around it through rugged mountain valleys. Stopping at Lake Mugecuo scenic area which boasts of close to 100 different hot springs, each claiming its own curative properties. After some exploration of the area, you will complete the loop back to Kangding.

DAY 3 - Kangding to Chengdu

After breakfast this morning you will have one last opportunity to see Kangding from above, this time from the grasslands on the ridge behind the hostel. Leaving Kangding after lunch will have you back in Chengdu by early evening.