Upcoming Group Trip Dates:
Kangding, Tagong grasslands, Yala Mountain, Lake Mugecuo
Private vehicle with driving distance 850 KM
Starts and end in Chengdu
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!
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.
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.