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Kawagarbo Meili Snow Mountain Circuit Trekking- 18 Days

Destination: Kawagarbo,Meili Snow Mountain
Duration: no date
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Transportation: Vehicle & Trekking
Best Travel Time:April to Oct
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To embrace the Khawa Garbo, one of the most sacred mountains in Tibetan area, to have a close touch below the skin of the mysterious Tibetan life, this trek brings an Tibetan adventure in Eastern Himalayas in northern Yunnan with beautiful mountain views and authentic Shangri-La style Tibetan life including isolated villages, river gorges, alpine forest, glaciers and all.

Kawa Garbo or Khawa Karpo, as it is known by local residents and pilgrims, or Kawagebo Peak, is the highest mountain in the Chinese province of Yunnan.It is located on the border between Deqen County, Yunnan, and the counties of Zogang and Zayu of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Kawagarbo is one of the most sacred peaks in the Tibetan world and is often referred to as Nyainq¨ºnkawagarbo to show its sacredness.

The Town of Shangri-La - Zhongdian
It was registered by National Council the name of Shangri-La in 2001 and enjoys the reputation of the promise land of Shambala for over 10 years. This place has a collection of both cultural and natural wonders. Zhongdian is also a multi-group community of Tibetans, Yi and Mongolians. It is a quite town with thick atmosphere of the Tibetan Buddhism beliefs.


Ancient Tea-Horse Road
Long before the cement Chinese National Highway that connects Yunnan and Tibet, there was a caravan trail used by merchants to trade tea, brown sugar, wooden bowls for horses and herbal medicines. Deqin is the trading center and hub for merchants from elsewhere. It was a big marketplace for China-Tibetan trade. And because the mountains around Deqin are usually capped with snow, Deqin was also called "Mart in the Snow Mountains".


Meili Snow Mountain Outter Kora
It is a ten-day long trekking trip clockwise of the Meili Snow Mountain massif. It is an ascetic meditation trail treaded by thousands of Tibetans. "The sun shall rise again no matter how dark it is at present."

Ganden Sumtseling Monastery
Ganden Sumtseling Monastery is also called Guihuasi. It is at the suburb of Zhongdian County some 5 kilometers north. It was built in the mid 17th century, belonging to the Three Monasteries in Lhasa, also one of the 13 significant Gelugpa monasteries in Tibet Buddhism. It is the biggest monastery in Yunnan and an important centre of the Buddhism in Sichuan and Yunnan. "The Little Potala Palace" is what people call it.

Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction
US$2700/persons 2700USD/Person

Day 01:  Zhongdian (Shangri-La) Arrival
Arrive Zhongdian(Shangri-La). Visit the Ganden Sumtseling Monastery. Roam the religious town of Shangri-La

Meal: Lunch, Dinner       Overnight: Hotel

Day 02:Zhongdian - Deqin
One more day riding from Zhongdian to Deqin, en route visit Dhon-Drupling Gompa. Arrive in Deqin.

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner      Overnight: Hotel

Day 03:Deqin - Yangtsa
Today we drive from Deqin town to our trekking starting point en route Feilai Monastery to have a panoramic view of the Khawa Garbo in Meili Mountains. Feilai Monastery is the gateway to both the inner kora or the outer kora. The iconic stupas line in front of the monastery facing the Holy Khawa Garbo. Yangtsa is the small village 50kms outside of the town of Deqin right on the bank of Mekong River. Crossing the "Chaoyang Bridge" we reach today's destination before have a simple ritual "collect the key" which is a tradition for pilgrims to officially start their circumambulation. Overnight at a local Tibetan family or a little warm up walk in the village.

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner     Overnight: Guesthouse

Day 04:Yongjiu - Qusha
Set off after breakfast we ascent to the first pass at 3125 meters elevation where we catch the first view of the prayer flags dotted mountain pass on the outer kora route. We can follow the many pilgrims to practice simple rituals at the pass. Views from the pass are quite spacious we can see the trail we have passed and the other village named Yongzhi below on the other side of the valley which often behind a foggy curtain. The trail we travel after the pass is called Arser Trail. We camp at a small groove named Qusha at an altitude of 2700 meters. Qusha is a regular stopover site for pilgrims. Have talks with the good-natured Tibetan pilgrims at campsite after dinner. (approx 5 hours)

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner    Overnight: Camping

Day 05:Qusha - Yongshitong
Wind through the dense forest on the bumpy trail and walk down to the bottom of this valley. Meet the pilgrims having their meals by the riverside once in a while during pilgrimage busy season: Cooking smoke dance in the mottled sunlight in the forest and another group of pilgrims come out from nowhere among whom are adults, children and the very old-aged. There are also pilgrims coming from ahead of us. Tibetan Bonists engage the Khawa Garbo circuit in a counter-clockwise route as their tradition. Most of the human traces are left by pilgrims at waterside, huge stones and any other out-of-the-ordinary sites or objects. In early afternoon we pass by the stream rustling Yongshitong Pasture before we reach our campsite at the foot of Dokarla Pass. (approx 5 hours)

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner     Overnight: Camping

Day 06:Yongshitong - Zasutong
Wake up in the sloppy Yongshitong camp and begin to climb up after a fat breakfast. Today we go zigzagging up to the 4470 meters Dokarla Pass. Better not try to catch up with the early started off Tibetan pilgrims as they usually walk very fast. Elevation gain is up to over 1000 meters, it is a tough day for human beings as well as the porter mules and horses. We ascent in the steep mountain trail among the forest before tramping into open land where spacious views stretches i front of us. In the language of Kham Tibetan, Dokarla pronounced as "Dogailago" meaning a mountain pass made of rocks. The last portion to the pass is obviously quite rocky. Meet the heavy wind at the pass where pilgrims left many of their daily uses like clothes, hats and ornaments in memory of their departed beloved ones. This usually windy pass having millions of prayer flags provide a shocking scene: on one side the colored flags are praying for the livings and on the other side the white ones are praying for the departed. The other side of the pass is in Tibet. Enjoy a 360 view and we continue trek down passing the numerous narrow and steep swithbacks down to the stream. Camp at a meadow beside lucid streams around. (approx 6 hours)

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner    Overnight: Camping

Day 07:Zasutong - Zhangche
Today is a buffering day with relatively less trail to trek. Walk along the trail with gradual downhill until we reach campsite at Zhangche. Usually we can have many pilgrims in company at this campsite. Get to know the simple life of the Tibetan Buddhists and have a good rest. (approx 3 hours)

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner     Overnight: Camping


Day 08:Zhangche - Qunatong
Continue walk down in the alpine valley for about two hours until reach the 2800 mountain ridge where religious significance is obvious: Tibetan Buddhists believe the souls of the departed will pass here as a must-stopover towards the god's shelter. People leave all kinds of stuff that are used in their life including old clothes, pottery vessels and etc. for their afterlife use. This mountain ridge is a good location for views towards the back of Khawa Garbo. It is different from the scene from the east as edges are more gentle from behind. A large area of yews covered the many mountains in the view here at elevation between 2000 to 3500 meters. Followed another zigzag trail down to the other valley before we get to our campsite tonight. Camp on the bank of a little flushing muddy river.(approx 6 hours)

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner     Overnight: Camping

Day 09:Qunatong - Arbing
Trek uphill all the way to another mountain pass named Natong Pass. Elevation gain is over 1000 meters. The endless trail pays back not only for the amazing plants and hanging moss along the trail but also when at the top of the pass we get views of the Meili Snow Mountains, and it is a higher position than yesterday. The way down to today's overnight stay is quite strenuous. People call this downhill "biantaipo" in which "biantai" means abnormal and crazy. It is endless and full of screes. Be careful of any slipery bend and loosen rocks. Views towards the village of Arbing are amazing in a sunny day. It is a very long trail going down: "You can see the village, but you seem will never get to it". Reach the first habitation after days of trekking in late afternoon. (approx 7 hours)

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner     Overnight: Camping


Day 10:Arbing - Quzhu
After breakfast we follow the narrow trail along the Qushe River. Be careful of the trail on the mountain side wherever it becomes quite narrow. This Qushe Gorge has quite spectacular barrancas on both sides. Frescos on the mountain are everywhere. They are frescos and inscriptions of Buddha and sacred sutras. Many of the inscriptions have been ruined during the "Culture Revolution". Many inscriptions are stories and glories about Padma Sambhava. After two bridge crossings we reach the river junction at Lakhangla where stands a monastery. A small store sells drinks, similar to the one in Arbing. Follow the trail on the bank of Salween(Nu River) we continue for three more hours until we reach Quzhu, another town on the riverside of Salween. Optional visit to a hot spring by the riverside. (approx 6 hours)

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner     Overnight: Camping


Day 11:Quzhu - Channag
Whole day walking in the Salween Gorge. Pass the rugged trail above the Salween once in a while. Encounter "Quzhu Gaidu" part after a bend. "Quzhu Gaidu" is one of the toughest section in the Salween gorge: a huge landfall of white screes hanging above the east bank of Salween behind the Meili Snow Mountain. Legend goes that a giant snake wanted to ambush Khawa Garbo from behind, but Khawa Garbo got to know this thus sent five masters of Tibetan Buddhism to block the snake and somehow successfully stopped the giant snake by numerous prayer beads. The white screes are the prayer beads. This part requires five minutes to walk through making it less dangerous. But be careful of the possible falling rocks when wind is strong. People have scary stories about how man get killed by the falling stones. Another story about this is by collecting a couple of rocks from the white landfall and put them under the pillow is believed to avoid bad dreams. Trail is safer after the slide when we can see a lot of cereus scattered on the side of trail. Reach Channa, a more modern-look village equipped with basic hostel, restaurant, a primary school and a satellite phone. (approx 7 hours)

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner     Overnight: Camping

Day 12:Channa - Gebu
Trek from today becomes more challenging. Walk northwards out of Channa and reach another village. Follow the trail we trek on a gentle trail upward. Look back to have views of the less common corn field terraces stretch down to the river bank. More landfalls become visible as we ascent. Zigzag up to the Tandula Pass at 3350 meters. After lunch we continue pass a couple of two more isolated villages and walk into the gorge the second time. Have the views of amazing river bends deep down in the gorge. One of them resembles a huge "W". Keep trekking on the rugged up and down trail before we reach today's destination, Gebu village. (approx 7 hours)

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner     Overnight: Camping

Day 13:Gebu - Dhagula
This is another ascending day. Early in the morning there are usually dots of light moving in the distant mountain, they are the pilgrims wearing headlights set off early in the morning before sun comes out. Ascent and look back of the Gebu village we have stayed the other night, the village becomes smaller and smaller as we keep look back once in a while until we walk into other side of the mountain when the village is blocked by mountains. Forest becomes dense at higher altitude. More views of snow mountains, villages and alpine forest become clear and more magnificent when we walk up. Some cabins hiding in the forest where we pass by, the wooden cabins are the temporal settlement for local people to collect tricholoma matsutake, a mushroom that has a special odor favored by Japanese. Traverse to the back of the mountain and have more views in the far distance before we reach our narrow campsite. (approx 6 hours)

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner    Overnight: Guesthouse

Day 14:Dhagula - Laide
Wake up in morning sunlight or chilly fog. Finish the ascent left yesterday and reach 4155 meters before walk down. Great views at the top. This trail down to the bottom in the valley is long and strenuous(elevation loss about 1500 meters) but rewardingly good views. We have deep valleys and different colored forest. The knee-testing four hours' descent ends up at the riverside near a bridge. Keep walk up another 500 meters into the Laide village. The village of Laide is on the mountainside other than a river bank, it is even smaller than the rest villages we have passed along the Salween river bank. Only 4 families still live here(or probably less now) others have left. Hospitality is regained in one of these Tibetan families when possibly all sorts of food and desserts are served amicably by the family. (approx 7 hours)

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Overnight: Camping

Day 15:Laide - Duotong
Today we keep going up. Quite steep at first until we reach Meiqupukon. Meiqupukon is a small alpine meadow a little different from others as it heaves on a mountain ridge. There is a supply station(a very basic shack) selling drinks during pilgrimage season. Open views are available on this platform while up further is the Shula Pass. Gentle trail leads to the pass as we can see it in a far distant. Shula Pass rises up more than 4800 meters above sea level. It is the highest position in this whole trekking journey but not the hardest. Rocks here have redish color. Over the pass we descend to our campsite Duotong Ranch. Duotong Ranch is used as a highland pasture for local herdsmen. Several wooden houses are erected on this meadow used as a basecamp for local people picking cordyceps during spring time. (approx 6 hours)

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner     Overnight: Camping

Day 16:Duotong - Meilishui - Deqin
Wake up in the fascinatng morning glow and have breakfast before start our last day trekking. Enjoy views from alpine meadow to scrubs to alpine forest and then subtropical forest as we walk along the stream down to the Mekong again. Some say it is a trip from Winter to Summer within a few hours. Many small bridges on the stream we walk from the left to the right and then the right to the left. Our trekking trip ends at Meilishi by the river bank of Mekong. Drive back to Deqin. (approx 6 hours))

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner      Overnight: Hotel

Day 17:Deqin - Zhongdian
Drive back to Zhongdian from Deqin, pick up the spots we have missed before.

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner      Overnight: Hotel

Day 18:Zhongdian Departure
Morning go to airport for departure.Karwa Karpo Trekking tour ends.

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