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Mt. Yala Tagong Grassland Kham Trekking Tour - 9 Days

Destination: Kham
Duration: Nine Day
Tour Code:
Transportation: Vehicle & Trekking
Best Travel Time:May - Oct
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This 8-day Kham journey is rather a less-noticed trekking route covering views of Mt. Yala and Tagong Grassland. It has a gallery of fine views for a backpacking trip. Highlights include less-know snow mountains, glaciers, lakes and unattended hot springs. This trip will also go through one of the religious centers of Kham, Tagong Grassland.

Kham , is a historical region covering a land area largely divided between present-day Tibet Autonomous Region and Sichuan province, with smaller portions located within Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan provinces of China. The natives of the Kham region are called Khampas.Kham has a rugged terrain characterized by mountain ridges and gorges running from northwest to southeast, and collectively known as the Hengduan Mountains. Numerous rivers, including the Mekong, Yangtze, Yalong Jiang, and the Salween flow through Kham.Under the modern administrative division of China, Kham comprises a total of 50 contemporary counties, which have been incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan (16 counties), Yunnan (3 counties), and Qinghai (6 counties) as well as the eastern portion of the Tibet Autonomous Region (25 counties).


The Great Peace Prayer of Tagong
The Great Peace Prayer is a performance of sutra chanting and peace praying. It is a common practice in Tibetan Buddhism. The Peace Prayer in Tagong is held in the village called Geremah on Tagong Grassland once in a while from the tenth Tibetan Lunar month up to the first month of the following year. During this event, pilgrims from around come to the grassland to watch the Prayer and pray along with Lamas. The crowd reaches the maximum on the last day of the Peace Prayer(15th of the first Lunar month); there was a time that the participant number reached 100 thousand.


Tagong Monastery
Tagong monastery was built in 600s AD when princes Wencheng start her journey to Lhasa, earlier than many monasteries in Tibet. It is a widely-worshiped Sakya sect monastery across Kham. It is home to a copy of a 12-year-old life-size Sakyamuni statue(the one in Jhokang Temple in Lhasa). From morning to afternoon, you can see people spinning the wheels and chanting the "om mani padme hum" to stabilize their minds.


The Ancient Tea-Horse Road
The Ancient Tea-Horse Road is the equivalence of the northerly Silk Road in Asia, also known as "the Southern Silk Road". Dartsedo(Kangding) became one of the busiest enterport trading center when the Manchuria Emperor Kangxi officially subsided tea-horse in 18th century. In the old days, tea and salt from China were repacked with hard-wearing leather bags for a much longer journey, horses and rare herbal/animals from Tibet were traded to the Chinese. Today Kanding is the gateway for several adventure travels in Kham of Sichuan.


The Khampas
The Khampas generally refer the Tibetans live in Tibetan Kham region which currently including northern Yunnan, western Scihuan, southern Qinghai and eastern Tibet. Khampas are descendents of many ancient groups of the Qiangic, Tibetans, Mongolians and Nakhi. Khampas are a bit different from Tibetans in Lhasa. Khampas are more athletic and rugged. They are more into the horse-racing games and most of them are good singers. Though generally referred as Khampas, the diversity of the Kham groups are obvious. There are many exoticness to be explored.

Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction
US$1350/persons 1350USD/Person

Day 01:Chengdu - Kangding
This trip starts in Chengdu. The day before be briefed in details by our staff about the trip. Optional airport pick-up if required. Drive eastward via Chengdu-Ya'an Highway and have lunch en route. This 6 to 7 hours' riding ends up in Kangding. Landscape changes as the altitude rises. We go from the muggy Chengdu via transitional rainy Ya'an and arrive at the wind-blowing Kangding.

Meal: Lunch, Dinner    Overnight: Hotel

Day 02:Kangding - Zhonggu
Kangding is a Tibetan town. Have a morning walk along the Tsedo River to have a last minute shopping. We transfer to our trekking starting point, Zhonggu, a small village 30 kilometers north to Kangding in a relatively remote valley. Optional sightseeing spot is a natural lake named Mugetso en route will take another 3 to 4 hours to visit. While in Zhonggu, we accommodate ourselves in a guesthouse of local Tibetans where we meet our porter team. Have a visit to the primary school next door if we travel during school season or try an acclimatization walk in the village.

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner         Overnight: Guesthouse

Day 03:Zhonggu - Shidetzi
Walk on the village road after departure after and gradually ascent into forest on sometimes a muddy trail. This trail was used by caravans in ancient times for tea and horse trade between Kangding and Danba. Accustom ourselves into a proper pace. Camp at a spacious meadow where alpine terrains on both sides. (approx 5 hours)

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner         Overnight: Camping

Day 04:Shidetzi - Yumtso
Today we continue our expedition in Langma Valley. Our sight gets wider as elevation gains gradually. In a sunny day, we have the clear views of primitive forest and green mountains under blue sky. Aged rock faces and hovering eagles bring a blink of the old religion the locals hold. This crimpled mountain range is part of the Hengduan mountains east to the Himalayas on Tibetan Plateau (as a transitional terrain between the Plateau and the Sichuan Basin). Glaciers on the mountains remain unmelted under sunlight though scorched a little we feel on ourselves. After lunch we get to the end of Langma Valley and ascent a 4100 meters mountain pass. The whole view of Langma Valley tells the terrain we have bushwhacked through. Plants grow out of slowly-formed landslides providing quite a unique view. Two small lakes spread out beside the detritus trail as we continue today's journey. The ""Sister Lakes"" is what the people call them. Descent a little to today's campsite next to a turquoise lake named Yumtso where on the other side the peak of Mt. Yala is standing. Yumtso is not big but surprisingly bluish green. Yumtso is the Tibetan name for this lake meaning ""a lake of jade or gem"" indicating its turquoise color and also the nobility of what a jade stands for in Tibetan culture. This place is a holy site for ceremonial rituals by local Tibetan Buddhists. All six colors of Prayer's Flags are hanging around Yumtso. Please be aware that the flags are sacred objects for Buddhists not to be taken down or for other uses. Optional one day stay during ceremonial season in summer. (approx 6 hours)

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner        Overnight: Camping

Day 05:Yumtso - Hot Spring
In the morning before set out, watch the sunrise on Mt. Yala(5820 meters). Glaciers on the mountain ridge is in the color of light blue giving a feeling of limpidity and coldness. Many have tried to summit this peak since 1990s. In 1999, a Janpanese expedition team failed to summit, and followed by Britains and Koreans years later, all failed to get to the top. Its harsh weather condition and steepness are the two major hold-up for successful summits. After breakfast, we walk on a rather covert trail in a more dense wood as this is a more remote horse trail in a more secluded valley where the forest gradually thinning to open meadows and to rocky massifs. Three hours mild ascent before we reach our campsite where we can enjoy an open air hot bathe in one of these unattended hot springs. Simply stacked at its edge by rocks, hot spring pools have a temperature of around 40C, a perfect treatment after three days' walking. Weather is unpredictable here as this valley is under monsoon zone and altitude is around 3800 meters, during night the temperature drops below 0C even in Summer time. Yaks are generally not aggressive but be aware of the yaks when you go to the toilet as yaks like the smell of human excrement, so be careful. (approx 4 hours)

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner      Overnight: Camping

Day 06:Spring - Gerima
Wake up in the cold air, or freshed up by the cold water and have breakfast prepared by our cook. Today we go zidzagging up to the 4600 mountain pass through thick shrubs, rocky surface and a long accumulated rubble trail until get to the top. Four hours' strenuousness and 3 big terraces and 800 meters' altitude gain for panoramic views at the pass: peak of Mt Yala, Tagong Grassland. It is quite spacious on the mountain pass. The peak is sometimes hidden in the cloud, when it shows up, the lotus-like peak(or some say a crown-like) is very close that one wants to touch. The view behind us is the vast Tagong Grassland on which yaks are like small black dots in the distance. Descent for another 800 meters to a nunnery located in a village named Gerimah. Along our way to the ending point, enjoy views on Tagong. Tagong Grassland is inevitably a piece of picturesque land for Tibetans when in Spring and Summer it revives from flowers and greens and rustling streams and pasturing yaks. No doubt Buddhists say Tagong Grassland is the place that favored by Buddha. After natures today we encounter cultures. Be transferred to our overnight stay at a guesthouse in Tagong town after arrival.(approx 8 hours)

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner        Overnight: Guesthouse

Day 07:Tagong - Kangding
An optional visit to the Buddhist school behind the monastery. This school has been under donation for a long time by travelers all over the world. Or take a rest and be fed with travel stories in the Kampa Cafe run by Angela. Later this day we transfer 4 hours to Kangding as a stopover on way back to Chengdu. Stop at Xinduqiao for a camera break if weather permits. Buy some suvenirs if preferred in Kangding or have yourself loosen up in the only Dicos in downtown. Optinal hot spring bath after dinner.

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner       Overnight: Hotel

Day 08:Kangding - Chengdu
Head back to the capital city Chengdu, another 6 to 7 hours' coach riding before check in your hotel lunch en route.

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner     Overnight:Hotel

Day 09: Chengdu Departure

Take you to Airport for departure.Kham trekking journey ends.


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