Tour Highlights

  • Highest Peak in Sichuan
  • 4 days wilderness Trek
  • Stay at Gongga Monastery
  • Incredible Mountain Scenery
  • Duration: 11 days
  • Difficulty: 1
  • Group Size: 2-16 people
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Mount Gongga/ Minyak Kongka Riwo, “The King of Sichuan Mountains” stands at 7,556 meters which is the highest mountain in Sichuan and is ranked high in the Buddhist pantheon of sacred peaks. Believers say that to see the summit is worth 10 years of meditation. The Mt. Gongga region boasts exceptionally rich bio-diversity; wolves and red foxes and even snow leopards have been spotted in the area. On your tour, you will be exposed to a wide range of Tibetan Buddhist culture, visiting a number of temples and cultural sites.

After a day’s travel to Dartsedo (Ch. Kangding), the next day is a short drive to Lhagang (Ch. Tagong) which will allow a day of acclimatization while sightseeing in the area. The following day we will head to Quanhuatai, where we will see beautiful Calcium terraces and lakes produced by the hot springs in the area, before overnighting at Yulongxi in a typical Tibetan Guesthouse where we will prepare for our 5 day trek. The trek starts with the slow ascent to the Long Qing Ma pass (4602m) which offers views Mt. Gongga, before descending, we will spend the night at a yak ranch in Moxigou (4000m). An easy trek the next day brings us to the 700 year-old Tibetan Monastery where you will stay and learn about Buddhist Culture. The following day’s trek takes us to the base camp for the climbing expeditions that try and conquer the formidable mountain. We return from the same route, staying again at the Gongga Monastery, before trekking down to passed more beautiful lakes and hot spring to the end of the trek. A short drive takes us to the hot spring resort of Caoke, before returning to Chengdu on your final day.

DAY 1 THE BROCADE CITY: ARRIVAL IN CHENGDU

Upon your arrival at Chengdu International Airport you will be met by a Dragon Expeditions’ employee and will be taken to a 4 star hotel where you will meet your climbing guide for your trip. Over dinner (typical Sichuan cuisine) you will be briefed about Sichuan culture, its food and your forthcoming trip. After dinner, there is the chance to study maps of the Mt. Gonga area, the route you will be taking, and to check your equipment with the guide to ensure that nothing has been overlooked.

Overnight: Chengdu, Accommodation: Hotel Meals: Dinner Altitude: 500m

DAY 2  TRAVEL TO DARTSEDO

After having an early breakfast, we will leave at 8am and head onto the Tibetan Plateau.  Once past the tea region of Ya’an, the road climbs steeply following old trade routes before taking a shortcut through the Erlang Tunnel, the modern gateway to the ancient Tibetan kingdom of Kham.  You will notice a great change in geography and plant life as we drive along the winding mountain roads down to the Dadu River valley. By the side of the road locals sell local produce such as cherries, walnuts, persimmons, loquat and peaches.

The noon meal will be taken at Chakzamka (Luding) on the historic Dadu River, where the Red Army crossed the Luding Bridge in possibly the most famous event of the Long March. Across the bridge is a Buddhist temple, Thukje Chenpo Temple (Ch. Guanyinqiao) which has a great view back over the river to the modern town of Luding.

From Chakzamka we will continue towards Dartsedo . This lively market town is nestled in a mountain valley either side of a swiftly flowing river; it is very much a border town between Chinese and Tibetan culture, with many locals and visitors wearing traditional Tibetan clothing. Stroll down to a local market, identify the local specialties, or just enjoy a cup of yak butter tea at a teahouse whilst you acclimatize.

Overnight: Dartsedo, Accommodation: Hotel Meals: Breakfast , Lunch and Dinner Altitude: 2560m

DAY 3 TRAVEL TO LHAGANG AND SIGHTSEEING AROUND THE TOWN

We pass back through Kangding and over the Zheduoshan Road Pass to Tagong; the site of a number of Buddhist temples. Ambling around the town and temples helps with acclimatisation to the altitude.

Overnight: Lhagang, Accommodation: Guesthouse, Meals: Breakfast , Lunch and Dinner Altitude: 3700m

DAY 4 TRAVEL TO YULONGXI AND VISIT THE HOTSPRINGS

Today we will leave after breakfast and drive 5 hours to Yulongxi, passing through Xinduqiao, renowned as a paradise for photographers, offering stunning views, especially in the autumn. We’ll stay overnight in a Tibetan guesthouse of our old friend Rangmu. Rangmu’s mom is an industrious and welcoming traditional Tibetan woman who would tell you “no butter tea, no good body and spirit” while she weaves a Tibetan meditation rug. In the afternoon, we’ll acclimatize by going for a short hike to Quanhuatai calcium terraces and hot springs before returning to Rangmu’s home for a good night’s rest.

Overnight: Yulongxi, Accommodation: Guesthouse Meals: Breakfast , Lunch and Dinner Altitude: 3900m

DAY 5 TREK TO MOXIGOU YAK RANCH

This morning brings a start to our trekking proper with a slow ascent to the Long Qing Ma pass at 4602m. You have the option of hiring an extra horse for riding but be sure to check availability with our guide beforehand. At the high pass, you’ll be astonished by the magnificent view of Mt. Gongga and stunned by the altitude. After crossing this pass, we descend into the valley and spend the night at a yak ranch in Moxigou at an altitude of a little under 4000m.

Overnight: Moxigou, Accommodation: Camping Meals: Breakfast , Lunch and Dinner Altitude: 4000m

DAY 6 TREK FROM MOXIGOU CAMPSITE TO GONGGA MONASTERY

We trek up to the Gongga monastery at 3700m. The walk passes through a forest that genuinely seems enchanted given the abundance of wildlife (unharmed by the local Tibetans). It is traditionally the base of climbing expeditions in the area. The monastery has a few very basic twin bed and tri-bed dorms available outside of times of religious festivals, otherwise we are able to camp outside. The abbot at the Gongga monastery Dhargyal Lama claims that the fewer the people arrive at the monastery, the greater the chance the clouds will clear and Majestic Gongga reveals itself in all its beauty. Be sure to check out the night sky before you sleep and also pray for good weather.

Overnight: Gongga Monastry, Accommodation: Guesthouse Meals: Breakfast , Lunch and Dinner Altitude: 3700m

DAY 7 TREK TO MT. GONGGA BASECAMP

Usually, most trekking route ends here at Gongga monastery but our venture continues. Today will be a tough uphill climb along the riverbed to the base camp to see Gongga up-close. Will you be lucky and earn the equivalent of 10 years of meditation?

Overnight: Gongga Base camp, Accommodation: Camping Meals: Breakfast , Lunch and Dinner Altitude: 4050m

DAY 8 TREK BACK TO GONGGA MONASTERY

After breakfast at the base camp, follow the same trail back to the Gongga Monastery and get some rest at Gongga Monastery.

Overnight: Gongga Monastry, Accommodation: Guesthouse Meals: Breakfast , Lunch and Dinner Altitude: 3700m

DAY 9 TREK TO BAWANG LAKE AND RELAX AT CAOKE RESORT

Say farewell to Gongga Monastery early in the morning. We are going to have a long walk down today. Head back out in the same direction you arrived in Gongga Monastery before descending approximately 500m down through the woods, to pass the crystal Bawang Lake. A couple of hundred meters up on the far side you arrive at the small village of Zimei, a traditional Minyak farming village with distinctive large stone houses in which all generations of the family live. Continue the descent on the single track until we come to the end of the trekking trail at the dam below 3000m, where our pre-arranged vehicle will pick you up and drive to the Tibetan township of Caoke. The hike finishes in the perfect way – a soak in the hot spring resort of Caoke.

Overnight: Caoke, Accommodation: Guesthouse Meals: Breakfast , Lunch and Dinner Altitude: 1800m

DAY 10 RETURN TO CHENGDU

Today we will be going back to Chengdu. In the evening we will have a final group meal in Chengdu, eating Sichuan’s famous Hotpot dish in a traditional restaurant.

Overnight: Chengdu, Accommodation: Hotel Meals: Breakfast,lunch and Dinner Altitude: 500m

DAY 11 DROP OFF

We will drop you off at Chengdu International Airport in good time to catch your flight.

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