- Ancient Qiang and Tibetan villages
- Larung Gar Buddhism Institute (largest Buddhist School in the world – WuMing Buddhist School)
- Karsa and XinLuHai Lakes (YuLong Lake)
- DeGe Scripture Printing House
- Friendship Grassland
- Duration: 11 days
- Difficulty: 1
- Group Size: 2-16 people
Western Sichuan encompasses the Eastern region of the Tibetan Plateau historically known as the kingdom of Kham. It is still an important a center for the recent resurgence of Tibetan religion and culture, as well as being home to significant other ethnic minorities like the Qiang and Yi.
This expedition will take you through a landscape of rugged, snow-capped mountains, glacial lakes, rivers, grasslands and forests. You will visit communities previously off-bounds to most travelers.
DAY 1 THE BROCADE CITY: ARRIVAL IN CHENGDUUpon arrival, you will be picked up at the airport by our guide and transferred to hotel.
Overnight: Chengdu, Accommodation: Hotel Meals: Dinner Altitude: 500m
DAY 2 ONTO THE PLATEAU: TRAVEL TO BARKHAM (Ch.MAERKANG)An early departure, within two hours we will be in amongst the mountains. First stop is Lungu (Chinese: Wenchuan) – rebuilt after the massive 2008 earthquake. We will visit ancient Qiang and Tibetan villages ethnic and stay overnight at Barkham. Located in a deep river valley Barkham was an important hub on the ancient tea horse trade routes taking Chinese tea onto the plateau.
Overnight: Barkham, Accommodation: Hotel Meals: Breakfast, lunch and Dinner Altitude: 2615m
DAY 3 BARKHAM TO SERTHA (Ch.SEDA)Our journey continues westwards to the town of Sertha. The first stop is Larung Gar Buddhist Institute, a striking cluster of red buildings in the remote valley of Larung near Sertha. It was the largest and most active influential Buddhist school, attracting students from all over the world on the Tibetan plateau, housing over 8,000 students, in log-cabin hermitages and dormitories that cover the slopes of a secluded side valley.
Overnight: Sertha, Accommodation: Hotel Meals: Breakfast, lunch and Dinner Altitude: 4100m
DAY 4 TRAVEL TO GARZE (Ch. GANZI)Heading west of Garze, you will notice the landscape becomes increasingly dramatic after Drango (Ch. Luhuo). Here you will see endless mountains and the turquoise Karsar Tso (Ch. Kasa Lake), a Mecca for highland water birds.
Overnight: Garze, Accommodation: Hotel Meals: Breakfast, lunch and Dinner Altitude: 3536m
DAY 5 TOWARDS MT. TROLA: TRAVEL TO YILHUN TSO LAKE (Ch.XINLUHAI)After breakfast, we will head towards Mt. Trola Riwo (Ch. Mt.QueEr). On the way, there are numerous monasteries, grasslands and lakes. Huge Mani rocks (rocks with Buddhist prayers carved into them) stand silent sentinel on the sacred shores of Yilhun Lake, whose shimmering waters are fed by Mt Trola’s glaciers.
Overnight: Yilhun lhatso lake, Accommodation: Hotel Meals: Breakfast, lunch and Dinner Altitude: 4110m
DAY 6 THE HIGHEST PASS: TRAVEL TO PELYUL (Ch. BAIYU)Leaving Yilhun Lhatso Lake, we will cross the highest pass of the journey at Mt Trola. Next is Derge (Ch. Dege) – hometown of legendary Tibetan King Gesar and the famous Derge Sutra-Printing House/Derge Parkhang. Derge Printing Institute is the largest, and one of the oldest, printing institutes in Tibet. Its huge collection of about 280 thousand printing blocks is a treasure trove of Tibetan history and culture.
We will spend the night at Pelyul, a pleasant little town with a splendid local monastery.
Overnight: Pelyul, Accommodation: Hotel Meals: Breakfast, lunch and Dinner Altitude: 3150m
DAY 7 THE VASTNESS: TRAVEL FROM PELYUL TO FRIENDSHIP GRASSLAND (Ch.YOUYI CAO YUAN)The highlight of the day is the awesome vastness of Friendship Grassland.
Overnight: Friendship Grassland, Accommodation: Hotel Meals: Breakfast, lunch and Dinner Altitude: 4200m
DAY 8 TRAVEL FROM THE FRIENDSHIP GRASSLAND TO NYARONG (Ch.XINLONG)Deep in a forest is the mysterious 700-year-old Ningma monastery (Ch. WoBu Monastery). We will pass through PiCha ravine, famous for its autumn colours.
Overnight: Nyarong, Accommodation: Hotel Meals: Breakfast, lunch and Dinner Altitude:3310m
DAY 9 GRASSLAND MARKET: TRAVEL FROM NYARONG TO LITHANGLithang at 4100m is one of the highest towns on earth. Situated on a grassland plateau surrounded by mountains, famous for its horse races, it is an important market town that plays host to an ever changing cast of visitors and traders, including many Tibetan nomads and other ethnic minorities from Yunnan, Sichuan and the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
Waking early we will go to the Ganden Thubchen Choekhorling Monastery for a panoramic view of Litang. With luck we may catch monks from the Yellow Hat Sect engaging in their famous debate sessions. We will leave for Dartsedo in the afternoon. You can look forward to a relaxing hot spring before a good night’s sleep.
Overnight: Dartsedo, Accommodation: Hotel Meals: Breakfast, lunch and Dinner Altitude: 4435m
DAY 10 RETURN TO CHENGDUOur journey is coming to an end. It’s time you ponder on the wonderful experiences. In a few hours, we will be back in Chengdu for a very good relaxation and going to bring your all first- hand experiences back to your sweet home with a maximum satisfaction.
Overnight: Dartsedo,Accommodation: Hotel Meals: Breakfast, lunch and Dinner Altitude: 500m