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China  Discovering Danba

  • Off the beaten track
As the hometown of panda, Sichuan is reputed as the kingdom which has an abundance of natural resources and various landforms of snow-mountains, grasslands and grand gorges. A trip to Mt. Yala is one of the most popular tours in Western Sichuan. Mt. Yala is located in a nature reserve on the border between Dartsedo (Ch. Kangding), Rongtrak (Ch. Danba) and Daofu counties of Sichuan province. It is ...

As the hometown of panda, Sichuan is reputed as the kingdom which has an abundance of natural resources and various landforms of snow-mountains, grasslands and grand gorges. A trip to Mt. Yala is one of the most popular tours in Western Sichuan. Mt. Yala is located in a nature reserve on the border between Dartsedo (Ch. Kangding), Rongtrak (Ch. Danba) and Daofu counties of Sichuan province. It is the second highest peak of Sichuan’s Daxue range. The imposing Mt. Yala is snow capped all year round and one of the four holy mountains worshipped by the Tibetan people living in the area. The hike is a relatively even grade and will start from Danba area and gently ascend to Mt Yala’s High pass at 4216m before descending to Rongtrak. The gentle gradient allows the body to accustom to the high altitude, limiting the risk of altitude sickness.

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Customisable trip itinerary

This tour idea is fully customisable

The itinerary has been created by our local agency with one idea in mind: to inspire you. Every element can be adapted to your needs and interests, from duration to accommodation and activities.

Day 1: Arrive in Chengdu

Arrive in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province in Southwestern China, a transfer from Chengdu airport to the hotel will be provided. You can spend your first night in Chengdu at your own leisure. Walking along the old street, appreciate the historical and cultural atmosphere. You might want to experience the Sichuan Opera, Sichuan’s famous Hotpot dish. 

Overnight in Chengdu.

Visited:
SichuanChengdu

Day 2: Visit the panda's natural habit

In the morning after breakfast, drive to the Chengdu Panda Breeding Centre to explore the daily life of the cute pandas intimately. As one of the landmarks of Chengdu, it is a well laid out park which is designed to resemble the pandas' natural habitat. We will spend the whole morning visiting different panda rooms. 

After lunch, make a 2 hours drive to visit the Leshan Giant Buddha, a Tang dynasty (618-907 AD) relic that is the largest carved stone Buddha in the world at 71 meters. Leshan is an exquisite UNESCO world heritage site that is not to be missed for its impressive size and beautiful surrounding area. 

Overnight in Leshan.

Visited:
ChengduLeshan

Day 3: Discover the south-eastern part of the Tibet Qinghai

Leaving Chengdu, today we will make a 5 hours driving head out of the Sichuan basin to penetrate deep into the mountains that guard the approach to the south-eastern part of the Tibet-Qinghai plateau. After driving through Erlangshan Tunnel, a sunshine day with blue sky will turn out, and then we reach to the Dadu River Grand Canyon which is the largest one in western Sichuan. Luding Bridge, a unique structure built in 1706 in Qing Dynasty, with nine iron chains spanning the roaring Dadu River.

Upon arrival in Kangding, explore the bustling streets to buy the necessary supplies for your hiking in the next few days. As the capital of the Ganzi Tibetan Prefecture in Sichuan, Kangding is a culturally rich area, home to several lamaseries in and around the city. 

Overnight in Kangding.

Visited:
ChengduLeshanKangdingQinghaiLuding

Day 4: Amazing Mugecuo scenic area

From the hotel we have a short drive up to the highest part of Kangding which is the launching point for visits to the Paoma (Horse Racing)
Mountain, famous for being referenced to a popular love song and horse races in the past. Take the cable car, reaching the upper station.
Enjoy a fantastic view over Kangding and the gorge of the Dardu River. After that, move to Mugecuo Scenic Area, which is the largest alphine lake in regions of 2000m above sea level in Sichuan. There are nearly one hundred hot springs nearby which have different curative effects. After visit, drive back to Kangding. 

Overnight in Kangding.

Visited:
Kangding

Day 5: Soft loop hike to Dacaoba 

Today, we will first go to visit Namo Monastery which was built in the northern song dynasty, is one of the famous Tibetan area. Here is one of the three Sects in Tibetan area, alongside Kmbum monastery. But this is specifically for learning Buddhadharma, like a Tibetan school.


After visit, we will start our today’s warm up hike to Dacaoba (3-4hrs), an alpine meadow. After the hike, we will then drive north, reaching Zhonggu Village in the evening. Here we will stay in a local villager’s home. There are natural hot springs close by which you can relax in. After dinner we will have a briefing from the tour leader and will spend a part of the evening preparing our equipment for the following day’s trek. 


Overnight at Zhonggu Village.

Visited:
KangdingDacaobaZhonggu

Day 6: Adventure to the magnificent Yala snow mountain

We will rise with the morning sun and glittering dew to begin our trekking adventure to the magnificent Yala Snow Mountain (Yala Kamiyama). The first day is easy walking and it generally takes four or five hours. We will start trekking from the village and progress through the sweeping Xindianzi grasslands, each step moves us away from the bustle of the city and further into the vast wilderness that inspires so much of Tibetan culture. Enjoy the immense skies, jagged peaks and clear mountain air of western Sichuan, before camping in the beautiful Xindianzi grassland for the night. 

Camp at Xindianzi Grassland.

Visited:
ZhongguXindianziSichuan

Day 7: Head up to the highest top of Yala Pass

Today you will need most of your strength, as it is a long six hours walk, mostly uphill. Our route will take us over the highest Yala Pass of the trip at about 4,216m, where you will be able to enjoy the stunning views and soak up the incredible alpine atmosphere. Vertical ascend from our campsite is about 600 m. It is not very tough, as we have planned for more than enough time to rest and ascend slowly. Through the pass, hike another 4km, we will reach our campsite (3,900m) under the Yala Pass. 


Camp at Yala Pass Campsite.

Visited:
Xindianzi

Day 8:  Continue trekking to Yala Yumtso lake

Hike about 5km in the morning, we arrive at Sisters Lakes also at 4,200m. Then, after another 5 km, we will see the jade-green Yala Yumtso Lake, and walk down on a gentle sloping path to the bank of the Lake for camping, and then have a sumptuous meal in front of a roaring fire.  

Camp near Yala Yumtso Lake.

Visited:
Xindianzi

Day 9: Explore the amazing jade green lake

Make sure you have some power left in your camera for our last trekking day around Yala, as today we walk surrounded by mountains and snowy peaks. This lake is miraculously green, that is why the local Tibetans named it Lake of Jade. A small waterfall hangs above the lake, fed by glaciers on Yala Mountain. Alpine evergreen trees provide background.

After 3 to 4 hours of easy walking downhill, we arrive at the road head of Taizhan Gou. Take transport to Danba, where there was a village, there were watchtowers. That’s why Danba was renowned as the “ancient country of thousands of watchtowers”. Although many of them has lost their traces or integrated with the folk houses, some of them have been preserved. Next two days watchtowers exploration trip will be opened here. Stay overnight at a Tibetan guesthouse in Zhonglu. 

Overnight at Zhonglu Village.

Visited:
XindianziZhongluTaizhan GouDanba

Day 10: Discover by foot the handmade watchtowers

Today's exploration is by foot through quaint villages and visits to the ancient handmade watchtowers unique to this historic region of Tibet. Starting with Tibetan-style breakfast, we take a leisurely stroll around the villages on Zhonglu and Jiaju, without doubt one of the most beautiful mountain villages in China, famed for its traditional architecture, in particular its stone defensive towers. Zhonglu’s women are equally famous for their beauty. We will have a leisurely walk around the villages, climb the well-preserved watchtowers, as well as the main meals, we will visit to a local family to taste pure Tibetan butter salt tea. In the afternoon you'll have some personal space to wander the narrow streets of the tight-knit mountain town of Danba. Then drive back to the guesthouse in Zhonglu.


Overnight at Zhonglu Village

Visited:
ZhongluJiajuDanba

Day 11: Explore the typical folk houses

After breakfast, take a 1 hour drive to Suopo. Suopo till today is densely scattered with watchtowers. Here you’ll have a feast for your eyes. Built with clay and stone, the watchtowers are solid lofty columns with four, six, or even thirteen margins on the cross section. These towers, with a height ranging from 100 to 200 feet (30 to 60 meters), have been established for more than a thousand of years.


Initially, they were used for exorcising demons.
Later on, some were used to defend villagers from enemies while some maintained the original functions. In the afternoon, take a 3 hours drive to Dangling Village. At this village, we will not only explore the typical folk houses, but also learn the unique culture of Jiarong Tibetan Nationality. Prepare for the next part of our fantastic trekking tour.

Overnight at Dangling Village.

Visited:
ZhongluSuopoDangling

Day 12: Hike into the charming mountains

Start your Dangling trek today! In the morning, we hike into the charming mountains. After 3 hours trekking, we arrive at Feijiping. You may also ride a horse to Feijiping in order to save strengthen to hike to Hulu Hai. En route, there are many meadows with lots of cattle and horses eating leisurely on them and you will marvel at the wild monkeys jumping in front of you. The scenery around the Hulu Hai (Cucurbit Lake) is fantastic. The unique scenery of extinct volcano crater and a variety kind of ancient life-form fossil make you back to the Cretaceous period. After visiting, back to Dangling. 

Overnight at Dangling Village.

Visited:
DanglingFeijipingHulu Hai

Day 13:  Soak in a hot-spring bath after long time hiking

Today is more relaxed, and it is better for us to prepare for the camping adventure tomorrow. In the morning, enjoy your leisure time around the village. Then walk in the Xiaqianglongba Valley (also called Daofugou) for about 4 km until we arrive at Dangling Hot Spring, which is the unspoiled natural hot spring. We camp near the spring. In the evening, it is wonderful to soak in a hot-spring bath after long time hiking.

Camp near Dangling Hot Spring.

Visited:
DanglingDaofugou

Day 14: Trek downhill to get to Longpulongba river

Today may be the toughest day. Depart from the hot spring, we hike upwards along Xiaqianglongba and travel across Xiaqiangnie’a Mountain Pass to enter into Yuke Prairie in Daofu County. In the afternoon, we continue to trek downhill to get to Longpulongba River. End of the hike, then drive to Xindu Qiao town.

Overnight in Xinduqiao.

Visited:
DanglingXinduqiaoLongpulongba River

Day 15: Back to Chengdu

After breakfast, drive back to Chengdu.


Overnight in Chengdu

Visited:
XinduqiaoChengdu

Day 16: Chengdu Departure

Drive to the airport for the flight back home. We will drop you off at Chengdu International Airport in good time to catch your flight.

Visited:
Chengdu

Sichuan Chengdu Leshan Kangding Qinghai Luding Dacaoba Zhonggu Xindianzi Zhonglu Taizhan Gou Danba Jiaju Suopo Dangling Feijiping Hulu Hai Daofugou Xinduqiao Longpulongba River

Price details

This tour idea is fully customisable

The price reflects this specific tour itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.

Approx. £2,370 / 16 days
Excluding international flights
4 to 5 pax6 to 7 paxSingle Supp
Price per person in double room£2,750£2,340£300

Included in price:

  • Local transportation: A private vehicle (bus or mini-van elsewhere in the area with good road) will accompany us for the entire tour. While we are trekking, our vehicle will transfer our food and luggage to the appointed site or hostel and wait or meet us at the end of the trekking tour
  • Equipment as required: Horse to carry the luggage during the trek, water (2 liters per person per day), 2-way radios, compass , first aid kit, GPS
  • Leader: Experienced English-speaking tour leader and one or more service persons along the trip as needed
  • Entrance fees: All first-entrance tickets to the tourist spots mentioned in the itinerary
  • Accommodation: twin-share 4-star hotels in Chengdu, Leshan and Kangding, twin-share clean hostels in the small counties or villages, occasionally private home if indicated, and tents at certain unique camping spots mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals: All meals as indicated in the itinerary, with some simple picnic lunches while trekking
  • Extra supplier of staff (only needed when the area we will trek to is non-residential and not accessible for any vehicles): horse and porter to carry food and all supporting equipment, and cook to prepare fresh food for the group when necessary
  • Travel agency liability insurance

Not included in price:

  • Camp equipment: sleeping bags when camping
  • Meals not list in the itinerary
  • Personal gear required: if camping, a sleeping bag sufficiently warm to protect against -12°C or 2°C (10°F-35°F) in April-May and August-September, against -5°C or 7°C (23°F- 44°F) in June, against -17°C or -6°C (1°F -21°F) in June. Also: hiking boots; it may different from the area, we will provide you the exact information when you confirm a tour. Raincoat; cap; camera; sun-cream; sun-glasses; pocket knife; day-pack, etc
  • Meals in your free time or on the train/plane
  • Expenses of a personal nature: favorite snacks, soft drinks, laundry, local or long-distance calls, etc
  • Tips to tour guide and driver
  • Tourist accident insurance. NB - you are strongly suggested to buy travel and health insurance before you start out from your home country
  • Single supplement costs (for those who want accommodation on a single basis)
  • The medicine for the sickness or accident while on the way
  • Visa to China
  • Domestic and international flights and related airport taxes not listed in the itinerary
  • Supplementary trips, entrance fees and services not mentioned
  • Extra costs due to unforeseen circumstances

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