Daocheng Travel Guide, Kham Sichuan
Though popularly known as stopover on route to Yading, Daocheng itself is still worth a visit for the sights around. Located in the southwest border of Sichuan at an average elevation of 3800m, Daochang is full of discovery of primitive Tibetan villages, Buddhism monasteries and pastoral scenery brought by the rolling landscapes.
When to go?
Oct.~Mid. Nov. is the best, next is Sept., May~Jun.
Chengdu --> Kangding(via Litang) --> Daocheng; around 800 km, 2 days by bus
Take a direct Chengdu--Daocheng bus at Chengdu Xinanmen bus station[Y217], overnight stop at Kangding, arrive Daocheng in the evening of the 2nd day. Or,
Take a bus heading for Kangding either at Chengdu Tourist Transportation Center (ex. Xinnanmen bus station) or at North Bus Station in the morning[Y97 - Y109]. Upon arriving at Kangding in the late afternoon, buy your ticket immediately for the Daocheng bus. In case tickets of the 2nd day are sold out during the peak season
Kangding to Daocheng - 12 hrs. Most travelers would feel the strong effect of high altitude if they come to Daocheng from Chengdu in 2 days.
Kunming --> Zhongdian (via Lijiang)--> Daocheng:
One of the most fabulous travel routes in China for independent travelers. If you are adapted to Zhongdian's altitude, you should have no difficulty in Daocheng.
1.Travel from Kunming to Zhongdian
2.The regular bus connecting Zhongdian to Daocheng [330km/ 12 hrs] zigzags in the awesome Shangri-La Gorge. However this route is often cut by landslides.
3. If the direct bus service between Zhongdian and Daocheng is suspended, take an alternative route although it looks more complicated: Zhongdian - Derong - Xiangcheng - Sangdui – Daocheng.
First take a bus from Zhongdian to Derong[5 hrs].Then find a collective taxi to Xiangcheng [4~5 hrs]. Stay overnight in Xiangcheng and catch the morning bus for Sangdui [3.5 hrs]. From Sangdui, the friendly owner of Happy Shop can send you to Daocheng by his own car for Y20 /pax.
Almost the same way of getting in, but
- It's highly recommended to get in Daocheng from Zhongdian and then quit Daocheng for Litang, Kangding and Chengdu.
- Daocheng has daily bus leaving for Kangding. During peak season, a mini bus is added for Xingduqiao. Both buses pass through Litang where you can head for west, starting your adventure in Tibet.
Hongcaodi /红草地 [Red Grassland] - located in Sangdui town[桑堆镇],28km north of Daocheng. It's a piece of inconspicuous wetland most of the time, but overgrew with red bushes in autumn, with the yellow-foliaged poplars behind and clearly blue sky above, local people believe it's the "Color of Heaven'. But the red will only last for about 15days per year, not easy to catch the right time.
Rupuchaka Hot Springs /茹布查卡温泉 - 4km outside Daocheng. A walk is recommended to get there. Taxi and pedicab are options.
Monasteries: there are total 12 monasteries in Daocheng county, a few of them are famous for being presented by influential Buddhists.
Gongling Si (Konkaling / 贡岭寺): 62km south of Daocheng on route to Yading, the biggest monastery in Daocheng County, belongs to Gelupa sect. Founded in year 1642, used to be the governor of Daocheng Country in the period of political and religion co-governing period. Ticket: Y10.
Xiongdeng Si / 雄登寺: 10km northeast of Daocheng county. Another Gelupa monastery, built in year 1415, experienced 6 generations of Living Buddha till now
Bangpu Si / 蚌普寺: located 1km north of Sangdui along the enchanting Daocheng River. Built in the 12th century, it’s the oldest monastery in the county. Ticket: Y10
Rewu Si / 热乌寺: Located in Sela village色拉乡, 10km south of Daocheng, a Sakyapa萨迦派 and Kagyupa白教 monastery, but there was never a conflict between the 2 sects for hundreds of years, which is very unusual.
How to access: Rent a car either in Sangdui or in Daocheng, try to share with other travelers. Gongling Si should better be visited on the way to/from Yading. If you get there by chartering a jeep, you can ask the driver for a stop over there.
- Pengshongcuo 彭松错 (Tel: 0836-5728581) : 100m north of the bus station beside the street, well-reputed among all the Tibetan family-hostels in town. Dbl rooms w/bathroom at Y80.
- Yadingren Shequ Hotel 亚丁人社区 provides plenty of hiking information and organizes trek to Yading Nature Reserve and some other places. Dbl room w/o bathroom: Y50 - Y60.