Kangding

Kangding Travel Guide, Kham Sichuan

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Overview

360km west of Chengdu, Kangding is the county seat of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture[TAP]. The fairly large town is cradled in a steep valley with a collection of modern concrete buildings and dark-roofed houses randomly scattered along the torrential Zheduo River.

Kangding is well-known throughout China for a popular Kangding Love Song / 康定情歌. While travelers are more allured by the stunning scenery in the vicinity consisting of snowy mountains, sweeping grasslands, glaciers and monasteries, as well as its unique Khampa charm hailing from mixed cultures.The place was regarded by some westerners as where Tibet really begins.

For centuries, the town has been the trade center of the Han and Tibetan cultures. The central streets bustle with trading activity. It's also the traffic hub of west Sichuan and the gateway to Tibet.

Highlights
Lamaseries / Mogecuo Lake 

Best time to go: Sept.~Nov.

How long? --1~2 days

Getting in & out

Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Station has frequent buses to Kangding from 8:00~14:00, Y103~Y125, 8hrs journey.

There are also buses to Moxi (1 daily) and Luding (5 daily) to Kangding.

Kangding has buses that take you into west Sichuan and even Tibet. There are daily buses to Litang (12hrs), Batang (a journey of 2 days) and Ganzi (14hrs).

Accommodation
Hostels around bus station for Y15~Y20/bed, convenient for catching traffic. Downtown hotels are recommended if you plan a couple of days stay in Kangding.

Black Tent Guest House 0836-886 2907, dorm for Y20~25
Sally’s Café 0836-283 8377, Y20/bed


Sights

  • Anjue Si / 安觉寺
    A quietly busy collection of courtyards and Tibetan shrines over on the west bank, whose monks are tolerant of tourists wandering around.

  • Paoma Shan / 跑马山
    On the upper slopes just behind the town, the birthplace of the Kangding Love Song, hosting a couple of Buddhist temples and a horse-racing court, offering a panorama view of the town, the valley and the surrounding mountains. Minya Konka (Mt. Gongga / Gongga Shan) is visible if you are lucky.

  • Nanwu Temple / 南无寺
    The most active lamasery in the area, belongs to Gelupa sect of Tibetan Buddhism with about 80 lamas in residence. Set in the west of town on the northern bank of the river, it offers good views of the valley.

  • Erdaoqiao Hot Srping / 二道桥温泉
    5km north of town, a good place to relax and blow away your weariness from long journey. Reachable by taxi for Y8.

  • Mogecuo Lake / 木格措湖
    Also called "Wild Man's Sea" 野人海, 26km north of the town up the Yala Valley.

    It is one of the highest alpine lakes of northwestern Sichuan at an elevation of 3700m, featuring a combination of snow-capped mountains, lakes, hot springs, virgin forests, and rare species. Azaleas bloom amid the green grass covering the slopes, which are fed by gurgling springs.

    The autumn is one of the highlights of the year. When the sun is setting, the atmosphere becomes intoxicating, the profound silence broken only by the rippling sound of the lake water and the chirping of birds.

    Getting there-take public buses from Kangding city or charter a taxi for Y150~Y200 for round trip, incl. hours' waiting. Or ,check the Kangding Tour Service to find out if they organize any trek there.

    From Mogecuo, you can either return to the city or take a 2-day trek passing through the south flank of Zhara Latse mountain to Tagong...

    Admission fee: Y128

Tips & Reminders
Take particular care when wandering around Paomashan and try to avoid trekking on your own (a British tourist was murdered there in year 2000 ).

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