Yading Travel Guide, Sichuan
Yading, the "Shangri-La" discovered by Joseph Rock in 1928, is renowned for the 3 holy peaks, which were blessed in the 8th century by Buddha Padmasambhava of projecting his divine light onto the range and naming the 3 elevations after 3 bodhisattvas.
The south peak Jambeyang (or Jampelyang, Yangmaiyong) of 5,958m is the avatar of Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom. The east peak Chanadorje (or Xianuoduoji) of the same height represents Vajrapani , the Bodhisattva of Wrath. The north peak, Chenresig (or Chenrezig, Xiannairi ) of 6,032m, the highest of the trio, symbolizes Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Mercy.
The 3 peaks are the patron saint of the Tibetan. It's said that if a Tibetan pilgrimage to the shrine 3 times in life, he can be blessed with all he desires. Therefore, pilgrimage to this holy range is a long-cherished wish of each Tibetan.
Yading is one of China's most awe-inspiring nature reserves, Tibetan's holy land. Every stunning vista here is celebrated with a gompa, prayer flags or Mani Stones. On this adventurous trip you will take in relatively remote areas of Tibetan culture - small towns reminiscent of the wild west, rolling landscapes characterized by wheat and barley fields and Tibetan houses.
Yading is a paradise for photographers and trekkers.
Sacred peaks / kora treks
When to go?
Getting there & away
The journey from Daocheng to Yading has to be made in 2 parts. Daocheng to Riwa and Riwa to Yading.
First, take a bus or charter a jeep (Y250-300) from Daocheng, about 2hrs to Riwa. From Riwa to Yading(Chong-Gu Temple), make it by chartering a van, riding on a mule (Y60/day with a horseman) or trekking on foot.
Return to Daocheng via the same way, moving on to Litang in the north or to Zhongdian in the south.
- Luorong Pasture Tent-lodge (4180M): cradled in a beautiful valley 12km of the park entrance, offers fantastic views of three sacred mountains. 200 beds, Y40/person, horrible WC.
- Chonggu Lodge(3880M): Y30~50/bed, 3km from the park entrance, 40minutes walk. Just below Chonggu Monastery. It accommodates a max. of 150 persons, with average 20 persons/rm. The lodge supplies plenty of dry blankets. A sleeping bag is necessary as the blankets seem never been washed.
** Chonggu Lodge offers amazing views of Chenresig's north face and Chanadorje's west face.
- Five-colored Lake (4800M): lies beneath the cliff of Chenresig's stunning south face. The lake changes color amazingly from green, bright blue to deep ocean blue upon light conditions.
- Milk Lake (4600M): A glacier-fed lake. Glacier running off from Jampelyang gives the water its striking bright green color. The best view can be gained if you follow the main trail along the north shore of the lake and climb up to the col in the west.
Both Milk Lake and Five-color Lake are situated at the saddle between Jampelyang and the south face of Chenresig, with Chanadorje standing at the east range. It is the second place to admire all of the 3 sacred peaks. Although the view of Jampelyang is less impressive than that of in Luorong Pasture, both lakes offer breathtaking views of Chanadorje and Chenresig.
It takes three hours to hike from Luorong Pasture to Milk Lake. Five-color Lake is hidden behind a steep slope, 150m higher than Milk Lake beneath Chenresig's south face. Count 30 minutes to reach it from Milk Lake. No clear trails. Follow the direction of Tibetan praying flags hanging above the slope.
- Pearl Lake (4000M) - nestled in the beautiful upper valley of Chenresig's north face, accessed by a 45-minute walk from Chonggu Lodge.
- Chonggu Si [Chonggu Monastery,3880M]
A small monastery built 700 years ago in Yuan Dynasty, provides a spectacular view of Chenresig's north face.
- Luorong Pasture (4180M)
Located in an enchanting valley between the east face of Chenresig and the west face of Chanadorje. Jampelyang, 'a truncated pyramid' claimed by Joseph Rock, rises almost 2000 meters at the upper end of the valley. It is the first place in the Reserve where the 3 holy peaks can be viewed.
- Entrance -> Chonggu Lodge -> Pearl Lake / Chonggu Lodge -> Luorong Pasture
If you stay overnight in the park either at Chonggu or Luorong, don't pay wranglers in advance for the next day's journey.
The horseback riding is not necessary if you don't suffer from Yading's high altitude. Leave unnecessary luggage at a hotel in Daocheng. The walk from the entrance to Pearl lake or Luorong Pasture is quite easy.
- Kora - the circuit of Chenresig: Luorong Pasture -> Milk Lake -> Two cols -> Chonggu Lodge.
The trail from Luorong Pasture to Milk Lake is quite steep and narrow. Wranglers are not allowed to rent their horses to tourists due to security reasons. To rent a horse for the circuit, don't ask people working in the Luorong Tent-Lodge, talk to wranglers directly.
**Yading Reserve entrance ticket: Y150
>> Daocheng-Yading Trekking Map
Tips & Reminders
Temperature drops dramatically at night. At dawn travelers get up to admire the sunrise, and will find their camera batteries become stagnant due to the cold temperature.