Chamdo

Chamdo Travel Guide, Tibet

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Overview

Located in the eastern part of Tibet, bordering on Sichuan, Yunnan and Qinghai, Chamdo prefecture features splendid sceneries of sacred mountains and holy lakes of the Buddhism, Hinduism and the indigenous religion-Bon. There are also sites and ancient monasteries, buildings, steles, such as the Chambaling Monastery, Kanuo Ruins in Chamdo. The rich folk customs, religious culture and local festivals are still active today.

Chamdo is the cradle of the Khamba culture, the most characteristic and the most vigorous part in the Tibetan culture. There are the Tibetan Buddhism and the rich Khamba folk customs, such as the residential housing, the costumes, weddings, funerals, bite and sups, and the folk arts.

In Chamdo, there are old folk songs and dance traditions, such as the wild and vigorous Gorchom circle dance, the lithe and graceful Shinze dance, Repa dance (a type of Tibetan performing art, combining songs, dances, acrobatics and story telling), and the mysterious masked Chiangmu dance. People celebrate various traditional festivals, such as the Festival of the Ritual, when devotional people walk around the holy mountains, and the
Horse Racing Festival.

There are many villages which specialized in painting, woodcarving, spinning and weaving, and making gold and silver objects. What's more, Chamdo is also famous for its handicrafts and carvings dating back to ancient times.

Get in & out

Chamdo is the gateway between Sichuan and Tibet. The prefecture is linked with other parts of Tibet, as well as Yunnan, Sichuan and Qinghai provinces through 3 national highways and Bangdag Airport.

By Bus
The 3 national highways are G317, the northern route of the Sichuan-Tibet Highway, G318, the southern Sichuan-Tibet route, and G214, the Yunnan-Tibet Highway. Chamdo is around halfway between Chengdu and Lhasa.

There are 2~3 buses running between Chengdu and Lhasa via Chamdo. Buses from Chengdu to Chamdo depart from both the Xin Nanmen Bus Station and Chamdo Hotel (No. 3, Wuhouci Heng
Street, Chengdu). It takes 4 days to get to Lhasa.

Besides, there are buses running between Chamdo and Markam/Zayul. The local travel bureau occasionally arranges for tourist buses to Lhasa. For the passengers are mainly tourists,
the buses don’t run during nights,the journey takes 5~6 days for around Y280.

If there aren’t any regular coaches, it is advisable to hitchhike a ride,there are trucks running from Lhasa to Markam or Chengdu. Since most of the trucks call at the passenger transportation station, you can directly go there and bargain with the driver.

Roughly, the fare from Chamdo to Lhasa is Y100~150, to Markam is Y60~80 and to Chengdu is Y100~150.

By Air
Bangdag Airport, at an elevation of 4,300m, is the highest airport in the world and can

now handle jumbo jets. Flights between Chengdu/Lhasa and Bangdag airports have been in operation.

Chamdo town is 128km away from the airport. All the flights arrive before noon, and the return flight to Chengdu departs 1hr after landing at Chamdo airport.

Chamdo Civil Aviation Ticket Office: 0895-4821004.

Lodging

Chamdo Bus Station Inn - Y40~50/sgl room, Y25/dbl,shared facilites  Add.: No.2, East Street, Tel.0895-4823294

Attractions

  • Chambaling Monastery /强巴林寺

    Founded in 1444 by one of Tsong Khapa's disciples. The monastery usually kept a close relationship with past dynasties. It still has a brass seal granted to its abbot by Emperor Kangxi. Well preserved, Chambaling has hundreds of statues of Buddhas and great adepters, thousands of square meters of murals, and magnificent Thangkas, which represent the highest artistic level in kham.

    The most famous feature of the monastery is its religious dancing, which is characterized with ferocious and living masks, elegant postures, gorgeous costumes and grant scenes.

    Admission Fee:     Y 35

    Get there - 20 minutes' walk or Y5 by Taxi.  For a walk. suggest you start from the square opposite to Changqing Street in Chamdo Town, and then walk 10 minutes up along the stiff mountain road to the gate of Chambaling Monastery.

  • Kanuo Ruins / 卡诺遗址

    Located in Kanuo Village, 12km southeast of Chamdo town. Lantsang River and Kanuo River dissect the place into laddered terraces. Located at the forth terrace at the west bank of the Lantsang River, the ruins are close to Kanuo river to the south, Zilongla Mountain to the north, and Kanuo village to the west.

    The Ruins mainly includes stone tools of tossing, cutting, smashing, striking, scraping , grinding, digging,etc. Adornments such as loops, beads and bracelets as well as fictile, corns and animal bones were also found.

    Archeologists’ work shows that the Ruins dated back 4000 to 5000 years. Kanuo Ruins was named after the village Kanuo, which refers to “castle” in Tibetan language.

    The whole ruins, except the east part (damaged at an earlier time), have been excavated. The excavation was of great importance to research the early history of Tibet and the Sino-Tibet relationship. Because of the importance of the ruins to scientific research, Kanuo Ruins was ranked the municipality-level relics site.

    Admission Fee:     Y 100

    Getting there - take the minibus to the Cement Factory for Y3. A taxi ride costs Y15~25

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