Yarlong Tsangpo Grand Canyon

Yarlong Tsangpo Grand Canyon Travel Guide, Tibet

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Overview

Yarlong Tsangpo Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon lies in the southeast of Nyingchi Prefecture at the junction of Himalayas, Hengduan Range and Nyainqentanglha.

Originating from a glacier on the northern Himalayas, Yarlong Tsangpo is the highest river on the earth with an average altitude of 4,000m, It runs 2,057km across Tibet and then flows into India, where it's known as Brahmaputra. The River makes a huge turn at Mt. Namchak Bawa. The sharp turn sculpted a gorge of over 5,000m in avg. depth and 495km in length.

The canyon boasts the most abundant and complex mountainous ecological type in the world. From the bottom at some hundred meters above the sea level to the top of the Namchak Bawa Peak (7, 787m), spreads the distinct ecological systems ranging from tropical to systems only seen in Polar Regions.

The light-populated area covers 17,000sqkm with 17 snow-clad peaks above 6,000m. Wet wind from India Plain breeds an Eden of vegetation. The complex and unique terrain and climate makes Tibet a land of wildlife.

In the end of the Great Canyon, Menba and Luoba people have been conducting primitive life for ages. The preservation of their traditional customs and cultures, such as the tribe totems, witchcrafts and religious rituals, is highly recognized as a piece of precious living fossil of archeology.
Yarlung-Tsangpo at Menba village
Yarlung Tsangpo at Pai Transfer Station

Best time to go
May ~ October

Transportation
Lhasa(or Bomi)--> Bayi-->Pai

Step1

Lhasa to Bayi- buses available at east station and long-distance station of Lhasa, starting from 8:00am onward, Y155 /8hrs/470km, along one of the best road in Tibet.

Bomi to Bayi - buses and jeeps available at the Bomi square, Y70/head for bus, Y100/head for jeep

Step 2

Bayi to Pai - direct daily bus from Bayi to Pai starts from the Post Hotel square in Bayi at about 10am, Y50/130km/5~6hrs. Chartering a jeep to Pai costs around Y800.

From Pai to Bayi leaves at 9am every day, which means that one will have to spend at least one night in Pai to explore the sceneries.

There is a checkpoint on the way to Pai. It will be a problem for those who don't have an access permit.

Step 3
Pai to Zhibai  - 12km, only accessible by tractor, Y100/trip(not per head!), or
Pai to Songlinkou - hitchhike or charter a truck, or trekking

*** Zhibai and Songlinkou are both great locations to view the spectacular canyon.

Accommodation
Bayi - Numerous choices of hotels and restaurant in Bayi, but most of the guesthouses are without shower.

Pai - small hostels in the village offering beds from Y10 up,without toilet and shower. Brother's Hostel is recommended. Meals are more expensive than that of in Bayi, counting Y10 for vegetable dish, Y18 for meat.

Trekking: Pls refer to Trek to Metok

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