Great Shangri-La Adventure Route, Yunnan & Sichuan
Description: Follow Joseph Rock's adventure route, to explore the stunning landscapes and discover the mystic Tibetan culture in southwest China.
Location: Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet
Best Season: Sept.~Oct.
Route A - Yunnan to Sichuan
Starting: Lijiang, Ending: Chengdu
Lijiang> Tiger Leaping Gorge> Zhongdian> Deqin> Zhongdian> Xiangcheng> Daocheng> Yading>Daocheng> Litang> Xinduqiao> Kangding> Hailuogou> Chengdu
Route B - Sichuan to Yunnan to Tibet
Starting: Chengdu; Ending: Lhasa
Chengdu> Hailuogou> Kangding> Xinduqiao> Litang> Daocheng> Yading> Daocheng> Xiangcheng> Zhongdian> Deqin> Mamkam> Zogong>Bongda> Baxoi> Ranwu > Bomi> Nyingchi> Bayi> Lhasa
Itinerary of Route A: pls refer to Kunming to Chengdu
Itinerary of Route B
D1-2：Chengdu to Kangding (360km)
Kangding is the county seat of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, well-known throughout China for a popular Kangding Love Song. The stunning scenery in the vicinity consists of snowy mountains, sweeping grasslands, glaciers and monasteries, as well as its unique Khampa charm. It’s also the traffic hub of west Sichuan and the gateway to Tibet.
Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Station has 2 daily buses to Kangding departing at 06:30 and 16:00.
D3：Kangding to Xinduqiao(83km)
Xinduqiao(3100m) features plateau pasture scenery of rolling chain of mountains, river valleys dotted with poplars, grassland, Tibetan villages. It's renowned as "the paradise of photographers", offering seasonal beauty, especially in the autumn.
D4-5: Xinduqiao to Daocheng via Litang (350km)
Located in the southwest border of Sichuan at an average elevation of 3800m, Daocheng is full of discovery of primitive Tibetan villages, Buddhism monasteries and pastoral scenery brought by the rolling landscapes.
Attractions: Hongcaodi(Red Grassland) / Xiongdeng Temple / Bangpu Temple / Rewu Temple / Konkaling Temple... For more details, pls click Daocheng
Wave for a Chengdu/Kangding to Daocheng bus. In case no seat, you can take a ride to Litang(217km) first, then get tranferred to Daocheng. Thus you may need an overnight in Litang.
D6: Daocheng>(77km)Riwa> (30km)Yading
Take a bus or charter a van(Y250-300/jeep) from Daocheng, about 2hrs journey 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.
D7-8 Explore Yading
The "Shangri-La" discovered by Joseph Rock in 1928, is renowned for the 3 holy peaks - Jambeyang and Chanadorje of 5,958m, Chenresig of 6,032m. Chong-gu Temple is the lodging base for travelling in the range. A small kora around takes 2~3days.
Main Attractions: the 3 Holy Peaks / Five-colored Lake / Milk Lake /Pearl Lake / Chonggu Temple / Luorong Pasture
D9-10: Yading> (107km) Daocheng> (112km) Xiangcheng > (220km) Zhongdian
Back to Daocheng along the same way as you come in and get transferred Zhongdian. The direct bus from Daocheng to Zhongdian only leaves with a certain number of passengers. The alternative is to get to Sangdui 28km northwest of Daocheng and hitchhike a Xiangcheng-bound bus at Sangdui. There is only one bus from Xiangcheng to Zhongdian leaves early morning at around 7am, 12hrs / Y50.
D11: Explore Zhongdian
Zhongdian is the base of the Shangri-La tour, also the transportation, cultural and commercial center of the Diqing region.
Attractions: Bita Lake / Napa Lake / Shudo Lake / Songzangling Monastry; See more on Shangri-La(Zhongdian)
D12-14: Zhongdian to Deqin (180km)
Frequent bus in the morning, 5 hours journey. Benzilan and Dongzhulinsi are on the way, where the driver may allow a short stop.
Attractions in Deqin: Meli Snow Mt./ the Kora from Feilai Temple to Hot Spring, Yubeng Village & its sacred waterfall, Mingyong Glacier, Lotus Temple.
D15: Deqin to Mamkham(Mangkang) (254km)
The back door from Yunnan to Tibet is along adversely the Lancang River. Deqin to
Mangkang bus departs 8:00am (Y73). If the passengers are not enough, the service might be cancelled even at the moment when the bus is due to depart. The journey takes 9-10 hours on a harsh road. In case of the cancellation of the direct bus, alternatively you can take the Deqin to Yanjing bus at 8:30am(Y35,5hrs), then get transferred from Yanjing to Markham(4hrs).
The road used to be of economic significance in the ancient Tea-Horse Caravan Route. Markham is the intersection of Yunnan-Tibet Highway and Sichuan-Tibet Highway. Overnight in Markham.
Though foreigners are officially not allowed to enter Tibet this way, some of them did make it these years. We don't recommend you take the risk of being jailed, unless your entry is guaranteed by a travel agency.
To Be Continued...