Trek to Metok
Metok (Motuo) Trekking Guide, Tibet
A trek to Metok, the mystic Lotus Land hidden the Yarlong Tsangpo Canyon and the last county inaccessible by vehicles in China, is undoubtedly crowned the No.1 challenging route in the country.
About Metok:Pls click Metok
Best season to trek:October
Duration: 10~12 days
Access: Lhasa->Bayi->Pai Village
Starting: Songlinkou, Pai
Ending: Pomi (Bomi)
Route & Map
Pai-> Songlinkou-> Duoxiongla-> Lage-> Hanmi-> Ani Bridge-> Beibeng-> Metok->113K-> 108K-> 80K-> 62K-> Galongla Pass-> Bomi
Remark: The location name of 80K,113K...means the distance from Bomi to Metok along the road.
D1: Pai to Songlingkou [18km]
Pai: a small village on the south bank of Yarlung Tsangpo, is memorized as the springboard of the harsh trek to Metok. Pai is also the Transfer station of supplies to Metok. All supplies are transported to Pai by trucks from Lhasa or Bayi, then carried by manpower to Metok through the harsh road. Pai is the last station for the trekkers to restock their supplies for the trek.
Porters/guides should be hired in Pai for around Y15-20/kg. Lodging in simple wooden houses cost Y10-20/night. A few Sichuan and Muslim resataurants around supply pricy but basic food. The distance between Pai and Songlinkou can also be covered by truck if you want to save energy for the upcoming hardships.
D2: Songlikou-> Duoxiongla Path-> Lage(Nage) [20km]
It's very hard to cross Duoxiongla Mt. at an elevation of 4221m, you need not only be adjusted the the altitude, but also be prepared for the changing weather and uncertain raod condition ahead. You may experience 4 seasons in only one day from the severe cold to the subtropical jungle, the landscapes vary in different climate zone.
The path is paved with stones in abrupt slope from 1000m to 4000m. It takes about 3 hours to cross the Duoxiongla Pass. Colorful pray flags flick here, just like in the other Tibetan mountain areas.
It's very cold in the pass, trekkers are recommend put on warm clothes in advance and stay less time here. To avoid danger, the pass should be traversed before 1pm, as the weather usually changes quickly to cloudy and foggy after noon time, followed with rains and snows. It's easy to get lost for even an expeirenced guide in the terrible circumstances.
Downhill path winds along small streams and gullies, slippery. It takes around 2hrs from the pass to the Lage camp.
Lage is a basic reception station consisting of a few wooden houses, providing accomodations to the trekkers. Lodging is around Y10/night, biscuits and fast noodles available sometimes.
D3: Lage-> Dayandong(Big Cave)-> Hanmi [30km]
Difficult journey continues along the narrow stone path in the jungle, accompanied by attacking leechs all the way to Hanmi, which is the horrible "Leech Zone". The condition will be worse in rain, with more slippery path and leechs. Try to keep balance of yourself, in case you don't have a crutch, use a branch instead. Leechs are less active in fine days.
Hanmi is a loding station similar to Lage.
D4 Hanmi-> Laohuzui (Tiger Mouth)-> Ani Qiao(Ani Bridge) [15km]
The road starting from Hanmi is narrow and steep in some parts, especially at Tiget mouth, a path excavated along the rocky cliff, with a terrain of steep valley dotted by a few waterfalls, which is the most dangerous part of the Metok trek. Walking here is as dangerous as in a tiger's mouth, hence comes the name. Trekkers should be highly concentrated and cautious with every step.
The journey is fairly short comparing to that of the previous days, which can be finished within 5 hours. But due to the harsh road, it's still quite challengeable, spiritually and physically.
A muddy road after Tiger Mouth leads to Ani Qiao, around 2 hrs walk. There are 2 lodgings at the end of the bridge run by Menba villagers, offering connective wooden beds for Y10/bight. If you don't like the way they cook, you can cook by yourself at the cost of paying a little facilities usage fee. The sights around is not bad, you may want to stay here for a one-day rest.
D5 Ani Bridge-> Jiefangdaqiao(Liberation Bridge-> Beibeng [23km]
The walk along the river is also a hard journey, with endless steep slopes waiting for you ahead. After the No.2 Brige, there is a crossroad hugging another path starting from Dexing. Though closer than Beibeng to Metok, the road is much harsher. We recommend to take the Beibeng->Metok path.
A long uphill trekking after the Liberation Bridge, it sees the Beibeng village seat at the top. The only middle school of Metok is located here. Lodging available at Beibeng Zhaodaisuo, a hostel run by the Beibeng village committee. Y10-20/night, beers and snacks available.
Reminder: Try to avoid eating in the Menba and Luoba villagers' homes, as people of the 2 ethnic minorities are good at poisoning the food or drink, which is part of the tradition.
D6 Beibeng-> Metok(Yarang) [30km]
Along a gentle path, 9~10 hours of not-so-hard walk from Beibeng leads you to Metok, the last Pure Land featuring the pinnacle of one's faith. Situated on a mountaintop platform beside the Yarlung Tsangpo, Metok is sorrounded by plowlands, forests, clouds and fog, looks like a dreaming fairyland.
Lodging at Metok County Hotel(Xianhaodaisuo) in the same yard as the county seat is one of the few choices, Y15-20/night. There are 2 Sichuan restaurants in town offering pricy food, Y35/meat, Y15/veg. Price in Metok is commonly higher than outside due to the transportation inconvenience.
D7 Explore Motek - Renchinpong Si is the largest and most famous temple in Metok. Located to the east of the village with a history dated back 300 years, the temple houses Buddha Padmasambhava. A walk to the temple takes around 4 hours along an uphill road full of fierce leechs.
D8 Metok-> 113K-> 108K [32km]
A long walk on a path frequented by dropping stones and collapse. The safer way is to follow the former trekkers' footprints. Watch the stones on your head! especially the collapse spots 2~3km around 113K, irregularly-shaped big stones drop from time to time, some collapsed parts of the road are connected with round wood, where you need to walk through quickly but carefully.
Both 113K and 108K are reception stations with lodging. There are 2 directions from 108K, one is to Pailong, another is to Bomi.
D9 108K-> 80K [28km]
Marching along the Galong Tsangbu River is the most adventurous part of the trek, with a severely damaged road full of landslides and collapse. One hour before arriving 80K, the streams splash may wet your clothes. Villages are seen at 100K, where you can have a short rest and refresh.
D10 80K->62K->Bomi via Galongla Mt. [46km]
The walk is along a fairly good road and the journey is much easier. Mt. Galongla, at an elevation of 4700m, has rains and snows even in summer. Galong village is at the foot, with Galong Temple housing the Fingerprint of Buddha Padmasambhava/莲花生大师手印. A few monks look after the monastery. An inhumation site nearby is decorated with white pray flag, waving at high. After crossing Galongla Pass, it comes Bomi, the ending point of the trek.
If you are so tired of walking, you can also wave for a truck to Bomi at 80K, where the road from Bomi to Metok ends. A supply transfer station is located in the small village, just like the one in Pai, where the trek starts.
Reminders on Necessities
- Anti-slip shoes with uppers, raincoat, warm coat, sunglass, sunglow, flashlight or torch, lighter, waterproof packing bags,adhesive tapes. Medicines for altitude sickness, cold, stomachache, injury, insect or snake bites,etc.
- Tent is almost useless on this route, as it's hard to find out a good place to camp, but a sleeping bag is very helpful, for warming and sanitation.
- Leg wrappings is highly necessary to keep out leech, viper and poisonous insects. Shorts should be definitely avoided.
Trekking Permit: To enter Pai and Metok, you need have a special permit, which can be applied at the Military Police Office of the Bayi Town. The office is open from Monday to Friday. For further details, pls click Permits (MUST READ)