Mountains and tibetan region of Sichuan in China


Mountains and tibetan region of Sichuan in China



After a first journey in China in April 2013 where I discovered Shanghai and the very beautiful Guilin province, I have decided this time to explore a new area: the SICHUAN.

The Sichuan is a scenic mountainous region, isolated, and quite popular with chinese tourists for holidays, but still little known by the western tourists (probably because it is quite difficult to organize the trip when you do not speak / understand the language).

7 days itinerary

- Day 1: Arrival in ChengDu 
- Day 2: ChengDu tour
- Day 3: Bus from ChengDu to Kangding (around 7 hours)
- Day 4: Kangding - Tagong - Megecuo - Luding
- Day 5: Luding - Hailuogou Glacier (Gongga Mountain) - Red rock park - Luding
- Day 6: Bus from Luding to ChengDu 
- Day 7: Departure

Day 3 : From ChengDu to Kangding

This may take the whole day to get there.
Buses leave from ChengDu train station. Better to leave early in the morning.
The trip duration (approximatively 7 hours) is unreliable. Indeed, after 150 km on the highway, the road starts to become more difficult because going through mountains and the rockfalls are frequent. This actually happened to us during the trip and it took 12 hours instead of 7 to reach Kangding. 

Mountains and tibetan region of Sichuan in China
Stuck few hours on the road

We finally arrived around 11pm...
We didn't really take time to visit Kangding city. At first sight, the city looked to be more a transit point / start point to get around, and I felt that the town offered nothing special (just a lot of landscaping projects like in every small cities in China). 

It is quite easy to find hotels in Kangding.
But watch out, due to her geographical location (close to Tibet), Kangding is an area still under control. Therefore, when you will book your hotel, make sure that it gets used to accommodate foreigners and so, avoid unpleasant surprises on-site.

Day 4: Kangding - Tagong - Megecuo - Luding

Due to our timing, we opted for a tour by car.
It is recommended to choose this type of transportation in order to fully enjoy your trip and mix it with some trekking.
Do not hesitate to ask to the hotel receptionist, he/she will probably know a local person with a car who will be delighted to drive you (and of course make some money). Obviously, the driver is not a guide and communication may be difficult, nevertheless local people know the roads very well and the shortcuts and this avoid to get lost. You can also ask him to stop whenever / wherever you want to take pictures on your way...

From Kangding to Tagong through Zhe Duo Shan / 折多山 (4300m high)
There are 2 different ways to reach Tagong: take the road which lead to Mu Ge Cuo lake (shorter) or choose the west road through Zhe Duo Shan (a bit longer but the splendid landscapes worth this little detour. It is the option we chose by the way). 

On the road... breathtaking scenery! 

Mountains and tibetan region of Sichuan in China

Then, we stop at Zhe Duo Shan (折多山) - 4300 metres altitude, at the top of a hill covered with snow (we are in May).

Mountains and tibetan region of Sichuan in China


Mountains and tibetan region of Sichuan in China

We hit the road to Tagong, accross prairies and beautiful small villages with nomade tibetans with their herd of yaks.
A total escape!

Mountains and tibetan region of Sichuan in China

Mountains and tibetan region of Sichuan in China

Mountains and tibetan region of Sichuan in China

Short stop at Tagong monastery...

Tagong monastery   Tagong monastery

Tagong monastery

Monk's prayers on the mountains...

Monk's prayers on the mountain


Then we have reached the small city of Tagong for lunch, just after visiting a temple located in the city.
Entrance costs : 20 RMB

Temple in Tagong


After the lunch, let's go the Megecuo.

Mountain landscapes again, we do not get tired of it!

Mountains and tibetan region of Sichuan in China

Mountains and tibetan region of Sichuan in China


Megecuo
After buying our entrance tickets (105 RMB), we need to take a shuttle bus located at the park entrance (70 RMB - buy it together with your entrance ticket) to reach the lake.
On the top, you can admire the scenic view and walk back down (or take the shuttle bus).

Megecuo lake

Megecuo Lake 
  
Then we went to Luding by car for overnight stop

Day 5: Luding - Hailuogou Glacier (Gongga Mountain) - Red rock park - Luding

Our driver waited for us in front of our hotel at 8am.
We leave for Hailuogou glacier.

At the glacier (entrance costs : 92 RMB), it is possible to climb higher thanks to the ski lifts (3600m) or stop at the first step to visit the terminal glacier.
We chose to continue with the ski lifts (quite expensive - 150 RMB) and reach the terminal glacier later in the afternoon.

Hailuogou glacier
General map
On the top, the road is well marked for tourists and open to all (even kids).

First stop: glacier n°1 (point of view) - 3421 metres altitude.

Hailuogou glacier


Then we keep going to the glaciers n°2 and n°3 before going back down with the ski lifts.

Hailuogou glacier   Haoluogou glacier


Mountains and tibetan region of Sichuan in China
View of the Glacier n°1 from the ski lifts

After the lunch, let's go to the terminal glacier.
It climbs... Again, the way is marked. The ascent of staircases lasts around 45 minutes or 1 hour before reaching the glacier.

Hailuogou glacier


End of the day: back to our car with our driver (who waited for us almost the entire day).
The common sense would suggested to go back to the hotel (Luding) but it is our last day... and our driver is very nice so we decided to push the road until the red stones national park.

Red stones national park


After this 1 hour detour (which worth it by the way), nous going back to our hotel for our last night.

Mountains and tibetan region of Sichuan in China
on the road on the way back

An amazing and unforgettable experience which, of course needs to be prepared ahead, but which worth it! 
The Sichuan mountains region is definitely a place to visit.

Dream team
The dream team
   


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