Known as the last pure land on the blue planet, Sichuan Kham is another sacred place similar to Tibet, while it’s a Tibetan town itself which is outside Tibet. Therefore, we highly recommend you take this 11-day Sichuan Kham Tour to discover the western Sichuan before you proceed into Lhasa.
Explore Tibetan Culture in Sichuan Kham
Welcome to Sichuan Kham! A wonderland that holds countless wonders including stunning natural view, world-famous historical sites, valuable cultural heritage, etc. As for its physical feature, Kham has a rugged terrain characterized by mountain ridges and gorges running from northwest to southeast. Thus, you can feast your eyes with splendid natural beauty along the journey. Basically, the highlight of the tour lies in the Kathok monastery.
In particular, as one of the ix principal (“mother”) monasteries of the Nyingmapa school of Tibetan Buddhism. Historically, The original gompa fell into disrepair and was rebuilt on the same site in 1656 through the impetus of tertons Düddül Dorjé (1615–72) and Rigdzin Longsal Nyingba (1625-1682/92 or 1685–1752). Besides, Kathok Monastery held a reputation of fine scholarship. Honestly, a visit to Kathok Monastery will definitely enhance your travel experience in Sichuan Kham.
Hepo – Tibetan Township
There is a Tibetan township named Hepo in this remote mountainous area isolated from the world. It’s at the base of Trola (Ch Que’ershan) Mountain with an elevation of more than 6,000 meters. Although small, it is highly acclaimed in a region inhabited by Tibetans, because the famous Tibetan knife of Baiyul is produced here. In addition, Hepo Township belongs to Baiyul County. It is a well-known national handicrafts township in the Tibetan region. Besides, there’s a myth saying that it began to produce such ironware’s as spears and knives in the Tang Dynasty.
Day 01: Arrive at Chengdu.
Pick up from air port, transfer to your hotel, verify itinerary with guide and driver and check equipment.
Day 02: Chengdu – Markham.
View spot: Dujiangyan dam . Earthquake site.
Day 03: Barkham – Serda.
View spot: Serda Larung Gar, the largest Tibetan Buddhist institute in the world.
Day 04: Serda – Kangze.
View spot: Larung Gar.
Day 05: Kangze-Baiyul.
View spot: Local monastery.
Day 06: Baiyul-Kathok monastery.
View spot: Kathok monastery.
Day 07: Kathok monastery-Derge.
View spot: Derge Parkhang.
Day 08:Derge – Tawu.
View spot: Tawu traditional old houses street.
Day 09: Tawu- Darted.
View spot: Bamei stone forest, Lhagong grassland and Lhagong monastery.
Day 10: Dartsedo – Chengdu.
View spot: Jasamkha chain bridge or Tibetan Thangkha Art Center.
Day 11: End of the trip
Transfer to airport
What you can expect
Day 01: Arrival in Chengdu
Arrive at Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province, is one of the densely populated areas in China and famous for its Cuisine as well as one of the major gateways to Eastern Tibet through deep and magnificent mountains along the up reaches valleys of the Yangtze River.
Day 02: Chengdu - Barkham (332kms - 2180m)
We drive for 360km to Barkham where the Tibetan Gyarong people and Qiang people live. The city was once one of the ancient Gyarong Tibetan kingdoms and now is a large city full of high-rise apartment buildings. Gyarong is another Tibetan tribe, which is different from Golok and Khampa people. They speak their dialect and maintained unique way of life and culture for centuries. They have their own distinctive costumes. Most of the women wear multi-colored embroidered headscarves and elaborate belts and aprons. In old days, almost every family has its own block-house built with stones, ascending to heights of between 30-60 meters, which kept the powerful sino-Manchu armies at bay for 10 years during 18th century. But now driving on the way, we still can see some of the old towers.
Day 03: Barkham - Drago (Luhuo) (143kms - 3219m)
Drive for 287km to Drago, whole way driving along a beautiful landscape of upper tributaries of the Yangtze River, deep and high gorges, forestry, several mountain passes and grassland where we enjoy real nature. Actually in the town we have nothing to see, just stay here for overnight.
Day 04: Drago – Kangze (97kms - 3500m)
The road along the Zhe-chu River, one of the tributary of the Kangze, a fertile farming land with crops at the bank of the river presenting a good picture at this season. Some time you can see the snow mountain ranges along each side of the road. Kangze was once the largest and most important town in Kham area during the 17th century. After lunch we visit Kangze Gongba which is in town built in 1642 by Mongols. Next morning, about 7:30, we should visit the oldest temple Den Gongba to see a prey ceremony for the local people, a very important and strong protectors’ monastery for the area.
Day 05: Kangtze - Baiyul (245kms - 3505m)
Baiyul, most part of the road are paved already and landscape is fabulous, high snow mountains, clean rivers, forestry and the best grassland view, different designed pray flag’s sites and a very old small monastery is just by the road 40 km approaching to our destination, which is rounded with many sheep skin wrapped pray wheels, magically make you have a feeling of going back several hundred years ago. The atmosphere seems you have experienced different lives in the past few centuries when you walk around them. Nearby there is Mani stones piled up with many died animal’s bones, it is true those animals need to be prayed for ever as they always help people for surviving since human being started. Between 6 to 7 pm, we will arrive at Baiyul, overnight Baiyul Hotel.
Day 06: Baiyul - Kathok (38kms - 4800m)
Driving for one hour to Kathok monastery, it is one of the important and famous monasteries at home and abroad for Nyingmapa believers as many famous scholars and masters graduated from here for centuries. This old and isolated monastery is a really good place for training high-level monks as well as an ideal ground for meditation. There are only a few main Nyingmapa monasteries were left after 17th century. Now there are 5 important Nyingmapa schools and Nyingmapa means the oldest sect: Samye(built in 775 AD), Kathok(1159), Pelyul(1665), Mindroling(1670) and Dzogchen(1684) monasteries. We will be here for two nights to enjoy the special and unique Festivals performed by Katok monk artists. Overnight monastery Hotel
Day 07: Kathok - Derge (82kms - 3270m)
We only drive for 4 hours to Derge, most of the road along the grand up reaches of the Yangtze River Gorges. Tibetan houses and villages standing at the foot of different shapes of high gorges by the Yangtze, under the bright sun shine, the fantastic view with fresh air, the quiet place with only sound from the river will make you hate to leave here. Derge is a charming place which has been giving people wishful thinking to go at home and broad, now still preserve its old traditional way of life in many aspects. The town is located in a nice valley and the Zi-chu, one of the tributaries of the Yangtze River flows across the small town, adding more beauty. We will visit the famous Parkhang Printing House, Gonchen Monastery and a very old Temple of Tangtong Gyelpo was built in memory of Tibet’s first multi-talented bridge-builder, dramatist, engineer and treasure-finder during 11th century. Besides beautiful surroundings, you will be touched by all old monasteries in Derge, arousing your deep imagination of her past. Overnight Derge Hotel
Day 08: Derge – Tawu (290kms - 2900m)
We take another road driving via Kangze to Tawu, we across a wild mountain Tro la pass at 5080m and down to the foot of mountain is the famous holly and one of the most beautiful Lakes Yulong Lhatso, another highlight to see on the way. Afternoon we will drive into the Tawu valley which is one of the most attractive parts of Tibet, the neatly constructed white flat-roofed houses with their horizontal red timbers exuding an air of quite prosperity. The whole journey as well provides you a good change to see so different artistic Tibetan houses from the west to the east in Khampa area.
Day 09: Tawu – Dartsodo (Kangding) (290kms - 2560m)
Drive to Dartsodo once was the main center for the tea-trade between Tibet and China as well as one the five independent kingdoms of Kham. Today Dartsodo is a quite modern city and we come here is just for overnight. But highlight to see is different Tibetan farmers’ houses when driving on the way.
Day 10: Dartsedo - Chengdu (328kms)
Today we climb through hills along the Sichuan-Tibetan highway pass through many small towns, we will drive through the Mt. Erlang tunnel, and we will take a break to visit the Jagsamkha Iron chain Bridge or the famous Tibetan Thangkha Art Center. In Chengdu you can do shopping in Chengdu where many small Tibetan shops and restaurants.
Day 11: End of the tour
Your guide and driver with the private vehicle will see you off to the Chengdu Shuan Liu Airport.