9 Days: Chengdu-Pandas-Kangding-Tagong-Garzi-Palyul-Dzongsar-Dege-Yilung-Chengdu
This popular itinerary begins and ends in Chengdu and visits Kham, the most geographically diverse region of Tibet and also culturally distinct from Amdo and Central Tibet. Kham has many thriving monasteries and cultural institutions. Historically, it has held steadfastly to its sovereignty and today, it is known for its "lively" culture.
After visiting the world famous Panda Nature Reserve not far from Chengdu, you will begin your journey to Kham viewing landscapes of exceptional beauty, interspersed with opportunities for interacting with Tibetans and experiencing cultural specialties such as riding yaks and horses. If you’re interested, home-stays can be easily arranged in Kham.
We can also meet you at the Chengdu airport and bring you to your hotel and if want to spend a few days in Chengdu before leaving for Kham, we can help you find some things to do in Chengdu according to your preferences.
Day 1: We will meet you at your hotel in Chengdu. You’ll be travelling in a SUV. We will drive to Kangding (aka Dartsedo), the capital of Kham, via Wolong Giant Panda Nature Reserve in Beifeng Xia where there are more 80 pandas. Hotel in Kangding. (4-star hotel available)
Day 2: Drive to Tagong (aka Lhagang), one of the holiest places in Kham where there is famous statue of Lord Buddha. Visit Tagong Monastery, explore the town and enjoy the vistas of the famous grasslands. Home-stay or hotel in Tagong.
Day 3: Drive to Garzi (aka Ganzi), the biggest city in Kham. We will pass through several small towns and you will enjoy the agricultural and nomadic landscapes. Home-stay or hotel in Garzi (4-star hotel possible).
Day 4: Drive to Palyul (aka Peyul) Monastery, founded in the 17th century and one of the six great monasteries of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It may also be possible to visit Yachen Gar, the second largest Buddhist institute in Kham. Home-stay or simple hotel.
Day 5: Drive to Dzongsar and visit Dzongsar Monastery, a Sakya institution founded in the 13th century. Dzongsar was one of the biggest Buddhist colleges in Tibet but was razed to the ground in the 1960's. Sponsored by the current throne holder, the college has now been re-established. Guest house.
Day 6: Drive to Dege (aka Derge), a foremost cultural treasure of Tibet and often regarded as the heart of Kham. Visit the Dege Parkhang (Printing House), built in 1729. Today, it remains a thriving center devoted to the printing and preservation of Tibetan literature and houses the largest collection of Tibetan woodblocks in the world. The temple contains original frescoes. Hotel.
Day 7: Drive to Garzi via Yilung Lhatso, a sacred glacial lake (4,110 m) and one of the most beautiful in all Tibet. Yilung is also a natural reserve with 176 species of wild animals, including the snow leopard, various birds and much flora. Casual easy walking and picnics! See the holy hill of Tamdrin, the Horse-Necked Buddha. Home-stay or hotel in Garzi (4-star hotel available).
Day 8: Drive to Serta county and visit the unqiue and famous Larung Gar. If this is not possible, then we will drive to Danpa, a small village in the Gyarong Beauty Valley with fascinating ancient stone watch towers. Hotel or home-stay.
Day 9: Return to Chengdu to the hotel of your choice.