“An astonishing happiness welled up in me, but I could
not define it. Everything was so new, so utterly
unprecedented.” -- Maurice Herzog
High land: At an
average elevation of 3800 meters, Daocheng, also called
'Dabpa' in Tibetan, is located in Southwest Sichuan, close to
the border of Northwest Yunnan. Although Daocheng is renowned
for Yading's spectacular mountain scenery, the scenery around
Daocheng is also worth a rating. The attractive
wild river valley and hills hide a number of splendid Tibetan
monasteries, natural sites. Local Tibetan farmers still live
in their own culture and lifestyle.
Map: Around Daocheng.
Glass Lake): A lovely lake fringed by red
bushes, located half
way between Sangdui and Daocheng (see left photo 4).
Rupuchaka Hot Springs: 4km
outside Daocheng. You can go there either by walking or by
taxi. In autumn 2003 when water was in short supply at most
hotels in Daocheng, travelers went to Rupuchaka for a
hot-spring bath. It was reported that many cockroaches were
found in the bathroom. Avoid going there during the night when
cockroaches are extremely active, and can be found everywhere,
even in your clothes and shoes. Believing in Buddhism, local
Tibetans do not bother to eliminate them.
from travelers: " the hot spring 2 km out of town is also
nice, did not see any rats or coackroaches, but i went during
the daytime. the hot spring told me it would be 30Rmb for
a soak but i bargained it down to 20Rmb (or was it offer of 40
and bid of 30? sorry i forgot). The walk out to the hot spring
is also very pleasant if you don't want to take taxi."
Bangpu Si: Built in the
12th century and located 1km north of Sangdui
along the main road. Ticket: Y10.
Zhujie Si: South
of Sangdui, 18km north of Daocheng.
10km northeast of Daocheng, at an elevation of 4105
Rewu Si: South of Daocheng, built on a
slope (see left photo 3).
Gongling Si (Konkaling):
Built in the 15th century and
located 62km south of
Daocheng along the road to Yading. Ticket: Y10.
It is the biggest
monastery in Daocheng.
How to visit: Rent a
car either in Sangdui or in Daocheng. Try to find other
travelers to share the car. Another option is to walk to these
sites except Gongling Si if you have enough time. It must be a
pleasant journey to discover these fabulous monasteries and
hidden Tibetan villages by foot among pastoral scenery.
there: Two options:
Option 1: Chengdu (Alt.
500M) --> Kangding (2500M) --> Daocheng (3800M);
Around 800 km; Minimum 2 days by bus or car.
- Take a bus heading for
Kangding either at Chengdu Tourist Transportation Center
(ex. Xinnanmen bus station) or at North Bus Station in the
morning. (Y97 - Y109).
- Upon arriving at Kangding in the
late afternoon, buy your ticket immediately for the Daocheng
bus. Tickets can be sold out quickly during the peak season.
If you are not tight on schedule, you can stay at Kangding
for one or two days. Visit Mugecuo Lake, Tagong Glassland
and adapt yourself to the altitude.
- Kangding to
Daocheng: 12 hours by bus. Most travelers would feel the
strong effect of high altitude if they come to Daocheng from
Chengdu in two days.
Option 2: Kunming -->
Lijiang --> Tiger Leaping Gorge --> Zhongdian (3300M) --> Daocheng: One of the most fabulous travel routes in
China for independent travelers. If you are adapted to
Zhongdian's altitude, you would have no difficulty in
- Travel from Kunming to
Zhongdian see Zhongdian - Getting there.
- The regular bus connecting Zhongdian to
Daocheng (330km, 12 hours) zigzags in the awesome Shangri-La
Gorge (ex Birang Gorge). However this route is often cut by
- If the direct bus service
between Zhongdian and Daocheng is suspended, take an
alternative route although it looks more complicated:
Zhongdian - Derong - Xiangcheng - Sangdui -
First take a bus from Zhongdian to Derong,
(5 hours) and then find a collective taxi to Xiangcheng
(4 to 5 hours). Stay overnight in Xiangcheng and catch the
morning bus for Sangdui (3.5 hours). From Sangdui, the
friendly owner of Happy Shop can send you to Daocheng by
his own car for Y20 per person.
Derong is located in a sheer
north of Zhongdian. A daily bus leaves Zhongdian for Derong at
9:00am (Y40, 5 hours).
One bus every two days leaves
Derong for Kangding, passing through Xiangcheng, Sangdui, and
Litang. Accommodations: Liangyou Hotel has double rooms from
Y80 to Y120. From the
bus stop, cross the bridge and turn right. (See Map: Derong Town.) Surrounded by sacred
mountains, awesome gorges, high
Derong is a nice place to discover a wild and pristine
Xiangcheng nestles in a beautiful
of terrace fields, dotted with traditional Tibetan farm houses
and splendid monasteries. The surrounding landscape is more
flagrant and peaceful than that of in Derong.
Sangdui: take a daily Kangding bus. Check the departure time
in advance as it is not the same every day!! It takes
three and a half hours for the bus to climb to a col of 4700M
and descend to Sangdui (nearly
Accommodations: Bamushan Hotel has dormitory
rooms, Y30 per bed. A standard double room costs Y150.-.
Xiangcheng is worth a visit. A day tour proposed by a
guide at Bamushan Hotel includes visiting a Tibetan farm house
in a nearby Tibetan village, hot springs, and the fabulous
monastery outside the town. See Xiangcheng Map.
Don't miss the trek information
- Bamu Mountain Hike
Sangdui is a quite, charming Tibetan
village. Ugly modern buildings haven't come up in Sangdui yet.
Don't miss Bangpu monastery, 1km north of Sangdui, along the
enchanting Daocheng River. Don't stay at Sangdui as the only
lodge run by Happy Shop looks awful. Go further to Daocheng
(28km) by the car of Happy Shop.
It's a pity if you return the same way you come. I
recommend to go to Daocheng from Zhongdian and then quit
Daocheng for Litang, Kangding and Chengdu. Daocheng has daily
bus leaving for Kangding. During peak season, a mini bus is
added for Xingduqiao. Both buses pass through Litang where you
can head for west, starting your adventure in Tibet.
Tibetan family-hostels, Pengshongcuo 彭松错 (Tel: 0836-5728581) has gained a
good reputation. This hostel has several double rooms with WC
for Y80. It is located on a street, one hundred meters north
of the bus station, at the same side.
Yadingren Shequ Hotel 亚丁人社区 provides travelers with a lot of
A clean double room without bathroom:
Y50 - Y60. The hotel organizes hiking in Yading Nature
Reserve. They can help organize treks from Yading to Muli or
Yading Hotel 亚丁宾馆: A newly built luxury hotel in
Daocheng. Double room starts from Y220.-. Run by the local
government, the hotel offers a typical Chinese style service.
During my visit in Daocheng in 2003, this was the only hotel
having hot shower in the room.
In September 2003, the town was in a state of chaos.
The city's water and electricity supplies had been cut during
most hours of the day due to a renovation project. Main street
were full of bumps and hollows.
Before Daocheng : Zhongdian, Derong,
Litang, the route to Tibet.
Upon arriving Litang, you can
wait for a bus going west to Batang by the national road 318,
and go further to Markham(Mangkang) in