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An Undiscovered Back Road to Tibet - A CBP Journey
CBP 2005. Back to:Itineraries, Trek, Destionations, Tibet

In early 2005, I spent weeks collecting information on the fascinating eastern roads toTibet for the next trip. The south and north Sichuan-Tibet Highway, the Yunnan-Tibet road via Zhongdian and Deqin are three popular overland routes from the east. But I was lured by an unknown backcountry footpath marked on a map that links the less traveled Nujiang Gorge in Yunnan to the unknown Yuchu River Gorge that open an outlet to access Zogong on the east Tibet Highway.

This back road winds through the magnificent Nujiang Gorge (the upper reaches of the Salween) in Yunnan's remote western borderland with (to) Myanmar, and touches the mysterious land of Tibetís extreme southeast. Part of the road meets the footpath of Sacred Kawa Karpo Kora, and another part of the road belongs to the legendary ancient Tea-Horse Road.

Despite the lack of information on this road, I sensed that it could not be a perilous or desolate route. In a sparsely populated region without any motor-roads for modern vehicles, this back road remains an important passage for local people to access the outside world by foot with their horses and mules.

With the help of local people I believed that I should be able to make this journey and discover the hidden gems.

I set out from Kunming on April 26, visited the fabulous Nujiang Gorge in Yunnan and trekked 7 days on this back road to Tibet Enroute I visited indescribably beautiful places on the east Tibet highway such as Rawu, Bomi, Yarlong Tsangpo Gorges and finally arrived in Lhasa on May 18.

No other regions in China can boast as much diversity and attractions as this east Tibetan area, and its time-wrap appeal is irresistible.

Map: China Discovery - Journey 2005

1. Yunnan: Kunming to Bingzhonglou.
Attractions: The Nujiang Gorge, Bingzhonglou.

2. Yunnan to Tibet: Bingzhonglou to Cawarong - Trek with the horse caravan into Tibet.

3. Tibet: Cawarong to Zogong
Trek: Back Road to Tibet.

4. Tibet: Zogong to Lhasa by truck and bus.
Attractions: Rawu & Lhagu, Pai, Yarlung Tsangpo Gorge & Mt Namchak Bawa.


Related article: Roads to Tibet.

Written by CBP in August 2006.


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