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West China Photography Tour

Day 1 Arrival in Chengdu
Arrive in Chengdu and then transfer to hotel. If time allows, visit the downtown city. Have Hot-pot (the special food in Sichuan) for dinner.

Day 2 Chengdu - Ya'an - Kangding (2300M) 377KM
Drive for 6 hours from Chengdu to Kangding, what the Chinese now call it. Dartsedo, the meeting place - of two rivers, and of traders - is what the Tibetans have always called it. Closed off until recently, few westerners have heard the call of her river and the rugged beauty of her mountains. This small city, at 8,000 feet on the steppes of Eastern Tibet, was  used to be the frontier between ancient China and mysterious Tibet. You will visit the Kangding Anjue Monastery, a Tibetan-style temple typically. You can also enjoy the scenery of the residence of west Sichuan.

Day 3 Kangding - Yajiang - Litang (4014M) 306KM
Today, drivie another 5 hours crossing the Mt. Zheduo (4298M), and Xinduqiao, a town itself is nothing more than a stopover but the area between Mt. Zheduo and Xinduqiao features plateau pasture scenery of rolling chain of mountains, river valleys dotted with poplars, grassland, Tibetan villages. It's renowned as "the paradise of photographers", offering seasonal stunning views, especially in the autumn. Thereafter, you may drive to pass Mt. Gao'ersi (4500m) and Mt. Jianziwan (4658m), and drive to Maoya Plain. 

Day 4 Litang - Batang (2600M) 208KM
Litang is a samll city located at an titleitude of 4,014 meters, which is 400 meters higher than Lhasa and makes Litang one of the world's highest cities. It has a population of 47,500 people (estimated in 2001) which mainly consists of Tibetans. Litang is of great importance to Tibetan people, mainly because it is the birth place of several Buddhist front figures, including Kelzang Gyatso (the 7th Dalai Lama) and Tsultrim Gyatso (the 10th Dalai Lama). Visit the grand Kerl Monastery - the biggest Tibetan Gelukpa Sect monastery in the Kham area. Drive 187 km (about 4 hours or even more since the road is not in good condition.) to Batang and visit the Kangning Monastery in the afternoon.

Day 5 Batang - Markam (3780M) - Zogang (3800M) 268KM
Depart in the morning, cross Jinsha River and then arrive at Markam (about 4 hours ride), the first Tibetan town after entering Tibet from Sichuan Province. Continue to cross over pass of Mt. Lawu (4338M), Lanchangjiang River Bridge, and Dongdala Mt. Pass (5008m), a gently mountain scattered with ranches, villages along the winding road up to sky. Viewed from this mountain pass, the highest point of Sichuan-Tibetan road, ranges abroad demonstrate spectacular character of the nature. After almost 10 hours driving, arrive at Zogang at around 18:00. Howerer, there are many beautiful villages along the road for your phogography.

Day 6 Zogang - Bangda - Baxoi (Paksho) - Ranwu (Raog) (3850M) 266KM
The sceneries are special from Zogong to Bangda. After Bangda, we begin to cross over Mt. Nujiangshan (4610m) with dazzling zigzagging mountain roads. Arrive at Ranwu in the afternnon (about 16:00) after passing the stunning Jinshan River Porge. Then take a walk around Wu Town, a small Tibetan village which is most famous for the beautifull Ranwu Lake situated at the elevation of 3850 meters. The Ranwu Lake, the largest in southeast of Tibet, is a perfect blending of the Swiss Alps snow peaks and glaciers and the streams in Jiuzaigou (a pretty town in central China). The lake is surrounded by many scenic highlights, e.g. the Gangrigabu Snow Mountain in the southwest, the Azhagongla Glacier in the south and the Bosula Peak in the northeast. The melted snow and ice supply the lake with sufficient water and are also the source of many rivers such as Yaluzhangbu. The green grassland around the lake, the sky-blue lake water and the white snow mountains constitute a very pretty watercolor. 

Day 6 Ranwu - Bomi (Pome) (3000M) 127KM
Visit the Laigu village, the Lare and Wa villages by the Ranwu Lake side in the morning. Drive to Bomi in the afternoon along the nice road. This is the most beautiful day along this route which is paved with a combination of coal, sand and stones. From Ranwu to Bomi, there are lush forests, snow-mountains, crystalline lakes, peacefull villages under the bright sunshine and beautiful sky. It is the real Shangri-la in the world! If you want to witness the famed Midui Glacier, youll need to walk for about 2 hours (one way).

Day 7 Bomi - Tongmai - Bayi (Nyingchi) (3000M) 233KM
Go through the virgin forest, clime over Mt. Segila that is about 4702m above the sea level. During the spring and the summer time, the mountain is covered with azaleas and it is also the best place to see the Mount Namjagbarwa (See: Map of Namjagbarwa). Today's driving should be somewhat challenging since some sections of the road are rough when passing the Natural Barrier which begins at Tongmai and ends at Dongju. It is one of the most difficult sections along Sichuan-Tibet way with a distance being 24km. However, wilderness lovers can feel the excitement here. After the Natural Barrier, the road becomes better gradually. Arrive at Bayi in the late afternoon, a town called "Heavenly Place".

Day 9 Bayi - Minlin - Namshan (3200M) 240KM
Move along Yarlung Zangbo River and experience the deepest gorge in the world-Yarlung Zangbo Gorge (5383m), Due to the mild temperature and lush forests, more than 80 percent of the Tibetan mediccal herbs are produced in Minlin, among which the most famous is glossy ganoderma, a kind of mycophyta believed to have the effect of bringing the dying back to life. Then visit Nanyi village, which belongs to Luoba minority.

Day 10 Namshan - Gyaca - Tsedang (3400M) 230KM
Today's challenge is cossing the Gyaca Mountain with an elevation of 5088m after getting to Gyaca. In Tibetan language, Gyaca Mountain means a "mountain which even a crow can not fly over". For the rest of distance, enjoy the beautiful scenery of highland forest valley. Before getting to Tsedang, the origin of Tibetan culture and religion, visit Yumbu Lakang Palace, a reconstruction of Tibet's oldest palace originally established on this site by the founder of the Yarlung dynasty - Niechi Zanpu (Nyatri Tsenpo) during the 1st century BC and became a Gelugpa monastery during the reign of the fifth Dalai Lamaa after Songtsen Gampo moved the capital to Lhasa in the 7th century. Will also visit Qamchu Monastery depending on the time.

Day 11 Tsedang - Lhasa (3650M) 210KM
Visit Samye Monastery in the morning. Located in the north of Yarlung Tsangpo River and hold in the arms of mountains, it is the oldest monastery of Tibet (8th century). The stele hanging on the entrance to the main temple shows that king Trisong Detsen proclaimed Buddhism to be the state religion in 779. The monastery complex consists of several buildings and the arrangement reflects the Buddhist conception of the structure of the universe. Meru, the world mountain in the center of the universe, is represented in the building of great hall, around which there are 4 halls representing the 4 continents swimming in the world sea. Head for Lhasa in the afternoon (3 hours). See the sights of Yarlung Zangbo River.

Day 12 Lhasa Hotel
In the morning, drive to visit the Potala Palace which was originally constructed in 637 by Songtsen Gampo, the first king of the united Tibet. Later, it was expanded and served as the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas as well as the religious-political nexus of traditional Tibet. The crowds of pilgrims, innumerable magnificent murals, Buddhist statues, scriptures and rare treasures titleogether create a dense religious and art atmosphere that impresses every visitor. In the afternoon, visit Jokhang monastery, the center of the Tibetan Buddhism and the sacred land of Buddhist followers where thousands of pilgrims come for worship every day. The temple, built in 647, is the earliest wood-and-masonry structure still existing in Tibet. Walk on the Barkhor street surrounding Jokhang, a big free market with its prolific stalls selling the local specititleies.

Day 13 Lhasa Hotel
In the morning, drive to the suburb of Lhasa to visit Drepung monastery, the sacred land of Gelug Sect, which was established in 1416. And it is used to be the residence of the second, third and fourth Dalai Lama. Continue to visit Sera monastery which was set up in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called "the court of wild rose". Today there are still 200 lamas living there. IAfterwards, visit Norbulinka, the Summer Palace of previous Dalai Lamas.

Note: If your time is limited, and you may choose to drive only one way from Chengdu to Lhasa or from Lhasa to Chengdu, then you take flight for the other way and we will arrange the Chinese driver to drive the cars back. Please feel free to contact us for the details.

Day 14 Lhasa - Chengdu Hotel
Leave Lhasa, airport send off

Day 16 Chengdu - Departure
Airport send off in Chengdu

Price: USD3540 per person for a gourp of 2-6 persons

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