Yading — "The Last Pure Land on Earth"
Crystal clear lakes, beautiful mountains and grasslands, swaying trees and fabulous hot springs — Yading is known for being one of the best-preserved and most primitive natural scenic spots in China. With its pure and amazing plateau scenery, it is called "the last pure land on earth", "the last Shangri-La", and "the holy land in the sun".
- Rich ecological resources and glacial topography
- Kang-ba ethnic customs and mysterious legends
- Riding trips
Echu Mountain 俄初山
It is been called "Picasso's color pallet". Local peoplecall it "Flash Mountain" and regard it as holy. In autumn Echu mountain and the forests around it are all tinged with fall colors, presenting an enthralling view to tourists.
The Three Mountains of God 三大神山
Xiannaiyue, Yangmaiyong, and Xianuoduoji are the names of "the Three Mountains of God". In local customs they are the patron saints of the Tibetan people. It is said that a Tibetan will realize his wishes if he makes pilgrimages three times to these three mountains.
Xiannaiyue snow mountain is the highest of the three, and the fifth highest mountain in Sichuan Province. It is 6,032 meters high. Tourists are attracted by Xiannaiyue’s special glaciated landforms. Yangmaiyong is 5,958 meters above sea level, as is Xianuoduoji. Waterfalls and many pristine lakes dot the harmonious mountain picture.
Gongga Chonggu Temple 贡嘎冲古寺
This temple is the place you must pass by when going to the Three Mountains of God. It is an old temple, originally built 800 years ago in the Yuan Dynasty.
Though the old temple is incomplete, every morning and noon tourists still can see Lamas sitting in meditation, reading from prayer books there. It is an important relic of local religion.
Riding a horse from Yading to Gongga Chonggu Temple is interesting, and takes only about 30 minutes.
Luorong Pasture 洛绒牧场
It is the most popular overnight stop in Yading scenic region. Luorong Pasture is surrounded by the Three Mountains of God, with Gongga River running through and cabins interspersed on it. You might like to camp there.
Tibetan-style houses and temples will also catch your eyes. This is a place where ecology and humans live in harmony.
Wuse Lake and Milk Lake 五色海和牛奶海
These two lakes are close to each other, lying between Xiannaiyue and Yangmaiyong snow mountains. They are both famous for their kaleidoscopic bursts of color under the light of the sun.
Yading Rural District is in Daocheng County, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province (四川甘孜藏族自治州稻城县亚丁乡). It is the core of Shangri-La Ecological Tourist Zone.
Yading is a small town on the eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (in the middle of the Hengduan Mountains). It is about 3,700 meters above sea level.
Daocheng-Yading Scenic Region (稻亚景区) has a plateau climate, with only 4°C as its average annual temperature. The best time for tourism is autumn.
The weather is undoubtedly changeable. You may feel sick in such a high, cold, and dry environment. Keep warm, take more rests, and drink more water. Medicines for altitude sickness, colds and headaches may be needed.
- Kangding County to Yading Town (430 kilometers)
- Fly to Kangding airport and take the airport bus to Kangding Town (48 kilometers). Then take a bus to Yading from Kangding Bus Station (康定汽车站) at 6am (129 yuan).
- Chengdu City to Yading Town (870 kilometers)
- You can buy a bus ticket in Xinnanmen Bus Station, Chengdu City (成都新南门汽车站) for 237 yuan. The bus departs at 10am, and the whole trip takes 22 hours.
The Tourist Center is open to visitors from 7am to 6:30pm. An adult ticket (150 yuan ) is valid for 3 days and includes the sights listed above.
Sight-seeing buses are also offered at the Tourist Center (paid separately).
Bang River and Sela Village
You could hire a bike to get there as it is only 8 kilometers from Daocheng Town. This scenic spot is attractive to photographers.
Bang River runs through Sela, with a boxwood forest and marsh shrubs covering the river sides. You can get stunning images of sunrise and sunset there. People in Sela are local Tibetans, and they will give you a warm reception.
Haizi Mountain Nature ReserveHaizi Mountain is on the way from Litang (理塘) to Daocheng (稻城). Actually, what local people call Haizi is an alpine lake. The 1,145 alpine lakes in this nature reserve contribute to its appellation "Daocheng ancient ice cap".
It is one of the largest sites of quaternary period glacial topography in China. All of the glacial rock basins, glacial valleys, and lakes deserve a visit.
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I updated this article on December 28, 2012
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