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Yading is a reserve and a mountain sanctuary in Daocheng County in western Sichuan Province. It is the core of Shangri-La Ecological Tourist Zone.
Yading Town 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.
Yading National Reserve is known for being one of the best-preserved and most primitive natural scenic spots in China. With its pure plateau scenery, it is sometimes called "the last pure land on earth", "the last Shangri-La", and "the holy land in the sun”.
The crystal clear lakes, beautiful mountains and grasslands, swaying trees, and fabulous hot springs are the main attraction in Yading Village (亚丁).
When you visit Yading, there are four major attractions:
Echu Mountain has been called "Picasso's color pallet". Local people call it "Flash Mountain”, and regard it as holy. In autumn Echu mountain and the forests around it are all tinged with fall colours, presenting an enthralling view to visitors.
If you are in Ganzi, Sichuan and like touring the mountains, Kangding is one location that has a lot of activities. You can go camping and experience mountain festivals and see ponies grazing on the high-altitude meadows.
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 realise 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. Xiannaiyue’s special glaciated landforms attract tourists. Yangmaiyong is 5,958 meters above sea level, as is Xianuoduoji. Waterfalls and many pristine lakes dot the harmonious mountain picture.
You will pass the ruins of this old temple when going to the Three Mountains of God. It was built 700 years ago in the Yuan Dynasty.
Though the old temple is incomplete, every morning and noon tourists still can see Lamas sitting in meditation and 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.
The Luorong Grasslands have been a popular overnight stop in Yading scenic region, although some say that is no longer possible. It is surrounded by the Three Mountains of God, with the Gongga River running through and Tibetan-style homes interspersed across its breadth.
These two lakes are close to each other, lying between Xiannaiyue and Yangmaiyong snow mountains. They are both famous for their kaleidoscopic bursts of colour under the light of the sun.
The Daocheng-Yading Scenic Region (稻亚景区) has a plateau climate, boasting bright sunny days with an annual average temperature around 5°C (41°F). Temperatures can vary significantly from day to evening.
Additionally, we suggest you bring medicine for altitude sickness and headaches since both are possibilities at this height. You may feel sick in such a high, cold, and dry environment. Keep warm, take more rests, and drink plenty of water.
The best time for tourism is autumn, for its fall colors, which comes early (September/October), followed by a long winter. August is also popular for warmer weather, having highs of around 15°C (around 59°F). You can read more on Daocheng Weather.
There are a few different options for getting to Yading. These include:
Fly directly from Chengdu to the Daocheng Yading Airport: The airport is about 50 kilometres from Daocheng downtown, and about 125 kilometres away from the Yading Nature Reserve. A shuttle bus is available for 85 RMB to Shangri-la Town (Riwa Town) at the entrance of the reserve. You can hire a local driver or take a local bus for the short drive on to Yading Village.
Drive from Chengdu City to Yading Village (about 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 10 am, and the whole trip takes 22 hours.
Fly into Kangding airport and take the airport bus to Kangding Town (48 kilometres)
Drive from Kangding County to Yading Town (430 kilometers), or take a bus to Yading from Kangding Bus Station (康定汽车站) at 6 am (129 yuan).
The Tourist Center is open to visitors from 7 am to 6:30 pm. An adult ticket costs 150 yuan. Sight-seeing buses are also available at the center, paid separately.
Bang River runs through Sela, with a boxwood forest and marsh shrubs covering the riversides. You can get stunning images of sunrise and sunset there. People in Sela are local Tibetans, and they will give you a warm reception.
It is one of the largest sites of the quaternary period glacial topography in China. These glacial rock basins, glacial valleys, and lakes deserve a visit.
Yading is a wonderful location that is waiting for you to explore. Here is a sample itinerary for you to consider.
Find some more inspiration on our China tours recommendations for this year.
Or allow us to tailor-make a tour for you, so that you can make the most of this remote treasure.