7 days Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve & Danba tour
Morning drive from Chengdu to Danba (altitude 1,800m) by using the new tunnel at Balang mountain, it shortens the driving time to 6 hours, on the way you may stop at Siguniangshan town to visit Shuangqiao Valley, one of the valleys at Mount Siguniang National park which are famous for the four snow-capped peaks and the three beautiful valleys stretching from Rilong town with the landscapes of alpine forest, grasslands, and lakes etc.
Danba sits in a deep valley at the confluence of two rivers, with another three river valleys joining the first two nearby. Each of these five valleys is equally stunning, with rugged Tibetan villages clinging to steep, fertile mountainsides above a brown river streaked with white in places where swift currents collide.
Late afternoon, you will be driven to Danba for overnight. Overnight at Danba Zhonglu Tibetan Village.
Early morning, drive to enjoy the sunrise at Danba Zhonglu village, then you will be transferred to Suopo Tibetan village to see the splendid watchtowers (or if you like hiking, you can also hike to Suopo from Zhonglu, it is a nice 3 hours moderate hiking by crossing one pass where you will have nice views of villages and the river at the foot of the mountain).
Meet your driver at Suopo and drive to Tagong (altitude 3,730m) with 3 hours in the car, the landscapes on the way is good. Upon arrival, you will be arranged to visit Tagong monastery, a nice example of a typical Tibetan monastery, with its statues, painted walls, thangkas, incents smells and plenty of monks dressed in their carmine robes. After enjoys the sunset over Yala holy mountain, another 40 minutes drive to Xinduqiao (altitude 3,300m), the heaven for photography. Overnight at Xinduqiao.
Today drive from Xinduqiao to Daocheng (altitude 3,700m) via Litang (altitude 4,010m), it is a quite long journey taking roughly 7-8 hours on the car.
Morning cross over the Gao'ersi pass (about 4,410m high) to Yading courty, from where follows another two high passes (about 4,700m high) - the Jianziwan & Kazila, the landscape on the way is very good including deep valleys, snow capped mountains, pastures dotted with sheep and yaks. Lunch at Litang. With its 4010m altitude, Litang county is no doubt the highest city in the world. In addition to its beautiful scenery & spectacular local Tibetan customs, another tourist attraction is the Hose-racing Festival in every August. Therefore, if you are here at the very right time, you'll never miss the chance for the hose-racing & dressing show. Another 146km ride to Daocheng will be continued afterwards. Daocheng is a county that you will enjoy because of its rich soil & Tibetan culture, and a good place for recharging yourself before Yading. You may relax yourself by bathing at the hot spring & the Tibetan local dancing show. Overnight at Daocheng.
After breakfast at the hotel, drive about 2 hours to Shangrila town, enjoy the beautiful landscapes on the way.
Upon arrival at Shangri-la town, you need to take the local sightseeing bus to Yading village, the start point for your next one and half days exploration at Yading Nature Reserve.
From Yading village (altitude 3,800m), enjoy the scenery of Chonggu Temple and the holy peak of Xiannairi. From Chonggu Temple trekking up to Drolma-la tso (Pearl Lake), the best place to view the holy peak Xiannairi. Later afternoon return to Yading village for overnight.
Try to get up early in the morning and go to Chonggu Temple for the stunning sunrise, then take the local battery cart to Luorong Pasture, it is nestled on a high and flat valley encircled by the three sacred mountains with expansive meadows and surrounding forests.
The pasture is dotted with brooks, lakes and the Gongga River cuts through the grassland posting a majestic view.
Then hike up to Milk Lake and Five color lake (altitude 4,700m) (roughly 6 hours round trip by hiking) or you can take the horseback riding to Sheshengya first, then trek up to Milk Lake & Five Color Lake (about 4-5 hours, the horse riding fee is on your own). It is a challenging trekking, but its all worth for the spectacular scenery.
Later afternoon get back to Yading village and take the local sightseeing bus back to Shangri-la town where you will meet the driver and head to Daocheng for overnight.
After breakfast at the hotel, start driving back to Xinduqiao. On the way, you may choose to have a stop at Litang, an important transit town along the ancient trade business route between Tibetans from Tibet and the local Hans at Kangding and Ya’an city. At Litang, you can choose to visit Litang monastery, one of the larger Gelupa monasteries in Sichuan Kham area, this monastery has close and tight relations with the 7th, 10th, and 11th Dalai Lhama. Then continue the driving to Kangding via Xinduqiao and Zheduo mountain, enjoy the nice views along the way. Overnight at Kangding.
p.s. There are daily flights available from Daocheng to Chengdu if you don't want to take the land travel.
Today continue our drive back to Chengdu via Bifengxia where you can choose to hike around beautiful gorge or visit the cute pandas. In the afternoon, drive back to Chengdu and drop you off at your hotel. The tour ends in Chengdu.