15 Days Daocheng Yading Trekking
Date: May 27 to Jun. 10, 2022, 2023
Price: From 4900USD/PAX
Trip Focus: Adventure + Trekking
Status: Open to Booking
Route: Chengdu-Kangding-Mugecuo-Yajiang-Litang-Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve-Litang-Danba-Chengdu
Trip Code: A001
Millions of tourists travel to Daocheng Yading each year to experience the ultimate natural beauty and authentic ethnic-cultural charm thanks to the opening of Daocheng Yading Airport and the improvement of roads from both Chengdu city and Shangri-La city to Daocheng Yading. The absolute majority of tourists just spend a couple of days in the routine attractions. This trip offers you a unique chance to trek to the untouched part of Shangri-La in a fairly comfortable way of camping and sightseeing with a strong logistic team. Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve is a magical and mysterious land located in the southwest of Sichuan province. In Daocheng Yading, there are three well-known mountain peaks called Yangmaiyong (5,958m), Xiannairi (6,032m), and Xianuoduoji (5,958m) that covered by snow most of the time. They are also called the "Three Holy Mountains" which are an irreplaceably sacred place in the hearts of the local people. The locals say that if you could walk around the holy mountains three times your wishes for this life will be fulfilled. The holy pilgrimage of trekking around Daocheng Yading is a great challenge to the mind and body because of the high altitudes and steep slopes. The average altitude of overnight camping sites during the trekking days is about 4,400m.
• Daocheng Yading is called the last pure land on this blue planet with breath-taking views of snow-capped mountains, steep glaciers, crystal clear alpine lakes, vast pastures, and dense forests.
Introduction to Trip Destinations:
How Can We Make This Trip Special?
• Many times of running this itinerary for western trekkers and nature lovers enables us to ensure your trekking is enjoyable and comfortable in the wilderness.
• A team of passionate guides specializing in photography and wildlife with rich experiences of guiding and solid knowledge about wildlife and local places.
• This trip can be customized to better meet your travel style by centering on a different focus.
• 20-plus years of working in the travel industry and serving travelers from all over the world enable us to know how to make great trips for travelers of different travel styles.
What Makes AbsolutePanda Excellent?
• We are one of the premier travel companies focusing on wildlife in China.
Since 2003, our professional tour leaders and wildlife experts have helped thousands of travelers gain an in-depth understanding of Giant Panda and their companion animals, enjoy stunning sceneries all over China, and explore the authentic local cultures.
• Exclusive quality & value guarantee.
We define our quality by well-designed itineraries, stunning destinations, creative interactions, small groups, professional guides, and reasonable prices.
• Explore China in comfort and on your style.
Beyond selected accommodations, meals, and vehicles, we would like to show you the real China by an authentic experience with incredible wildlife and lovely locals.
• We care and share.
We believe the best way to enjoy a journey is to love and appreciate it. By bringing our clients to discover the beauty of nature and culture in China, we hope that local people can realize the beauty of wildlife, their unique culture, and learn how to love and appreciate those beautiful things they have around their villages.
Daocheng Yading Trekking Trip Map
Day 1. Arrive in Chengdu. (D)
The airport pick-up. City exploration based on your time of arrival. Overnight: Chengdu (500m)
Day 2. Chengdu-Ya’an-Kangding. 270km 4.5h (BLD)
Drive to Kangding and acclimatize to the altitude. Overnight: Kangding (2,700m)
Day 3. Kangding-Mugecuo-Yajiang. 190km 6h (BLD)
Pay a visit to Mugecuo in the morning. Then drive to Yajiang via Xinduqiao in the afternoon. Overnight: Yajiang (2,600m)
Day 4. Yajiang-Litang—Shangri-La Town. 360km 7h (BLD)
Drive to Shangri-La Town. Overnight: Shangri-La Town (2,950m)
Day 5. Shangri-La Town-Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve-Chonggusi Temple-Bayu Camping Site. (BLD)
The first trekking day (6km) inside Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve. Overnight: Camping (4,550m)
Day 6. Bayu Camping Site-Galuo Pasture. (BLD)
Trekking day (11km). Overnight: Camping (4,450m)
Day 7. Galuo Pasture-Wanhuachi Pasture. (BLD)
Trekking day (12km). Overnight: Camping (4,250m)
Day 8. Wanhuachi Pasture-Xinguo Pasture. (BLD)
Trekking day (13km). Overnight: Camping (4,250m)
Day 9. Xinguo Pasture-Shehu Lake. (BLD)
Trekking day (12km). Overnight: Camping (4,500m)
Day 10. Shehu Lake-Kasi Pasture. (BLD)
Trekking day (12km). Overnight: Camping (4,450m)
Day 11. Kasi Pasture-Chonggusi—Shangri-La Town. (BLD)
The last trekking day (12km). Overnight: Shangri-La Town (2,950m)
Day 12. Shangri-La Town—Litang. 230km 4.5h (BLD)
Drive to Litang. Overnight: Litang (4,000m)
Day 13. Litang-Danba. 420km 9h (BLD)
Drive to Danba. Overnight: Danba (1,900m)
Day 14. Danba-Chengdu. 320km 7h (BLD)
Drive back to Chengdu. Overnight: Chengdu (500m)
Day 15. Depart Chengdu. (B)
The airport drop-off.
Day 1. Arrive in Chengdu. Meals: D
The airport pick-up. Based on the time you arrive, we can plan some free city tour programs such as visiting People’s Park to experience the typical laid-back lifestyles of Chengdu or visiting Jinli Street to feel the bustling shopping street with all types of shops selling unique local souvenirs and food stands that offering delicious local take-away food.
Overnight: Chengdu (500m)
Day 2. Chengdu-Ya’an-Kangding. 270km 4.5h Meals: BLD
Drive to Kangding via Ya’an. Have a good rest and get used to the altitude. When mentioning about Kangding, most of the Chinese will think about a famous traditional folk song named Kangding Love Song that makes everyone fall in love with its beautiful scenery and unique culture. Kangding is the capital city of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. It is the gateway to the Kham region of the Tibetan Plateau with the rushing Zheduo River flows through the center of the city. Kangding is a modern city with plenty of nice restaurants and shops for you to explore.
Overnight: Kangding (2,700m)
Day 3. Kangding-Mugecuo-Yajiang. 190km 6h Meals: BLD
This morning we will pay a visit to Mugecuo (Kangding Love Song Scenic Spot). Mugecuo is one of the largest alpine lakes in regions of 2,900m above sea level in Sichuan. In the scenic area, there are options for visits that include Red Sea Grassland, Golden Coast, Mugecuo Lake, Azalea Valley, Medicine Pool Hot Spring, Seven-color Sea, Fangcao Lawn, and Red Stone Bank. Do not forget to try the hot spring boiled egg there. In the afternoon, we will drive to Yajiang via Zheduo Mountain Pass (4,298m), and enjoy the beautiful bucolic scenes of Xinduqiao along the way.
Overnight: Yajiang (2,600m)
Day 4. Yajiang-Litang—Shangri-La Town. 360km 7h Meals: BLD
In the morning, we will drive to Litang by the G318 of Sichuan-Tibet Highway and we will cross the Kazila Mountain Pass (4,718m). Litang (4,000m) is one of the highest towns in the world, it is said to be the rebirth place of the 7th and 10th Dalai Lama. After lunch, we will transfer to the provincial road of S217 and enjoy Haizishan Mountain for its beautiful lakes scattering around if you are interested. Check-in to our hotel, have a good rest and get ready for the following trekking days inside Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve.
Overnight: Shangri-La Town (2,950m)
Day 5. Shangri-La Town—Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve-Chonggusi Temple-Bayu Camping Site. Meals: BLD
Today is our first trekking day (6km) inside Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve. After breakfast, we will drive about 32km to Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve and transfer to the shuttle bus inside the reserve before we arrive at the start point of our hiking trip which is near the Chonggusi Temple (3,880m). It is a relaxing hiking day to get used to the high altitude. In the early afternoon, we will arrive at our first camping site which is the campsite that the famous explorer Joseph F. Rock spent the night. Enjoy your first dinner of camping night prepared by our team.
Overnight: Camping (4,550m)
Day 6. Bayu Camping Site-Galuo Pasture. Meals: BLD
Today we will trek 11km to our camping site in Galuo Pasture where the local people used to overnight during the summer herding season. We will hike to Boyongcuo Lake (4,700m) for a chance to take photos of the "Three Holy Mountains" in one picture as well as the reflection of both Mt. Yangmaiyong (5,958m) and Mt. Xiannairi (6,032m) from the lake. The three well-known mountain peaks are the irreplaceably sacred place in the hearts of the locals namely Yangmaiyong (5,958m), Xiannairi (6,032m), and Xianuoduoji (5,958m). Then we will cross a mountain pass of 4,900m above sea level and visit two alpine lakes along the way to our camping site.
Overnight: Camping (4,450m)
Day 7. Galuo Pasture-Wanhuachi Pasture. Meals: BLD
Today we will trek 12km to our camping site in Wanhuachi Pasture. In the morning, we will cross some mountain streams to the foot of Mt. Xianuoduoji (5,958m) and have a close view of its magnificent eastern part. Along the way, we can search for wildflowers like rhododendrons, meconopsis, primulas, and so on. By the way, late May and June is the best season for rhododendrons. Then we will walk through the primeval forests and the Xianuoduoji Mountain Pass (4,500m) before going down to our campsite.
Overnight: Camping (4,250m)
Day 8. Wanhuachi Pasture-Xinguo Pasture. Meals: BLD
Today we will trek 13km to our camping site in Xinguo Pasture. In the morning, if the weather is good we will have the chance to see the sunrise in front of Mt. Xianuoduoji. Just imagine the breath-taking view with the sunshine lights the snow-capped peak of Xianuoduoji and make it looks like a flaming torch. We will trek up to the Zabala Mountain Pass (4,750m) and arrive at the south side of Mt. Yangmaiyong (5,958m). Along the way, we will be immersed in the amazing snow mountains and tranquil gorges. What is more, a brilliant sunset in front of Mt. Yangmaiyong is a bonus if we are lucky enough. Many classic photos related to Rock’s footsteps are taken around tonight’s camping site.
Overnight: Camping (4,250m)
Day 9. Xinguo Pasture-Shehu Lake. Meals: BLD
Today we will trek 12km to our camping site in Shehu Lake (Snake Lake) and it is the most challenging day of our trip. If you are interested in the sunrise of Mt. Yangmaiyong, an early morning hike will be a good idea. We will meet some gravel road this morning which is difficult to walk on. We will cross the Heihu Mountain Pass (4,750m) and have a view of the emerald Heihu Lake in the distance. Then it is great to pay a visit to Rock’s Rock, the well-known Butterfly Stone near Gadu Pasture. After lunch, we can head to Shehu Mountain Pass (4,750m) which is the best spot to appreciate the marvel of the green ribbon-like Shehu Lake (about 1.4km in length) and the two holy mountains of Xiannairi (6,032m) and Yangmaiyong (5,958m). Arrive at our campsite and wait for the sunset in front of the sacred mountains.
Overnight: Camping (4,500m)
Day 10. Shehu Lake-Kasi Pasture. Meals: BLD
Today we will trek 12km to our camping site in Kasi Pasture. After breakfast, we will trek along Shehu Lake before we hike up to the Songduo Mountain Pass (4,700m). On Songduo Mountain Pass, we can have a bird’s eye view of the Niunaihai Lake (Milk Lake, 4,500m) and the people near the lake. Also, we will find a good spot for photos of Wusehai Lake (Five-colored Lake), Niunaihai Lake (Milk Lake), Mt. Yangmaiyong (5,958m), and Mt. Xianuoduoji (5,958m) in one picture. Then we will reach our overnight site in Kasi Pasture and waiting for the charming sunset.
Overnight: Camping (4,450m)
Day 11. Kasi Pasture-Chonggusi Temple—Shangri-La Town. Meals: BLD
Today is our last trekking day, we will walk 12km to our start point of the trekking tour. We may meet local Tibetans who are doing their kora trek around their holy mountains. We can see many prayer flags flying on the Songluo Mountain Pass(4,650m) representing local people’s pure heart and reverence for the sacred mountains. In the afternoon, we will arrive at Pearl Lake (3,980m) which is one of the landmark scenics of Daocheng Yading. The take the shuttle bus from Chonggusi Temple (3,880m) back to the entrance of Daocheng Yading. Back to the hotel and have a good rest.
Overnight: Shangri-La Town (2,950m)
Day 12. Shangri-La Town—Litang. 230km 4.5h Meals: BLD
Today, we will have an easy day after 7 days’ trekking adventure. After enjoying a late breakfast, we will head to discover Litang. In Litang, the majority of the people are Tibetans. We will have a deeper understanding and contact with local Tibetan culture via pay a visit to the Litang Monastery. Litang Monastery is also known as Ganden Thubchen Choekhorling Monastery, it is one of the oldest and largest Tibetan Buddhism monasteries in the Kham Area and was founded by the 3rd Dalai Lama in 1580.
Overnight: Litang (4,000m)
Day 13. Litang-Danba. 420km 9h Meals: BLD
It is a long driving day from Litang to Danba. But you will not be bored by the picturesque sceneries along the road. We will pass Tagong Grassland which lies in the shadow of the sacred Yala Mountain. In the Tibetans’ language, “Tagong” means “the place Bodhisattva likes” and that is why it is also homes to yaks, birds, and many other wild animals. You will not be disappointed by its beauty. Check-in Danba.You will feel very comfortable to be back to the lower altitude.
Overnight: Danba (1,900m)
Day 14. Danba-Chengdu. 320km 7h Meals: BLD
In the morning, we can have a quick explore of Danba. Danba is the hometown of Jiarong Tibetans. It is well-known for its stone watchtowers (traditional architecture) which make it one of the most beautiful Tibetan villages in China. Then we will drive back to Chengdu. Base on the time of arrival, you can take your time to discover more about Chengdu city for its leisure lifestyle. We will have a hotpot dinner tonight.
Overnight: Chengdu (500m)
Day 15. Depart Chengdu. Meals: B
The airport drop-off.
1. If you need help in arranging a flight to Chengdu from Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, or the trip out of Chengdu, please feel free to contact us.
2.This trip ventures into a remote area that features high altitude. Follow the advice from your doctor on altitude sickness before deciding to join this trip. In some events, high elevation can cause severe health complications for those with cardiovascular diseases or other poor cardiopulmonary functions.
3. The overnight altitudes, trekking kilometers, and driving hours listed in the itinerary are just for your rough reference.
Dates & Prices
Group A: May 27 to June 10, 2022
Group B: May 27 to June 10, 2023
Email us to tailor-make a tour that can meet your taste, budget, and schedule best.
The AbsolutePanda team works hard to provide the highest-possible quality tour experiences at a fair price. However, after working in the travel industry for more than 20 years, our team knows that no two travelers are alike in terms of their travel styles, personal interests, choice of guides, and preferences in restaurants and hotels. For AbsolutePanda, our client’s satisfaction is a top priority. To meet the needs of different clients and ensure you enjoy a trip suited to your preferences, you are welcome to email us with specific requests ranging from trip themes, guides, the grade and brand of vehicles, accommodations, restaurants, etc. We will try our best.
To ensure our guest the best trip, we set our minimum departure number as four travelers and the maximum departure number as twelve travelers. That means the trip size is 4 to 12 participants.
The land cost for a group of 4 to 12 people:
The land cost includes:
1. Vehicles listed on the trip. Fuel, tolls, airport pick-up, and drop-off are included in the price. The size of the vehicle is based on the number of participants for this itinerary;
2. An English-speaking trekking guide for the whole trip;
3. Local camping assistant and cook for trekking days listed in the itinerary;
4. Horses to carry logistic stuff during trekking time;
5. Meals listed above as BLD;
6. Bottled water and snacks;
7. Entrance charges listed in the itinerary;
8. China Domestic Travel Insurance;
9. Hotels and hostels listed in the itinerary;
10. Camping equipment including sleeping tent, cooking tent, dining tent, and toilet tent for trekking days listed in the itinerary.
The land cost excludes:
1. Alcoholic drinks during the meal;
2. Extra charges due to change of itinerary from client-side or factors beyond the control of AbsolutePanda such as natural disaster and governmental policy change;
3. Discretionary tips to the guide and driver;
4. All personal expenses, such as laundry service or for personal shopping;
5. Train ticket or airfare to and out of Chengdu;
6. Any items not listed in the itinerary as included;
7. Entrance fee, car rental, or meals during your free time trip;
8. Single supplement;
9. Personal sleeping bags.
1. This trip price is based on two clients sharing one twin-bed room in 3-star standard hotels in big cities and local best guesthouses or camping in a remote area. If you prefer to use a private room or we cannot find a roommate for you, then a single supplement will be added to your trip price.
2. For camping days, two clients sharing one tent. If you prefer a single tent by yourself, you are welcome to contact us ahead of time.
3. Experienced Trekking Guides
• Philip: A local guide born in the Sichuan Tibetan area with fluency English and basic Japanese, Philip is an exceptional photographer and had guided many Minya Konka trekking trips since 2004. As a trekking guide, Philip also has a keen interest in Buddhism, birds, and Chinese cuisine.
• Kevin: Graduated from Southwest University of Science and Technology in 2016 majoring in Engineering Management, Kevin pursued a different road compared with most of his classmates because of his affection in nature. His involvement in nature has started far before his graduation, he has become a famous outdoor enthusiast and nature lover among his classmates during his campus life. He has actively participated in lots of outdoor activities like cycling and mountaineering. He successfully organized biking from Sichuan to Tibet Autonomous Region and cycling around Hainan Island. He trekked the Poon Hill in Nepal and 20 plus mountains of different sizes in China. He participated in the emergency aid training class provided by the Red Cross Society of China and has got the First Aider Certificate.
1. Please note that our guides with specialized knowledge are not always available, especially during our busy season from April to October. If you have an on-planning trip, please contact us as early as possible so that we will block the date of our expert guide for you.
2. To our AbsolutePanda team, our clients' overall satisfaction with their trip is the top priority. We can create a different option to make it easier for you to choose a tour that fits your style and budget. If you prefer to travel in a different style than the option we've provided here, please feel free to contact us.
3. For travelers who hope to tailor-make the programs with their specific travel preferences in mind (transportations, hotels, exclusive privileges, and famous local experts), tailor-making a tour is the best way to ensure your desires are met. Please contact us with your specific needs and we will prepare an itinerary based on your expectations. Once you are satisfied, we will work out the cost and send it to you. Please feel free to ask any questions to learn more.
When you put your trust in our team, we are certain to help you enjoy an unforgettable travel experience in China!
AbsolutePanda firmly believes travel is an art. To ensure every trip traveling with us is a great travel art for our client, the AbsolutePanda team does all we can to consider every possible detail. The choice of hotels is an essential part of making a great trip. After many years of running a travel business, we have built up our network of cooperative hotels at different levels. We understand people are different in the choice of hotels when they travel. If you want to use some specific hotels, please feel free to let us know, we are delighted to book it for you at a competitive price to make the hotel choice better meet your taste, budget and travel style. We can either reserve a hotel with competitive price for you or simply include the hotel into your trip cost if possible. You are welcome to contact us and tell us your requests, we will do our best to create the best travel itinerary for your private use.
If you need help with hotel booking in other big cities of China at different styles and luxury levels (International-brand Hotels, Local Brand Hotels, Economical Hotels), please feel free to email our team at email@example.com.
1. What is the difficulty level of this trip?
If we use 3-5 stars to mark the difficulty level of a trip, this hiking trip inside Daocheng Yading will be titled with 5 stars which is one of the most difficult one due to its high altitude and steep slopes.
2. Is there any altitude problem for this trip?
This trip will venture into the high altitude from 2,600m to 4,900m. Our guide has rich experience in taking care of our clients for the trekking trip on the highland. Surely, we also will suggest you seek advice from your doctor on altitude sickness and bring necessary medications before you decide to join this trip. In some events, high elevation can cause severe health complications for those with cardiovascular diseases or other poor cardiopulmonary function diseases.
3. Is this trekking trip suitable for children?
On this trip, the average altitude of overnight during the trekking days is about 4,400m. Normally, this trekking trip (7 days,78km) is too hard for the young who is under 16 years old. We need to be sure your child is OK with the high altitude and the high strength adventure hike. We did have guided some families with children trekked inside Daocheng Yading with a small circle. If your child has some trekking experiences and is interested in this trip, we can try to design a light hiking trip or a more suitable trip according to your condition.
4. If I have dietary restrictions, will that be a problem for your team to accommodate?
Our team is experienced at making sure all of our client’s needs are met. If you or anyone in your group has specific requirements for food, we are happy to accommodate your needs.
5. Do we need to bring our sleeping bag?
If possible, it would be great for you to bring your sleeping bag. Because people always have different requirements about the type of sleeping bags when trekking. If you are OK with the sleeping bag we have (in average quality) we are more than happy to provide clean sleeping bags we used for our trekking trips in the past.
6. What kind of food do we have during the trekking days?
Food will be one of the highlights of the trip, we will try our best to have a cook and cook nice local food to ensure you get enough energy. We will bring a variety of vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, cabbages, and noodles, as well as some meat such as chicken, pork, and yak meat.
7. What kind of tents do we have during the trekking days?
We have tents of different types such as a one-man tent, two-man tent, and three-man tent. Feel free to tell us what you prefer, we will bring the right type of tents for you. We have a special tent for cooking and dining. We also have a separate toilet tent.
8. Is this trip following the Rock’s footsteps?
This trip highly selects the best part of the Daocheng Yading while including some route that Rock did decades ago. For example, we will visit the places that related to Rock like Galuo Pasture, Heihu Mountain Pass, Butterfly Stone, Shehu Lake, Chonggusi Temple, Bayu Camping Site, and so on.
9. What is the best season to do this trip?
Late May and June are good seasons for the sea of rhododendrons in Daocheng Yading while avoiding the snowy winter days and rainy days. Also, mid and late October is good to see a colorful Daocheng Yading before the cold winter comes while with a lower chance of rain.
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The best travel company I have ever worked with.
Where to begin? I am an international tour leader. This team is our partner company, and for the last 5 years, they have proved time and time again to be by far the best, most meticulous, detail-oriented, experienced, and honest company I have ever encountered. These guys get it- travel is an art. They are focused on the experience, not the profit, and this is very rare in China. The founder, Philip, is one of the top birders and nature experts in Sichuan and is well respected throughout the province and beyond for all of his efforts to support local culture and conservation of wildlife. He is from a remote Tibetan region and understands how to operate in the wild, unexplored regions of China- the real China. He is an excellent teacher and judge of character and has built an amazing team of loyal guides who cannot be topped. If you travel with these guys, you have made a wise decision.
Date of experience: May 2017
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Videos & Photos
Zheduoshan Mountain Pass (4,298m)
Daocheng White Pagoda
Mt. Yangmaiyong (5,958m)
Trekking inside Daocheng Yading.
Rhododendron in Daocheng Yading.
Five-colored Lake in Daocheng Yading.
White Eared Pheasant and Blood Pheasant.
Rheum alexandrae around Haizishan Mountain.
Mt. Yala and Tibetan monastery.