Garze Grasslands: Sichuan’s Tibetan Plateau 

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7 Days
Chengdu
Chengdu
Max People: 12
About Garze Grasslands: Sichuan’s Tibetan Plateau 

In the far western reaches of Sichuan province, a landscape of spectacular beauty and deep-rooted Tibetan culture awaits.

Depending on the season, a sea of green or yellow grass billows out into the distance, interrupted only by the occasional nomadic tent billowing in the wind or flock of sheep bleating into the sunset. Elsewhere, colorful homes of traditional Tibetan architecture await, nestled seamlessly into the valley’s welcoming grounds.

And, if you’re lucky enough to visit in summer, you can even catch the 300-year-old horse racing festival held on the high-altitude flats of the Longdeng Grassland. 

What we love
  • Meditating with a local Lama on the Yuke Grasslands
  • Admiring the colorful Tibetan homes of Daofu Village
  • Watching the 300-year-old horse racing festival on the Longdeng Grassland
Where we're going
Itinerary

Day 1Arrive in Chengdu, drive to Mengding

First Stop: Chengdu

Located in the heart of eastern Sichuan, Chengdu is the capital of this southwestern province. Geographic and political remoteness have always contributed to the free-spirited nature of the Sichuan people, and the modern cosmopolitan nature of Chengdu reflects this.

As the economic hub of Southwestern China, but also the home to a large, thriving community of students and intellectuals, Chengdu embodies liberal thinking and progressiveness across a wide range of interests and pursuits. Chengdu’s identity as a thriving metropolis, epicenter for preserving Giant Pandas, and source for some of Sichuan’s most delicious cuisine, makes it one of the most interesting cities to visit in China.

Drive to Mengding Mountain

The ride from Chengdu to Mengding Mountain will take around 1.5 hours.

Meng Ding Mountain Tea Experience

In the bountiful heartlands of Sichuan’s Southwestern Mingshan county, the stories of Meng mountain’s holy tea attract visitors searching to be healed. It is said that this place was once home to the Daoist sage who first domesticated wild tea, and the region’s plantations boast the distinction of being the oldest in recorded Chinese history. You will have the freedom to sip tea as we stroll through the area’s gardens to properly appreciate this drink in the place it originated two millennia ago.

Your guide will return you to your hotel at the end of the day (around 5:00 pm).

Meals included: dinner

Day 2Mengding to Danba

Drive to Danba

The ride from Mengding to Danba will take around 4.5 hours.

Next Stop: Danba

Located in the east of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Danba is 315 kilometers away from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. Danba is reputed as one of the “Top 6 Most Beautiful Countryside of China”. With a history over 5000 years, Danba County itself has so much to experience. It is called “A Place of Hunreds of Ancient Watchtowers”, and in the surrounding hills are clusters of gorgeous and traditional stone Jiarong Tibetan Villages with ancient watchtowers and welcoming homestays.

Zhonglu Village

Experience traditional Jiarong Tibetan culture as your guide leads you through the mountainous valleys of Sichuan’s western frontier lands to visit the tranquil farming village of Zhonglu. Nestled in the stunning natural panorama of Mo’er duo holy mountain, this community is decorated with stupas, prayer flags, and ancient stone watchtowers that have withstood seismic activity and invasions for centuries. The local lifestyle and customs here incorporate elements of Buddhism and Tibet’s indigenous tradition, Bon, and Zhonglu’s populace pay homage to the surrounding holy mountains and Buddhas alike. Learn to prepare home-style cuisine as we are welcomed into a local home to break bread and enjoy Zhonglu’s specific flavor which incorporates the wide array of produce grown by the villagers of this agricultural breadbasket.

Your guide will return you to your hotel at the end of the day (around 5:00 pm).

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 3Danba to Yuke Grassland

Drive to Yuke Grasslands

The ride from Danba to Yuke Grasslands will take around 3.5 hours.

Plateau Hike to Jiayilacuo Lake

On the way to Yuke Grasslands, we will pass by Dangling. Avoiding the crowds, your guide will lead you on a 1.5-hour hike down a seldom-traveled path to the scenic plateau lake of Jiayilacuo. The picturesque waters of this high-altitude alpine lake act like a mirror, reflecting a mosaic of colorful foliage and open sky.

Next Stop: Yuke Grasslands

Yuke Grassland is in north of Daofu County, Garze Tibetan Autunomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province. It has most beautiful scenery landscape, clear blue sky, many snow-covered forest, ice lakes and large grasslands. It is a known as a paradise land and a ‘’Altay of Kham’’ in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It is very attractive grassland. It has unique and admired ancient well-preserved statues. You can also see natural wonders as a hot springs and fabulous 5-color lakes.

Your guide will return you to your hotel at the end of the day (around 5:00 pm).

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 4Yuke Grassland

Meditation on the Yuke Grassland

Join a local Lama in the Yuke Grasslands who will lead you in a guided traditional Tibetan Buddhist meditation. Practicing deep breathing and cultivating a clear mind, you will be able to enjoy the area’s tranquil atmosphere just as the locals have for centuries.

Tibetan Nomad Experience

After breakfast, experience the splendor of plateau lifestyle as your guide leads you to visit a local family of nomads on the Yuke Grassland. Marvel at the stunning panorama of snow-covered peaks as you traverse the open sea of grass on the back of a Tibetan pony before being welcomed in to milk cows and prepare yak butter the same way that pastoralists have done here for generations.

An Afternoon to Yourself

Enjoy the beauty of Yuke Grassland, rest up, and spend the remainder of your last moment here as you please.

Your guide will return you to your hotel at the end of the day (around 5:00 pm).

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 5Yuke Grassland to Bamei

Drive to Bamei

The ride from Yuke Grassland to Bamei will take around 3 hours.

Longdeng Grassland Horse Racing Festival

The Longdeng Grassland Horse Racing Festival, listed as a state-level intangible cultural heritage in 2008, is a two-day festival occurring in July every year. The horse racing is the main event, rooted in Tibetan nomadic culture with a history of over 300 years. In addition to the horse events, there are also many other performances including dancing, buddhist praying, and singing.

(Event subject to changes due to COVID-19 Regulations)

Daofu Tibetan Architecture

On the way to Bamei, we’ll visit Daofu Dwelling. The village of Daofu is distinct in Kham Tibet for its vibrant traditional folk homes which feature ornate colors and structural stability that has fortified them against the test of time. Seek out one of the village’s most traditional homes as you listen to the host’s retelling of this architectural style’s history and the artistic nuances that make it distinct to the region.

Moshi Park

Journey to the Moshi Park to witness the only plateau stone forest found in the country. Here, revel in the jagged mylonite formations of this rugged landscape, which were formed by tectonic movement over two million years ago. During the plateau’s rainy season, the shift in weather causes a dramatic change in this metamorphic stone’s color as it transforms to a jet-black appearance.

Your guide will return you to your hotel at the end of the day (around 5:00 pm).

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 6Bamei to Kangding

Drive to Kangding

The ride from Bamei to Kangding will take around 2.5 hours.

Muya Pagoda

Built by the living Buddha, Dojizhaxi, the Muya Pagoda is an ornate jewel sitting in the expansive prairies near Tagong. Built by the living Buddha, Dojizhaxi, this multi-story temple complex has an organized series of floors that represent Buddhas and store cherished relics.

Tagong Monastery

Surrounded by rolling green prairies and prayer flag-covered hills, the Tagong Monastery features a tranquil atmosphere housed within ornate architecture dating back to the temple’s construction during the Qing Dynasty. Quietly stroll the temple grounds and observe the rhythmic tempo of this place as monks chant prayers, ring bells, and prepare offerings of tsampa. Within the compound’s red stone walls, pilgrims and townspeople walk koras around the white stone stupas and push prayer wheels while reciting mantras over their mala beads.

Your guide will return you to your hotel at the end of the day (around 5:00 pm).

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 7Kangding to Chengdu

Drive back to Chengdu

The ride from Kangding to Chengdu will take around 3.5 hours.

Bifengxia Panda Base

On the way back to Chengdu, we’ll stop in Bifengxia Panda Base. Surrounded by the temperate bamboo forests of Sichuan’s Hengduan Mountains, the Bifengxia Panda Base provides the rare opportunity to observe China’s most beloved animal against the backdrop of its natural habitat.

As one of the country’s premier conservation facilities, this base is home to sixty giant pandas that range from small cubs to bashful sub-adults who playfully wrestle and placidly chew on Bamboo.

Despite suffering catastrophic damages due to the earthquake that struck Sichuan in 2008, the center has since flourished and expanded its contributions to the goals of breeding, research, and rehabilitation.

Transfer to Airport

Your WildChina guide and private chauffeur will escort you to the airport and help you check in to your departure flight.

Meals included: breakfast

Your Accomodations

Blossom Hill Ya'an

Ya'an, Sichuan

Blossom Hill Ya’an is new to the scene having opened its doors in 2019. The hotel is heralded for its wonderful service and positively stunning location at the base of Mengding Mountain.  The rooms feature minimalist design with a Japanese influence which can be seen in the communal areas complete with floor-seating cushions and short-height tables. This hotel is also easily accessible from Chengdu requiring just a 30-minute drive to reach.

Danba Han'e Manor

Danba, Sichuan

Danba Han’e Manor is set up to highlight the Tibetan culture of the area and provide an immersive experience for travelers to optimize their time in this remote corner of Sichuan. This boutique may look small from the outside, but it has everything you might need – meeting rooms, restaurants, event spaces, and even a KTV room! There are also a multitude of local Tibetn craft workshops available on site if you’re looking for an activity to fill in some extra time. The large outdoor area also provides ample opportunity for soaking in the natural scenery and observing the local wildlife.

Daofu Inka Manor

Yinka Village, Sichuan

Daofu Inka Manor’s intentions are clear immediately upon arrival: combine Tibetan traditional architecture with Chinese and European flair to provide a comfortable, homely stay in the midst of a beautiful grassland landscape. The location also provides easy access to the surrounding village and adjacent temple. Expect simple amenities and a cozy space all made up for by the warmth of the owner and serene surroundings.

Art Holiday Hotel Bamei

Daofu, Sichuan

The Art Holiday Hotel Bamei is just as it sounds, an art-inspired architectural beauty in the heart of a wonderful location. Easy access to the surrounding sightseeing spots and all the amenities you need when you return. Sleek, minimalist design and elegant touches make this hotel the best option for a functional choice in Daofu.

Yulingxue Hotel

Kangding, Sichuan

Yilingxue Hotel is the best option in Kangding, being the go-to accommodation for government officials and civilian travelers alike. What makes this property really stand out though, is the superb location with views out onto the lush mountain sides from each of the guest rooms. 

Photos
Details

What’s Included

  • All accommodations based on double-occupancy including breakfasts, as indicated in the itinerary
  • All meals, as indicated in the itinerary, and drinking water
  • All admission fees and activity expenses, as indicated in the itinerary
  • Ground transportation, including airport transfers
  • Services of an English-speaking WildChina guide

What’s Excluded

  • International and domestic flights, domestic trains, plus relevant taxes
  • Chinese tourist visa, which is required for most foreign passport holders
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Meals, apart from those included in the itinerary, and alcohol
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Excursions and activities not included in the itinerary
  • Discretionary gratuities for guides and drivers
Why WildChina

We’re on the ground with you

Our team of advisors will design every detail of the trip with you through close consultation, then orchestrate your entire journey while on the ground. We’re in the same time zone as you, so we can fulfill requests and handle issues without a hitch. With over 40 staff in China and an expansive network of operational partners across the country, we have the manpower to ensure your journey is safe, reliable and comfortable from beginning to end.

Your trip, your way

Flexibility is our highest-ranking compliment. We pull off journeys for pioneers with a 6-hour layover to Hollywood’s elite, and everywhere in between. Our team regularly pulls off unprecedented logistical feats; nearly any time frame or budget is within our realm. No matter how you wish to experience China, we are here to bring that dream to life.

We embody passion

WildChina guides are carefully handpicked for their knowledge and charisma, then meticulously trained to maintain our exceptional service standards. They are expert storytellers and passionate natives of the regions where they guide, having the perfect combination of local insights and service know-how to bring you seamless once-in-a- lifetime moments all across China.

The little things, the big picture

Supporting inspired local economies allows you to experience the soul of the destination, while also protecting and cultivating China’s artisanal culture. From watching artisans creating their handcrafts, to picking organic vegetables for dinner on a local farm, our tours are designed to showcase and protect China’s heritage, both natural and human.

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