Walking Holidays in China - Szechuan - High & Green

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The province of Szechuan is one of the largest in China. The west of the province has some of the highest mountains in China as it borders the Himalayas and Szechuan is home to many fascinating ethnic minorities. One group is the people of Tibetan origin living on a high grass plateau. In majestic surroundings, they continue to maintain a culture and language akin to Tibetans living within Tibet. As practicing Buddhists their temples, monasteries and village hillsides are festooned with prayer flags - all creating a truly wondrous sight. Visitors to this part of China have a feeling of being in the Wild West with horses and ‘cowboy’ hats being a major feature during special celebratory times. Many continue to practice their ancient nomadic life style, and their canvas tents and yak herds scattered far and wide over the grasslands will be witnessed in your travels.

This amazing region of China remains has remained in a time warp and although rapidly changing will appeal especially to visitors with an adventurous spirit!  To access it requires travel over a high mountain range with surrounding snow-capped peaks rising to over 5000m.  Beyond the mountains are extensive grass plateau and into the folds of the mountain lie deep verdant valleys. This is the majestic setting for our trekking itinerary.

The Walking 

You will be walking through grassy plains set between high mountain peaks as well as out on the open steppe of the high plateau. The whole region is festooned with stunning monasteries and prayer flags waving in the breeze.  From the monasteries, the sound of Tibetan monks at prayer softly fills the air and occasionally they will permit visitors to enter sacred areas during prayer or lesson time – a great privilege and an exceptionally rare and precious experience.

There are no marked paths and a guide is essential. Although the walks are not long with little ascent and descent, you will be walking between 3200m to a height of 4100m, so altitude is a consideration during this trek. For this reason we include a rest day after your arrival in the mountains for altitude acclimatisation.

Day 1 Arrive in Chengdu - if you have time we will arrange a visit to the Panda Sanctuary (optional extra) Overnight Chengdu. B

Day 2 Set off from Chengdu across the plains before journeying into the mountains. A stop may be made in Leshan to view the Maitreya Budha, a 71m high stone carving and largest in the world.   After following the Dadu river as it flows through deep gorges, arrive at Moxi (1530m) and your hotel. Moxi is a small town noted for its Catholic church built by missionaries 100 years ago. Drive time 4 hours. BLD

Day 3 Visit the Hailuogou glacier, one of the largest and lowest in the world before driving via the amazing Redstone National Park where red lichen covers the river stone. Continue to Kangding (2800m) crossing a pass at 3900m. Overnight Kangding. Drive time 2 hours, (excluding Glacier excursion). BLD

Day 4 Acclimatize with a relaxing day and just an afternoon walk to explore the local hillsides, working Monasteries and Tibetan Heritage Museum within this Tibetan ethnic area. Overnight Kangding. BLD

Day 5 Drive via a mountain pass at 4400m over to the high Tagong grasslands. You will walk the last part into Tagong experiencing this amazing landscape; your bag will be carried onto the hotel. Drive 3 hours. BLD

Day 6 Leaving the absolute tranquillity of this remote mountain valley continue walking for a short distance across the Taizhan Valley to meet your transport which will take you to the fascinating village of Tagong (3700m) which will seem initially like a metropolis until you adapt. Overnight Tagong. Ascent nil Descent 350m 4 ½ miles 2 ½ hours   Road transfer 3 hours.  BLD

Day 7 Local walks around Tagong lead accross the seemingly unending grassland dotted with Yaks, horses and local Tibetans. Snow capped high mountains add a beautiful back drop to the meadows far below. You will visit working monasteries and experience their way of life through talking to the monks with your guide as interpreter. Wander through Tagong complete with its ‘cowboys’ on horseback riding down the main street and visit a special Buddhist temple. Overnight Tagong. Ascent 250m Descent 250m 12 miles 7 hours. BLD

Day 8 You first visit a Buddhist temple before departing today and returning to Chengdu, either flying from the world’s second highest airport of Kangding – transfer time to airport 1 hour 30 minutes then 45 minute flight time, or return by car taking approximately 7 hours. B

Walk Grading 
Easy to Moderate - due to altitude. 

This map is for illustration purposes only and we cannot be held responsible for its accuracy.

Chengdu - Buddha Zen - 4 Star

In Chengdu  - A traditional and classy courtyard-style hotel located within the narrow streets of the ‘old town’, the Buddha Zen offers rooms with modern Chinese décor with classic wood furnishings, flat screen TV, tea/coffee making amenities, safe and private bathrooms. The hotel also features a Chinese restaurant, Tea House and Spa where guests can relax. English is spoken.


Chengdu - Wenjun Hotel - 3 Star

In Chengdu - A courtyard hotel, the Wenjun is a modern Chinese style hotel located in a pleasant shopping street.  Rooms are air-conditioned  with WIFI, tea/coffee-making facilities and a satellite TV. Slippers and free toiletries are provided. Each room has a seating area outside and the courtyard has a bar and tables for outside dining. English is well spoken.


Chengdu - Dorsset Grand Hotel - 5 Star

In Chengdu - This is a modern 5 star hotel 4km from the centre of Chengdu and has everything which you would expect from a hotel of this standard. 


Availability Information

Chengdu can be visited all year around however best avoided is July and August as they are the wettest and hottest months. December to February are the coldest with temperatures averaging around 5C but rarely above 10C or below 0C.

Tibetan area, due to the high altitude the winters are cold November to March with temperatures rarely into double figures in C, but it is the driest so good clear days are to be expected. July and August are the hottest above 20C and along with June and September are the wettest. 

Please note our best to go information is generally referring to the walking which may fall in the early or late season in some places. This may mean that not all tourist facilities will be open at the time you visit. 

When to book your walking holiday in China - Szechuan - High & Green

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