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A Cross-Cultural Journey: Chengdu to Kham

This unique 16-day journey takes you through incredible Kham, Eastern Tibet. Here, not much has changed over the centuries, and the result is utter splendour - found in the people you’ll meet along the way, and the breathtaking scenery you’ll encounter. Discover one of the Earth’s last frontiers, where isolation has melded a mystical atmosphere, as you head from China’s Chengdu, to Leshan, Kangding, Bamei, Kandze, Drango, Denpa, and Yaan. 

Highlights   Pricing
Explore exciting Chengdu, from the luxurious comfort of the Shangri-La hotel Learn about ancient Tibetan culture from monks you’ll meet at the many monasteries you visit Marvel at age-old sacred Buddhist art in one of the most far-reaching corners of the Earth Let Giant Pandas and their carers make you smile at the Bifengxia Panda Base  
Starting at
$685
per person per day
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

Arrive in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China. You’ll be greeted at the airport, and transferred to your hotel. We recommend the luxurious Shangri-La. Once you’re checked in and settled, you can sit down to an early dinner, after which you’ll enjoy some much-needed downtime after your long international flight.

Day 2

Enjoy a leisurely, gourmet breakfast at your hotel, before heading out to explore Chengdu. This city is Southwest China’s economic, political, and cultural center. You’ll start off at Wenshu Monastery, the city’s largest and most well-preserved temple. Thereafter, you’ll head to Baoguang Monastery, just a short drive from Chengdu. Here, you can marvel at the exquisite white jade Buddha statue. Finish your day off at Zhaojue Temple, which dates back to the 7th century. Overnight once again at your luxury Chengdu hotel.

Day 3
Leshan

Check out of your hotel today and depart Chengdu for Leshan, a place whose name literally translates to “happy mountain”. Here, the Grand Buddha reigns supreme as the must-see sight. It’s the image of the Future Buddha Maitreya carved into a cliff, which overlooks two rivers - the world’s largest rock-carved Buddha. Explore the area’s monasteries, before checking in to a Leshan hotel for the night.

Day 4
Kangding

Today marks the start of your thrilling tour of East Tibet, which starts with a road trip through the mountains (watch out for breathtaking scenery) to Kangding. Along the way, you’ll notice Tibetan people begin to dot the landscape, herding yaks, sheep, and goats. Arrive in Kangding, nested into a river valley, where you’ll check in to a hotel and rest for the night.

Day 5
Bamei

Enjoy a hearty breakfast, before heading off to visit two of Kangding’s most important monasteries: Nanwu Gompa, and Ngachu Gompa. The latter is home to a wonderful collection of sacred art through which you can peruse. It’s time to get back on the road now - enjoy another scenic drive that passes by Mt Miyak Gongkar, the highest mountain around, measuring 7,553 meters above sea-level. Overnight in the peaceful, serene village of Bamei.

Day 6
Bamei

Today you’ll explore Bamei, starting with the Garthar Chode Monastery, not far from the birthplace of the 11th Dalai Lama. In the afternoon, head to Lhagang Monastery, which holds a vast collection of sacred art, as well as being home to a 1000-armed Avalokitesvara, a Buddhist statue. Spend the evening at your leisure, and head back to your hotel in Bamei.

Day 7
Bamei

Rago Monastery is your first stop today, where you can marvel at its sacred art collection. Next, head to the famous Sakya Gompa monastery, before doing some shopping at the local market, where you can pick up some locally-made products and fresh produce. Enjoy a lovely dinner at one of Bamei’s restaurants, and head back to your hotel for a final night.

Day 8
Kandze

You’ll leave Bamei today, en route to Kandze. Stop by Denba Lung monastery on your way out of town. Continue on the open road, through the picturesque countryside, to Kandze Monastery, perched on a hilltop, overlooking the town. This monastery is home to over 500 monks - the largest in the region. Marvel at the three-story Buddhist sculpture, as well as its collection of small golden Buddha statues. Check in to a hotel in Kandze and relax for the evening.

Day 9
Kandze

Explore more of Kandze today, starting with Den Gompa, the town’s oldest temple. In the afternoon, you’ll be treated to one of Kandze’s most picturesque views, from the Lamdark nunnery. As the sun begins to sink into the sky, you may enjoy some time strolling through the town at your leisure - there are plenty of markets where you may find some interesting trinkets to take home as souvenirs. Spend the night at your Kandze hotel.

Day 10
Kandze

Get your camera ready - today you’ll take a day trip to Yarlung Lhatso, one of Tibet’s most beautiful lakes. Filled with glacial water, considered sacred by Tibetans, the lake is surrounded by glaciers that measure nearly 6,000 meters high, as well as monolithic rocks. If you look closely, you’ll see there are sacred mantras carved into the rock face. Take in your stunning surroundings as you enjoy a memorable picnic lunch. In the afternoon, visit a traditional Tibetan nomadic family, and learn about their customs and way of life. Head back to Kandze tonight, where you can relax at your hotel for the evening.

Day 11
Drango

Say goodbye to Kandze today, as you set off once again into the Kham countryside. Watch for the array of vibrant prayer flags, and sacred mantras that have been carved into the mountainside, as you whizz by them. Once you hit Drango, you’ll go straight to Drango Gompa, one of Kham’s largest and most important monasteries. Take a tour of the expansive space, guided by friendly monks, and marvel at the sacred art it contains. Check in to a Drango hotel, where you’ll spend the night.

Day 12
Denpa

Today you’ll enjoy yet another scenic drive, traversing some of Kham’s highest mountain passes, as you meander through the forest and alpine gorges. Watch for waterfalls flowing down the rocky cliffs - there are many! Your destination today is Denpa - once arrived, you’ll check in to your hotel in town, and relax for the evening.

Day 13
Yaan

Start your day with a visit to a small Denpa monastery at the feet of Mt Moerduo Shan, considered to be a sacred mountain. On your way to Yaan, you’ll take a rest stop at numerous Qiang stone watch towers, where you can check out their lovely views. Spend the night at a hotel in Yaan.

Day 14
Yaan

Enjoy breakfast at your Yaan hotel, before heading to the Yaan panda reserve, known as the Bifengxia Panda Base. Home to several giant pandas, this base also houses thousands of plant varieties, as well as monkeys, deer, and snow leopards. With your wildlife appetite whet, pay a visit to the China Research and Conservation Center, where you can observe even more giant pandas. After lunch, you’ll head back to Chengdu, where you will once again spend the night at the luxurious Shangri-La.

Day 15
Chengdu

Enjoy a free day today, where you may do as much or as little as you please. Indulge yourself with some of Shangri-La’s spa services, or head out to do some shopping before your return flight home. Chengdu is known as a shopper’s paradise, with its own unique local flavor. Pick up a Shu Brocade scarf, or some locally-made lacquerware, which is known for its durability. Spend a final night at the Shangri-La ahead of tomorrow’s departure.

Day 16
Departure

Today, you’ll check out of your room at the Shangri-La. Say goodbye to Chengdu, as you’re driven to the airport in time for your international departure flight - either home, or to your next onward destination.

 

Suggested Accommodations

Location
Accommodation
CHENGDU
Ritz-Carlton, The Temple House

Ritz-Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu, situated in the center of the capital of Sichuan province, is a strong new contender in Southwest China’s luxury hotel market. The hotel is located in Tianfu Square, one of the city’s main commercial districts. The Ritz-Carlton has 353 well-appointed suites designed in the style of a traditional Chengdu courtyard home, some of which can still be found in the old parts of the city. The room interiors combine light woods and a palette of cool blue and golden colors intended to subtly reflect the city’s heritage in a modern context. The hotel’s facilities include an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, spa, ballrooms and meeting rooms. There are three restaurants to choose from, serving refined Cantonese cuisine and other international specialties, as well as a lobby lounge where guests can enjoy a sweet treat with their afternoon tea.

 

The Temple House

Blending the traditional with the modern just like the city it stands in, The Temple House is a masterclass in elegant design. Guests enter through the lovingly-restored courtyard, dating back to the Qing dynasty, and the historic style is integrated into many of the building’s features. The hotel’s service, though, is slick and up to date, with paperless systems ensuring an effortless check-in so guests may relax in their elegant room, apartment or suite in no time. From local and international cuisine to tea and cocktails, the dining options are comprehensive and delicious, and with a spa, indoor pool, steam and sauna facilities and a state-of-the-art gym on site, every whim is taken care of. 

 
 
LESHAN
Huaguangyuan Hotel

Huaguangyuan Hotel


The centrally-located Huaguangyuan Hotel is situated near the Dadu River in the Shawan District in Leshan, close to the Dadu River with beautiful views of the water. This new hotel, which only opened in 2011, has 34 rooms and suites over four stories, allowing for a small hotel charm with big hotel service. Guests can enjoy the hotel’s breakfast and complimentary game room, and its great location means it is just minutes from the Leshan Shawan bus station. 


 
 
Meet An Asia Expert
From Our Blog
Our co-founder & CEO Catherine Heald lived in China for 7 years and returns often. She loves trekking in the rice terraces of Ping An, and hugging baby pandas in Chengdu!
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