Kham Heartland Cultural Tour

Tour Type: Private Group Tour
Tour Duration: 15 Days and 14 Nights
Best Time: May to October
Overview
Kham Heartland Cultural Tour duration is 15 days and it is starting from Chengdu. Because the land is situated in the lower reach of Tibet plateau region and the climate is uniquely mild and wet at an altitude of 500 meters above sea level, an ideal place for acclimatization for high altitude sicknesses. During the tour, we will be visiting the following important and sacred seats in Chengdu and eastern parts of Tibet known as Kham region.

  1. The giant pandas breeding centre which is not only a Chinese national treasure but are also beloved by people the world over. They are found only in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces.
  2.  Wenshu Monastery (Manjushri Monastery) initially built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) is the best-preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu. It is the home of the Buddhist Association of Sichuan Province and Chengdu City.
  3. Chengdu People’s Park a comprehensive park which integrates heritage preservation with entertainment. The park comprised with many famous scenic spots including the Gold Water Stream, the Goldfish Island and the Potted Landscape Garden.
  4. Traditional Chinese Opera a popular form of drama and musical theatre in China with roots going back to the early periods in China.
  5. Luding Chain Bridge which dates from the Qing Dynasty and is considered a historical landmark and An Gyu monastery an important seat of Gelupa tradition Tibetan Buddhism in Dartsedo.
  6. Visit Lhagang monastery, thought to be the 1st Tibetan Buddhism monastery in Kham of the east Tibet built in 652 by the 33rdTibet king of Songtsam Gampo for his Chinese wife – the Princess Wencheng. And this monastery was the last one among of the 108 temples and monasteries that he ordered to build across Tibetan plateau.
  7. Gongpa temple constructed at the suggestion of Drogon Ghogyel Phakpa in the 13th century while en route for Mongolia.
  8. Kandze Gongpa originally constructed by the Qosot Mongols circa 1642, it once had a population of 1500 monks, making it the largest monastery in Kham alongside Chamdo.
  9. Den Gongpa temple constructed at the suggestion of Drogon Ghogyel Phakpa in the 13th century while en-route for Mongolia.
  10. Kandze Gongpa originally constructed by the Qosot Mongols circa 1642, it once had a population of 1500 monks, making it the largest monastery in Kham alongside Chamdo.
  11. Kharma Gongpa established in the 5th century as a Karma Kagyu monastery. It was converted to the Geluk tradition sometime in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.
  12. The gorgeous view of Yilhun Lhatso Lake, a holy alpine lake at an altitude of around 4200 meters. This sacred and beautiful glacial lake is nestled amidst the rocky, snowy Chola Mountains of Trola range.
  13. The Derge Printing House, famous for its printing press that still uses traditional wood-block printing methods, there are more than 217,000 engraved blocks of Tibetan scriptures from all the Tibetan Buddhist orders, including Bon tradition.
  14. The Katok Dorjeden Monastery, the oldest surviving monastery of the Nyingma tradition and it is known to have maintained certain rare lineages of teaching from the 12th century at times when they were lost in central Tibet. The Monastery was founded in 1159 by a younger brother of Phagmo Drupa Dorje GyalpoKatok Dampa Deshek at Derge, the historic seat of the Kingdom of Dergein Kham.
  15. Pelyu Namgyle Jangchubling, one of the six great “mother monasteries” following the Nyingma School, or Ancient Translation Tradition, of Tibetan Buddhism, the monastery was founded in 1665 by the king of Derge, Lachen Jampa Phuntsok, who appointed Regdzin Kunzang Sherab (1636-99) as its first throne holder.
  16. Yachen Orgyen Samten Choling established in 1985 by a Nyingmapa Rinpoche.
  17. The still survived mystical old Qiang defensive towers.
  18. The Gyaju Tibetan village settlement in Danba to experience an up close of the traditional lifestyle of the local Tibetans.
  19. The magnificent Mt. Four Sisters in Rilong town which dominating the provincial skyline with their soaring peaks.
Tour Map
Kham Heartland Cultural Tour Map
Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Chengdu Elevation 500m
  • Arrive in Chengdu – collection from Shuangliu International Airport
  • Escort to hotel for rest
 Day 2: Exploration around Chengdu
  • The Panda Breeding Center visit  to learn about Panda rearing, breeding and conservations
  • Wenshu Monastery visit which (Manjushri Monastery) initially built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) considered to be the best-preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu.
  • Visit the Chengdu People’s Park a comprehensive park which integrates heritage preservation with entertainment
  • Evening experience and enjoy the Sichuan Opera show, a popular form of drama and musical theatre in China with roots going back to the early periods in China.
Day 3: Chengdu to Dartsedo (Kangding) town Distance 340kms Elevation 2600m
  • Depart Chengdu for Dartsedo town the capital seat of Kandze autonomous region early in the morning, all day overland drive
  • En-route, stop by and visit Luding Chain Bridge, Dadu river in Luding County and An Gyu monastery an important seat of Gelupa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism in Dartsedo
  • Overnight stay in Dartsedo town
Day 4: Dartsedo to Lhagang (Tagong) Distance 113kms Elevation 3730m
  • Drive to and reach Lhagang
  • Visit Lhagang monastery, thought to be the 1stTibetan Buddhism monastery in Kham of the east Tibet built in 652 by the 33rdTibet king of Songtsam Gampo for his Chinese wife – the Princess Wencheng
  • Overnight stop in Dardo County
Day 5: Dardo to Kandze via Tawu (Daofu) and Drango (Luhuo) Distance 270kms Elevation 3900m
  • Head out from Dardo and drive to Kandze County
  • Stop by and exploration around Tawu and Drango
  • Reach and overnight stay in Kandze county
Day 6: Exploration around Kandze County Elevation 3900m
  • Visit Den Gongpa temple constructed at the suggestion of Drogon Ghogyel Phakpa in the 13th century while en route for Mongolia. ,
  • Kandze Gongpa Visit which was originally constructed by the Qosot Mongols circa 1642
  • Kharma Gongpa Visit which was established in the 5th century as a Karma Kagyu monastery
  • Overnight stay in Kandze county
Day 7: Kandze to Derge via Manigango and Yilhun Lhatso Lake Distance 200kms Elevation 3950m
  • Leave Kandze for Derge County
  • Descend and drive by crossing Manigango and witness the gorgeous view of Yilhun Lhatso Lake, a holy alpine lake at an altitude of around 4200 meters.
  • Visit the Derge Printing House, famous for its printing press that still uses traditional wood-block printing methods
  • Overnight stop in Derge county
Day 8: Derge to Pelyul Distance 200kms Elevation 3150m
  • Leave Derge County and travel to Pelyul
  • Visit the Katok Dorjeden Monastery, the oldest surviving monastery of the Nyingma tradition
  • Overnight stop in Pelyul county
Day 9: Exploration around Pelyul
  • Visit Pelyu Namgyle Jangchubling, one of the six great “mother monasteries” following the Nyingma School, or Ancient Translation Tradition, of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Overnight stay in Pelyul county
Day 10: Pelyul to Kandze Distance 234kms Elevation 3900m
  • Head to Kandze, on the way stop by and visit Yachen Orgyen Samten Choling established in 1985 by a Nyingmapa Rinpoche
  • Overnight stay in Kandze county
Day 11: Kandze to Danba (Rongtrak) via Gartha Distance 260kms Elevation 2000m
  • Set off again for Kandze to Danba
  • Overnight stay in Danba county
 Day 12: Exploration around Danba
  • Visit the still survived mystical old Qiang defensive towers
  • Visit the Gyaju Tibetan village settlement to experience an up close of the traditional lifestyle of the local Tibetans
  • Overnight stay in the village
 Day 13: Danba to Rilong town Distance 110kms Elevation 3200m
  • Visit and witness the magnificent Mt. Four Sisters
  • Overnight stay in Rilong town
Day 14: Rilong town to Chengdu Distance 240kms Elevation 500m
  • Leave Rilong and travel back to Chengdu
  • Overnight stay in Chengdu
 Day 15: Departure from Chengdu
  • Depart Chengdu for your next journey
Good to Know

Best Time of Visit

This overland tour from Chengdu to Kham can be done anytime from May to October. We can arrange this journey for groups of two to twenty people. Discount available for groups of 4 or more persons. For a specific quote, please contact us at tibetuniversaltravel@hotmail.com

Travel Gear:

Upon joining, each participant will be sent a list of required and recommended gear for this journey that they will be responsible for.

Accommodation:

In major economic cities such as Dartsedo, Tagon, Kandze Pelyul and Derge we will be staying in a comfortable and pleasant boutique or 3-star Tibetan-owned hotels. Accommodation in other remote areas of Kham Tibet such as Rilong town, on the tour, we will be staying at best available local guesthouses.

Eligibility:

Participants must be in good health and physically fit to be able to spend each day walking around towns, villages, and monasteries with their own equipment. Though you will be doing a lot of walking each day, no trekking is required. Most of this tour will take place in mountainous terrain between 3600 meters and 5200 meters (11,800 feet to 17,000 feet) above sea level. You will spend 2 nights in Chengdu the capital seat of Sichuan Province for altitude acclimatization before going above 500 meters. Ascent will be slow and gradual to reduce the risks of altitude-related illness. This tour is not recommended for those who have severe asthma or who have had problems with high elevation in the past.  

Terms
Quote includes:
  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy; single room supplement available)
  • Breakfast in Tibet
  • All ground transportation in Tibet
  • All entrance fees per itinerary
  • Local Tibetan guide fees
  • Lhasa airport pickup and drop-off
Not included in the price:
  • Passport, Chinese Visa fees
  • Lunch or Dinner
  • International airfare to Chengdu
  • Travel vaccinations
  • Insurance (travel, medical, etc)
  • Souvenirs or personal items such as laundry, excess baggage fees, snacks, alcohol drinks
  • Photography fees inside temples and monasteries
  • Gratuities to the Tibetan guide and driver
Single Supplement:

There is 100 USD extra for the single supplement room charge. If you like to skip this extra cost, we will try our best to find you a roommate.

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Responsible Tourism

Tibet Universal Tours and Travel puts great importance on the promotion of responsible and sustainable tourism practices. It incorporated into our day to day base tour service performances. So, we always strive to ensure that our tour service delivery will have a maximum quality. Furthermore, we also strive to the minimum level of negative social, economic, environmental and cultural impacts. Following outlined points are some of our representative measures undertaking in our routine job performances. In addition, these thoughts to be essential for a sustainable touristic development in Tibet. 

Social Responsibility:

Whenever and wherever possible, we extend charitable support to disadvantaged groups in remote Tibetan villages. For instance, utilizing the certain percentage of our annual company income we engage in social works. Therefore, we purchase and distribute warm winter clothes for children from rural Tibetan primary schools. As a result, they can keep them warm and happy during cold winter.

Moreover, we believe that every person deserves access to quality healthcare. So, we extend our help on medical expenses to those serious patients who are from remote and rural Tibetan villages. Because they cannot afford to pay their medical treatment when the treatment costs go beyond the local medical insurance coverage.

Economy Responsibility:

In support of contributing to the local economy and we give the local population a central role in the touristic economic development of their own territory.  Therefore, we always strive to ensure that the economic benefits of tourism should go for local communities. So, poverty alleviation by generating financial benefits for both local people and private industries. For instance, we always use locally owned ground transportation and accommodation (i.e. hotels, lodges, and guesthouses). Furthermore, we also recommend local eateries, restaurants, and stores to our guests.

In addition, we are an indigenous local Tibetan travel agency based in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. 100% of our travel company employees are staffed and escorted by professional local Tibetans including local tour guides and drivers.  So, this has created employment and job security opportunities for many educated and inspired Tibetans.

Environment Responsibility:

Tibetan Buddhist reality is profoundly ecological, and Buddhism itself is an ecological religion. It powerfully expresses human identification with nature. Buddhists believe that all things, including humans, exist by their interrelationship with all other parts of nature. Therefore, thinking of one's self as isolated from the rest of nature is being unrealistic.

Respect for life and the natural world

Giving the facts that Tibetans love and respect for life and the natural world. Therefore, to minimize the environmental impact created by tourists, we follow environment-friendly policies. So, we maintain the size of tour groups to have minimal impact on flora and fauna in an area. The necessary carbon emissions that we generate by our footprints of travel to the tour destinations cannot be overlooked. Therefore, we regularly actively participate in carbon reduction or offset activities such as tree planting. Our tour guides, drivers, and logistics staff are aware of waste management. Moreover, we advised them to dispose of all rubbish generated by themselves responsibly and recycle wherever feasible.

Other Safegurds for the Environment friendly tourism

Make the best use of the winter tourist low season, we deliver training workshops on environmental protection. Moreover, the training also includes the preservation and first aid training. So, we arrange it for all our company management staff, tour guides, and drivers in order to increase their knowledge. As a result, they can understand the importance of environmental protection and ecotourism.

Request to Visitors:
    • Be considerate of the communities and environment you visit.
    • Don’t litter, try to carry your own shopping bag to avoid plastic garbage problem. Many Tibetan local villages do not have environmentally sound garbage disposal systems. Therefore, pack garbage out to a larger town where there is a facility.
    • Try to avoid excessive use of plastic bottles. Travelers are requested to bring a reusable water bottle. In addition, we will arrange and supply your drinking water in a bigger container.
    • Reduce energy consumption. Unplug your mobile phone charger, turn off the lights
    More Requests
    • Conserve water. Take shorter showers.

    • Always ask before taking photographs. So, if someone says no, respect their wishes.
    • Educate yourself about the place you are visiting and the people.
    • Respect cultural differences. Moreover, learn from it! People in different places do things differently. So, don’t try to change them. And, enjoy them.
    • Support the local economy. Therefore, buy locally made souvenirs, eat at local restaurants. Furthermore, enjoy the local culture.
    • Support responsible tourism organizations. Because those travel operators who publicly are aiming to make tourism more responsible.

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