There are Many reasons to come to Kangding!
Here are just a few…
Acclimatize to Altitude
Kangding, known in Tibetan as Dardo or Dartsendo, is the first Tibetan region as you travel west from Chengdu. Lying at an elevation of 2616m / 8580 feet, Kangding is an excellent place to spend at least one time allowing your body time to acclimatize before heading out further. Within only 1 hour of driving further west from Kangding, the elevation rises 1682m, to 4298m! So this is your last and best chance to help your body acclimatize before heading up onto the Tibetan plateau.
Kangding has been a main trading center, particularly for tea, between China and Tibetan areas for many centuries. Even today, most goods traveling from mainland China to the inner regions of the Tibetan Plateau pass through Kangding. Kangding sits in a beautiful valley along the banks of the Zheduo and Yala Rivers. These two rivers merge on the east end of town just below the towering Guoda Mountain. Kangding is the capital of Ganzi (Garnze) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and is part of the traditional Tibetan region of Kham. Kangding has long been the cultural boundary between Han Chinese and Tibetans. The city has a population of around 100,000. Roughly 40% of the population are Tibetans, 40% Han Chinese with the remaining 20% coming from smaller minority groups such as the Qiang, Yi and Hui. Colorful Tibetan nomads from the nearby grasslands often come into town to buy and sell goods.
Amazing views of peaks you can’t find anywhere else…
Kangding itself is a delightful place to spend a few days to a week with many snow peaks around 6000m to view and enjoy in good weather. Our guests enjoy exploring extreme mountainous areas without many other tourists. Once you leave Kangding, you will still encounter many other mountains, but some of Sichuan’s highest are most accessible from the town of Kangding.
It’s the best base for the Gongga Trek.
Kangding is also the best place to stay to access to Gongga Trek, Gongga Monastery & the ancient Minyak Kingdom. The ancient Minyak language is being studied for it’s possible connection to ancient Tibetan. The whole Minyak area is most accessible from the town of Kangding, and you can best arrange your travels this area here. To book a trip to Minyak with our most beloved manager and trekking guide, Patru, click here.
It’s a great place to stop for many services that become unavailable after Kangding before continuing on to other Tibetan areas.
Most likely you’ve come to Sichuan to explore the stunning valleys, mountains and monasteries of Kham Tibet that lie in Ganzi Prefecture. Kangding is a wonderful starting point to acclimatize, visit the bank, extend your visa, buy travel necessities, or access the internet before heading out to higher altitudes. To the south, one can travel to Deqin, Shangrila and Lijiang in Yunnan. To the west, before reaching the TAR border, you can experience one of the highest cities in the world, Litang and the beautiful warm weather and apple orchards of Batang. To the northwest lies the adventures of Tagong, Ganzi, Dege and eventually Yushu in Qinghai. To the northwest lies Danba with its beautiful ancient towers, Ruoergai and even Jiuzhaiguo. The opportunities are endless, and most likely this place will embed itself in your heart and after you leave you’ll dream of returning for more.