Trekking on Sichuan-Tibet line —You cannot miss in life!
Sichuan-Tibet line, is divided in to northern line and southern line with code names of State Road 317 and State Road 318.The process of constructing it is one of the most arduous project in the history of road building in China.This route has been honored as china’s Landscape Avenue byChinese National Geography. So it is an landscape which cannot be missed in your life! The tips of self-driving tour and valuable spots will be pointed in this tourist guide.
Landscape Avenue – Southern Sichuan-TibetLine/ State Road 318
State Road 318, is also named Southern Sichuan-Tibet line 318 and put into used in 1958.The scenery is magnificent with the foil of Three Parallel Rivers.It includes not only the plains, hills, basins, plateau and other landforms, but also the fusion of the Tianfu (refers to Sichuan) Basin culture and the Tibetan cultural landscape. The mountains and canyons on the way will act the characters of shock, insurance, beauty and magnificence from the Chengdu Plain to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.At present, it is the preferred route of self-driving tour.
Spring of Brahmaputra Grand Canyon, by network
Southern Sichuan-Tibet Road passed through the Three Parallel Rivers area. The Three Parallel Rivers refers to Jinsha River, Lancang River, and Nu River. These three rivers are all originated from Qinghai-Tibet plateau and parallel flow of more than 170 km from north to south in Yunnan Province. They are across some rugged mountains, such as Dandanglika Mountain, Gaoligong Mountain, Nu Mountain and Yunling Mountain, forming the unique natural geographical landscape of “rivers parallel flow but not meet”. The shortest distance between Lancang River and Jinsha River is 66 km as the crow flies, and less than 19 km between Lancang River and Nu River.
The latest Traffic:
The route of Ranwu-Bomi-Linzhi has been reconstructed since2016 March with the total distance of 360 km. Exceot for Tongmai and Lulang, other roads are put into discontinuousconstruction for 2-10 km. But do not worry too much,ordinary seven commercial car still can pass smoothly.
The route ofLinzhi-Lhasa is 400km totally, in which the situation is mixed.
The route of Mozhugongka-Gongbujiangda is torn up intermittently. The rest is Linla Highway (actual freeway), which situation is good.
Landscape Avenue 318 may leave a impression in our mind and does not need too much excessive explanation.As the development of spots around Lanscape Avenue 318, also the increasing of spots such as Danba Tibetan Village and Yading of Rice City, we design the following route of self-driving tour and carpool for your reference. I hope it can be helpful along your journey on the pilgrimage road.
Humanities Avenue——Southern Sichuan-TibetLine/State Road 317
The same as the State Road 318, State Road 317 also belongs to Sichuan-Tibet Line. State Road 317 is named Southern Sichuan-Tibet Line by tourists. The difference between the northernline is that the scenery of grassland and streams can be seen around the southern one because it passes through the pastoral area at most, also leans close to streams.
Que’er Mountain is the highest spot along the way, also the most magnificent spot. Explorers are fond of Southern Sichuan-Tibet Line because there are many plateau sections along the way. It is more like a real cross-country.Because of the trudge and the backward condition, also the high altitude (compare with State Road 318), State Road 317 is left out by tourists. Many people choose to make a detour and travel into Tibet by other route.
The State Road 317 is a unique Humanities Avenue with its humanity glory. According to experts, if the domain of landscape could be extendto near place for 200km, the value of State Road 317 will be inapproachable.
1. It is a national amalgamation avenue which goes through concentrated area of more than 50 nationalities, such as Han, Qiang, Hui, Man, Meng, Menba, Luoba, and Zang(Jiarong, Muya, Kangba, Weizang).
2.It is a religion collection avenue which strings Dalarong five-Ming Buddhist College, the Asian-green practice, Dege printing by the courtyard, the main temple of the school of the eight Groups Temple, Tang Road on the Gemma Hall, Nyingma White Jade Temple, Gelu faction Temple Ganzi Temple and the oldest temples in Ben—Zi Zhu Temple.
3.It is a historical accumulation avenue which is through the history of the greatest hydraulic engineering Dujiang Weir, the late Neolithic card ruins, Tibetan heroes of King Thrall Territory, the liberation of Tibet and the Battle of Qiangdu.
4. The whole line is a magnificent scenery with unique charm, which is over countless mountains and rivers, from the fertile Chengdu Plains of Shu to the desolate Qiangtang plateau of northern Tibet.
It is worthy of our expectations that every season, every Tibetan area, every day of natural and cultural landscape has an unpredictability.
Why is Southern Sichuan-Tibet Line/ State Road 318 more popular?
Compared with the State Road 318, the condition of 317 is worse. In old days, 317 was called the road of Hell which will pass a long period of No-man’s land. Although the road is better with renovation, but compared with State Road 318, 317 still not equipped well for people to go through. In particular, the section of Changdou to Naqu is extremely poor, so I don’t recommend take 317 North line for security reasons.Of course, if you like to play cross-country, you can have a try with professional guidance and conditions permitting.
Simply say, 317 is a Humanities Avenue and 318 is a Landscape Avenue. Combining the humanities and the landscape, we developed the following route:
On the base of original Sichuan-Tibet line and the safe travel as premise, we walkalong 317 lines and come to Seda to feel the power of piety, and then we add the Rice City of Yading which you cannot miss on 318 line.
The schedule in 11th is summarized below.
Schedule on 11th along Southern and Nothern Sichuan-Tibet Line
D1：Chengdu-Maerkang-Goddess of mercy Bridge Town
Lodge in: Goddess of mercy Bridge Town (altitude of 2560M)
Spots: Tappingqiang Village, zhuokejiguanVillage(dewellings of Xisuo People), the Goddess of Mercy Temple.
D2：Goddess of Mercy Bridge Town-The Buddhist College-Seda
Lodge in: Seda Buddhist College(4000M)/county(3800M)
Humanity taste: Golden Horse prairie,Dalarong five-Ming Buddhist College, the Celestial Burial altar
Lodge in: XinduBridge(3600M)
Spots: Kasa Lake, Longdeng Prairie, Daofu dwellings, Tagong Temple, Yala Snow Mountain, Xindu Bridge
D4：Xindu Bridge- The Rice City- Riwa
Lodge in: Riwa(2700M)
Spots：Haizi Mountain, xingyixuo, Zhigong Temple
Lodge in: Riwa(2700M)
Spots: Yading Three immortals mountain, Three Sages Lake
D6：Riwa-Li Tang-Ba Tang
Lodge in: Ba Tang(2700M)
Spots: Gonggalangjiling Temple, MaoyaPrairle, Sister Sea
Lodge in: Zuogong(3400M)
Spots: Jinsha River Bridge, Mangkng Red Land, Jueba Mountain, Dongda Mountain
Lodge in: Midui Village（3200M）
Spots: Ninety-nine Turn, Ranwu Lake, Mudui Glacier
D9：Mudui Glacier- Bomi-Guxiang Lake
Lodge in: Guxiang Lake（2900M）
Spots: Palongzangbu River, Gangyun Mountain Primary Forest
Lodge in: Linzhi（3000M）
Spots: Sejila National Forest Park, Lulanglin Sea, Niyang River
Lodge in: Lhasa（3600M）
Spots: Mozhugongka, Zhigongti Temple
Following is the specific instruction of routes, I will explain theroad condition, scenery, accommodation and matters needing attention in details. They are for your reference if you like.
D1：Chengdu-Maerkang- Goddess of Mercy Bridge Town
I lived in Goddess of Mercy Bridge Town the first day I Set off from Chengdu. The altitude of Goddness of Mercy Bridge Town is only 2500 meters, so the altitude sickness could be avoid during sleeping. There are not too many hotels in town, but the standard of them vary inn’s form from three star hotels. Their price also varies dozens of from more than 300.
As for meals, you can try the local Tibetan Hotpot. The fragrant is attractive with kinds of vegetables and meats, but it is so spicy. If you cannot tolerate spicy food, remember to let owner add less peppers.
The Goddness of Mercy Temple is located in Goddness of Mercy Bridge Town. It will take 20 minutes by local minibus for the price of 30-50 yuan per person.
After setting off, you should fill the gasoline when go through Maerkang Town. There are many gas stations in and out of the city which offer No.97 gasoline. But what needs attention is that the road is narrow and the corners are dangerous after Maerkang Town, so you’d better be more careful.
D2：Goddness of Mercy Town-Buddhist College-Seda
I lived in Seda the second day. You can choose to live in Buddhist or Seda Town. But there is only Larong Hotel with poor condition. It cannot offer water normaly. The price is 200-500 per room, but it will be a large fluctuation depends on that if there is Dharma assembly in Buddhist College. But they do not accept reservations. The county is about 20 km away from the Buddhist College. There are many choices of hotels vary inns for dozens of yuan from four stars hotels for hundreds of yuan.
There are kinds of food in county, but the price is 1/3 higher than it in Chengdu. But taking the remoteness into consideration, the price is acceptable. So, it will be better to live in Seda Town if you have a higher requirement for accommodation. Seda Town is 20 km away from Buddhist College and it will take 30 minutes by car.
Special Note: Seda of celestial burial starts around 13:00,. It will take 1 hour from the Buddha College to the celestial burial altar (3800-4000M). Most people choose to take minibus instead of walking. The price is 40 yuan per person for round-trip.
The road condition between Gddness of Mercy to Seda is not bad with renewing of some sections. You may occasionally encounter with the traffic control for spread of asphalt for 10-30 minutes. .
D3：Seda- Tagong-Xindu Bridge
The way of Seda to State Road 317 to the direction of Luhuo and Daofu is attractive. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way.
The first comes into your eyes is the dwellings in Daofu, sloping from high land to flat area. It constitutes a unique scenery and gives the city a shining color. There mainly are white and brown which build up the appearance of dwellings. With the reflection of blue sky and white clouds, also green mountains and clear rivers, the environment is just like “xanadu”.
Furthermore is the Dragon Prairie, the Eight Sceneries Prairie, and the Tower Prairie. The sky on prairie is boundless and knitted completely. You can drive here freely just like driving in the western United States , in which extends to the bound of sky.
Summer and autumn grassland flowers, green water leisurely, cattle and sheep horses, tents and temples of Tallinn interwoven, showing a beautiful charming scenery.
The Tagong Temple on the Prairie is one of the famous temples of the Tibetan Buddhism Issachar, which has more than 1000 years ‘ history, and the temple has a statue of the same Buddha as the Cambas . It is one of the sacred shrines of the Tibetan nationality. Tickets are 20 yuan per person.
Behind Tagong Temple is one of the eight sacred Mountains in Tibet Yala Kamiyama. It erects from the prairie , towering sky, year-round snow-filled, misty. With the reflection of vast green grassland and the magnificent Tagong Temple, it shows the beautiful plateau scenery. The hill on the right side of Tagong Temple is the best place to record Yala Kamiyama , and local Tibetans will charge 10 yuan per person.
Walking from Yala Kamiyama to the Xindu Bridge, you will follow a river forward. This river is called the “Mani Valley”, because the Tibetans carved almost every large and small stone in the valley with Tibetan scriptures, and then painted with bright colors. You can feel shocked with the strong belief all the way!
After whole day’s schedule, you will arrive at Xindu Bridge at dusk. The hotels here are focused. Their levels vary from low to high. Also, the meals here are delicious. So it is just right for you to lodge in.
Xindu Bridge is honored as ‘The heaven for photographers”. The scenery in autumn is fabulous with red trees, blue sky, white clouds……Only you come here in person, can you feel the splendid scenery.
D4：Xindu Bridge- Rice city-Riwa
Setting off from the Xindu Bridge to Litang, you will cross the Gaoer Temple Mountain, Jianziwan Mountain, Kazila Mountain. The road conditions are very good, and tunnels are unobstructed too. But there are many curved conduits along whole road. So you need to drive very carefully. If all things goes smoothly, you can arrive at Litang at noon.
You will cross Haizi Mountain on the way to Rice City. The top of Haizi Mountain is vast and full of stones. You may feel you are in another planet because there is no plant. Riwa Town is a part of Shangri-La Town. Both of them are out of the Rice City of Yading. There are 90 km away from Rice City. In order to distinguish it from the Shangri-la County of Yunnan, the Shangri-la County of Rice City is also named Riwa.
Riwa is the main tourist distributing center of Rice City of Yading Scenic spot, so the tourist reception condition is quite perfect. The accommodation Varies from five-star Nisson-Gomb hotel to inns of dozens of yuan.
Sichuan Cuisine, soup and Tibetan Meals are the main types in local restaurant. All kinds of small items are sold in supermarkets too. So it is more convenient for you to live in Riwa than Yading Village.
It needs 5 minutes’ drive from Riwa to the parking lot in Yading Spot. You must take the sightseeing car for scenic spot here. It will take 1.5 hours for cars from the gate to Yading Village, cross a mountain.
The altitude of Litang is 3900M, known as the “World High”. But in fact, The altitude of Shiqu County and Naqu County are higher than Litang later. Horse Racing Festival of Litang in July is the liveliest and grand festival in Sichuan Tibetan area, while the “Changqingchunkeer Temple” located in the side of the town is the oldest and largest Tibetan temple of Buddhism shamanism.
There is Maoya Prairie which is 90 km long out of Litang. Litang is so beautiful in summer with livestock and flowers.
You will climb Haizi Mountain after Maoya Mountain. It is easy for people to climb Haizi Mountain, cause the Road condition is good and the curved conduits are easy.So it is not so suffering to arrive at the saddle back. The observation deck of Sister Sea is located 5 km away from the saddle back. There are many declivities along the way to Batang. Be careful to limit the speed and avoid accident.
The altitude of Batabf is only 2700M. The climate is suitable. Also the county is well equipped with varied accommodation. You can fing inns or four star hotels here.
PetroChina gas station is set on the way from Chengdu to Lhasa. There are some private gas stations here too. As for the quality, it is attested by my car.
It is the Jinsha River Bridge which is 30 km away out of Batang. Jinsha River is the boundary between Sichuan and Tibet. All of your members need registration and driver need bring driving license, vehicle license and ID card while passengers need ID card. After registration, the checkpoint will send a “speed limit” (not to arrive at the next checkpoint in advance, or speeding).
Jinsha River is the first river of “Three Rivers Parallel Flow”. After the Mangkang, you will pass through the second river— Lancang River. After Lancang River, you will climb Jueba Mountain. Although the Jueba Mountain is not too high, the traffic is very dangerous with high drop. And cars are adjacent to the mountains and rows. If you have acrophobia, do not take the left seat!
After the Jueba Mountain, there is Dongda Mountain which is adjacent to Jueba Mountain. The altitude of Dongba Mountain is 5008M, and it is the first mountain with an altitude lower than 5000M on Sichuan-Tibet Line. Do not stay too long on the saddle deck in order to avoid altitude sickness.
It will take 1.5 hours from the foot of Dongda Mountain to Zuogong County. Zuogong county is small, the condition is worse than that in counties of Sichuan. But many hotels which are in form of three stars are built there years. You cannot have breakfast in the hotels on Zuogong. But don’t worry because you can have breakfast in county.
Setting from Zuogong, after Bangda, and over the saddle deck of Yela Mountain, Walking for 8 km, you will find the famous observation named”72 Bends”. Overlooking the endless back bend, you really can the greatness of the road builders.
After 72 Bends you will arrive at the second river—Nu River. The altitude varies from 4400M to 2400M. What needs remind is that the declivity of going down Yela Mountain is large. Long use of the brakes will lead to the vehicle brake heat attenuation, causing the brakes to malfunction! Be sure to use a reasonable low speed stall to go downhill slowly.
Nu River Bridge is a traffic fortress guarded by armed police, also known as Nujiang Moat, which prohibits photographing the Nu River bridge and military facilities.
The time and place for lunch is Basu. You will arrive at Wuran Lake after 2 hours drive.
Ranwu Lake is divided into the upper and lower. The best viewing time is around May, because the lack then is very clear and tranquil which is reflecting the snow mountain. It just likes Alps.
After May the ice and snow on both sides of the lake gradually melted, which would carry silt into the lake, causing the lake to become turbid. It is the entrance of Midui Glacier after 30 minutes’s driving. After 8 km’s driving, you can find Midui Village. Midui Village is located below Midui Glacier. Living in inns of the village, you can see glaciers out of the window. You will feel the power of nature with a cup of buttered tea.
D9：Midui Glacier-Bomi-Guxiang Lake
From the rice heap to Linzhi, this section is called the essence of Sichuan-Tibet Line. The whole day trip is very easy, and there is ample time to feel the charm of Sichuan-Tibet Line. The whole process is a dense primeval forest; the negative oxygen ions in the air are also very high. It will take you 2.5 hours from Bomi to Midui. Bomi is also called “the hometown of glacier”. There are many glaciers with different altitudes. Also, Bomi is an important channel to Motuo. Bomo is 120M away from Motuo. But the road condition is bad, also there is a limitation of speed, so it will take 6 hours to arrive. I don’t advise that go there by car. It is Guhu Town, which is 30Km away from Bomi Town. Guxiang Lake is surrounded by hillock spruce primary forest. You can find some Tibetan inns around the lake and forest.
The morning of the ancient town is misty, as wonderland. People who like photograph can take pictures in morning. Walking forward from Guxiang about 90 kilometers, you can see Tongmai. The channel has been put in use since 2016. The 30km dangerous cliff has changed into flat land. Driving time also shorten to 1 hour. After Tomgmai, it is the Sejila National Forest Park. Ruranling Sea and Roulans chicken are worthy looking forward to.
If the weather is good, looking backing from yhe saddle deck of Sejila Mountain, you can see China’s most beautiful Snow Mountain—Nanjiabawa Peak. But because of the climate, Nnajiabawa Peak is often obscured by clouds. Only in autumn can you see the whole appearance in the whole year. You can only see parts of it other time just like a shy girl. So it also called “Shy Girl Peak”. After Sejila Mouontain, it is Bayi Town of Linzhi. Bayi Town is well built with masions, clean streets and restaurants. If time limit, you can spend more 1-2 days to travel around Linzhi, such as Brahmaputra Grand Canyon, Niyang River, Cuomujiri Channel and Basongcuo. The scenery of Brahmaputra Grand Canyon is wonderful in March, and it is worth to have a look.
There are 400km from Linzhi to Lhasa, and it will take 9-10 hours driving. The road situation is that the route of Linzhi-Gongbujiangda Highway and the route of Gongbujiangda-Mila Mountain-Mozhugongka State road have a limitation of speed. Because of the reconstruction of tunnels around Mila Mountain, road condition is bad. The route of Mozhugongka=Lhasa Highway is boring with nothing interesting. But the aspiration of arriving will make you excited.
Lhasa City is long and narrow and the Potala Palace is the center. Urban areas recommended to play: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, the pedestrian street area — Octagonal street (also called the eight-profile street), Ramoche Temple, Luobulinka, Tibet Museum and so on.
Places for eating are more concentrated on Deji Road and Sun Island. The live performance of “Princess Wencheng” which costs 300 million by government is worth seeing.
Preparation before self-driving tour to Sichuan-Tibet
Vehicle: Now the road is good, the car can pass basically. But the altitude of increase of 1000M, the atmospheric pressure drops about 11.5%, air density decreased about 9%, Spower drop about 10%, so it is still a powerful car suitable
Drugs: Drugs alleviate the altitude sickness, prevent and treat the cold, the treatment of diarrhea, cotton for traumatic, gauze, iodine, white medicine, adhesive tape, treatment of the drugs fell sprain. Don’t buy too much, there are pharmacies along the way.
Personal equipment: Mountaineering shoes, emergency clothing with velvet, charge pants, pants with velvet, quick-dry clothes, quick-dry trousers, hats, sunglasses, cane, backpack, purse, headlights, flashlight, thin gloves. You can also wear sunscreen, lip balm, and hand cream when you are afraid of tanning. toiletries, slippers, poncho, umbrellas, etc.
Common equipment: Bring one to two sets of cookers and prepare several cans of white alpine gas. Two coats, mobile phone navigation with a good offline map, download more beautiful songs.
Food and road map: Take some convenient food, prepare the road map and itinerary planning.
For the Friends who plan a self-driving tour, driving carefully is not only a well-meaning remind, but also a driving skill.
- First of all, it is vital to the keep safe in life. Because of the high altitude environment of Tibet, the body will cause discomfort due to altitude sickness. When the brain is in hypoxia, even low-level errors can be inexplicably occurred. In advance and on the way to eat a little snow-field Rhodiola capsules to prevent and combat the altitude sickness, it can reduce unnecessary mistakes. Also remember to ensure that vehicles and personal are safe.
- Conduct a comprehensive inspection of vehicles before the line. In addition to the necessary maintenance, you can also do some reinforcement on the chassis. If condition is better, you can replace the new tires
3. Speed should be limited, especially in the mud road. Many overturned accidents occurred because the speed is too fast to avoid large pits and stones, and even slide out of the road. For the driver, do not trust their usual driving skills, because in Tibet driving, you cannot predict what will suddenly happen in the front of the accident, so you must be cautious and cautious.
- Try to learn a little car repair skills. In particular, a job such as a tire often needs to be done personally, or to hit a hand or something. It is said that the drivers in Tibet are first-class in car repair, which is completely trained in an environment where no one can help.
- Learn some camping knowledge, and do some camping preparation. Because of the uncertainty of long-distance driving, it is often the case that there is a traffic jam in the outdoor camping.
- If the conditions do not allow or driving experience is not enough, it is best not to “go solo”, as far as possible with the team to follow. So everyone can take care of each other and not get lost. Tibet Plateau area is vast, once lost, I am afraid even people cannot see, not to mention that find someone to guide you.
- Once into the mire do not panic, get off carefully and observe the situation of the four wheels, find a way to get out of their own efforts, or with the help of other vehicles to drag out the mire and then drive forward carefully.
- On the way to pay attention to check the tire pressure, although the elevation changes caused by the tire internal and external pressure difference within the tire bearing capacity, but the chance of the tire problem is higher than the plains.
- Tibet’s drivers don’t use horn when they driving in curves, so remember to slow sown, use the horn and take the right road when you are driving in curves. Don’t be careless because there is no restang after your ringing, which led to an accident and make you anxious.
- After reaching Lhasa, it is best to do a comprehensive overhaul of vehicles. If you cannot find the garage, you can go to Jinzhu West road for help. They often offer help for people who drive car into Tibet. Don’t be too worry, find the person you like, travel together!