Cawarong Town in Zayu County, Nyingchi

Chinese Name: 察瓦龙乡
English Name: Cawarong Town in Zayu County, Nyingchi
Location: Located in Zayu County, Nyingchi, Tibet Autonomous Region
Admission Fee: Free
Opening Hours: All Day

About Cawarong Town

Cawarong, Tibet’s south easternmost town, can only be accessed several months in a year by modern vehicles via a perilous dirt road winding through the spectacular Nujiang Gorge from Bingzhongluo in Yunnan. There are no passable vehicular roads north of Cawarong to connect it to anywhere else in Tibet yet. Transport still relies mostly on the traditional mode ?horse caravans, delivering provisions to local farmers and ship their products out to Yunnan. The region offers great trekking possibilities to discover sacred Tibetan mountains, beautiful Tibetan villages and its unique culture and religion.

Things to See

Soaring directly from the east of Cawarong, the holy Kawa Karpo (6740M) is the third most sacred mountain of Tibetan Buddhism. Situated on the halfway of Kawa Karpo Kora (also called Meili Snow Mountain Kora), Cawarong becomes a major supply point to the pilgrims. During the autumn Kora season ten to hundred thousands of Tibetan pilgrims pass through Cawarong to fulfil the circuit of Kawa Karpo.

The town of Cawarong is made up of two parts- a newer commercial?part with grocery stores, a couple of restaurants and hotels while the older part make up of beautiful huge Tibetan houses and farms. The buildings in the commercial section are still Tibetan architecture and have a rural feel- unlike some of the newer Chinese towns. Walking into the village feels like walking into one of those cowboy towns in Western movies!

Covered by flea bits, we arrived in Cawarong after a three-day trek from Bingzhongluo in the early May 2005. There was no power supply, no phone, no toilet, no water supply system in the new town, depite the brand new building of the local government. The county head told me proudly how they spent hundreds of thousands of Yuan in building it, with all the materials being carried into the town by horse caravans. But what we need was a place to wash up. Unfortunately people still have to walk far away to fetch water. We could do nothing but carry the happy fleas in our clothes and tent further north.

On the contrary, the vivid Tibetan part has its water channel passing through every house. From the finely carved and painted windows, children peered at us curiously. Horses, mules, pigs and cows, returning from their daily outing, stood outside the house, waited patiently for the door to be opened. We ventured into some of these huge Tibetan houses whose hosts were very hospitable. Their big flat roof used to dry crops is the best place to observe the surrounding houses, golden terraced fields as well as splendid mountain landscapes enlightened by sacred praying flags.

In Cawarong nearly every speck of arable land is used. Due to the isolation and land scarcity, local families still practice polyandry: several brothers sharing one wife. They live harmoniously in their big, almost palace-size home. Such a lifestyle maintains the birth rate at a lower level and prevents a family from being broken up by the marriage of each brother. It reduces conflict on splitting the land between various families.

Tsilie, our next trek guide comes from such a family. He is 33-year-old, lives with his brother Tibu (36-year-old), their wife Zhoma (33-year-old) and three children. The elder son Nima is 18-year-old. See below their family photo and their house.


Food and accommodation are available though the choices are very limited, especially during the period when the road to Bingzhongluo is blocked by landslides. Try Lisao’s guesthouse 茶马古食店

Most of the shops and homes run their own generators. A hydroelectric facility is scheduled to be built in the near future. Digicam users who want to recharge their batteries will have to ask around for power source.

Attraction Transportation

When the dirt road between Bingzhongluo and Cawarong is open, you can catch a truck to Cawarong.

There are no passable roads north of Cawarong to connect it to anywhere else in Tibet yet. It is a few days’ walk over some mountain passes to get to any other towns/villages with road transport. The two main outlets from here are to Zayul, the seat of the county capital and to Bitu, part of another county, Zogong (Dzogang). To get to the former is a 7-day hard trek over 4 mountain passes (only doable in the autumn) while the later is a 2-3 days trek.

Attraction Travel Tips

  1. Traveling Hours: 1 Day
  2. Traveling Seasons: May and September.
  3. High Altitude Sickness Avoiding: Better take some medicines for relief and keep warm all the time.
  4. As there is a large temperature gap between daytime and night, it is highly recommended to take along some pieces of thermal clothing, hat, and gloves and so on.
  5. Please try your best to respect the religious belief and local customs.
  6. As well as the Tibet Entry Permit, you also need to apply for Border Permit for traveling as this destination lies near the Chinese territory boundary.