12-Day Overland Adventure Tour from Yunnan to Sichuan

This trip explores the Kham area of Western Sichuan, the homeland of Sichuan’s 800,000 Tibetan residents.  Each day is a new adventure as you journey along bumpy, mountainous roads to visit spectacular alpine reserves, small Tibetan villages and the local Khampa’s sacred monastries. Along the way you will be rewarded with everchanging views – lush valleys, old growth forests, soaring snow-covered mountains and alpine pastures dotted with grazing antelopes and yaks.

Tour starts/finishes: Zhongdian/Chengdu
Fitness level required: Moderate
Time of year available: April-November
Time of year recommended: mid-April to mid-June (wildflowers), mid-September to early November

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Zhongdian (L, D)
Meet up with your guide, and spend the day acclimatizing to the altitude of Zhongdian. Visit the Songzanlin Monastery, the largest Tibetan monastery of Yunnan province. Then travel out to Napa Lake. Explore the wetland area and visit the picturesque Tibetan village of Hamagu.At night, see the locals kick up their heels in the town square. Overnight in Zhongdian.

Day 2: Zhongdian- Xiangcheng (220km) (L, D)
Spend a full day driving from Zhongdian to Xiangcheng, stopping for a hike in Birang Gorge on the way. Overnight in Xiangcheng.

Day 3: Xiangcheng-Riwa (190 km) (B, L, D)
Spend a full day driving from Xiangcheng to Riwa. Along the way, you will enjoy wonderful panoramas of barley fields, rushing rivers, expansive grasslands and snow-covered peaks. Overnight in Riwa.

Day 4: Full day at Yading National Park (B, L, D)
Today we take the green bus to Longlongba, then hike for 2.5 hours to Pearl Lake enjoying grand views of snow-covered mountains,glaciers and rivers. Pearl Lake is nestled in the beautiful upper valley of Chenresig’s north face and lies at about 4000m above sea level. Return to Longtongba for overnight.

Day 5: Yading National Park-Riwa (B, L, D)
Hike 2 hours (4km) from Longtongba to Chonggu Temple, then take a 30 minute ride in an electric buggy to arrive at Luorong Pasture (4180m). From here you will hike or horseride up to Milk Lake and Five-Color Lake for breathtaking views of the three sacred peaks: Mt. Jampelyang (5958m), Mt. Chanadorje (5958m) and Mt. Chenresig (6032m). Return to Longtongba and transfer to Riwa by green bus for overnight.

Day 6: Riwa-Daocheng (110km, 2-3 hours) (B, L, D)
Drive for 74km back to Daocheng stopping on the way for a bath in the Rupuchaka Hot Springs. Visit the Hongcaodi (Red Grassland), which is an inconspicuous wetland most of the time, but is covered with red bushes in autumn. If there’s time explore Gongling Si the biggest monastery in Daocheng County and Bangpu Si, a monastery dating back to the 12th century. Overnight in Daocheng.

Day 7: Daocheng-Litang (150km, 3 hours) (B, L, D)
Set off  for Litang. This part of Sichuan province is the home of the Kham Tibetans, many of whom live a nomadic life, looking after their herds of Yaks which graze the seemingly endless grasslands of this area. As we drive northwards we will pass Haizi Mountain, the largest glacial site of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. We will arrive in Litang (Elevation: 4168m) in the early afternoon. Litang is located within lovely, rolling hills surrounded by mountains which are snow-covered year round. It is the administrative capital of the region and an important trading town for the Khampa Nomads. Overnight in Litang.

Day 8: Litang-Xinduqiao-Tagong Grasslands (220km, 6.5 hrs)  (B, L, D)
In the early morning light visit the imposing Litang Gompa, belonging to the Gelukpa sect of Tibetan Buddhists. Many famous and influential figures were born here, including the 7th and 10th Dalai Lamas. Then set off eastbound on the Sichuan-Tibet Highway, stopping for lunch at Yajiang, a town nestled deep inside the valley of the Yalong River, the biggest tributary of the Yangtze. We reach Tagong in the late afternoon and visit the Tagong Muya Golden Pagoda and the Tagong monastery.  Overnight in a small guesthouse.

Day 9: Tagong – Danba (110km, 4.5 hrs) (B, L, D)
We continue our drive through the ever changing landscape of the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Stop at the 200 year old Gelugpa “Garther Choede” monastery near Renmei, then continue driving over a 3800 metre pass towards Danba (Elevation: 3300m), arriving in the early afternoon. Take a hike along the Dadu River to Supo township (Shuanbo) to visit the well preserved “Gudiao”, Qiang Towers. Some of these amazing stone defence towers are 1000 years old and reach heights up to 30 meters. Later in the afternoon we take a stroll through Jiagu village, famous for its traditional, 3 story Jiarong Houses. Overnight in Danba.

Day 10: Danba-Siguniangshan (B, L, D)
Drive for approx. 2 hours to arrive in Rilong, the base for sightseeing in the Siguniang Mountain Area. Mt. Siguniangshan consists of four adjacent mountain peaks, with the highest  highest peak reaching 6,250 meters. Today we will spend a full day horseriding in the Haizi (Alpine Lake) Valley. Overnight in Rilong.

Day 11: Siguniangshan National Park (B, L, D)
We will return to the National Park to hike in Changping (Long Peace) Valley, taking a path through the forest flanked by old cypresses, pines and firs. Visit the Lama Temple, some waterfalls and an alpine meadow at the foot of the mountain.  Overnight in Rilong.

Day 12: Rilong-Chengdu (B, L)
Drive from Rilong back to Chengdu (approx 4 hours). Possible stop in the Wolong Panda Reserve (entry fee at own expense). Overnight in Chengdu.

Tour prices

The following table shows the price per person for groups of varying sizes.

2 people 3 people 4-5 people 6-7 people 8 + people
Single supplement
Price (p.p)
12250 CNY 9200 CNY 7800 CNY 7200 CNY 6100 CNY 2200 CNY

Price inclusions

  1. Accommodation: 6 nights in 3 star standard hotels, 3 nights in 2 star standard hotels, 2 nights in guesthouses
  2. Entrance tickets:  Songzanlin Monastery (85 CNY), Shangbala Nature Reserve (40 CNY), Birang Gorge (20 CNY), Red Grasslands (20 CNY), Yading National Park (150 CNY), Gongling Si (20 CNY), Daocheng Hot Springs (20 CNY), Suopo Gudiao Towers (30 CNY), Jiaju Tibetan Village (30 CNY), Changping Valley (70 CNY), Haizi Valley (60 CNY)
  3. All transportation: Private transportation is provided for the duration of the tour by either 2WD (1-5 people) or  Jinbei vehicle (6-10 people). Green buses within Yading National Park are also included.
  4. Meals : 10 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 10 dinners as indicated on the itinerary. Lunches and dinners will be standard Chinese food including rice and a variety of meat and vegetable dishes. Breakfasts will be a combination of Chinese breakfast foods (noodles, steamed buns, eggs) and western food (pancakes, fried eggs) where available.
  5. Guide: An experienced English speaking tour guide

Price exclusions

  1. Snacks, drinks and western food
  2. Travel insurance
  3. Personal expenses such as phone calls or laundry fees
  4. Horseriding fees in Yading and Siguniangshan National Parks
  5. Entrance fee to Wolong Panda Reserve


  1. Surcharges will be charged for peak travelling times such as Chinese New Year, May Day (May 1st-7th) and National Day (October 1st-7th). For tours at these times please contact us for a customized quote.
  2. The prices quoted are to be used as a guide only. A final tour quote will be provided to you at the time of enquiry which may be higher or lower than the price listed above.


Below are some images from previous tours in this area. Click to view larger images.


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