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12 Days Katok Monastic Festivals in Kham

Day01 --Arrival of Chengdu
Arrive at Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province, is one of the densely populated areas in China and famous for its Cuisine as well as one of the major gateways to Eastern Tibet through deep and magnificent mountains along the up reaches valleys of the Yangtze River from China. Overnight 3 star hotel

Day02 --Chengdu / Markang( Barkham)
We drive for 360km to Barkham where the Tibetan Gyarong people and Qiang people live. The city was once one of the ancient Gyarong Tibetan kingdoms and now is a large city full of high-rise apartment buildings. Gyarong is another Tibetan tribe, which is different from Golok and Khampa people. They speak their dialect and maintained unique way of life and culture for centuries. They have their own distinctive costumes. Most of the women wear multi-colored embroidered headscarves and elaborate belts and aprons. In old days, almost every family has its own block-house built with stones, ascending to heights of between 30-60 meters, which kept the powerful sino-Manchu armies at bay for 10 years during 18th century. But now driving on the way, we still can see some of the old towers. Overnight Markang Hotel**

Day03 --Markang / Luhuo (Drango)
Drive for 287km to Luhuo, whole way driving along a beautiful landscape of upper tributaries of the Yangtze River, deep and high gorges, forestry, several mountain passes and grassland where we enjoy real nature. Actually in the town we have nothing to see, just stay here for overnight. Overnight 2 star hotel.

Day04 --Luhuo / Ganzi (Khanzi)
From Luhuo to Ganzi is only 97km, the road along the Zhe-chu River, one of the tributary of the Yangtze, a fertile farming land with crops at the bank of the river presenting a good picture at this season. Some time you can see the snow mountain ranges along each side of the road. Ganzi was once the largest and most important town in Kham area during the 17th century. After lunch we visit Ganzi Gonpa which is in town built in 1642 by Mongols. Next morning, about 7:30, we should visit the oldest temple Den Gonpa to see a prey ceremony for the local people, a very important and strong protectors’ monastery for the area. Overnight Golden Yak hotel**

Day05 --Ganzi / Peyul
We drive for 245km to Peyul, most part pf the road are paved already and landscape is fabulous, high snow mountains, clean rivers, forestry and the best grassland view, different designed prey flag’s sites and a very old small monastery is just by the road 40 km approaching to our destination, which is rounded with many sheep skin wrapped prey wheels, magically make you have a feeling of going back several hundred years ago. The atmosphere seems you have experienced different lives in the past few centuries when you walk around them. Nearby there is Mani stones piled up with many died animal’s bones, it is true those animals need to be preyed for ever as they always help people for surviving since human being started. Between 6 to 7 pm, we will arrive at Peyul, overnight Peyul Hotel**

Day06, 07 --Peyul / Katok
Driving for one hour to Katok monastery, it is one of the important and famous monasteries at home and abroad for Nyingmapa believers as many famous scholars and masters graduated from here for centuries. This old and isolated monastery is a really good place for training high-level monks as well as an ideal ground for meditation. There are only a few main Nyingmapa monasteries were left after 17th century. Now there are 5 important Nyingmapa schools and Nyingmapa means the oldest sect: Samye(built in 775 AD), Katok(1159), Pelyul(1665), Mindroling(1670) and Dzogchen(1684) monasteries. We will be here for two nights to enjoy the special and unique Festivals performed by Katok monk artists. Overnight monastery Hotel

Day08 -- Katok / Derge
We only drive for 4 hours to Derge, most of the road along the grand up reaches of the Yangtze River Gorges. Tibetan houses and villages standing at the foot of different shapes of high gorges by the Yangtze, under the bright sun shine, the fantastic view with fresh air, the quiet place with only sound from the river will make you hate to leave here. Derge, in Tibetan means: A village of doing good things. A charming place which has been giving people wishful thinking to go at home and broad, now still preserve its old traditional way of life in many aspects. The town is located in a nice valley and the Zi-chu, one of the tributaries of the Yangtze River flows across the small town, adding more beauty. We will visit the famous Parkhang Printing House, Gonchen Monastery and a very old Temple of Tangtong Gyelpo was built in memory of Tibet’s first multi-talented bridge-builder, dramatist, engineer and treasure-finder during 11th century. Besides beautiful surroundings, you will be touched by all old monasteries in Derge, arousing your deep imagination of her past. Overnight Derge Hotel**

Day09 -- Derge
We will drive about 20km to Khargy Conpa to see another impressive festival which attracted hundreds of local Tibetan people, but no any tourists. The Khargy monastery is Karma Kagyu sect which has different festival from what we will see in Katok Nyingmapa festivals. Overnight Derge hotel.

Day10 --Derge / Tawu
We take another road driving 290km via Ganzi to Dawu, we across a wild mountain Tro la pass at 5080m and down to the foot of mountain is the famous holly and one of the most beautiful Lakes Yilhun Lhatso, another highlight to see on the way. Afternoon we will drive into the Tawu valley which is one of the most attractive parts of Tibet, the neatly constructed white flat-roofed houses with their horizontal red timbers exuding an air of quite prosperity. The whole journey as well provides you a good change to see so different artistic Tibetan houses from the west to the east in Khampa area. Overnight Tawu hotel**

Day11 --Tawu / Kangding (Dartsodo)
Driving 290km to Dartsodo (Kangding) once was the main center for the tea-trade between Tibet and China as well as one the five independent kingdoms of Kham. Today Dartsodo is a quite modern city and we come here is just for overnight. But highlight to see is different Tibetan farmers’ houses when driving on the way. Overnight Kangding 3 star Hotel.

Day12 --Kangding / Chengdu


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