Location: Sichuan Province, Ganzi (Garze) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Daocheng County
四川省 甘孜藏族自治州 稻城县
How to get there: 3 hours (130 kilometers) by bus from Daocheng Yading Airport.
At 4,411 m (14,472 ft), Daocheng Yading 稻城亚丁机场 is the highest civilian airport in the world.
The airport bus passes through Daocheng County after one hour (50 km),
It’s also very easy to find private buses and cars from Daocheng to Yading, the trip takes 2 hours (80 km).
We arrived in Daocheng by bus from Shangri-La City 香格里拉市 in Yunnan Province, the trip took 10 hours. We left by air to Chengdu (a one hour flight).
In Yading we stayed at the Airport Hotel 机场宾馆, 20 minutes by foot from the ticket office (in Daocheng we also stayed at a hotel with the same name). The village is traditionally known as Riwa 日瓦, but it has officially been renamed Shangri-la Village 香格里拉镇 (not to be confused with the more famous Shangri-La City in Yunnan province). There are many hotels along the road between the village and the ticket office.
It’s an one hour long bus ride from the ticket office to Yading Village 亚丁村, the first stop. The bus continues to Chonggusi 冲古寺, from where an open battery bus takes you to the last stop, Luorong Pasture (Meadow) 洛绒牛场.
There are also several small hotels up in Yading Village. It’s more convenient to stay there since you don’t have to make the one hour bus trip up to Yading Village every day, but the hotel standard down in Shangri-La Village is much better.
Milk Lake and Five Color Lake 牛奶海 与 五色海 (hiking starts from Luorong Pasture 洛绒牛场)
Zhuomala (Pearl) Lake 卓玛拉措 (珍珠海) (hiking starts from Chonggusi 冲古寺)
Frog Lake (Qingwahai or Qingwahu) 青蛙海 (青蛙湖) (hiking starts from Yading Village 亚丁村)
Kasi Hell Valley and Echu Mountain 卡斯地狱谷, 俄初山 (hiking starts from Kasi Village 卡斯村)
(click on the red links above to see separate posts about each area)
Time needed: the entrance ticket is valid for 3 days, and that was enough for us.
Day 1: we arrived in Shangri-La (Riwa) Village by bus from Daocheng before lunch, checked in at our hotel in the village and had an early lunch, and visited Zhumala (Pearl) Lake in the afternoon. We had no problems to catch the last bus back down to Riwa (Shangri-La) Village.
Day 2: Milk Lake and Five Color Lake
Day 3: Frog Lake
Day 4: We booked a car to Kasi Hell valley, a big primeval forest located outside the real Yading tourist area and seldom visited. It’s not in the same part of Yading as the other scenic areas.
Below is the best map we could find of the entire Yading Nature reserve (only in Chinese):
Right-click and download the map to see the full size
View from the airplane between Yading and Chengdu:
A couple of photos from the road between Daocheng and Yading:
The road between Riwa (Shangri-La) Village and the ticket office:
A bird came knocking on our hotel window at the same time every day:
Photos from the road between the ticket office and the scenic areas:
Info and photos from the different scenic areas, see separate posts about each area (links at the top of the page).