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Garze Travel

Garze (Ganzi) Travel Guide

Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture or Ganzi lies in the Western Sichuan Province, at the southeast edge of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Covering 153 million hectare, Garze is the second largest Tibetan region in China and praised by a lot of visitors as “a full savory of Tibetan nature and culture without stepping into Tibet”. And it is selected as the No.1 beautiful place in China by Chinese National Geography in 2005. Within Garze, there well preserve a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme Reserve (Daocheng Yading), hundreds of holy snowcapped mountains (Mount Gongga, etc.), a world class rare glacier (Hailuogou Glacier Park), national top grassland, more than 500 Tibetan temples and monasteries, groups of exquisite Tibetan villages, pure Khams Tibetan people, thick primitive forest, and rich species of rare plants, flowers and animals, etc. There is no wonder that people say it is really wonderful for every kilometer and a dreamy idyllic land with nature and human feelings. Crossed by National Road 317 that is part of the famous beautiful Western Sichuan Loop, Garze is always very popular to travelers to appreciate its typical natural splendors in person, and is also spread its popularity among the whole world!

Kangding City is the prefecture capital of Garze Prefecture, with only 280km driving distance from Chengdu (provincial capital city of Sichuan). As Garze is adjacent to Chengdu in the east, Tibet in the west, Yunnan in the south and Qinghai in the northwest, and close to Jiuzhai Valley in the northeast, no matter where and how deep you want to discover Garze and China, we China Discovery based in Chengdu, Sichuan is here to help you sincerely! Start to explore now!

Why Visit Garze Prefecture in Sichuan:

  • Shoot at the Photography Paradise: Garze is always the top favored paradise for photographers since it has dozens of white snow peaks over 4,000 meters, gem-like alpine lakes mirroring blue sky, iridescent autumn primitive forests, dreamy village on vast grassland, carefree grazing yaks, and more fascinating sceneries and human themes for an outstanding picture!
  • Savor the “Soul of Shangri-La”: After Joseph Rock and James Hilton stepped into Daocheng Yading in Southern Garze, the whole world begin to know this “last Shangri-La” and eager to have a personal visit to the mysterious idyllic paradise of pure landscape of holy peaks, crystal clear lakes, verdant meadow, fragrant blossoms, etc. and simple nice life hidden in the snow covered mountain surrounding!
  • Embrace Sightseeing on the Road: Garze covers a majority of shining sightseeing along the popular Western Sichuan Loop that links Kangding, Luding, Xinduqiao, Tagong, Danba, etc. together. Just a simple tour on the road by car is easy to enjoy the rolling alpine sceneries of snow peaks, grassland, azure sky, etc. for a visual gift!
  • Devout Visits to Buddhist Temple Clusters: Garze has over 570 big and small Tibetan Buddhist temples and monasteries in various colors and styles where numerous Buddhists in yellow hats, red ropes or other special dressings learn and protect the culture and belief of diverse Buddhist sects, including Kagyu, Nyingma, Sakyapa, Gelug, etc., which makes Garze a mind purification place as well.
  • World Well-known Beautiful Tibetan Village: Garze Prefecture houses several Tibetan villages with clean-cut dwelling houses with typical Tibetan styles and decorations in white, brown, and more colors dotted against the mountain, hidden in the emerald forest, scattered on the flat grassland, etc. They are the warm home of warm Khams Tibetan and also the proud label of the whole Garze, so beautiful to have been famous in the world, and among them, Jiaju Tibetan Village is reputed as the” most beautiful village in China”.
  • Outdoor Walking & Hiking: Garze boasts many great places for outdoor adventures like walking, trekking, etc., including Daocheng Yading for trekking to see lakes and the Three Holy Snow Mountains, and so on.
  • ......

Top Travel Destinations in Garze

Many beautiful destinations are dotted in the very large Garze. You can visit Daocheng Yading (2-3 days) to discover the “Soul of Shangri-La” of human being and meet the red autumn world, go to Kangding (2-3 days) to take nice photos at Xinduqiao paradise and Tagong Grassland with Kangding love song savory, go to Danba (2-3 days) to see the best beautiful Tibetan villages and dazzling autumn forest, go to Luding (1-2 days) to discover Hailuogou Ice Glacier and admire Mount Gongga, go to Daofu (1-2 days) to enjoy the alpine stone forest, visit Dege (1-2 days) to see the large Sutra printing house, and more! Check the top popular destinations in Garze at below!

Daocheng Yading

Daocheng Yading

Altitude: 3,700-6,032m
Top highlights: Yading Nature Preserve, Sandui Red Grassland, Haizi Mountain, Benbo Monastery…

Kangding

Kangding

Altitude: 2,560m
Top highlights: Xinduqiao Town, Tagong Grassland, Mugecuo Scenic Area, Paoma Mountain…

Danba

Danba

Altitude: 1,860m
Top highlights: Jiaju Tibetan Village, Zhonglu Tibetan Village, Dangling Scenic Area, Moerduo Mountain, Ancient Tower Clusters…

Luding

Luding

Altitude: 1,321-4,200m
Top highlights: Hailuogou Glacier Park, Swallow Valley, Luding Bridge, Gongga Mountain…

Daofu

Daofu

Altitude: 2,670-5,820m
Top highlights: Bamei Moshi Stone Forest, Daofu Dwelling Houses, Yuke Grassland, Longke Grassland, Huiyuan Temple…

Dege

Dege

Altitude: 2,980-6,4168m
Top highlights: Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House, Queer Mountain, Yulonglacuo Scenic Area, Gengqing Temple, Babang Temple…

Litang

Litang

Altitude: 4,200m
Top highlights: Maoya Grassland, Genie Mountain, Litang Chode Ganden Tubchen Chokhorling, White Pagoda Park…

Batang

Batang

Altitude: 2,580-3300m
Top highlights: Cuopu Valley, Jinsha River Gorge, Kangning Temple, Sister Lake, Batang Xianzi Dance…

Derong

Derong

Altitude: 2,100m
Top highlights: Xiayong Nature Reserve, Wengjia Mountain, Gajin Snow Mountain, First Bend of Jinsha River…

Jiulong

Jiulong

Altitude: 2,900m
Top highlights: Wuxu Lake, Lieta Lake, Wahui Mountain Scenic Area…

Baiyu

Baiyu

Altitude: 3,500m
Top highlights: Baiyu Temple, Chaqingsongduo Nature Reserve, Gatuo Temple…

Sertar

Sertar

Altitude: 3,700m
Top highlights: Larung Gar Buddhist Academy, Dongga Temple, Laze Temple…

Xiangcheng

Xiangcheng

Altitude: 2,560-5,336m
Top highlights: Sangpiling Temple, white Tibetan houses…

Shiqu

Shiqu

Altitude: 4,250m
Top highlights: Bage Marnyi Stone Wall, Sexu Temple…

Popular Attractions in Garze

Elevated at the transition zone between Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Sichuan Basin, Garze is an advantageous home to rich types of fascinating sightseeing and the typical Tibetan local custom. No matter you favor those cloud-kissing snow mountains, pleasant deep valleys, vast alpine grassland, crystal clear lakes, or show interests in Tibetan people’s dwelling houses, Buddhist temples, and so forth, Garze has it all to let you love after a personal discovery!

Yading Nature Reserve
Yading Nature Reserve

Found by Joseph Rock and is widely praised as “The Last Pure Land on Earth” with idyllic paradise-like Shangri-La world with 3 holy snow peaks, stunning lakes…

Hailuogou Glacier Park
Hailuogou Glacier Park

The national only ice glacier park to discover magnificent transparent blue and green glacier and admire dense alpine forest, golden snow mountain view, red rocks…

Mount Gongga
Mount Gongga

This holy mountain is reputed as “King of Mountains in Sichuan” with the provincial highest altitude reaching 7,556 meters with fascinating snow and alpine sceneries….

Xinduqiao
Xinduqiao

Praised as “Paradise for Photography” with very poetic countryside view of villages, grassland, yaks & horses, etc. dyed by charming lights and seasonal colors…

Tagong Grassland
Tagong Grassland

Garze's most famous grassland with picturesque sceneries of endless alpine flowery grassland, dotted Tibetan dwelling houses, temples, surrounding snow peaks…

Mugecuo Scenic Area
Mugecuo Scenic Area

The top popular scenic place to see pretty natural wonders of enormous colorful alpine lakes, verdant primitive forest, pure white snow peaks, layers of waterfalls…

Jiaju Tibetan Village
Jiaju Tibetan Village

Praised China’s No.1 Beautiful Village to see hundreds of exquisite white dwelling houses in typical Gyarong Tibetan styles dotted among enchanting emerald forest…

Dangling Scenic Area
Dangling Scenic Area

This very primitive undeveloped Tibetan village enjoys over 30 alpine lakes to be extremely elegant with spring Galsang blossoms and autumn fabulous warm colors…

Bamei Moshi Stone Forest
Bamei Moshi Stone Forest

The world rare metamorphic rock forest covering 5 hectares to admire the grey rocks of diverse shapes with surrounding verdant grassland, milky snow mountains…

Haizi Mountain
Haizi Mountain

It belongs to the ancient ice cap relic and holds 1,145 lakes like scattered blinking diamonds for an impressive enjoyment of lovely alpine water with birds, wild flowers…

Cuopu Valley
Cuopu Valley

It is famous to enjoy the harmonious living wonderland of various lakes, snowcapped peaks, lush forest, scenic valleys, diverse animals, Tibetan villages…

Maoya Prairie
Maoya Prairie

600 hectare wide and with an altitude of 4,100m, it seems an ocean showing various elegant charms in each season and is listed into the top 6 beautiful prairies in China…

Bage Marnyi Rock Wall
Bage Marnyi Rock Wall

The world longest Marnyi Rock wall of around 1,600 meters long and 3 meters tall and listed into the Guinness Book of World Records, like a “Great Wall” on the grassland…

Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House
Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House

Praised as the macropedia of Tibetan culture, the house enables a sight of an ongoing printing process with a method of traditional woodblock printing…

Sertar Larung Gar Buddhist Academy
Sertar Larung Gar Buddhist Academy

It is the largest Tibetan Buddhist institute in the world with more than 20,000 monks and nuns and famous with thousands of red wood houses built on the hill…

Garze Weather & Places to Go in Each Season

Garze Prefecture belongs to Qinghai-Tibet Plateau climate zone, with low temperature, low amount of precipitation, abundant sunshine and long winter. But as significant regional differences, temperature and climate types various largely, with the annual average temperature rising from 0.6°C to 16.3°C in each place at the 6 latitudes from south to north. The highest temperature usually occurs in July, around 13.9°C, while the coldest month is January with an average temperature down to -4.4°C. Travelers are highly suggested to prepare thick clothes in Spring, Autumn and Winter to keep warm, and pack your sunblock, sunglasses, hat, etc. to protect your skin and eyes.

In fact, Garze is appealing in four seasons and there a many places with highlights for your admiration in season.

Best Places to Visit in Spring: Jiaju Tibetan Village, Hailuogou Glacier Park, Luding Rape Flowers, Dangling Scenic Area, Cuopu Valley, Paoma Mountain, etc.

Best Places to Visit in Summer: Daocheng Yading, Bamei Huiyuan Temple Flowers, Bamei Moshi Stone Forest, Maoya Prairie, Danba Beauty Valley, Mugecuo Scenic Area, Tagong Grassland, etc.

Best Places to Visit in Autumn: Daocheng Yading, Sangdui Red Grassland, Xinduqiao, Mugecuo Scenic Area, Dangling Scenic Area, Jiaju Tibetan Village, Cuopu Valley, etc.

Best Places to Visit in Winter: Hailuogou Glacier Park, Yuke Prairie, White Pagora Park, Bage Maynyi Rock Wall, Yulonglacuo Lake, etc.

Best Spring & Autumn Tour:

>> 6 Days Western Sichuan Autumn Sightseeing Tour

>> 8 Days Sichuan Spring Tour with Flowers Appreciation

Garze Transportation

As Garze is very close to Chengdu, with only 280km driving distance from Chengdu to its prefecture capital in Kangding City, most visitors travel to Garze from Chengdu City!

By Flights:

In entire Garze, there are so far 3 airports under service, including Daocheng Yading Airport, Kangding Airport and Ganzi Gesser Airport. Among them, Daocheng Yading Airport offers direct flights with Chengdu (1 hour), Chongqing (1.5 hour) and Xian (2 hour). Kangding Airport has direct flights with Chengdu (1 hour) and Chongqing (1 hour & 10 minutes), and layover flight with Xian (5 hours).

By Coaches:

Distance bus or coach is more chosen for independent travelers to Garze. Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Station and some other major bus station such as Chadianzi Bus Station, Shiyang Bus Station, Chengdu East Railway Station Bus Terminal have daily distance buses to major destinations in Garze, including Kangding (4.5-8 hours), Danba (9-10 hours), Daocheng (over 16 hours), Luding (3 hours), Batang (8-13 hours), Litang (over 10 hours), etc.

By Private Car:

A lot of visitors travel to Garze by private car to enjoy the highlights along the way in a leisure pace and better experience. And We China Discovery based in Chengdu, Sichuan offer private car service with comfortable licensed private vehicle, professional English speaking guide and driver to escort you from Chengdu to visit different destinations in Garze Prefecture in speed and safety! Besides, our guide will introduce all the highlights and beautiful stories about Garze and everything on the famous beautiful Small Western Sichuan Loop to rich your trip and take care of you along the way through the mountain and alpine areas! So you can enjoy the beautiful sightseeing to the most! Please feel free to contact us if you need any help!

Chengdu to Daocheng Yading

Most people choose to go by flight that takes 1 hour from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport. Besides, there is about 1 distance bus from Chengdu downtown every day, which needs more than 10 hours!

Chengdu to Kangding

It usually needs 4.5 hours to go by car. For public transportation, there is 1 daily flight (1 hour) from Chengdu Shuangliu Airport and some distance buses with 4.5-8 hours from Chengdu downtown.

Check more about Get from Chengdu to Daocheng Yading | Get from Chengdu to Kangding

Garze Maps

For you better understanding of the location, transportation, attractions, etc. of Garze, we here collect the following useful travel maps including Daocheng Yading Maps, Kangding Maps, Hailuogou Maps, etc. for your information. For all useful Garze maps, please visit Daocheng Yading Maps 2020 | Kangding Maps2020.

Daocheng Yading China Map

Daocheng Yading China Map

Yading Nature Reserve Map

Yading Nature Reserve Map

Kangding Sichuan Map

Kangding Sichuan Map

Kangding Tourist Maps

Kangding Tourist Maps

Chengdu to Kangding Map

Chengdu to Kangding Map

Hailuogou Map

Chengdu to Hailuogou Transportation Map

Useful Garze Travel Tips

● Altitude Sickness: Since most areas in Garze are above 2,600 meters above sea level, to help you avoid or relieve the high altitude sickness, drink enough water, sleep well, eat enough fruits and vegetable before visiting Garze, keep calm and good mood, and avoid strenuous exercise after you get there. Besides, drink some Rhodiola rosea at least one week before visiting Daocheng Yading.

● Wearing: It is necessary to take enough thick sweaters, thick coats, waterproof clothes, scarves, gloves, etc. in spring, autumn and winter season. Long-sleeves coats are still recommended for nights in summer. Sun block, sunglasses, hats, lip balm, and so on are suggested for all seasons.

● Hiking: If you plan to hike at Daocheng Yading or other hiking destination, it is best to prepare professional hiking shoes and mountaineering jackets for your hiking experience. Also, a bag with some food, at least 500ml water, tissue, and more necessary items are suggested to be packed.

Know more about Mount Siguniang Travel Tips >>

Other Destinations in Sichuan

Besides Garze Prefecture, there are some other destinations in Sichuan well worth your visit. Travel Garze with following destinations and explore more of Sichuan’s wonderful nature, cultural heritage sites, and authentic local life, including leisure Chengdu City, the hometown of giant panda, Jiuzhaigou Valley, the fairyland world, Leshan, the profound home of Giant Buddha and Mount Emei, Mount Siguniang, the Oriental Alps. Discover now!

More Popular Destinations in China

The vast China holds abundant destinations of culture, history, nature, ethnic customs, etc. Why not discover more scenic destinations in China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Lhasa, etc. to satisfy your eyes and mind to the most. Check the detailed travel guide of each destination and start your exploration!

Garze Map

Chinese Name: 甘孜

Chinese Pinyin: gān zī

English IPA: /'ɡʌn'tse/

Capital: Kangding

Population: 1.196 million

Ethnic Minorities: Tibetan, Yi, Qiang, Miao, Mongolian, Tujia, Hui, etc.

Language: Mandarin, Tibetan & Other Ethnic Languages

Climate: Continental Highland Monsoon Climate, etc.

Area: 153,000 Square Kilometers

Lakes: Mugecuo Lake, Xingyicuo Lake, Cuoka Lake, Wuxu Lake, Milk Lake, Five Color Lake, etc.

Mountains: Mount Gongga, Xiannairi Mountain, Yangmaiyong Mountain, Xianuoduoji Mountain, etc.

Highest Point: Mount Qongga (7,556m)

Time Zone: (UTC+8)

Plan Your Garze Tour

Garze is a large and also awesome natural destination to satisfy your eyes and mind to the utmost. Visitors usually spend 4-12 days to visit the top popular destinations in Garze. If you have 4-5 days, you can combine Hailuogou Glacier Park with highlights in Kangding, Xinduqiao, Tagong, and appreciation of Mount Gongga, or enjoy Kangding, Xinduqiao, Tagong with Daocheng Yading together or travel to Kangding, Xinduqiao, Tagong and Danba in one go. If you have 7-8 days, you can plan a Daocheng Yading Litang Kangding Hailuogou tour, or Daocheng Yading Kangdingg Xinduqiao Tagong Danba tour. And if you have 9-12 days, you can add 2-3 other hot destinations into your list, such as Daofu, Litang, Batang, Dege, Jiulong, etc.

Besides, a lot of travelers visit Small Western Sichuan Loop from Chengdu to enjoy Daocheng Yading, Litang, Yajiang, Xinduqiao, Tagong, Bamei, Kangding, Danba, Mount Siguniang together, which usually needs about 7-13 days according to the depth of visiting to each destination. Furthermore, you can also extend another 2-3 days to Jiuzhai Valley and Huanglong National Park, or another 1-3 days to Leshan Giant Buddha and Mount Emei and enjoy more beautiful sceneries, culture and history of wonderful Sichuan! China Discovery headquartered in Chengdu, Sichuan is experienced in providing Garze tours and Sichuan tours and also tour customization according to you needs and interests. Please feel free to tell us if you need any help to start your Garze or Western Sichuan exploration!

(Tour Planning Tip: Garze Prefecture and Aba Prefecture in Western Sichuan enjoy similar sightseeing of snow peaks, clear lakes, vast alpine grassland, yaks, etc., however, Aba (boasting Jiuzhai Valley, Huanglong, Mount Siguniang, Ruoergai Prairie, Miyaluo Scenic Area…) with early development providing better facilities, accommodation, transportation, etc. for a more comfortable trip experience. So if you need, you can visit Aba instead to admire those splendors as well!)

Top Garze Tours

Hailuogou Glacier Park Large Icefall
3 Days Classic Hailuogou Tour from Chengdu

Chengdu / Hailuogou / Kangding / Chengdu

Xinduqiao Scenic Driving Road in Autumn
7 Days Western Sichuan Small Loop Tour

Chengdu / Dujiangyan / Mount Siguniang / Danba / Tagong / Xinduqiao / Hailuogou / Chengdu

Changping Valley Muluozi in Autumn
8 Day Diverse Sichuan Exploration Tour

Chengdu / Mount Siguniang / Danba / Tagong / Xinduqiao / Leshan / Emei / Chengdu

Xinduqiao Town Countryside Scenery in Autumn
6 Days Western Sichuan Autumn Sightseeing Tour

Chengdu / Wolong / Mount Siguniang / Danba / Tagong / Xinduqiao / Kangding / Chengdu

Jiaju Tibetan Village in Spring
8 Days Sichuan Spring Tour with Flowers Appreciation

Chengdu / Siguniangshan / Jinchuan / Danba / Tagong / Xinduqiao / Leshan / Chengdu

Tagong Monastery in Autumn
4 Days Classic Kangding, Xinduqiao & Tagong Grassland Tour

Chengdu / Hailuogou / Kangding / Xinduqiao / Tagong / Kangding / Chengdu

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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >