Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Western Sichuan 3 Danba: Travel routes and general info

All photos July 2007 ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn
Click on images to enlarge!

This is a continuation of several postings about Western Sichuan and the Danba area. 

Travel routes to get to Danba:
We took the Chengdu - Dujiangyan - Wolong - Siguniangshan - Xiaojin - Danba route, about 390 km, one day of hard travel. Public transportation from Chengdu Chadianzi Bus Station or hired vehicle.

Danba can also be reached the "other way around" via Kangding, ca 520 km, takes two days with recommended overnight in Kangding to adjust to altitude. Public buses leave from Xinnanmen Bus Station or from in front of Kangding Hotel on Wuhou Hengjie everyday. You will have to change buses in Kangding: Chengdu - Ya'an - Kangding - Xinduqiao - Tagong - Bamei - Danba

My suggestion is to make a loop from Chengdu via Wolong to Danba through Hongshi/Bamei and Balangshan to Tagong and then down through Kangding, visiting villages and staying at homestays or hostels along the way and never needing to backtrack.

Very easy to get in numerous homestays or with Tibetan or Qiang families in the more remote villages. Towns like Danba, Kangding, Tagong have numerous hotels, small guesthouses and hostels, varying in quality and price. The entire Danba - Kangding - Tagong area is very affordable. If you'd like to stay at Baosheng's Homestay in Jiaju contact him at this number (Chinese/Gyarong Tibetan speakers only): +86-13684498350.

Climate and time of year to travel:
When the sun shines the whole world smiles! Don't expect the sun to shine every day but the Danba area exists in a kind of subtropical microclimate, blessed with huge amounts of sunlight all year round, thus making it a place you can visit any time of the year. What must be taken into account though is the weather and road conditions getting to and from Danba. It is important that you check this out before leaving and understand that you will be climbing over passes 4500 meters in height, with very changeable weather conditions. Otherwise one of the most wonderful things about Danba is that you are in a totally Tibetan world but without the problems of high altitude. Danba itself is only around 1700 meters and is an excellent place to acclaimatize for higher destinations. 

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