YadingYading (Chinese: 亚丁) is in Sichuan, China. This contains the National Nature Reserve of China (亞丁國家級自然保護區菅理局宣) known under the same name, and at . The only gateway is the town that used to be known as Riwa but was renamed (Xiānggélǐlā , 香格里拉镇). The town is a complete rebuild and has no intact old town today, however it is a good option if you are coping with high altitude since it is below . Do not confuse this Shangri-La with the city Zhongdian aka Shangrila (香格里拉市) in Yunnan, which sports a famous Buddhist monastery.
HistoryIn March 1928, Joseph Rock set out from Muli, trekked through Daocheng and described what is now known as Yading. In Tibetan Buddhism the three holy mountains represent Arya Avalokiteshwara (Xiannairi at 6032 m), Manjusri Buddisattva (Yangmaiyong at 5958 m) and Vajrapani (Xianuoduoji at 5958 m).
LandscapeThe area contains more than 30 peaks above 4500 m (14500 ft) and more than 60 glacial lakes. It is part of the Himalayan plateau.
Flora and faunaYou can see deer, pheasant, marmots, foxes well as yak on the grasslands.
Suggested route from Chengdu is via Kangding and then to Daocheng, the latter costing around ¥150 by bus or private van/per person (as of 2019). From Daocheng private cars run to the town of Riwa and then on uphill to the entrance gate for ¥50-60.
Fees and permits
The in-season rate for the entrance ticket is now a steep ¥270 or ¥200 for students with identification (foreign visitors are also asked a passport copy).
The automatic ticket machines seen only accept WeChat Pay, you might want to ask someone to accept your cash and pay for you with their Weixin app.
The minibus inside the park is ¥50/90 one-way/return.
Three stages: the entrance gate just outside of Riwa, where you buy the tickets and get on the mandatory bus to Yading village (亚丁村）after around 50 minutes and then in another 10 minutes to the base at Longtongba (龙同坝). From the base at Longtongba it’s a short scenic walk before you reach the Chonggu (沖古) temple and meadow, as well as the service centre from where you can catch a minibus that serves about 10 stops before turning at Luorong (洛绒) pasture and service centre.
From late November (until late March?) the bus schedule is reduced with the first one at 08:30 and the last bus back around 17:20, thus likely you will need to go at least one-way with the minibus, if you wanted to hike to the two popular lakes in one day.
Wildlife and Chinese tourism.
Echu Shan 俄初山 at 5145 m.
Three holy mountains:
Echu Shan 俄初山 at 5145 m.
Three holy mountains:
Mount Chianrezigat 6032 m.
- Mount Jambeyang (Chinese: Yangmaiyong 央迈勇需峰) at 5958m
- Mount Chanadorje (Chinese: Xianuoduoji 夏诺多吉需峰) at 5958m
- Danzhen Lake (五色海, “five color lake”）
- Erong Lake (牛奶海, “milk lake”）
- Rese Lake (智慧海, “wisdom lake”）
- Zhuoma La Cuo 桌瑪拉措
- Biyao Cuo 比幺措
Hiking and camping in this beautiful surroundings is possible year-round, but not recommended from December to April due to snow fall and generally more dull coloration.
The popular option is hiking up to Five-color Lake and Milk Lake, the 10-km return route is well marked and mostly steps leading up about 400-m gain. To the local Tibetans, these lakes are holy and dipping in or even walking on the frozen parts is frowned upon.
Another route inside the park is a short but less crowded visit to Pearl Lake in combination with Chonggu Grasslands on the way back (less than 3 km).
If you know what you are doing, the hike beyond these lakes can be done with proper camping equipment and food. Leave no trace is best practice here as well, although the mass tourism unfortunately seems to lack the understanding that it applies to its customers.
There is an ATM at the park entrance as well as left luggage service for a fee. Food supplies can be found in Riwa and in limited selection also in Yading village.
LodgingPlenty of options are available in both Riwa and also Yading village. The former boasts a number of hotels and also a youth hostel, the latter has many options that can easily be found walking from park bus stop number 2.
CampingDespite being legal there is not much official information on camping in the designated campgrounds, which are a day’s hike away from the base at Longtongba 龙同坝。
BackcountryDepending on the willingness of local herdsman to accept guests or allow camping without official designation.
Be aware of AMS altitude sickness, as the park is all above 4,000 m. The hike on the flat boardwalks should be no problem of you are accustomed to the altitude above 3,000 m, but hiking uphill still should be taken on carefully, as exercise in the high altitude puts extra stress on your system.