Trekking in the Tibetan province of Kham

Duration : 15 days


Level : good hikers

from 4200 € / p. from 7 to 15 persons

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Important monasteries, nomadic encampments, winter villages, gompas, highlands dominated by the icy chain of Zhara Lhatse ... this is what awaits you during this trek in the Tibetan province of Kham.

Let's go to the high pastures (average altitude of 4000 meters) to follow the daily life of the khampas riders in their summer camp, then pass by high passes giving access to glacial valleys and unusual landscapes of taiga and tundra.

You will follow a beautiful trekking to live a unique experience in Tibet. And above all, you will discover the authentic Tibetan Buddhism, particularly alive in Kham.


D1: Departure from Paris.

D2: Arrival in Chengdu.
Welcome at the airport by your guide and your driver then transfer to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time, visit of the Buddhist Monastery of Wenshu (Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Knowledge).

D3: Chengdu - Rongdrak (2100m).
Distance: 350 km. Approximate duration of transport: 7 h.
Road to Rongdrak (Danba in Chinese) in the central part of the Gyelrong Gorge area. The Tibetan people of Gyelrong, who speak an archaic Qiangetic dialect, are renowned for their military prowess and the bravery of their men. This region is now best known for the beauty of its villages of traditional architecture in the beautiful valleys that host them. Overnight at the hotel in the beautiful village of Tralung (Zhonglu in Chinese).

D4: Rongdrak - Tawu (2980m).
Distance: 160 km. Approximate duration of transport: 3 h.
In the morning, you walk in the village with its pretty traditional houses, its fields and of course its famous stone towers whose origin and function remain a mystery.
In the afternoon, drive to Tawu (Daofu in Chinese), famous for its traditional architecture and big stupa.

D5: Tawu - Kardze (3400m).
Distance: 170 km. Approximate duration of transport: 3 h.
In the morning, drive to Karzdé (Ganzi in Chinese). In the afternoon, you drive to the hill overlooking the city to visit the monastery of Kardzé. It was once the most important Gelug monastery in the Kham region. Now a community of 500 monks lives there and practices the Dharma.

D6: Kardze - Yachen.
Distance: 130 km. Approximate duration of transport: 5 h.
In the morning, you go on a wide track, in a remote, beautiful and wild area bordering the Yangtze River. You pass by the pass of Dzodo (4500m), then by that of Gyaltso (4800m) and you arrive at the impressive monastery of Yachen where 13000 nuns and monks of Nyingma tradition live.

D7: Yachen - Meshö (3650m).
Distance: 175 km. Approximate duration of transport: 4 h
Road to Pelyül (Baiyu in Chinese) and visit of the monastery. Founded in 1665 by Lachen Jampa Phuntsok, King of Derge, it has become one of the main monasteries of Nyingma tradition of Kham.
Road to the valley of Meshö. You follow the Yangtze River for a few kilometers before following one of its tributaries to reach Meshö, which means "valley of medicinal plants" in Tibetan. You are welcomed by a Tibetan family in the pretty little village of Gyalgen, just above the monastery of Dzongsar. Through your guide, you get to know your guests and discover their half-nomadic way of life.

D8: Meshö.
Visit of Dzongsar Monastery. This Sakya Monastery was founded in 1253 by Drogon Chogyel Pakpa. In the 19th century, it became the headquarter of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, one of the greatest masters of the Sakya, Nyingma and Kagyu traditions of the 19th century. Visit of the Shedra (monastic institute) he created and where you can probably attend the philosophical debates of the monks and meet, if you wish, one of the Khempos Shedra. Back in the village, you can visit workshops of Thangkas painters, wood carvers, dressmakers. Night hosted by locals.

D9: Meshö.
Extra day of acclimatization in Meshö. You enjoy this day resting and hiking in the countryside and the surrounding villages. Night hosted by locals.

D10: Meshö - Pema Shelpuk - Meshö.
4 hours of hiking.
You start a 5-day trek that is a Tibetan pilgrimage circuit. You first go to the hermitage of Pema Shelpuk, the heart of the pilgrimage. You take the car for 30 minutes and continue by walking. Like the Tibetan pilgrims, you will first make the intermediate kora (tour of Mount Dzonangla which houses this sacred cave) before entering the cave (inner kora). Among the 25 most sacred places of pilgrimage in eastern Tibet, it is one of the most important. It is said that Garab Dorje, Shir Singha, Guru Rinpoche and Birotsana came to this site. In the 19th century, Chogyur Dechen Lingpa discovered the "three classes of great perfection". You will then walk back and drive to a small inn at the foot of Dzongsar Monastery for the night.

D11: Meshö - Tashi-tang (4175 m).
3 hours of hiking.
Transfer (40 min) to the Gagu Rutrö retreat center, which has become very popular with meditators since a great Sakya lama, Khenpo Jamyang Senggé, has settled in this place. You then walk along the Meshö-chu River in the Dopu Valley to Tashi-Tang, a beautiful clearing traditionally used for the religious ceremonies of Kham kings and Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. Higher up in the valley is, more or less, the assembly of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, visible only to those who have pure vision. In the absence of this pure vision you can enjoy the magic of the place and the beauty of the landscape. Night in camp.

D12: Tashi-tang - Shachen La.
4 hours of walking.
During this day you climb gradually to the pass of Shachen La (800m of ascending elevation). The camp where you will spend the night is placed a little before the pass.

D13: Shachen-la - Karmo Taktsang.
3 to 4 hours of hiking.
You cross the Shachen La pass (4700m) where you have a magnificent view of the Dogyel Mönlam mountain which rises to 5655m above sea level. You cross forests, meadows and nomad camps to reach the Rongmé Karmo Taktsang Meditation Center (4350m), another site linked to Guru Rinpoche and his consort Yeshe Tsogyal. The monks who have completed the 9 years of theoretical education of the philosophical college of Dzongsar come there to practice mediation for at least 5 years. This is where the famous Mipham Rimpoche made a 13-year retreat. Night in camp.

D14: Karmo Taktsang - Pelpung (3700m).
3 hours of hiking.
You end this pilgrimage until  the road where your vehicle is waiting to take you to Pelpung (about 3 hours drive). Night hosted by locals.

D15: Pelpung - Dererged (3900m).
Distance: 80 km. Approximate duration of transport: 2 h 30.
Visit of Pelpung Monastery, which was the largest Kagyu teaching center in eastern Tibet. Founded in 1717 by Tai Situ VIII Chokyi Jungne, its assembly hall is particularly impressive and has not been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Further upstream, there is the retreat center where meditators of the Kagyu tradition such as Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Tayé and Kalu Rinpoche were meditated (4 hours walk for those wishing to go).
Road to Dérgé (Dege in Chinese). This city was once the capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of Kham. The kings of Dérgé had an important role in the preservation and development of Buddhism and Tibetan arts, notably by creating a printing press which became the largest and most renowned in Tibet. Even today, the editions of Kangyur and Tengyur are among the most requested by the monasteries.

D16: Dererged - Dzokchen.
Distance: 210 km. Approximate duration of transport: 6-7 h.
In the morning, visit the printing house in Dérgé (Parkhang in Tibetan) where you observe the traditional method of printing from engraved wood blocks. Road to Dzokchen Monastery. Dzokchen, which means "great perfection" in Tibetan, is the name of a set of Buddhist practices of the Nyingma tradition. Along the way, you stop at the stupa "Buddha Stupa of Kham" built by a Tibetan association for the protection of life. You stop at the beautiful sacred lake of Yilhung Lha-tso, one of the most beautiful in Tibet. It is said that people with pure vision perceive it as the divine manifestation of the Cakrasamvara mandala. Overnight at the inn of the monastery.

D17: Dzokchen - Manigango (3800m).
4 to 5 hours walk, distance: 60 km. Approximate duration of transport: 1h30.
You visit the monastery of Dzokchen. Founded in 1684 by Dzokchen I Pema Rigdzin on the advice of the 5th Dalai Lama, it has become one of the most important monasteries of the Nyingma tradition with, in the early 20th century, more than 200 branches throughout Tibet. After this visit, you go up behind the monastery to the hermitages where great masters such as Dodrup Jigme Trinle Ozer, Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje, Patrul Rinpoche and Miphan Rinpoche meditated. Road to Manigango in the afternoon.

D18: Manigango - Barkham (260m).
Distance: 420 km. Approximate duration of transport: 8 to 9 h.
First day back to Chengdu. You stop for the night in Barkham (Maerkang in Chinese).

D19: Barkham - Chengdu.
Distance: 300 km. Approximate duration of transport: 6 to 7 hours.
In the morning visit the palace of King of Choktsé 5 km from the hotel. Choktze was one of the 18 kingdoms of the Gyelrong, 17 generations have succeeded to the power of this kingdom from the 11th to the 20th century. You will then continue on your way back to Chengdu.

D20: Departure from Chengdu.
According to your flight schedule, walk in the Tibetan district and Jinli, a street rebuilt according to ancient Chinese architecture. Transfer to the airport for your return flight.

D21: Return to France.

In the case of early morning hours, arrival on the evening of the D20 in France.
I also reserve the right to shorten or modify the planned stages or the accommodation whatever the causes (climatic conditions, complete accommodation ...). Depending on this, I  will find the best compromise to meet these constraints, without harming the success of your stay.

The price includes

  • Return flight from Paris
  • Land transfers mentioned in the program in private vehicle with driver
  • Accommodation, breakfast included
  • Lunches and dinners (one drink included per meal)
  • Tickets for the sites indicated in the program
  • English-speaking Tibetan guide (in the process of learning French)
  • Logistics of trekking (baggage carrying, cook, tent, camping mattress, toilets,  mess tent, camping table and stools). Sleeping bags are not provided
  • Supervision by the hiking guide
  • Initiation to the Art of walking and to conscious walking

The price does not include

  • Visa fees for China
  • Accident and cancellation insurance
  • Medical and repatriation expenses
  • Extra expenses due to circumstances beyond our control
  • Sleeping bags for the camps
  • Drinks and personal expenses
  • Tips from the guide, the driver and the trekking team
Next departures :

No scheduled departure, bu you can contact me to book your dates.

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