Archive for the ‘Yajiang’ Category

Drive from Yajiang to Litang

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
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The low elevation of Yajiang (雅江) did give us a good sleep last night. Early this morning, 10 October, 2015, we continue our self-drive west along the National Highway G318 from Yajiang (雅江) to Litang ( 理塘), where we are going to head south to get to our final destination today – Daocheng (稻城).

The 138 km drive from Yajiang to Litang reminds us of the overland from Kangding to Xinduqiao, where we have to ascend the high Zheduo Pass at 4290 meters; the journey from Xinduqiao to Yajiang, where we have to climb over the high pass of Gaoersi Pass at 4412 meters; now today here from Yajiang to Litang, we have to go over Kazila Pass (卡子拉山口) at the elevation of 4718 meters, the higheast pass on our trip so far.

Drive from Yajiang to Litang along G318

Drive from Yajiang to Litang along G318

It is again snowing due to the high elevation as we are driving up higher and higher from the low elevation of Yajiang to the high mountains on route, which all surpass 4000 meters. The golden and yellow meadows and autumn leaves, and green pine trees are covered with white snow. We drive meticulously along the switchback mountain roads and take  a break if necessary at the service stops run by the local Tibetans.

The switchback roads from Yajiang to Litang

The switchback roads from Yajiang to Litang

We take a break at the service stop on the way up to Kazila Pass.

Service Stop on the way from Yajiang to Litang

We take a break at the service stop on the way up to Kazila Pass.

At 10:30 am, we get onto the high Kazila Pass at the elevation of 4718 meters. People are snapping pictures of the huge rock sign indicating the name of the pass in Chinese – 卡子拉山口.

 Kazila Pass at the elevation of 4718 meters

Kazila Pass at the elevation of 4718 meters

Climbing over the pass,  we begin to go down and the highway condition is much better than we expect, wide and flat. On the way down to Litang Town, we also find a motorcyclist couple driving along the National Highway before us.

Motorcyclists driving along the National Highway G318

Motorcyclists driving along the National Highway G318

Going over the high Kazila Pass, we soon find the weather is getting better.  Snow stops and the mountains passing by turn multi-coloured with beautful valleys – grazing yaks, limpid streams and yellow meadows.

Litang beautful valleys

The mountains passing by turn multi-coloured with beautful valleys.

Litang Town (理塘) at the elevation of 4014 meters is the seat of Litang County, 400 meters higher than Lhasa, one of the hightest town in the world. “Litang” in Tibet literally means “Copper Mirror-like plateau” as it is located on the flat plateau with surrounding mountains. A cyclist is biking towards Litang Town.

 A cyclist is biking towards Litang Town

A cyclist is biking towards Litang Town

Litang Town is situated on the flat plateau surrounded with mountains. It is under the adminstration of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, on the west Sichuan Province. At Litang, we get off the National Highway G318 and turn south and drive along S217 to get to Daocheng.

Litang Town

Litang Town is situated on the flat plateau surrounded with mountains

Litang Town is an important base either for travelers going from Chengdu to Lhasa or to Daocheng. It is an old, but booming town with the coming of more and more travelers on their way to Daocheng or Lhasa. Hotels and restaurants are seen dotted here and there in the town. At 12:15 am, we stop for lunch in Litang before we start for Daocheng along the provincial highway known as S217, which later turns out to be a super highway with beautiful landscapes.

Lunch at Litang Town

Lunch at Litang Town

Any questions on the way from Yajiang to Litang, just drop a line.

Add-on:
Drive from Xinduqiao to Yajiang
Chengdu tour

Drive from Xinduqiao to Yajiang

Sunday, November 8th, 2015
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Around 3:40 pm, 09 October, 2015, we start leaving Xinduqiao (新都桥). Mr.Chen fires up his engine and rolls his white beast and again picks up the National Highway G318 and drives west for our tonight’s destination – Yajiang County (雅江县). We choose to continue driving for extra 72km from Xinduqiao to Yajiang partly due to the Yajiang’s relatively low altitude of 2500 meters against Xinduqiao’s altitude of 3450 meters; partly due to the fact today’s extra 72km drive will reduce the intensity of our tomorrow’s driving trip.

Yajiang’s low altitude gains its reputation of being a nice stop between Kangding (or Xinduqiao ) and Litang (理塘) for G318 travelers including self-drive travelers, bicyclists, or hikers. It is a modern town within the traditional Kham Region of the eastern Tibet, now under the administation of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Its splendid history brings people back to its prime days as the important stopover and ferry point for the ancient Tea and House Route.

Now we are on the way from Xinduqiao to Yajiang. The driving map tells we have to get over a tall pass known as Gaoersi Mountain Pass at 4412 meters sea level (高尔寺山海拔4412). Overcast and it is getting darker on the road up to the Gaoersi Mountain Pass. It starts snowing on the higher mountain road due to the changeable weather and cool temperatures at high altitudes.

Drive from Xinduqiao Town to Yajiang

Drive from Xinduqiao Town to Yajiang

What makes things worse is the unrestored and unrenovated mountain road before and after the Gaoersi Mountain Pass and the terrible road turns out to be as long as 24 km! Actually you cannot call it “Highway” since it is very bumpy, muddy, messy and some sections of the horrible road don’t have any guard rails to provent vehicles from straying into the deep gorges.

Gaoersi Mountain Pass Highway

The highway is bumpy, muddy, messy and dangerous!

At 4:30 pm, we reach the Gaoersi Mountain Pass and see a signboard standing on the top with the words “Gaoersi Mountain Pass 4412 meters Altitude” in Chinese. We stop and stay there just for a few minutes, taking a photo of the signboard as a rememory and pay repect to the simple Gaoer Temple nearby with our eyes.

Gaoersi Mountain Pass

Gaoersi Mountain Pass

Driving over Gaoersi Mountain Pass, we find it is snowing heavily, making it even more difficult to drive along the muddy and bumpy road. We have to carefully steer clear of passing-by trucks, cars  and even motorcyclists.

Drive on Gaoersi Mountain

Drive on Gaoersi Mountain in snow

Eventually the highway condition is getting much better, and back to the normal level of a standard highway, wide and with guard rails. The road descends fast from the over 4000-meter-altitude Gaoersi Pass to a little over 2500-meter Yajiang.

Highway Xinduqiao to Yajiang

Descend fast from Goersi to Yanjiang

At 6:00pm, we arrive at the downtown of Yajiang County. It is a modern town set in the deep valley of Yalong River (雅砻江) which gives rise to the name of Yajiang. It is a 1,323 km long river, a tributary of the Yangtze River. Its source is on the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau in southeast Qinghai.

Yanjiang Town

A booming modern town

The town looks very much compact with crowded buildings cascading from the two sides of the river valley. It is a drab and dusty city but with some modern tall buildings standing here and there. There are also a few old side streets that betray an old town. Crowded buildings flank Yalong River cutting the town into two parts.

Crowded buildings flank Yalong River

Crowded buildings flank Yalong River cutting the town into two parts.

It doesn’t take much efforts to secure two rooms at a nice hotel in Yajiang. But we do suggest you’d better reserve your hotel in Yajiang during the tourist peak season.

Any questions on the drive from Xinduqiao to Yajiang, just drop a line.

Add-on:
Drive from Kangding to Xinduqiao
Drive from Xinduqiao to Danba
Chengdu tour