Archive for the ‘Mangkang’ Category

Drive from Mangkang to Deqin

Saturday, November 14th, 2015
Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Around 6:00pm,  11 October,2015, we leave the first checkpoint in the downtown of Mangkang, or Markam (芒康),  then branch off National Highway G318 and enter National Highway G214 for the 216 km drive from Mangkang to Feilaisi, Deqin in (德钦飞来寺) on the south. The Highway G214 is 3256 km long starting from Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province to Jinghong, Yunnan Province.

Drive from Mangkang to Deqin

Drive from Mangkang (Markam) to Deqin

The previous speed limit for the drive from Batang to Mangkang has to some extent delayed our arrival at Feilaisi, Deqin. So we are going to catch up with the time within the maximum speed permitted by law. We are driving fast along the paved road on the valley flanked by the high mountains over 3000 meters altitude.

Mangkang to Feilaisi

We are driving along the paved road on the high mountains

The sun is setting, casting its dwindling glare on the snow-capped mountains on our left side ( east side ), a mixed landscape of snow-shrouded mountains, colored poplar trees, primeval Tibetan houses. We cannot resist stopping at two photogenic areas for photography.

Kangkang Deqin

The picturesque view along the National Highway G214

The National Highway G214 is one of the most beautiful highways in China. Unlike the hyped G318, G214 is quite unknown to the public though it has stunning views with its varied landscapses. G214 connects the headwaters of Yangtze River, Yellow River, Lancang River and Honghe River.

National Highway G214

The golden mountaintop

The Highway G214 cuts through the rugged terrains like Bayan Har Mountains, the Hengduan Mountains and more. It is also bestowed with the massive snow mountains like Hongla Snow Mountain, Meili Snow Mountain, Haba Snow Mountain and more.

The National Highway 214

The Beautiful View along the Highway G214

When we reach the Hongla Mountain Pass (红拉山口) at 4200 meters evelation,  it is completely dark  with ever thickening dense fog. Mr. Chen has to drive gingerly forward with almost zero visibility despite of the hardworking headlights. We haven’t had such challenging experience before driving on a rugged mountaind road shrouded in a heavy fog on a pitch-dark night.

Mr. Chen skilfully controls his Toyota Highlander SUV, nearly blindfold going over Hong La Mountain Pass and arriving at Yanjing Town (盐井) under the administration of Mangkang, Tibet , the last outpost which connects Deqin or Deqen (德钦), Yunnan on the south .

We get to Feilaisi, Deqin or Deqen (德钦飞来寺) around midnight and check in a hotel known as 德钦云之南车盟酒店(Tel: 0887 – 8566588 ) which we have booked online on route. The moment we enter the hotel, we are warmly welcomed and each of us receives a Hada ( a long piece of white silk), which embodies purity and loyalty,  a traditional practice in Tibet to show respect and hospitality.

Feilaisi ( Fyling Temple ), 10 km north of the downtown of Deqin (德钦), has developed from the small Flying Temple. Now in this area there is a growing number of hostels and guest houses. Many travelers choose to stay here in order to see Kawa Garbo Peak (卡瓦格博峰) and Meili Snow Mountain (梅里雪山).

The hotel manager, a Tibetan, named 白马”Bai Ma”, literally “White Horse”, is very kind and hospitable, going far out of his way to give us plenty of information on Kawa Garbo Peak (卡瓦格博峰) and Meili Snow Mountain (梅里雪山). “There is a viewing platform on the top of the 4th floor where you are able to have a panoramic view of Kawa Garbo Peak”, he added.

We go up to our hotel rooms on the third floor with heavy hearts because we all know tomorrow will be overcast with little possibility to see Kawa Garbo Peak, less than in golden sunrise light.

Getting our tripods ready, Mr. Chen and I still set alarm clock on iphone around 6:30 am since sunrise time for tomorrow is around 7:00am. We hope good luck will follow us tomorrow.

Any questions about the drive from Mangkang to Feilaisi (Deqin), just drop a line.

Lijiang Yunnan Tour
Drive from Batang to Mangkang
Drive from Litang to Batang
Drive from Deqin to Shangri-la

Drive from Batang to Mangkang

Friday, November 13th, 2015
Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Around 3:45 pm after a brief break at the filling station in Batang (巴塘), we again start up our trip along G318 west for our next destination – Mangkang (芒康 ) in Tibet. Mangkang is also known as Markham or Karkam in Tibet, a county under the administration of Qamdo City (昌都) in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Mangkang is located amid the border areas of the three provinces including Sichuan, Tibet and Yunnan. It is adjacent to Batang County in Sichuan on the east and Deqin County in Yunnan on the south. Both the National Highway G318 and G214 run through Mangkang County. It is an important stepping stone to enter the three connected provinces.

It is a 110 km drive from Batang to Mangkang (Karkam). The first 35km drive is easy and uneventful when we pass through Zhubalong Township ( 竹巴龙乡) which is the west tip of Batang County along G318. Zhubalong Township in Batang abuts Zhubalong Township (朱巴龙乡), the east tip of Mangkang (Karkam). The two townships have the same Chinese pinyin ( romanization of Chinese), but with different Chinese characters.

Drive from Batang to Mangkang

Drive from Batang to Mangkang

Passing through Zhubalong Township in Batang, we soon go across Jinsha River Bridge (金沙江大桥) which divides the two townships – Zhubalong Township ( 竹巴龙乡) in Batang and Zhubalong Township (朱巴龙乡) in Mangkang (Karkam).

Jinshan River (金沙江) is largely the dividing borderline between Sichuan and Tibet. We stop at the middle of Jinsha River Bridge, straddling the the two provinces ( Sichuan and Tibet ) while snapping a photo of the borderline sign attached to the bridge cememt handrail.

Tibet Borderline Sign

Tibet Borderline Sign standing in the middle of Jinsha River Bridge

Driving across Jinsha River Bridge (金沙江大桥),  we run into the area of  Zhubalong Township (朱巴龙乡) in Mangkang (Karkam), Tibet. Soon we have to stop at the security checkpoint set up by the local Zhubalong Public Security Bureau.

Mr.Chen and I leave our vehicle in the waiting line and go out to the roadside office windows, taking all the personal travel documents with us – ID card, or passport and driving licences and the vehicle certificate. We see policemen with their weapon resting lazily slung over their shoulders.

Zhubalong Poliemen

Policemen with their weapon resting lazily slung over their shoulders

At the checkpoint, we are offered a speed limit ticket which requests us to drive within two hours to cover the 71 km distance ahead between Zhubalong Township and the downtown of Mangkang. So we have to limit our drive within 2 hours before we get to Mangkang, just 75km away.

We much keep the ticket till the policemen at the checkpoint in Mangkang collect and check it. Why two hours for the 75 km? So slow, like a slow moving snail. The ticket says the road ahead is full of risks with possible falling stones and the fact that some sections are in the state of disrepair.

a speed limit ticket

Zhubalong – Mangkang speed limit ticket

The 71-km G318 Highway from Zhubalong Township to the downtown of Mangkang has complicated geographical conditions. The road is often collapsed in rainy season. The roadside river sometimes encroaches the road. In some areas, the road sinks,  bumpy and muddy.

The most dangerous thing is the falling stones, blocking the road with a potential risk of harming the people on the way. On route, for several times we have to stop  and clear the fallen stones on the road ahead. Sometimes we have to gingerly drive along the cliff swept with the scree.

Zhulongba Mangkang Highway

Clear the fallen stones on the road ahead

The road clings to the sheer cliffs, often with turns and curves, and we have to drive slowly and carefully to avoid colliding with coming vehicles.

Batang Mangkang Road

The road clings to the sheer cliffs

Some sections of the highway are just in a  state of disrepair, muddy, rutted and without any handrails.

Batang Mangkang Road

Some sections of the highway are just in a state of disrepair

Two hours late, around 5:50 pm, we get to the No.01 Checkpoint in the downtown of Mangkang (Karkam). We again have to stop and have our personal ID cards checked and then continue our trip, and this time we get off the National Highway G318 and turn south and drive along the National Highway G214.

The sun is setting  and we have to hurry up to catch the time lost on the speed limit road just passed.

Any questions on the drive from Batang to Mangkang, just drop a line.

Drive from Litang to Batang
Drive from Mangkang to Deqin