Yading is called the Shambala of Tibet. Shambala means Shangrila, the lost land of the world, indicating the unexplored world on earth and its exotic beauty. In fact the beauty of Yading has attracted lots of visitors but due to its remote location many visitors have to make other plans. Now there is an airport so the trip to Yading will take much shorter time. Hiking at Yading is hiking in the wonderful Tibetan highland where picturesque valleys are dotted with turquoise lakes and surrounded by stunning snow-capped peaks. There are two different ways of hiking at Yading, one is the day hiking that you have a nice day walk in the Yading Nature Reserve and the other one is to have over a week’s serious trekking around Yading. Find more information about Yading hiking below.
Yading is the name of the village located south to the Tibetan town of Daocheng. Normally by driving it took up to three days before the road was under good condition before 2015. Now by driving it takes two days from Chengdu. And Chengdu becomes the first option as a stopover to travel to Yading, either by ground transfer or by air transfer. Yading Nature Reserve is located 75 km south to Daocheng, which is 430 km west to the town of Kangding. A driving trip from Chengdu will usually have the first night stay at Xinduqiao near Kangding and the second night in either Daocheng or Riwa, which is now the entrance of Yading. By driving you can also starts from Shangrila Town of Yunnan and it also takes two days but you need to fly to Shangrila Town first. There are available flights to Shangrila from Chengdu and Kunming at present.
One can also use the flight to fly to Yading. At present the direct flights you can find that fly to Yading are Chengdu, Xi’an. From Xi’an there is one flight MU2339 that leaves by 06:40 in the morning and arrives by 08:30. From Chengdu there are three flights that are CA4215 (0625-0725), MU2191 (0630-0730) and 3U8653 (0650-0750). The airport in Yading is called Daocheng Yading airport and it is located 120km north to Yading and 50km north to Daocheng.
A Yading Hiking trip usually starts in Chengdu and ends in Chengdu but you can also start from Xi’an by flying and ends in either Chengdu or Yunnan by driving.
The best season to hike in Yading is from May to October although April and November it is also available. The best time to travel to Daocheng Yading is in July, August and October. In July and August is the warm summer time of Yading and October the weather is good and the Yading is in its golden color. December to the next March is the winter in Yading. A hiking in Yading Park is available as it is a well equipped park under good maintenance. But in winter the camping trek is not available. A camping trek involves camping at high elevation and walking over passes that are over 4800 meters. Yading is usually very dry and windy. Yading is getting popular since the airport is available so if you are traveling in the busy season, July, August and October, an early planning is a better idea.
Duration and Transfer
Even in China for Chinese travelers, Yading is far. But the beautiful views usually hide far away from you. To plan a hiking trip to Yading, you will need a minimum of 3 days: one day fly in and acclimatize, second day walking in the park and the third day fly out or transfer to another destination. The fly to Yading takes about 1 hour from Chengdu. Airport to the closest accommodation place is about 2 hour’s drive. From Daocheng it is 1 hour’s drive to the entrance of Yading. From Riwa, the official entrance, you will need to use the tourist site bus to transfer to the walking board for 30 km. To walk the park you will need a minimum of 1 day. For information of the week-long camping trek please contact us to have more detailed information.
The 1-2 days hiking is the classic visit to Daocheng Yading. The park itself is composed of 2 main valleys. The valley towards south and west is to the Milk Lake and Wuse Lake, where you can also see south face of Chenrezig, north face of Chenadorje and Jampayang. The walking is between 3km and 10km single way. The other valley is to visit Pearl Lake and the north face of Chenrezig, it is about 2km single way.
There is another 1-2 days hiking which may involve camping for one night near the park. It is a loop connecting the two valleys. To enter either one valley and over the pass to spend one night over the pass by camping (the only option available). Although if you are good hiker, it is in total 25km walking over at least 2 main passes over 4500 meters, you can do it in one day and save the camping. Remember this hiking is not recommended by the local park because former hikers have lost and died on this route without proper preparation.
Yading Middle Kora Trek
Please refer to our Yading Middle Kora Trekpage to read details. It is a multiday camping trek that goes around the mountains and lakes in yading.
Travelers to do a Yading Hiking will have the possibility of having mountain sickness. In Yading the elevation is at over 4000. It is better to acclimatize yourself in Yading one night and go higher slowly. The highest point of this hiking is at around 4200 meters. This Yading hiking is not a strenuous one but the elevation are quite high so you need to be aware this while hiking especially when you fly in. The precautions you can consider to minimize the chance of suffering from mountain sickness include drink a lot of water, keep warm and try to eat healthy before you go.
Yading Hiking Packing list:
Hiking boots, hiking hat, Jacket/windbreaker, Base layer/T-shirt, Walking trousers, Thermals, Fleece, Socks
Daypack, Waterproof, Sunglasses, Sun block
Elevation and Walking Distance
Daocheng Yading Airport is at the elevation of 4400 meters. It is one of the highest airports in the world. You will have the best views of the landscape on the plane. The town of Daocheng on the middle way to Yading, the elevation is 3750 meters above sea level. At the entrance before you take the bus the elevation is at about 3000 meters. Usually you start to walk from Chonggu Monastery at the elevation of about 4000 meters. There are two valleys you can walk. The one in the west leads to the north face of Xiannanri and Pearl Lake which is about 2km’s of walking and elevation rise is within 200 meters. To walk the valley in the east, the walking distance is about 12 – 15 km in total. Elevation in this valley is up to 4500 meters at Five Color Lake. In this valley you have stunning views of all three of the holy mountains. The walking back is the same trail. There is a trail that goes up to the pass from the valley in the east will go around Xiannanri and connects the valley in the east but the total walking distance is over 30 km and you will need to walk over two 4700-meter passes. Plus at present in order to protect the park, camping is not allowed. If you do want to see the views from different locations you can consider to have a big circumambulation trekking of Yading.
Landscape and Trails under Foot
The walking trails are well –paved boardwalk and for the walking in the east valley, you can use the electronic cars to cover the first half. Yading is a well facilitated tourist site. The walking trails are all good in the park.
Departure: Private Tour / Flexible Date
Route: Chengdu / Yading / Chengdu
Daocheng Yading is one of the most remote wander lands in China. It is far and difficult to access but it is really beautiful. This week-long Yading adventure takes you to embrace the believed-to-be the mysterious Tibetan heaven of Shangrila. You also have the day tour in Chengdu combined with this serious hiking in the Yading Nature Reserve. Find out more about this tour by asking our experts.
Departure: Private Tour / Flexible Date
Route: Chengdu / Yading / Chengdu
Daocheng Yading is one of the most remote wander lands in China. It is far and difficult to access but it is really beautiful. This 2 and half day Yading adventure takes you to embrace the believed-to-be the mysterious Tibetan heaven of Shangri-La. Hiking is at high elevation but views are stunning.