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Holiday Overview

Highlights

  • Trek beneath Minya Konka (7556m) - the highest peak east of the Himalayas
  • Meet the distinctive Khampa and Minyak communities
  • Discover monasteries and Great Mani Pile of the Tagong Plateau
  • Visit the Panda Breeding Centre at Chengdu

This superb adventure holiday combines the experience of real Tibetan culture with a spectacular trek through the beautiful valleys of Riwoche and Moxi to Konka Monastery below the ice-fluted shark's fin of Minya Konka (7556m), the world's highest peak beyond the Himalaya. Situated on the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, Minya Konka is also one of the most sacred mountains to Tibetan Buddhists, equal in status to Mount Kailas in Western Tibet. Impressive mountain panoramas and austere glaciers, babbling brooks and river torrents, azure blue lakes, enchanting mixed woodland, grazing yaks and their nomadic herders, chortens, mani walls, prayer flags and elaborately decorated Gompas, are contained in this holiday. Our week long trek begins just south of Kangding. the 'Gateway to Tibet'.  We make a steady ascent of the Riwoche valley with its soaring cliffs and fast river torrents. At the head of this valley we enter a high grazing area where we will encounter the temporary settlements of the nomadic yak herders. Climbing to cross the 4900 metre Bhuchu La, we then descend the beautiful Moxi valley eventually entering forests of rhododendron, juniper, birch and oak which in October become a riot of Autumnal colours. We stay overnight in the Konka monastery and the climax of our trek is the climb to the ridge above for unrivalled views of Minya Konka and the Daxue range of 6000-metre snowy peaks. Although Minya Konka is the undoubted centre-piece of this great trekking holiday to a little visited mountain region of Sichuan, there is much more to the holiday than this, admittedly, superbly photogenic mountain.

If you want to see real Tibetan culture, this is where you should come. This holiday will give you an insight into the rural life of the Kham region and also of the Minyak people who are an ethnic group distinct again from their Khampa neighbours. Combined with a fascinating journey through Sichuan province, with its many spectacular monasteries, gigantic 'hill paintings' and the great Mani Pile of Tagong, and sightseeing in the city of Chengdu, including the Pandas at the world famous breeding centre. This is a world class trekking holiday and also a real adventure and travel experience in an area visited by very few Westerners.

Is this holiday for you?

This holiday combines a week long trek with a cultural experience staying and touring in Western Sichuan - an area steeping in Tibeten culture. The trek to Minya Konka is not long or sustained but it travels through rugged country, generally at a high altitude and across a high pass of 4900 metres. The average walking day is around 5 - 6 hours with one longer day across the Bhuchu La of 8 or possibly 9 hours. In general the underfoot conditions are good and we follow a well established trails used by the semi nomadic Yak herders who travel through these valleys. Although short, this trek does present a reasonably tough proposition on account of the altitude, but should be suitable for experienced hill walkers with a good level of fitness. Further to this, please be aware that organised trekking is in its infancy in this part of the world and you should expect basic levels of service and accommodation. For these reasons we suggest that this holiday is only for those with experience of tough travel, who have trekked previously in remote areas and who are happy to accept the pioneering nature of the trip.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Chengdu. A single timed transfer from Chengdu Airport is provided.
  • Drive to Kangding (2550m) through the Mount Erlang tunnel.
  • Acclimatisation walk in the Pao-Ma Hills (2900m). Drive to Laoyuling(3060m) and Homestay
  • Trek to the first camp at Da-Cao-Ba (3500m).
  • Trek to a camp in the Upper Riwoche Valley (3900m).
  • Climb to camp below the Bhuchu La (4332m).
  • Cross the Bhuchu La / Riwoche Pass (4900m) into the Moxi Valley (4100m).
  • Downhill to our second camp in the Moxi Valley
  • Trek to Konka Monastery (3730m).
  • Exploration above the monastery and descend to Tsemi (3450m).
  • Drive to Tagong
  • Visit temple and Mani Pile then drive to Luding
  • Visit Luding Chain Bridge and return to Chengdu
  • Visit to Panda Breeding Centre and independent Chengdu sightseeing
  • Departure day. A single timed transfer to Chengdu Airport is provided.
2016
Sat 08 Oct - Sat 22 Oct Code MKT /04/16/ Adult$3,115 Status Limited Availability Book now
More information
  • Minya Konka Trek
  • The departure reference for this tour is MKT /04/16/
  • This tour begins on Sat 08 Oct and departs on Sat 22 Oct
  • This departure has limited availability. Don't delay - secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $345 - All hotel nights. Not applicable for the 3 nights in homestay / monastery / l odge.
  • Single Tent $80
2017
Sat 08 Apr - Sat 22 Apr Code MKT /01/17/ Adult$3,265 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Minya Konka Trek
  • The departure reference for this tour is MKT /01/17/
  • This tour begins on Sat 08 Apr and departs on Sat 22 Apr
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $345 - All hotel nights. Not applicable for the 3 nights in homestay / monastery / l odge.
  • Single Tent $80
Sat 13 May - Sat 27 May Code MKT /02/17/ Adult$3,265 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Minya Konka Trek
  • The departure reference for this tour is MKT /02/17/
  • This tour begins on Sat 13 May and departs on Sat 27 May
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $345 - All hotel nights. Not applicable for the 3 nights in homestay / monastery / l odge.
  • Single Tent $80
Sat 09 Sep - Sat 23 Sep Code MKT /03/17/ Adult$3,265 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Minya Konka Trek
  • The departure reference for this tour is MKT /03/17/
  • This tour begins on Sat 09 Sep and departs on Sat 23 Sep
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $345 - All hotel nights. Not applicable for the 3 nights in homestay / monastery / l odge.
  • Single Tent $80
Sat 07 Oct - Sat 21 Oct Code MKT /04/17/ Adult$3,265 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
More information
  • Minya Konka Trek
  • The departure reference for this tour is MKT /04/17/
  • This tour begins on Sat 07 Oct and departs on Sat 21 Oct
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $345 - All hotel nights. Not applicable for the 3 nights in homestay / monastery / l odge.
  • Single Tent $80
2018
Sat 07 Apr - Sat 21 Apr Code MKT /01/18/ Adult$3,265 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Minya Konka Trek
  • The departure reference for this tour is MKT /01/18/
  • This tour begins on Sat 07 Apr and departs on Sat 21 Apr
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $345 - All hotel nights. Not applicable for the 3 nights in homestay / monastery / l odge.
  • Single Tent $80
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Chengdu. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Chengdu Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements & transfers' section in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and this trip is showing the 'Guaranteed to Run or Limited' symbol. If your trip is still showing 'Spaces', we will contact you as soon as it has reached the guaranteed status.


BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

The price of our holidays can change depending on a variety of factors but unlike some other tour operators, KE have undertaken to guarantee the Land Only price of your holiday will not change after you have booked. The price when you book is the price you will pay, whether you are booking for this year or the next. Book early to avoid any tour price increases, get the best flight prices and take advantage of our 'No Surcharge Guarantee'.

KE Adventure Travel is a fully ATOL licensed and bonded tour operator with ABTA and AITO.

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Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • peaks
  • airport
  • trip direction
  • pass
  • pass
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Chengdu. A single timed transfer from Chengdu Airport is provided.

    Meet at the group hotel in Chengdu. A single timed transfer from Chengdu Airport will be provided. Depending on arrival times there may be some time to look around our immediate environs. Close to the hotel are many shops selling traditional goods as well as supermarkets, cafes and restaurants. In the early evening we will have a briefing from the tour leader and we will then head out for a dinner in one of the local restaurants serving traditional Sichuan cuisine.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals d

  • Drive to Kangding (2550m) through the Mount Erlang tunnel.

    Today the journey is definitely part of the experience as we set off on a 360 km drive, travelling deep into the hill country. Our intended route will take us through the 4 kilometre-long Mount Erlang tunnel. Before the tunnel opened to traffic in 2001 it was necessary to travel over the mountain on a long and difficult road subject to frequent landslides or else travel all the way around the mountains. The tunnel which cost nearly 57 million US dollars to build dramatically reduced the time and difficulties of the journey from Sichuan to Tibet but is subject to occasional closures for repairs. If we cannot use this short cut we will have to follow the fast Jingkun Expressway south to the Dadu river valley and then follow this mighty river upstream to Kangding, an incredible journey in itself. Through the tunnel we should take 5 to 6 hours to reach Kangding and if we have to travel around this could be up to 9 hours. Arriving at our destination of Kangding (2550m) in the Eastern Tibetan province of Kham, we check into our hotel and have some time to relax before dinner. Kangding, known as the 'Gateway to Tibet', is an historical border town between Tibet and China, much fought over and eventually taken by Manchu troops in the 18th century. Once an important trading town where Chinese brick tea was carried by porters from Chengdu and other centres to trade for Tibetan wool, Kangding or Dartsedo to give it its Tibetan name, is now the capital of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. The town is split in two by the thunderous Dardu River which is channelled through a large square in the town centre. This is a lively place where folks of all ages gather in the morning and evening to do their Tai Chi or play games.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Acclimatisation walk in the Pao-Ma Hills (2900m). Drive to Laoyuling(3060m) and Homestay

    From the hotel we have a short drive up to the highest part of Kangding which is the launching point for visits to two monasteries located in the Pao-Ma Hills overlooking Kangding. There is a tourist cable car here imported from Germany but as we are seeking acclimatisation we will spurn the ride and instead take a winding track which climbs up into the hills. Reaching the upper station of the cable car we enter a park and visit the first gompa. Behind this a series of steps through woods adorned with prayer flags leads to a large stupa and beyond this, to a large amphitheatre. More stairs lead on up through woods to the second gompa (2900m), providing not only useful acclimatisation for us, but also a fantastic view over Kangding and the gorge of the Dardu River. Afterwards we descend the steps and trails back down to the town. We will take lunch in a local restaurant and before leaving Kangding we can take a look around the fascinating 'Museum of Tibetan Culture'. We now board our tour vehicle and drive for approximately 10km towards Laoyuling (3060m) where we will stay as guests of our Tibetan horsemen who will accompany us on the trek to Minya Konka. Here we will get a first taste of our cook's fare and can enjoy a convivial evening before setting off on trek.

    • Accommodation Homestay

    • Meals bld

  • Trek to the first camp at Da-Cao-Ba (3500m).

    Today we have a relatively gentle introduction to the journey. The distance we can walk in a day is limited by our elevation gain while we are still acclimatising to the altitude. We may opt to drive some of the way today leaving a walk of around 3 - 4 hours, partly along a farm track to reach our first camp near Da-Cao-Ba (3500m). This will be our first day settling into the camp routine and so it is convenient that we will have a relaxed start to organise everything.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Trek to a camp in the Upper Riwoche Valley (3900m).

    Following the river on an undulating trail with the occasional steep climb, we trek through a wooded and hilly landscape surrounded by high cliffs and glimpsed higher peaks.. At this stage of the journey we are still acclimatising to the altitude and it is important to adopt a relaxed pace. We also have plenty of stops for photographs and to take in the spectacular views. We make camp in the upper reaches of the Riwoche Valley (3900m).

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 350m

    • Distance 8km

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5 - 6 hrs trekking

  • Climb to camp below the Bhuchu La (4332m).

    Today we climb up above the tree line to the meadows of the upper Riwoche Valley. The view opens out as we steadily gain height and we cross the river to its west bank on a wooden bridge. Ahead and to the southeast, we can see the peak of 'Little Konka'. A deep gorge running down to the main Riwoche valley from across the river marks the way to the climbing base camp for this impressive little cousin of our sacred peak. As we continue up to the head of the valley the trail starts to climb more steeply. We cross the river again on a simple wooden bridge and make a final climb to emerge onto a large open grazing area. There are likely to be tents of yak herders' here at the time of our visit and they are sure to give us a warm welcome. We set up our own camp below the imposing face of Riwoche Feng (6376m) and within sight of our pass, the Bhuchu La. Altitude at camp is 4332m.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 450m

    • Distance 9km

    • Meals bld

    • Time 6 - 7 hrs trekking

  • Cross the Bhuchu La / Riwoche Pass (4900m) into the Moxi Valley (4100m).

    It is worth making an early start to enjoy the sunrise. Following a camp breakfast we set off trekking, immediately crossing the river on a plank bridge. We head up the valley with the going fairly easy and level for the first half hour before we start to climb on a good trail which gradually ascends the rolling hills above the grazing area. Views open out as we rise higher with retrospective views of Little Konka and Jiazi Feng (6540m), while ahead the soaring cone of Leduomanyin (6112m) draws the eye. As we go higher still, we overlook a blue lake at the snout of the Riwochie glacier. At last the serrated ridge marking the very head of the Riwoche Valley comes into view and if we look carefully, we can just see the line of prayer flags which mark the Bhuchu La. From this point we have a further 40 minutes or so of trekking and a final steep pull to reach the summit at 4900 metres. We should reach the top of the pass after 3 or 4 hours of trekking from camp. Cresting the ridge we are confronted with and array of peaks of the Daxue range lining the Moxi Valley, including nearby Leduomanyin, and a host of 6000 or near 6000 metre peaks. From this vantage Minya Konka itself is hidden by the snow-fluted ridges of Daduomanyin (6380m), Lagemanyin (6394m) and Zhongshan Feng (6886m). After a picnic lunch on the summit we begin a long descent which is steep at first on scree but with a reasonably good trail made for us by the horses. Eventually we reach the grasslands of the upper valley and the headwaters of the Moxi River which we now follow downstream to reach our night's camp at 4100 metres after approximately 7 - 8 hours of trekking. This is the toughest day of the trek and a long one but more than adequate compensation is provided by spectacular views and continuously interesting trekking.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 590m

    • Distance 12km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 750m

    • Time 7 - 8 hrs trekking

  • Downhill to our second camp in the Moxi Valley

    We will make an early start for a fairly long but relatively easy day of trekking as we continue down the long Moxi valley. The trek today is continuously interesting and at every turn, we encounter something new whether that be a lake formed by a natural dam in the river, a huge face of rock and ice glimpsed as we pass a side valley, or the many makeshift dwellings and chortens made by the people who inhabit this valley. The area is also teeming with birds of prey and small mammals. Today's walk is around 11km with 438m of descent which we should complete in around 5 - 6 hours of walking. Our camp tonight is at 3660 metres and already we are benefitting from warmer climes and the added oxygen. Ahead in the distance we can make out the forests of the lower Moxi Valley but this evening we are still high in the 'alpine' zone.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Distance 11km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 440m

    • Time 5 - 6 hrs trekking

  • Trek to Konka Monastery (3730m).

    Another fairly long but fascinating day of trekking. We continue our descent of the Moxi Valley, passing further signs of habitation. Crossing the river on a sturdy wooden bridge we climb up the hillside on the east bank and follow a good trail which descends steadily, dropping below the tree line and following the river down. For most of today we trek through a mixed woodland of rhododendron, juniper, beech and oak. As we descend the scale of the valley becomes giant. We cross several side valleys requiring the negotiation of small streams on a variety of bridges or stepping stones. After each gulley we have an interceding ridge, the climbing of which has the effect of popping our heads up above the forest for far-reaching views of the mountains to the south. During the October trek the colours of the forested hillsides are almost unbelievable as foliage of russet, ochre, rust and gold compete with one another to be the best dressed at the ball. After around 4 hours of generally downhill trekking we stop for a picnic lunch and afterwards the trail takes a contour line across the hillside as the river drops away far below us. Eventually we arrive at a trail junction with one path heading right and down to the valley and the other heading left and gently climbing. Taking the left turn we soon start to see religious symbols and chortens and within 40 minutes we see the monastery buildings with the sensational backdrop of Minya Konka. This is a very special place which makes itself felt by the hundreds of small shrines, chortens, mani stones and fluttering prayer flags and by the monastery itself. Tonight we will stay in simple accommodation within the monastery. Our overnight elevation is elevation of 3730m.

    • Accommodation Monastery

    • Ascent 550m

    • Distance 17km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 580m

    • Time 7 - 8 hrs trekking

  • Exploration above the monastery and descend to Tsemi (3450m).

    If the weather is clear this will be an undoubted highlight of the trip. even if the monastery is shrouded in cloud it is well worth making the effort to climb up above the gompa as cloud inversions are quite common in the valleys of Minya Konka. Climbing just a couple of hundred metres will often be enough to get above the cloud and in these conditions the views of the peaks rising like islands above a cloud sea, are very special. The trail from the monastery to the viewpoint for Mnya Konka heads up through the woods and emerges onto open hillside just below the 4000 metre contour. The view across to the pyramid of Minya Konka is sensational but even better from the ridge above which is a further 20 - 30 minute climb. From the ridge we can look down onto Minya Konka's glaciers and the site of the original base camp. We can also see the Northwest ridge in profile and marvel at the feat of the four young Americans who climbed it in 1932, at that time setting an altitude record for the highest summit climbed. From our vantage we can also see an array of jagged peaks stretching north and south and we can trace our route through the Moxi Valley. Having taken in the scene and captured it on camera, we descend back through the forest, possibly back into cloud, until we reach the gompa again and follow the trail back to the junction of the previous day. Now we begin a descent through the forest adorned everywhere with prayer flags, until we reach the spread out dwellings of Tsemi Village (3450m) and we stay tonight in one of the village guesthouses.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Ascent 350m

    • Distance 12km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 650m

  • Drive to Tagong

    A new road now links the settlement of Tsemi with the outside world and we take full advantage climbing the 1000 metres out of this remote valley to the top of the Tsemi La (4660m) in 11km of switch backs. From the top we can see Tsemi Village directly below but it is the view of Minya Konka that takes the eye and our breath away. From the pass we drive on more switchbacks past grazing yaks down to Shangmuju village at the base of the pass. We are now in the Yulongxi Valley and we encounter an ever improving road as we follow the river downstream through a landscape of forested hills passing villages made up of little clusters of houses with orange tiled roofs and curled corners - the China of ancient drawings and paintings. We pass the busy town of Xinduqiao and follow the Liqi River north through an incredible landscape where entire hillsides are rippling with colour from a thousand prayer flags and river rocks are carved with Tibetan script offering prayers and instruction in the teachings of the Buddha. Reaching the fabled grasslands of Tagong, we check into a hotel and enjoy a shower before sitting down to dinner. Drive time: 4 - 5 hrs.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Visit temple and Mani Pile then drive to Luding

    Before leaving Tagong we will visit some of the sights in this Tibetan Autonomous Cultural Area. Firstly we visit the Lhagang monastery, a collection of buildings which includes a temple dedicated to Princess Wenchen the wife of the great Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. This is one of a number of temples of Princess Wenchen which were built along the route the couple travelled from the province of Amdo to Lhasa culminating in the Jokang itself at the centre of the Tibetan capital. As well as the stunning art work and statues of the gompa, there are also an array of gift shops here including one run by the monks and this is a very good place to buy souvenirs of our journey through the Tibetan lands of Sichuan. We then visit the Muya Golden Tower, another gompa with gold adornments surrounded by prayer wheels, chortens and prayer flags. From here we have a fine view of Yala Peak, another very distinctive and sacred mountain. A little further on, we make a detour from the highway to visit one of the most interesting sites in Tagong. Just below a sprawling village with labyrinthine streets of flat-roofed Tibetan houses, lies the great Mani Pile of Tagong. This structure built entirely of thousands upon thousands of intricately carved slates, piled one atop another is quite unique. The mani stones sit on top of gigantic prayer wheels which the faithful turn in their circumnavigations of the ‘Pile’ and as they do so, thousands of prayers are released to the heavens. The Mani Pile is overlooked by a gompa and a ridge above the monastery complex gives sensational views of Yala. Returning to the highway we follow this new smooth road which now climbs up above the grasslands with extensive mountain views to the Zheduo Pass (4200m). Here we have a fabulous final view of Minya Konka which now presents an almost conical shape with its flanking 6000-metre 'teeth' spreading out left and right. From the pass we make a long descent passing Kangding airport, one of the highest in the world and a series of switchbacks drops us down past lake filled valleys with the constant mountain backdrop, until eventually we see Kangding below. Entering the town we complete a circuit and we now follow the Dadu River back through its tremendous gorge until we reach the colourful Chinese market town of Luding where we check into our hotel. Drive time: 4 - 5 hrs.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Visit Luding Chain Bridge and return to Chengdu

    Luding Bridge is an important part of Chinese heritage. When it was built in 1706 by the Emporer Kang Xi of the Qing Dynasty it represented the only way to cross the mighty Dadu River other than by Sampan and therefore was the key to the tea trade with Tibet. The bridge has a 103 metre span and is 3 metres wide. It consists of 13 iron chains fixed to stonework at each end of the bridge. Nine chains are covered with slatted planks as the walking surface and the remaining four form rails. There are a total of 12164 chain links. At each end of the bridge, elaborate timberwork in unique Chinese style forms entrances to the bridge. Luding bridge was of extreme strategic importance during several conflicts including the communist revolution when famously in 1935, during the long March, the 4th regiment of the Chinese Workers and Peasants' Army captured and secured the bridge for the Red Army who were fleeing from pursuing Chinese Nationalist forces. Today the bridge is a major attraction and many Chinese tourists come to cross it. It is possible to hire Red Army uniforms from gift shops in the bridge housing and have your photo taken heroically waving the red flag on the bridge. Luding also has an interesting market and several coffee shops and we can enjoy part of the morning here before we set off on our journey back to Chengdu. This we will do either through the mountains via the Erlang tunnel or by following the Dadu River downstream to the highway abd then turning north to reach Chengdu. By the former route it is 275km and approximately 4 hours and by the latter it is 370km and around 5 or 6 hours. Either way, we will enjoy a highly scenic drive and arriving in Chengdu, we check into our hotel and after freshening up, we can enjoy a celebratory dinner in a local restaurant.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Visit to Panda Breeding Centre and independent Chengdu sightseeing

    This morning after breakfast we will visit the Chengdu Panda Breeding Centre. The total world population of Pandas is less than 1000 and 80% of these are found within Sichuan Province. Located approximately 10km from downtown Chengdu, the Panda Breeding Research Centre is a well laid out park which is designed to resemble the pandas' natural habitat. Wide walkways through the park facilitate easy access to several panda viewing points. The pandas are separated from the public only by a dry moat and low fence so the experience is reasonably intimate. This is definitely not a zoo and the well being of the pandas is the number one priority here. Visitors are expected to be quiet, walk slowly and avoid flash photography. There is also a museum which has lots of information on the breeding programmes and history of the panda and a small film theatre shows educational films about the pandas. Besides the cute black and white bears, there are red pandas and black swans on a picturesque lake. After the visit we take lunch in a restaurant and the afternoon is then free for independent sightseeing. Our guide will have lots of ideas of what to see in Chengdu and can arrange taxis as required. Places to see include the 339 metre high Chengdu telecommunications tower for glass-floored views over the city, the 'Peoples Park’ where you can take tea in the famous Heming Teahouse, the Wenshu Monastery complex with its 300 Buddha statues and over 500 pieces of exquisite painting and calligraphy, or the 17th century Wuhou Temple with statues of important figures in Chinese history. For shopping there are several interesting streets such as Jinli Old street and 'Wide' and 'Narrow' Alleys, where all kinds of arts and crafts and traditional Chinese artefacts are sold from restored buildings representing architecture from the Ming and Quing periods. After our free afternoon, we round off our Sichuan experience with another dinner of traditional cuisine and we spend our last night at the group hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Departure day. A single timed transfer to Chengdu Airport is provided.

    KE Land Only package services end after breakfast at the hotel. A single timed transfer to Chengdu Airport is provided.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • A KE Western Tour Leader (for groups of 6 or more)
  • The services of a professional English-speaking local guide
  • Group airport transfers
  • Visit to the Chengdu Panda Centre
  • All accommodation as described
  • All meals as described in the meal plan
  • All land transport required by the itinerary
  • All permits and entrance fees required by the itinerary
  • All camping equipment (except personal equipment)
  • While on trek a support crew including cook baggage ponies and their handlers
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Airport transfers other than group transfers
  • Tips for local staff
  • Miscellaneous personal expenditure - drinks etc.

Sichuan cuisine has a great reputation within China and also in Chinese restaurants throughout the world. It is usually spicier than other Chinese cuisines although there is always sufficient non-spicy dishes to choose from on most menus. The food served during the trek is cooked from locally purchased ingredients by our trained trek cooks who never fail to impress. The emphasis is on providing a high-carbohydrate and largely vegetarian diet, which we have found to be easily digestible at high altitude. All meals while on trek and while staying in hotels are included in the trip price.

All meals are included in the holiday price from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 13
A single group transfer from Chengdu International Airport to the group hotel is provided. This transfer is timed to the arrival of the British Airways flight from London Heathrow. A KE representative will meet group members at the airport and assist with this transfer. At the end of the holiday a group transfer from the hotel to the airport is provided. This transfer is timed for the check-in for the British Airways flight to London Heathrow. If you are travelling on other flights you may still use the group transfer if this is convenient. If your arrival or departure times do not allow you to take advantage of these complimentary airport transfers, you can arrange independent transfers at extra cost. Please contact the KE office. There are also shuttle buses which meet all flights and travel to the city centre (approximately 35 minute journey) or a taxi will cost around 100 Yuan (US$15-20). If you intend to use public transport to get to the group hotel please contact the KE office for assistance.
During the holiday we will have 3 nights at a four star hotel in Chengdu and a total of 3 nights in comfortable tourist class hotels in Kangding, Tagong and Luding. Accommodation in all hotels is in twin or double rooms with ensuite bathroom. We will also have a total of 3 nights in basic homestay/monastery/lodge accommodation in Luoyling, in the Minya Konka Gompa and in Tsemi Village respectively. Though twin rooms should be available, it is possible that you will have to share with more than one other person on these nights, facilities will be shared. While on trek there will be a total of 5 nights wild camping. During this phase the group will have the use of a dining tent with tables and chairs and a toilet tent. Accommodation on trek is in 2 person mountain tents. If you are travelling alone you will be paired with another individual traveller. Subject to availability, single rooms and single tents may be available on some of the nights for a supplementary charge.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

On trek, the day begins with an early wake up call. After packing your kitbag you make your way to the dining tent for breakfast, during which time the horsemen will start to prepare the loads and take down the camp. At breakfast the day's picnic lunch is handed out and setting off on the trek, we will walk for anything from 2 to 4 hours before finding the perfect spot to stop and enjoy our lunch. Our horses usually catch up with the group around this time and are well on the way to camp as we set off again. The afternoon walk is usually shorter than the morning and we aim to reach our camp spot well before dusk. The horsemen will usually have started putting up the camp by the time we arrive, but it is usual for group members to chip in and assist with this process too (especially if you like to choose your own pitch). Dinner is a 3-course meal served in the mess tent. This is a great time of day for reliving the events of the trek so far, for general socialising and for finding out the plans for the following day. Everyone is usually  tucked up in their sleeping bags before 2100.

The group will be accompanied throughout the holiday by a professional KE Western leader. The Tour Leader will be assisted by an English-speaking local guide throughout the holiday and on trek will have the further assistance of a trek crew of cook plus baggage animals and their handlers. Smaller groups of 4 or 5 will be led by the local guide.

Approximately £200 - 250 (or equivalent in US dollars, Euros etc.) should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses including around £50 - £60 (in equivalent local currency) for tips to local staff. It is not necessary to obtain local currency prior to departure. Sterling, US Dollars and Euros are equally acceptable for exchange in Chengdu or you can withdraw money from ATMs in Chengdu and Kangding. Note that most US credit cards will not work in Chinese ATMs but the majority of Eurpean cards are fine. If you are bringing your travel money with you we recommend that you carry this in the form of cash, since travellers cheques can be time consumming to exchange.

Tipping is the accepted way of saying ‘thank you’ for good service. Tips do not form part of the wages of your trek crew but they are very much appreciated. It is important to remember that tipping is voluntary and should be dependent on good service. Normally the tips are given at the end of the trek and this is best coordinated by the group rather than as individual tips. As a rough guide, we recommend that each group member contributes the equivalent of £50 -60 (in local currency equivalent) to a pool for these tips.

During this holiday your bags will be transported in the tour vehicle and on trek, by pack animals. Please limit your baggage to one main bag (your KE trek bag) and a small day pack. The packed weight of your trek bag whilst trekking (including your sleeping bag and camping matress) should not exceed 15kg. It is possible to leave travel clothes and other items not required on trek at the group hotel in Chengdu and you may wish to bring a small bag for this purpose.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday involves going to high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 3500 metres. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude. You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude. On this trip we carry a portable altitude chamber (PAC-bag) and/or bottled oxygen for use in emergencies.

This holiday involves going to high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 4500 metres. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude. on this holiday we carry bottled oxygen. www.keadventure.com/page/altitude.html

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. The packed weight of your trek bag while trekking should be no more than 15 kgs.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots

  • Socks

  • Trekking trousers

  • Waterproof overtrousers

  • Underwear

  • Baselayer shirts

  • Casual shirt and/or T-shirts

  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Sunhat

  • Warm hat

  • Sunglasses

  • Gloves or mittens

  • Headtorch with batteries

  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)

  • Water bottles 1 Litre x2

  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Antibacterial handwash

  • Small towel

  • Selection of dry bags (to keep trek bag contents dry)

  • Daypack (approx. 30 litres)

  • Sleeping bag (comfort rating -15°C)

  • Thermarest or similar sleeping mat

  • Warm jacket (down)

  • Basic First Aid Kit including: A broad spectrum antibiotic, antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), altitude (Diamox), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

  • Small padlock (to lock trek bag)

The following items are optional:

  • Trekking poles (recommended)Training shoes or similar for camp use

  • Shorts

  • Baselayer – thermal leggings

  • Gaiters

  • Sleeping bag liner

  • Scarf or buff

  • Travel clothes

  • Camera

  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)


 

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport for each country that you visit.

Visa China

All nationalities require a visa. The visa fee is approximately GBP £100 and you need to apply for it prior to departure. Please download the detailed information document: Visa PDF China.

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you specific require any vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella), along with hepatitis A and typhoid. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required if travelling from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hrs through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. On holidays to more remote areas you should also have a dentist check up. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

The unit of currency in China is Yuan Renminbi.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: www.fco.gov.uk. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

The Konka Shan range is located at the boundary of the south west and the south east monsoonal air masses and is influenced by both of these. As in the Himalaya, the majority of precipitation occurs between June and the end of August. At other times rainfall is very low. Winters are very cold which limits the trekking season to April-May and September - October. Daytime temperatures at these times will range from 17 to 22 degrees Celsius in Chengdu to 10 to 15 degrees in the mountains. At our highest camps the nightime temperatures may drop below freezing and possibly as low as minus 10 degrees Celsius.

  • Richard L. Burdsall, Arthur B. Emmons, Terris Moore, Jack T. Young, "Men Against the Clouds.The Conquest of Minya Konka" - ISBN 0-916890-93-7, reprinted 1980 by The Mountaineers, Seattle, WA, USA.

  • Joseph E. Murphy, "Adventure beyond the clouds", Dillon Press, Minneapolis, 1986, ISBN 0-87518-330-1 The record of the 1982 American expedition

Mount Gongga Glaciers

A detailed map of the environs on Minya Konka at a scale of 1:25,000 published by the Chinese Institute of Glaciology based on surveys from the early 1980s and aerial photography from December 1996. Contours are at 20m intervals, enhanced by shading, plus graphics and/or colouring for exposed rock, scree, moraine, crevasses, vegetation, etc. Place names are given in both Chinese and Latin alphabet. The map highlights expedition routes and locations of camps.

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