Daocheng County Overview

Daocheng is a county under Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province where Yading scenic spot is located. The Daocheng Shangri-La Ecotourism Zone, with Yading at its core, is known as "the soul of Shangri-La in China" and "the last piece of pure land on the blue planet" with its magnificent scenery of snowy mountains, glaciers, lakes, grasslands, waterfalls, etc. Daocheng County Travel Overview introduces Daocheng County fast facts including the Basic Information, Population, Climate, Geography, Culture History, Economy, Natural Resources, landmarks, Administrative Diversions.

Basic Information 

Geography of Daocheng


Daocheng County is located on the southwest edge of Sichuan Province, southwest of Garze Prefecture, southeast of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and east of Hengduan Mountains. Daocheng County spans 27 58' to 29 30' north latitude, 99 56' to 100 36' east longitude, 174 kilometers north and south, 63 kilometers east and west. It is adjacent to Jiulong County in the east, Xiangcheng County in the west, Litang County in the north, Muli Tibetan Autonomous County in the south and Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan in the southwest with an area of 7,323 square kilometers.


Daocheng County is high in the north and low in the south, and high in the west and low in the east. The highest elevation in the territory is 6032 meters, the lowest elevation is 2000 meters, and the vertical elevation difference is 4032 meters. The northern part of the plateau is a wide valley area, of which Haizi Mountain is the largest relic of ancient ice bodies on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, known as "Daocheng Ancient Ice Cap". Its ice-eroded surface is well developed, with ice-eroded rock basins scattered all over the place, and there are 1145 large and small Haizi(lakes) within more than 3200 square kilometers. 

People of Daocheng

According to the data of the sixth population census in 2010, the county has a total population of 28,228, including 26,954 Tibetans, accounting for 94%. The agricultural population is 25,455, accounting for 88.8%. Daocheng County had a total population of 32,450 at the end of 2011, with a natural population growth rate of 5.8‰.

The main ethnic groups in Daocheng County are Tibetan, accounting for more than 96%. There are also ethnic groups such as Yi, Han, Qiang, Miao, Hui, Mongolian, Tujia, Lisu, Manchu, Yao, Dong, Naxi, Buyi, Bai, Zhuang and Dai.

Climate of Daocheng

Daocheng County is located in a subtropical climate zone. Influenced by the complex topography of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Daocheng County has the characteristics of plateau climate and continental climate, belonging to the plateau monsoon climate. The weather is sunny and sunny most of the year. It is mainly affected by the south westerly air flow over the western plateau of Asia in the winter. The air is dry and sunny. Part of the cold air in the north exceeded the Bayan Har Mountains and influence the south, causing rain and snow in the county. In summer, due to the influence of the southwest warm air flow from the Indian Ocean, the temperature over the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is heated rapidly, with high temperature and low air pressure; the air around the Plateau recombines, and the upward movement is strong, so there is much rain, hail and thunderstorms.

More about Daocheng Climate.

Best Time to Visit Daocheng

September to October is the best time to travel in Daocheng. In the clear autumn season, red meadows and green poplar trees compete for beauty. Snow mountain is more holy against the blue sky and white clouds. However, during the National Day holiday, the number of tourists doubled, and tourists need to reservations one or two months in advance.

  • April-May: Although the color of Daocheng in spring is not as gorgeous as that in autumn, there is more snow on holy mountains than in autumn, and azalea blooms in high mountains. As there are fewer tourists, the consumption of accommodation and meals will be lower.
  • June-August: During the rainy season in Daocheng, it is often overcast and rainy, when it's hard to see snow-capped mountains under the cover of rain and fog, and mountain roads are in danger of landslides or mudslides. However, due to the summer vacation, there are many tourists.
  • November-March of the following year: Winter is the off season in Daocheng. Although scenic spots will not be closed and flights will not stop, snow and ice will hinder traffic and some inns and restaurants will not be open. However, Daocheng in winter does have more magnificent snow scenery.

More about Best Time to Visit Daocheng.

Administrative Divisions of Daocheng

Daocheng County has jurisdiction over 2 town and 12 townships:

1 Town: Jinzhu Town(金珠镇), Shangri-La Town(香格里拉镇)

12 Townships: Sandui Township(桑堆乡), Shengmu Township(省母乡), Banghe Township(傍河乡), Salad Township(色拉乡), Julong Township(巨龙乡), Dengbo Township(邓波乡), Mula Township(木拉乡), Chitu Township(赤土乡), Mengzi Township(蒙自乡), Geka Township(各卡乡), Jixia Township(吉呷乡), Eyatong Township(俄牙同乡). 

Culture of Daocheng

The special geographical environment and traffic conditions have kept Daocheng in a relatively closed state for a long time. Up to now, Daocheng still maintains its primitive traditional lifestyle and strong Kangba customs. At the same time, Daocheng is also a region where all people believe in religion. Tibetan Buddhism has a deep influence in the region. The glittering Lama temple, the exquisite ancient Tangka, the mysterious reincarnation system of living Buddha, the five-color prayer flags flying at the mountain top pass, and the devout worshippers, Daocheng is full of mysterious atmosphere and profound cultural and artistic connotation. 

More about Daocheng Culture.

Transportation of Daocheng

There is no railway in Daocheng county, so tourists can only take plane or bus to Daocheng. The quickest way to get to Daocheng is by taking flight to Daocheng Yading Airport, then by local vehicle to Daocheng County. Daocheng Yading airport is about 50km away from the county seat and was officially opened on September 16, 2013. It opens air routes to Chengdu, Chongqing, LijiangGuiyangKunmingXianMianyang, etc. At present, there are shuttle buses to Daocheng Bus Station from Chengdu, Ya 'an, Kangding and Shangri-La in Yunnan. The bus from Chengdu to Daocheng has two methods: direct bus and transfer bus to Kangding.

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Things to Do in Daocheng

Many people traveled thousands of miles to Daocheng in order to have a look at Yading's "Three Sacred Mountains": the North Peak Xiannairi Holy Mountain, the South Peak Yangmaiyong Holy Mountain, the East Peak Xianuoduoji Holy Mountain. Whether you stop at the foot of the mountain or hike on the mountain, you can feel the holiness and flawlessness of the mountain. The five-color sea and the milk sea are inlaid between the sacred mountains, showing more purity and flexibility. 

Top Attractions in Daocheng

Economy of Daocheng

Daocheng County is an underdeveloped area of ethnic minorities. In 2003, its GDP was 92.71 million yuan, the primary industry was 41.78 million yuan, the secondary industry was 21.62 million yuan, and the tertiary industry was 29.31 million yuan. The local fiscal revenue is 3.79 million yuan. The per capita net income of farmers and herdsmen is 1001 yuan. The average wage of state-owned economic workers is 15311 yuan. Daocheng County has underdeveloped economy and poor industrial base. In 2010, Daocheng County achieved a GDP of 312 million yuan, an increase of 13.3% over 2009. Among them, the added value of the primary industry reached 108 million yuan, an increase of 5.4% over 2009.

Tourism of Daocheng

Daocheng County received 251,000 tourists in 2010; Tourism revenue totaled 145 million yuan, up 59% from 2009. From January to June 2012, Daocheng County received 45,336 tourists, up 35.64% year on year. The total tourism revenue was 29.152 million yuan, up 34.16% year on year. Of these, 956 were inbound tourists.

Natural Resources of Daocheng

Land Resources

By the end of 2004, Daocheng County had a total land area of 9.719 million mu and a cultivated land area of 46,359 mu, accounting for 0.48% of the total land area, 3.122 million mu of forest land, accounting for 32.12% of the total land area, and 5.7557 million mu of grassland, accounting for 59.22% of the total land area.

Mineral Resources

Daocheng County's mineral resources include gold, tungsten, molybdenum, copper, crystal, aluminum, zinc and silver, among which the reserves of Erze gold mine are the first in Southwest China.

Biological resources

Plant resources

Daocheng County has more than 1,000 species of woody plants, mainly pine, cypress, fir, oak, etc. Wild Chinese medicinal materials in Daocheng County include Cordyceps, Bulbus Fritillariae Cirrhosae, Radix Astragali, Radix et Rhizoma Rhei, Radix Gentianae Marcrophyllae, Herba Saussureae Involueratae, Ganoderma, Radix Rhodiolae, etc. There are 57 species of wild edible fungi. Daocheng County has a temperate flora, a subtropical flora and a Himalayan flora due to the influence of the special geographical environment of the mountains in the north-south direction and the high-south lowlands in the north.

There are about 1118 species of vascular plants belonging to 430 genera and 121 families in Daocheng County. There are 103 species of pteridophytes belonging to 34 genera and 20 families. There are 1015 species of seed plants belonging to 396 genera and 101 families. Among them, there are endemic genera: Abies longibracteata, Abies longibracteata, Abies fabri, Cryptomeria fortunei, Cryptomeria fortunei, Sequoia gigantea, Cypress, Cryptomeria fortunei, Alnus nepalensis, Fagopyrum japonicum, Eupolyphaga seu steleophaga, Eupolyphaga seu steleophaga, Eupolyphaga seu steleophaga, Hydrangea flagelliforme, Raphani chinensis, Poria cocos, Oenanthe javanica, Leopard There are 8 species of plants under the state's second-and third-level protection, including Yulong, Abies longbracteata, Tsuga Lijiang, Prunus persica, Dysosma versipellis, Paeonia suffruticosa, and Cynanchum aureum.

Animal Resources

The main rare wild animals in Daocheng County include leopard, white-lipped deer, hairy-crested deer, roe, bear, Tibetan antelope, blue sheep, forest musk deer, red panda, macaque, pangolin, Tibetan pheasant, shellfish hen, etc.

There are many kinds of wild animals in Yading Nature Reserve, Daocheng County, with about 200 species, of which 20 are protected by the state. It is mainly composed of alpine animals and forest animals. The species of animals in the north and south are obviously mixed, especially mammals. The southern fauna includes red panda, leopard cat, forest musk deer, white-hipped muntjac and wildebeest, while the northern fauna includes wolf, lynx, blue sheep and pika. Among the birds that are protected by China are Tibetan pheasant, golden rooster, Tibetan snow chicken, pheasant, blood pheasant, etc.

There are many kinds of fish, such as Sichuan Schizothorax, thick lipped naked heavy lipped fish, short tailed plateau loach, fusiform plateau loach, Yellowstone crawling, etc.

Honors of Daocheng

  • On December 14, 2017, Daocheng County was appraised as the fourth civilized city in Sichuan Province.
  • On may 18, 2019, Daocheng county was included in the "2019 list of China's most beautiful counties". 
  • The practice and innovation bases of the third batch of "Clear Water and Green Mountain is Golden Mountain and Silver Mountain" . 
  • On December 11, 2019, Daocheng County won the honor of national unity and progress demonstration area (unit).

Edited by Hellen He/何琴