Yading Nature Reserve in Daocheng County, Garze

Why is Yading Nature Reserve in Daocheng County So Special?

  1. From the sentence that “Daocheng is the last virgin ground on the blue Earth”, we can find out the charms of Daocheng Yading Natural Reserve.
  2.  Daocheng Yading Scenic Area is famous for its unique original ecological environment and beautiful magnificent natural scenery. It is a paradise for photographers.
  3. Daocheng Yading is one of the most intact and primitive alpine natural ecosystems in China and is the core of the Shangri-La Ecotourism Area in China.

Brief Introduction of Yading Nature Reserve

Yading Nature Reserve is located in Daocheng County of Sichuan. The nature reserve was made known to the world in the 1900’s after famous American explorer Dr. Joseph Rock visited Yading. However, Yading Nature Reserve still remains relatively unknown to many travelers to Tibet and Sichuan as its rarely enlisted in tour guides and books. 

The Yading Nature Reserve covers an area of 1,344 square kilometers and has an average elevation of well over 4,000 meters. Famous attractions in Yading include the Five-colored Lake, Milk Lake, Chonggu Temple and Luorong Pasture. 

Yading is sitting at an altitude of over 2,900 meters, to the southeast of Daocheng County. It was unknown to the outside world until the late 1990s. Three adjacent yet separated mountains comprise of its main body. There are scenic spots such as the Mengzi Grant Canyon, Mount Echu, and Axi high mountain park inside Yading. Yading’s natural landscape is almost uninfected by the human development. It has one of the best preserved eco-system in China.


Located in Yading Village, Shangri-La Town, Daocheng County, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, southwest China, Daocheng Yading Natural Reserve Scenic Area consists of three holy snow mountains, namely Xiannairi, Jiangbianyang and Xianaduoji, and surrounding rivers, lakes and alpine meadows. The scenery maintains the purity of the near extinction on the earth. Because of its unique landform and original natural scenery, it is widely regarded as “the last pure land in the blue planet.”

At an average elevation of 3800 meters, Daocheng is renowned for its magnificent mountain and wild lake scenery. Forests, grasslands, and brooks can all be found in the grand valley, fringed by splendid mountain peaks capped with snow. In this holy land, you can still find local Tibetans living in their traditional lifestyle. Daocheng Yading is located in the eastern part of the famous Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, in the middle of the Hengduan Mountains, a national nature reserve. On July 10, 2003, Yading officially joined the UNESCO World Network of Man and Biosphere Reserves.

Best Seasons to Visit Yading Nature Reserve

Yading is affected by Plateau monsoon climate. The annual average temperature swings from -5 degree Celsius to 12.1 degree Celsius. In January, the coldest month in Yading, the temperature can drop to 27 degree Celsius below 0. Sunshine is abundant in Yading all year round. Rain and snow are more likely to fall at night. Snow mantles from September to May next year. The best timing to Yading generally are April, May, September and October. 

Main Attractions of Yading Nature Reserve

Three Holy Snow Mountains

The three snow peaks of Xiannai, Jiangbian, and Shana Duoji are the core areas, distributed in the north and south. The three Mountains are the patron saint of the guardian Yading Tibetans and were named one of the top ten most famous mountains in China. North peak Xiannairi means “Guiyin Bodhisattva” (6032m), south peak Yangmaiyong refers to “Manjusri Bodhisattva” (5958m) and east peak Xianuoduoji is “Vajrapani Bodhisattva” (5958m). It is said that if tibetans can worship the sacred mountain three times, they can realize their wishes in this life.

At the foot of Mt. Chenrezig, is the Chonggu Monastery, which you pass on the way to the holy mountains. It is said that at one time, an eminent monk built this temple for the purpose of worshiping the three mountains. However, disease attacked the surrounding areas at that time. This selfless monk prayed day and night to the god to save the people. Finally, all the people were saved while he was sacrificed. To commemorate his great deeds, people buried him on this land and piled majestic Tibetan cairns in his memory.

Luorong Pasture

Surrounded by rolling mountains, Luorong Pasture is the best site to view the three holy mountains. Leisurely herds of sheep and cattle enjoy the green grass, clear water and warm sunlight there. When there is a breeze, the lovely creatures are barely visible standing between flourishing grasses. It is as if some wool balls are rolling around. In addition, the Five Color Lake (Wuse Hai) and Milk Lake (Niunai Hai) are well worth visiting.

How to get to The Yading Nature Reserve

Travel with ChinaDragonTours (top recommended)

If you want to get out of the traffic and hassle of navigation, you can book a private tour package that includes visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local guide and driver will escort you to Yading Nature Reserve in Daocheng County, Garze in the fastest and most convenient way and take care of all the details. You just have to focus on the visiting.

Independent Traveler

Yading Nature Reserve is nestled in Daocheng County, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, South Sichuan Province. Visitors usually start their journey to there from Chengdu, the relatively closest and largest city.

By Air

Take a plane to Yading Airport. Upon arrival, take the airport bus to Daocheng at a fare of CNY 35 or to Shangri-la Town (also called Riwa Town), where the ticket office of Yading is located, at a fare of CNY 85. From Shangri-la, there are sightseeing buses to the scenic site. From Daocheng, you can charter a car to the scenic area; the rental fee is about CNY 250-300 per car.

By Bus

1. Take the Daocheng bus leaving at 10:00 am from Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Station, at a fare of CNY 254. The bus will stop overnight in Kangding before leaving at about 06:00 the next morning and arriving in Daocheng at 18:00 on the same day. The ticket can be booked two days in advance. Upon arrival in Daocheng, it is advisable to stay overnight in the town and rent a car to the tourist site next morning.
2. Take a bus from Chengdu to Kangding. There are many long-distance buses running daily (see the table below). Duration is about 8 hours. Upon arrival in Kangding, stay overnight and take a bus from Kangding Bus Station to Daocheng at 06:00 the next morning; the fare is CNY 151. Stay overnight in the county town and rent a car to Yading next day.

Depart From Departure Time Fare
Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Station 06:30, 07:10, 08:00, 09:00, 10:00, 11:10, 12:10, 13:10, and 14:00 CNY 139, CNY 149 for the bus departing at 10:00 and CNY 160 for the bus departing at 09:00
Chengdu North Passenger Transport Center 07:00, 08:30, 10:30, 12:00, and 14:00 CNY 139
Shiyangchang Passenger Station 11:00 and 12:40 CNY 137
Chadianzi Bus Station 09:00 CNY 139

Useful Travel Tips

  1. Contact:  +86 836 572 1688
  2. As there is only one bus per day departing from Kangding for Daocheng, you may not be able to get a ticket. In this case, you can rent a car or share a car with others to get to the tourist site. On your way, you will pass Sela Town, Banghe River, and Gongga Langjieling Temple. You can ask the driver to stop every now and then to enjoy the pastoral scenery and take pictures.
  3. Because the altitude is as high as 12,303 feet (3,750 meters) and the air is comparatively thin, it is recommended that the elderly and infants do not travel there.
  4. Take the medicine Herba Rhodiolae for a week before setting out on your journey. Take with you regular drugs as well as drugs against altitude sickness.
  5. Take a scarf, sun block, lip balm, sunglasses and a sunhat to protect you from the ultraviolet rays and dry weather.
  6.  Take clothes and shoes suitable for hiking. It is suggested you also take a raincoat, an alpenstock and a pair of gloves.
  7. Take some instant food or food with high calories, such as candy, cakes, and chocolates.
  8. For your safety, follow the established paths and do not enter the forbidden areas.
  9.  Lighting a fire, camping, or killing animals in the reserve is not permitted.
  10. Respect the local religious beliefs and customs.

Nearby Attractions

Edited by Bella Ren/任新月