Daocheng is located at an altitude of 3750m. While there may not appear to be much to do in this town those who do decide to stop over and spend a day here will find this town/village much more charming than it initially appears. It offers a good stepping stone for those coming from Yunnan with altitude concerns as the towns either side of it (Xiangcheng and Litang) sit at altitudes of 3200m and 4000m. If you take the time to head out of the town you will find the surrounding countryside and mountainous backdrop quite charming.
From Tagong, minibuses are available either arranged through your guesthouse or you will be approached on the main street cost is 50 yuan per person to Daocheng.
There is currently no public transportation from Xiangcheng to Daocheng. A solution is to take a bus from Xiangcheng to Litang / Kangding, and get off at Sangdui. These buses depart from Xiangcheng at 6am. Don't forget to ask for a ticket to Sangdui only. Duration: about 3-4 hours. Alternatively (in particular if the buses are full), you can share a minivan; just be at Xiangcheng bus station around 5.30am, and the drivers will look for people to bring to Sangdui and Litang. Cost to Sangdui: around 35 yuan per person (don't forget to bargain), for 2 hours. The road passes by 4800m, so beware of altitude sickness.
From Sangdui to Daocheng, there is no other option than waiting for a car or a bus heading to Daocheng. In winter, this may last for a couple of hours. There is a "grocery store" in the middle of the village, where you can spend some time, especially if the temperature is low (-20° in winter!).
From the North
No public transportation here. The city is small enough for doing everything by foot. If you are lazy, or cold, or afraid of wild dogs, a taxi shoudn't cost more than 10 yuans.
You can easily spend a few days just wandering around Daocheng - especially if you go climbing the hill around the city, the arid landscapes are truly stunning. It's a worthy stop on your way, don't treat it just as a sleepover to Kangding / Shangrila. Anyway, in such a destination, it is better to sleep in Sangdui, which avoids to go to Daocheng.
Carry a stick or some stones in your pockets, as wild and freely roaming dogs are dangerous here, especially if you leave the villages and stay on your own. But you can also get attacked by them in the middle of the town during the day.
In case you get attacked by a dog, immediately go to the emergency service of the hospital, in the middle of the town, for an anti-rabies injection.
- Visit the hot springs, 4km from the town.
The usual price to get there is 30yuan per car, return trip included. The driver will wait for you while you enjoy the hot water. The usual entrance price to a bath cabin is 10yuan (per person). No towels available. In summer, rather go to the upper hot springs, as the lower ones are said to recycle the (dirty) water of the upper ones.
- 雪域. Small restaurant 50 meters south of bus station with nicely cooked Tibetan dishes. Steamed and fried Tibetan dumplings in the morning.
- Dumplings. Opposite bus station, small restaurant specializing on Northern-style dumplings
There are a large number of budget guesthouses across the road from the bus station. There are also several guesthoues a short distance out from town which several touts crowding around the bus station will happily take you to. However, be aware that when coming in winter, the majority of guesthouses are dead-locked, and even if there is anything open, it will not have running water nor hot water (as the water pipes are frozen during winter). Moreover, there is no heating in any hotel, except Zhongmei Hotel. In winter, is a must to ask at least for an electric blanket in the sleeping places (but again, be aware that electricity fails very often). Don't forget that temperature can be as low as -20°! On top of all that, the bus station hotel is definitely not a bargain offer either.
The bus station opens everday from 2pm to 5.30pm and from 6.30pm to 8pm.
Due to corruption and misorganization, it may be extremely difficult to get a ticket from the bus station, even off season. The only option then becomes to hire a taxi or minibus to Sangdui or Litang. Otherwise, you may be stuck there for a while.
If you arrive by bus you may be accosted by the local minibus drivers offering service to Litang or Xiangcheng. Even if you've made a late afternoon arrival, it is perfectly reasonable to skip Daocheng and take a minibus on to either of these destinations. In this part of Sichuan, minibuses are often the same price as public buses.
Be aware that, despite a poster in the bus station, there is currently (December 2012) no public transportation to Xiangcheng.
|From Daocheng Bus Station|
|To||Departure||Price (Yuan)||Duration (h)||Last update|
|Litang||6:30||¥??||3||15 July 2007|
|Kangding||6:30||¥126||12||15 July 2007|
|Zhongdian||06:10||¥141||12||30 May 2015|
|Chengdu||06:00||¥244 / 264||2 days||December 2012|