Kangding

Kangding (康定; Kāngdìng; Tibetan:དར་མདོ།, Dardo), is the largest city and capital of Ganzi (Garzê) Tibetan Prefecture, in western Sichuan Province, China.

Understand

This small mountain city is at an altitude of 2600m (8,530 ft) and offers a welcome relief from the pollution and overcrowding of the larger cities of the Sichuan plain. By far the largest city in Western Sichuan it is mainly ethnically Han Chinese with a notable Tibetan presence and flair, particular in its shops, restaurants and the lama local temple. For centuries it has been the meeting place of many cultures and therefore is home to memorial to the Tea Horse Road. It serves as kind of last outpost before the wild Tibetan mountains and passes of the Chengdu-Lhasa highway and the historical Tibetan region of Khamba. The views of the neighboring alpine peaks down the river are spectacular. Outdoor activity opportunities abound with particular focus on hiking and growing influx of bikers in the summer. There also is an authentic "hot springs" nearby and a cable car in the city that takes you up the mountainside. It can get very cold here in the winter and if you venture up you will most likely be the only tourist in the city!

Because of the proximity to Tibet, mobile police stations may be found at many intersections.

Get in

By bus

Buses travel from Chengdu (departures from 7 am to 1pm, 8 to 11 hours, ¥141), Tagong (4 hours, ¥40), and to Ya'an on the way back to Chengdu. Tickets to points west, such as Litang (9 hours, ¥81), may or may not be available to foreigners depending on the political situation in Tibetan areas. Shared taxis to other destinations, such as Danba to the north, may be found outside the bus station when they are going.

The bus terminal is at the northern end of town. It's about a ten minute walk to the town center.

By plane

The airport is one of the highest in Asia and the world at 4,000 meters with flights to Chengdu. Flights in the winter are not available. It is about 30 km outside the city over a large mountain pass which takes time to reach therefore.

Get around

Taxis start at ¥5, while the size of the city makes walking feasible.

See

Do

Buy

ATM's of major Chinese banks make shopping possible. There are many shops along Xinshi Dian Jie (the street en route from the bus station to the town square/centre) that specialise in Tibetan jewelery, accessories, clothing, artwork, silverware, and religious paraphernalia and clothing.

Note that most ATMs don't accept international credit cards. You can change money at the Agriculture Bank of China on the main road in the town center.

Eat

Drink

Sleep

Go next

Along Xinshidian Street, it is possible to charter a minibus to Tagong which you can bargain down to ¥45 per person (roughly 3 hours, cuts across to Tagong and does not bypass Xinduqiao). It may entail a wait of a few hours as the driver looks for other passengers to share the cost, but will allow you to stop for pictures along this scenic mountain pass road.

Public Bus

Destinantion Departures (HH:MM) Price (¥) Duration (HH:MM) Lunch-Stop Last update
Leshan 07:00, ? 107.00 7:30 Yes 31 January 2008
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