- Written by Dan
Kham Travel Insights
Photo by reurinkjan
Travel advice covering the basics when preparing to travel to Kham.
An excellent travel company that leads tours and provides information on the entire Khampa (Yunnan and Sichuan) area is Khampa Caravan, located in Zhongdian. English-speaking locals with a great history within the area can oranize expeditions, climbs, transportation, pick up from airports and provide information about accommodations, visas and permits.
How to Get There
(Times by bus are weather dependent)
Buses from Chengdu (nearest major city and airport in Sichuan province) take two days.
Buses from Zhongdian (Shangrila, and it has an airport) south in Yunnan province take two days.
Zhongdian is accessible daily by air from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province. Flight is about an hour.
Both Chengdu and Kunming are easily accessible from Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Bangkok.
Off the Tourist Track
Almost any guesthouse will know of someone who has transportation to the more remote areas around Litang, which include nomadic encampments. Arrange all details beforehand and agree on details like costs and times. Transportation is often by jeep or taxi. Taxis and jeeps hang out in front of the bus station and fares to almost anywhere can be negotiated. During rainy seasons in summer or early autumn, bus schedules are often disrupted by landslides or flooding, and transportation is at a premium.
Best Time to Go
Late summer and early autumn. Winters in the Khampa area are often completely cut off by snow and harsh conditions. Khampa’s legendary horse festival every summer lasts 10 days in late July and early August. It is attended by thousands of pilgrims from throughout the Tibetan empire, and sees the town of Litang’s population swell.
There are no banks in Litang so have your money situation organized in one of the bigger centres before heading to this remote area.
Pack sweaters, as the nights get very cold even in the summer. The altitude is 4,019m and acclimatization is something to be patient about.
Guesthouses line the main street, within minutes of the bus station. Hot water is a rarity in Litang, so be forewarned.