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Yak in Tibet landscape

Tibet's Wild Frontier

Example 11 Day Tour
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Journey through Kham Tibet and get an authenic look at daily life for people living on the Tibet-Qinghai plateau. Hike along high Tibetan ridges, drive through the vast landscape and visit local monasteries as you tour the eastern region of Tibet. Learn its centuries long history as a strategic boundary between the Chinese world and Tibetan plateau. Stay with a local family to get a glimpse into daily life, try the local cuisine, and immerse yourself in a culture that has largely remained unchanged for years.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive Chengdu
Day 2 : Giant Panda Breeding Center
Day 3 : On to Kangding
Day 4 : Kangding
Day 5 : Ya Jia Gen Pass
Day 6 : Tagong Grasslands
Day 7 : Tagong Monastery, on to Danba
Day 8 : Zhonglu Hike
Day 9 : Crossing Jiajin Mt.
Day 10 : Shangli Ancient Town, Return Chengdu
Day 11 : Return Home


  • Volunteer for a day at the Giant Panda Breeding Center
  • Enjoy a homestay with a local family in Tagong
  • Hike the surrounding slopes of Zhonglu that offer beautiful views
  • Step back in time with a visit to Shangli Ancient Town

Places Visited

  • Asia
  • China
  • Tibet
  • Baoxing
  • Chengdu
  • Danba
  • Kangding
  • Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
  • Sichuan Province
  • Tagong
  • Xiaojin


Trip Type

  • Adventure Life Exclusive
  • Small Group

Activity Level

Easy Active

Trip Snapshots

Yak in Tibet landscape Tagong monastery in Kham, Tibet Tibetan Buddhist temple Danba Tibetan village China opera Iron Fan Princess Kangding mountain city in Sichuan Tagong Monastery interior Giant pandas enjoying bamboo

Day 1 Arrive Chengdu

Arrive to Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province. Boasting lovely scenery and mild weather, delicious food and long history make this a popular city to visit.

Day 2 Giant Panda Breeding Center

  • Hotels
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Leave early this morning to arrive at the Panda Base for orientation for the day of volunteering. The Panda Base houses more than 80 panda bears in various enclosures. Enjoy a brief tour of the Panda Museum today and learn about how these bears are being protected. You may be able to perform duties as a panda bear keeper, such as cleaning cages and picking up droppings. Learn as well to make panda cakes, which you then are able to feed to the pandas before your own lunch break. Explore the museum a bit longer after lunch. Return to Chengdu in time for dinner and a face-changing show in Chengdu, a traditional aspect of Sichuan opera and a fascinating spectacle to watch.

Day 3 On to Kangding

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Depart from Chengdu and head out of the Sichuan basin towards the mountains that guard the approach to the Tibet-Qinghai plateau. During a short 6 hour journey the landscape, climate, cuisine, language and custom of the people entirely change from Chengdu. Arrive to Kangding at 8500 ft (2600m). Kangding sits on the border of the plateau and is well populated by both Tibetans and Han Chinese. This fast growing city is quickly making improvements to host visitors including cable cars to noteworthy sites and its lively square is often filled with locals in the morning for Tai Chi, badminton and socializing. Late this afternoon visit the small Ngachu monastery used actively by locals monks. Followed it up with a community dance in the square where you are invited to participate!

Day 4 Kangding

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Perched in a steep valley along the edge TIbet-Qinghai plateau, you notice this morning that everywhere you look in Kangding goes up! Take an optional cable car or hike after breakfast to the top of Paoma Mountain for an incredible view. Set out today on a fascinating introduction to this new land and its people. Visit the Tibetan Museum of Cultural History for a glimpse at the past, stroll through the markets later in the day and get an idea of why this town has been a key historical trading center between the Tibetans and Chinese.

Day 5 Ya Jia Gen Pass

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today drive 45 minutes out of town to the scenic mountain pass of Ya Jia Gen. Along the way pass by scenes of rural Tibetan life and ancient villages. At the top of the pass, the panoramic views are breathtaking. Enjoy lunch next to an alpine lake and explore the ridges by foot as you like. Your hiking today may be as light or challenging as you prefer, based on your ability to hike at this altitude. Return to Kangding for a Tibetan dinner this evening.

Day 6 Tagong Grasslands

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning set out to drive up and over Zheduo Mountain pass at 13,800 ft (4200m) and drive 2 hours on to the nomadic trading village of Tagong which sits at 12,000 ft (3700m). Weather permitting you will see the peak of Gong-ga Mountain along the way, the highest peak in China outside of the Himalayas. This high altitude grassland region is home to many nomadic families who spend their days herding yaks. Stop along the way for photo opportunities as you like. The warmth of Tibetan hospitality awaits you at a local homestay tonight in Tagong. Enjoy time with your hosts as you learn more about their way of life.

Day 7 Tagong Monastery, on to Danba

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning visit Lhagong, the monastery in Tagong wrought with an interesting history. Learn the ancient lore here about a Chinese princess who played a big role in introducing Tibet to Buddhism 1300 years ago before you set out for the 3 hour drive to Danba. The rugged beauty of this region provides stunning views of the most beautiful mountains in Eastern Tibet such as Yala mountain. Follow the seemingly endless mountain canyon down to the tucked away town of Danba at 6200 ft (1900m). High up on one of the hills lies your destination for the next two nights, the quaint Tibetan village of Zhonglu. Your gracious host invites you into their home and show you many cultural relics from hundreds of years ago and introduces you to the history of the area and their traditional way of life.

Day 8 Zhonglu Hike

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you set out for a relaxing hike on the surrounding slopes that offering beautiful views of the valley below with its terraced farms that the Tibetans have been cultivating for hundreds of years. Again you may make this a light or challenging hike depending on your preference on this day. This area is also well known for many ancient towers that sit in ruins dating back to hundreds of years during the warring period between Tibetan clans. A section of one 700 year old tower is used as part of the home where you are staying!

Day 9 Crossing Jiajin Mt.

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning start your drive out of the mountains and descending down the plateau. Cross one more mountain pass, Jiajin Mountain, which sits at 13,000ft (4000m) for a final view from the Roof of the World. Descend down many canyons and switchbacks through mountain villages which remind you again why Tibet has remained so cut off from the rest of the world for most of its history. Arrive to Baoxing for the evening.

Day 10 Shangli Ancient Town, Return Chengdu

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Get an early start today and enter another cross cultural time warp as you step back into China's traditional past while exploring the narrow lanes of Shangli Ancient town. This quaint Chinese village offers a walk into China's past, complete with streams flowing through the village, old architectural styles, and plenty of food to taste. The subtropical climate of the area is a notable contrast to the dry and arid plain of Tibet. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before taking the 2-3 hour scenic drive back to Chengdu this afternoon. A farewell dinner awaits you this evening as toast your travels in Tibet.

Day 11 Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Transfer back to the airport for your flight on to your next destination.

Chengdu - Hotels

Per person starting at


Rate based on 2 travelers
Groups of 3: $3,210 per person.
Groups of 4 or more: $2,800 per person.


  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 10 Nights Accommodations
    • 7 Nights Hotel
    • 3 Nights Community Stay
  • 9 Days Private Guide Service
  • 1 Day Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Both International Arrival and Departure Transfers are included.


  • International Flights
  • China Visa Fee
    • US citizens must obtain visa prior to arrival

Recommended Budgeting

  • $40 Meals not Included
  • $50 Optional Excursions
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.

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