Join us on one of the best treks in China offering an off-the-beaten-track and truly incredible experience. The tour is privately guided, and an English-speaking local guide will accompany you. Mount Gongga, also known as Minya Konka, is the highest mountain in Sichuan province, Western China. It is also known among locals as “The King of Sichuan Mountains”. Situated in the Daxue Shan mountain range, between Dadu River and Yalong River, part of the Hengduan mountainous region, Mount Gongga is the easternmost 7,000-metre peak in the world and the third highest peak outside the Himalaya/Karakoram, after Tirich Mir and Kongur Tagh.
Day 1: Arrival Chengdu
Arrival in Chengdu, the capital of province Sichuan. You will be picked up by our local guide at the airport and transferred to the hotel. Overnight in a 3 or 4-star hotel.
Day 2: Chengdu – Kangding
Leave in the morning for Kangding. En-route at Yaan, the famous rainy city, we will visit the Giant Panda Breeding Centre, and Research Institute, the home of many giant pandas, moved from Wolong Preserve after the 2008 May Earthquake hit. Also, we will make a short visit to Shangli ancient town. In the mid-afternoon, we will drive across the tunnel of Erlang Mountain, the natural border between the Han Chinese villages and the Tibetan communities. Arrival in Kangding, the capital of Ganzi Zang (Tibetan) Autonomous Prefecture. Overnight in a 3-star hotel.
Day 3: Kangding – Muge Tso – Kangding
Day trip to Nature Reserve Damuge (3777 m), 38 km from Kangding, there we will visit the Muge Tso Lake. Today is also a day for altitude acclimatisation before you start trekking on Gongga Mountain. Overnight in a 3-star hotel.
Day 4: Lao Yulin – Gesar Meadow – Liangchahe
Drive about 15 minutes to Lao Yulin (3200m) and meet with the trekking crew. Trek along the little brook in the valley for approximately 2 hours to Gesar Meadow (3400m), and after 2-3 more hours trekking until we will reach our campsite at Liangchahe (3780m). Overnight in tents.
Walking for the day: 4-5 hours, start at 3200 m, finish at 3780 m
Day 5: Liangchahe – Xiariwuqie – Shangriwuqie
Today we walk on a panoramic trail and enjoy the beautiful views of Tianhaizi Snow Mountain (6070 m). Overnight in tents.
Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, start at 3780 m, finish at 4350 m
Day 6: Shangriwuqie – Small Gongga Glacier – Shangriwuqie
Today we will trek to the Small Gongga Glacier, enjoy the views of the Small Gongga Peak (6027 m) and the Jiazi Peak (6540 m). In the afternoon, walk back to Shangriwuqie. Overnight in tents.
Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, start at 4350 m, finish at 4350 m
Day 7: Shangriwuqie – Riwuqie Pass – Moxigou Basecamp
Climbing over the Riwuqie Pass, enjoy the views of the high mountains and glaciers. It is a relatively short (6 km) but demanding climb up to the pass. Then walk down to Moxigou at the foot of Gongga Mountains. Overnight in tents.
Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, start at 4350 m, finish at 4100 m, the highest point at 4950 m
Day 8: Moxigou Valley
Trekking in the Moxigou valley, through the winter pasture, reach the end of the valley. Overnight in tents.
Walking for the day: 6-7 hours, start at 4100 m, finish at 3200 m
Day 9: Moxigou Valley – Gongga Monastery
Today we will hike to the Gongga monastery, located on the edge of the glacier of the Gongga Mountain. When the weather is nice, you can see the summit of Gongga (Minya Konka). Here is also the best place to take pictures of this impressive mountain. Overnight in tents near the monastery.
Walking for the day: 7-8 hours, start at 3200 m, finish at 3700 m
Day 10: Gongga Monastery – Gongga Glacier – Gongga Monastery – Zimei village – Zimei Pass – Shangmuju
In the morning, hike out and back to the Gongga Glacier (3+3 km, 6 hours). In the afternoon, walking through a small forest, you will reach the village of Zimei (Tschumei) (7 km, 2 hours). Overnight in a village guesthouse.
Walking for the day: 8 hours, start at 3700 m, finish at 3500 m, highest point at 4500 m
Day 11: Shangmuju – Quanhua Beach – Lengga Tso – Yaha Pass – Xinduqiao – Tagong
In the morning we will drive via Yulongxi village to visit the Quanhua beach. You can optionally hike from the back of the Bangmujiede village to the Lengga Tso Lake (about 3.5 km). The reflection of the Gongga mountain in the lake is impressive. Then return in the Bangmujiede village, and we will drive via Yaha Pass and Jiagenba to Xinduqiao. In good weather, admire the panorama of the Gongga Mountains from the pass. In the evening we will arrive in Tagong and admire the beautiful sunset on Yala Mountain. Overnight in a 3-star hotel.
Walking for the day: 2-3 hours (optional)
Day 12: Tagong – Bamei – Danba – Rilong
Do not miss the sunrise on Yala Mountain and the Tagong grasslands. Then we will visit the Tagong Monastery and drive via Bamei (offering great views to the Huiyuan Monastery) to Danba. Visit the Tibetan Zhonglu Village and a local peasant family. Continue to Rilong. On the way along the Maobiliang pass, you will have a wonderful view of the panorama of the Siguniang Mountain. Overnight in a hotel in Rilong.
Day 13: Rilong – Wolong – Chengdu
Today we are driving to Chendu and taking in the stunning mountain vistas along the way. Overnight in a 3 or 4-star hotel.
Day 14: Departure
In the morning, enjoy the leisure at the Broad Lane and Narrow Lane (Kuan Xiangzi and Zhai Xiangzi). Experience the typical lifestyle of old Chengdu, leisure life, slow life and new life at each alley. After lunch, a complimentary transfer to the airport.
Accommodation is in a mix of 3-star hotels, traditional guesthouses and two-person tents in the high mountains. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us, and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.
All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are included on Days 2-13, as well as dinner on arrival day and breakfast and lunch on departure day.
Chengdu is the most convenient airport. There are direct flights from/to London 3 times per week.
Luggage transfers are included as per itinerary, and we will arrange them from your current hotel to your next hotel (or tent camp). Porters will transport your luggage in the mountains, so please limit your main luggage to 15 kg per person.
Up-to-date travel advice on China is available here. Detailed travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.
Difficulty Grade: Moderate to Strenuous
There are no steep ascents, no scrambling involved and no exposed paths, but this holiday is graded moderate to strenuous due to the fairly long days at high altitude. You should be in a good physical condition and have experience of multi-day trekking before undertaking this trek. The effect of altitude should not be underestimated (read more about difficulty grades).
Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a significant concern when trekking above 3500m and although our itinerary is designed to minimise the chances of you suffering from AMS by providing enough acclimatisation days and ensuring a gradual increase in altitude, each individual is affected differently by height. If you have any pre-existing health conditions that you think may make you more susceptible to AMS, we recommend that you consult your doctor before booking this trip.
Qualified guides make the difference between a regular trip and an unforgettable experience. Our Chinese guides are qualified and trained. All have many years of experience of guiding trekkers in the area. They will bring a wealth of knowledge to your journey, opening your eyes to the legends, culture, food, flora and fauna of the regions.
We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. Your private guide is highly experienced, and you should always follow their advice.
When to Go
This trip is available in May and June and in September and October. The flexibility of the privately guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your holiday on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking.
What to Bring
While trekking you will only have to carry a day bag with water, snacks, spare clothes and your camera. Your main bag will be moved by a porter. We will provide a detailed equipment list as part of your pre-departure information pack. You will need normal walking and travelling gear as well as a sleeping bag and warm clothes.
- Qualified English-speaking guide and porters in the mountains and experienced local guide/driver during the transfers/in the lowlands
- 13 overnight stays in private rooms and tents as listed in the itinerary
- 13 breakfasts, lunches and dinners
- All car transfers as listed in the itinerary, including complimentary Chengdu airport transfers
- Luggage transfers (by car and porters)
- Pre-departure travel and tour documents
- GPS-data to use via our smartphone app
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
Options and Extras
- Single room supplement for group members (single tent use in the high mountains)
- This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers
- International flights
- Visa fees
- Travel insurance
- Sleeping bag for camping during the trek
- Personal expenses such as drinks, snacks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
- Local tourist taxes
- Tips for the guides and porters
- Any items not specifically mentioned in the programme