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Mainling County and Bayi District

In Gala Village, a huge opening is held every year to welcome the sea of peach blossoms. In a warm climate perfect for walking, towns like Suosong turn pink, blending in with the white landscape of Namcha Barwa Peak and some sun rays that spread over it. In Yarlung Tsangpo, the Earth directly opens in front of you, showing its cracks and natural variety in it, both peach blossoms and very diverse trees. In addition, Bayi also has beautiful rhododendrons, which open around Sejila Mountain, the most beautiful in all of China. And to end up, if you are more into doing fun activities in the natural environment, you cannot miss “turning around” Sejila like the believers and asking for luck and best wishes, although you could also choose to ride a horse or practice archery in Lunang.
Of course, entertainment is guaranteed here!

Things to do +

Witness the forests of the Grand Canyon Yarlung Tsangpo (雅鲁藏布大峡谷)

Description: it is the largest and deepest canyon in the world, known as “the last mystery of humanity” . It is in Mainling and Medog (墨脱县) counties. Due to the abundant rains brought by the Indian Ocean monsoon, this place has become one of the spots with the highest rainfall in the world. It has high mountains and tropical rainforests in low valleys, with a great variety of biological resources. And, in addition, it is responsible for continuously sending water vapor into the plateau, making the southeastern part of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau a totally green world.

Very close to the canyon, there are small towns that are very famous for their pink color in spring thanks to the peach blossoms. In fact, many visitors often hike in the area and go through the villages: Suosong (索松村), Tunbai (吞白村), Chibai (赤白村) and Jiala (加拉村). The distance is about 24 km, and you will have the best views of the flowers and Namcha Barwa Mountain (南迦巴瓦峰 གནམས་ལྕགས་འབར་བ།). In addition, in Suosong you will also have the opportunity to climb two observation decks, well known for being the best points to see Namcha Barwa and the golden rays of the sun on it at sunset. According to the beliefs, this last phenomenon brings luck for those who have the opportunity to see it.

If you take a bus tour, at the last stop you will see the “Grand Bend” of the canyon, where you will be closest to Yarlung Tsangpo.

The ticket is ¥150, and the bus tour ¥90, but you can buy a pack that includes a tour by bus and guide, at a price of ¥270 per person.

 

Go hiking in Sejila (色季拉山)

Description: it consists of a 4728-meter-high peak located east of Nyingchi county, belonging to the Nyenchen Tanglha mountain range (念青唐古拉山). Also, it is the watershed between the Nyang River Basin (尼洋河) and Parlung Tsangpo (帕隆藏布江). On the west side of the mountain, there is a village called Daze (达则村), next to which there is a mountain called Benrila (本日拉山), the sacred land of Bön and one of the best-known sacred mountains in Tibet.

At the entrance of the mountain, you will see one of the best perspectives of Namcha Barwa Mountain from the observation deck. It is a famous mountain in southwest China, at the eastern end of the Himalayas. It has a height of 7782 meters, and, among all the peaks with more than 7600 meters, it is the most eastern one in the world. Its name indicates “the spear that crosses the sky” in Tibetan, and it is the sacred place of the Bön tradition of Buddhism. It was once named the top 1 among “China’s Most Beautiful Mountains” by Chinese National Geography Magazine (中国国家 地理).

Apart from the mountain views, many come to enjoy the unique landscapes of the sea of clouds and the sunrise, which glow illuminate the peaks and creates the image of golden snow on them.

Every August 10 of the Tibetan calendar, there is an event to “go around” Benrila Mountain, the time when followers of Tibetan Buddhism from all over China come and gather. It is said that by walking once around the mountain you can wash away the sins of a lifetime; by turning 10 laps you can avoid suffering in hell in more than 500 samsaras; and by taking 100 laps you will be able to ascend and become a Buddha.

Sejila is one of the best places to see the flowery landscape. Every year, between the months of April and June, the rhododendrons open, both at the foot and the tope, where thousands and thousands of flowers of different sizes and colors open.

 

See the rhododendrons in Lunang (鲁朗镇)

Description: it consists of a small developed and modern town, known as Eastern Switzerland. Here nature (snowy mountains, forests), animals (yak) and humans coexist in perfect harmony and in a cozy and quiet environment, without disturbing each other.

In Lunang, there is an observation deck called Baifeng (拜峰台), which is another of the well-known points where you will have a full view of Namcha Barwa. Also, if you look down, you will also see Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon.

If you are more into doing other fun leisure activities, you can choose to ride a horse (¥50 per person) or do archery (2 ¥ per arrow).

Lastly, for those who love flowers, from April you can also come to Lunang to see the rhododendrons, at which time they are open and show their most beautiful faces to everyone. Also, just an hour and a half away, there is another well-known town called Gala (嘎拉村). It is the place where every year the opening and beginning of the Peach Blossom Festival takes place, which lasts about ten days. It is impressive due to the infinite sea of pink flowers that mix with the white snow and green landscape of the forest. Because of this many tourists and visitors come every year to enjoy the views again and again. To enter, there’s need to pay ¥30 per person.

At Lunang, you can’t forget to try the stone pot chicken. It is known as one of the places that best prepare it, so you cannot miss this opportunity to try the typical local gastronomy.

You don’t have to pay for a ticket for Lunang.

How to get +

To go to Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon and Lunang Town, you have to go through Bayi Town Passenger Transportation Center (八一镇客运站), where many buses pass through and go to these destinations every day. Among the usual routes, these are the ones normally taken:

Bayi Town – Sejila Mountain – Lunang Town: the price is ¥52 per person, and the trip lasts approximately 3 hours.

Bayi Town – Pei Town (派镇) – Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon: the price of the ticket is ¥50, taking approximately 2.5 hours.

However, many still choose to go by car with a driver, since this way they can save more time and have more freedom on the way, although it is obviously more expensive, around ¥500-1500 depending on the season.

Travel tips +

There will be many animals like yaks all around. Although you will be able to see them from a very close distance, try not to disturb or hurt them. Respect fellow environment and habitat as much as possible.

 

Peach blossoms bloom according to altitude, from the lowest area to the highest. It usually starts in places like Bayi and Gongbo’gyamda, so you could follow this route to visit Nyingchi.

 

The opening of the Peach Festival almost always starts after March 23-25, so it would be best to plan your trip around this time.

 

At sunrise and sunset is when the best views of Namcha Barwa are supposed to be seen. However, it is assumed that only in less than 100 days a year you can see the full picture of the peak, so you have to be very lucky for that to happen and make a big wish.

Useful contacts +

Mainling tourist office: 0894-545-2190.

Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon: 0894-548-3611.

Mailing People’s Hospital: 0894-545-2514.

Mainling Public Security Bureau: 0894-545-2174.

Bayi tourist office: 0894-588-8563.