This Kham Cultural Photography Tour will bring you to the world’s largest Buddhist Institute, Serta Larung, where we can capture the devoted Tibetan pilgrims, and lifestyle of Tibetan monks and nuns.
Moreover, we also have chance to explore beautiful scenery and immerse ourselves in the authentic Tibetan life, both in Nomadic, and farming, areas.
This Kham Photography tour does not require that you to bring the professional cameras with you, but we hope you are strongly interested in photographing the lifestyle of Tibetan people and their culture. Through lens, we can capture the most beautiful places, and important monasteries, in all of this Tibetan region.
Day 1: Arrive to Chengdu
Welcome to Chengdu! This day you will meet your driver and guide at the airport. They will escort you to your hotel. You will also do last minute preparations for the upcoming Kham photography tour.
Day 2: Chengdu to Rongtrak (Danba), Drive Time: 6 hours, Elevation: 1860m / 6100ft
This day we will explore the unique Gyarong region of Danba, which has a different dialect, architecture, style of dress, and local customs from other areas of Tibet. The region is well known for its huge, castle-like homes and tall stone watchtowers.
Day 3: Rongtrak, Elevation: 1860m / 6100ft
The Rongdrak region is a fascinating area. Experience Tibetan farming life, and enjoy the natural scenic views. Here we can also visit some ancient castles with more than six hundred years of history.
Day 4: Rongtrak to Lhagang (Tagong), Drive Time: 3 hours, Elevation: 3690m / 12,100ft
After breakfast, we will make the short drive to Lhangang, known in Chinese as Tagong. Along the way, we will drive into a valley where we will have striking view of Mt. Zhara Lhatse, one of the most beautiful and holy mountains in Kham. The peak rises to an altitude of 5884m (19,300ft). Before reaching Lhagang, we will spend some time taking photos of the Drudrak Buddhist Institute, another spectacular site for photographers who want to experience the life of Buddhist monks and nuns.
Day 5: Lhagang to Drango (Luhuo), Drive Time: 5 hours, Elevation: 3250m / 10,660ft
Today our destination is the pleasant Tibetan town of Drango, known as Luhou in Chinese. Along the way we will visit one of the great sacred places for Tibetan Buddhists, Lhaghang Monastery. It was built by King Songtsan Gampo during the 7th century. Lhagang Monastery houses the most important statue of the Buddha Shakyamuni. Local Tibetans believe that this statue will give the same spiritual blessing as the one found in Lhasa. For this reason, Lhagang is an important pilgrimage destination.
Day 6: Drango to Serta (Seda), Drive Time: 3 hours, Elevation: 3900m / 12,800ft
After breakfast, we leave for the world’s largest Buddhist institute found at Larung Gar in Serta County. The drive along the way is beautiful. We will pass through several traditional Tibetan villages where you can see huge stone and wood homes. Serta Larung Gar Buddhist Institute was founded by Kenpo Jigme Phuntsok in 1987. He started in the in Lorog valley with only a few disciples and a tent, to practice Buddhism. After hearing his great fame of the Buddhist teachings, more students gathered, and the institute now has more than 40,000 Buddhist monks and nuns.
Day 7: Serta, Elevation: 3900m / 12,800ft
In the morning we explore more of the Serta region. We will start by making a pilgrimage at the Gyutril Lhakhang (Magical Temple) . Then we visit a sky burial site to experience how Tibetan people react to the death and funerals of loved ones. Here, we will witness Tibetans donating their bodies to the vultures after their death.
Day 8: Serta to Garze (Ganzi), Distance: 4 hours, Elevation: 3390m / 11,125ft
This day will take us Donkor monastery along the pleasant lake of Kasar as we make our way to Garze. This small Tibetan town is surrounded by beautiful mountains and stunning landscape. The villages, temples and monasteries here are perfect for photographers! We will visit the 500 year old Garze monastery in the afternoon.
Day 9: Garze, Elevation: 3390m / 11,125ft
Today we will spend a full day exploring beautiful Garze. This small Tibetan town is surrounded by beautiful mountains and stunning landscape. The villages, temples and monasteries here are perfect for photographers!
Day 10: Garze to Tsangsmad (Zongmai), Drive Time: 5 hours, Elevation: 3700m / 12,140ft
From Garze, we will travel to Tsangsmad, or Zongmai in Chinese. We will stop at several beautiful traditional Tibetan villages to photograph, and learn more about, Tibetan culture. In the afternoon, we will reach Tsangsmad, a nomadic town, where we can experience authentic nomadic lifestyle.
Day 11: Tsangsmad, Elevation: 3700m / 12,140ft
We will spend a full day in this remote nomadic community photographing this rapidly disappearing part of Tibetan culture.
Day 12: Tsangsmad to Barkham (Ma’er Kang), Drive Time: 5 hours, Elevation: 2500m / 8200ft
In the morning, we will depart the nomad community of Tsangsmad and drive through the Tsangkhok valley. There are numerous small villages that we will photograph along the way. In the afternoon, we arrive to the small city of Barkham where we will spend the night before returning to Chengdu.
Day 13: Barkham to Chengdu, Drive Time: 5 hours
Our Great Kham Photography Tour comes to an end today as we arrive back in Chengdu. We hope you enjoyed the tour! We wish you a safe journey back to your home