Aug 17-24 Price TBA
to gaze upon its face is to wash away your bad karma according to Tibetans for who this stunning pyramid mountain is holy. To get there we travel the tea horse route. Chengdu first up to Kangding from where brick teas were hauled over the worlds toughest mountain pathways to be exchanged for sturdy Tibetan Horses. These are the lands of Tibet’s warrior horsemen. Modern day wealth comes from caterpillar mushrooms, which continue to fund the stunning architecture of this area.
A two day ride
From the winter lowlands of our traditional Tibetan homestead we ride high up to where herdsmen summer-pasture their yaks. Snow capped peaks, deep ravines, mountain streams and lichen forests. Wild yaks can occasionally spotted in this alpine wilderness. An experienced Tibetan horseman, and local Tibetan partner will guide us – and can rope together the horses of less experienced riders.
We overnight or camp by Minyak Kongka Monastery with views right onto the face of the mountain, which before people knew how to transect and trigonometrise was thought to be the tallest mountain in the world.
A second days ride takes us back to our horses home – a small Tibetan homestead where you will learn everything there is to know about butter tea and Tsampa as you sit around the family hearth and count your good fortune that this area is now open – and that foreigners can stay with locals in this part of Tibet.
It is apt that Tibetans once again make money from their horses – and we know that money from our horse ride is shared equitably through the village. Sharing snacks or something from your own place – is a great way to get in on the trade.
This trip requires acclimatisation around Kangding where we will visit the grasslands, hike to monasteries and discover the fascinating culture of the China Tibetan borderlands where tea, horses and now caterpillar mushrooms were the currency of a relatively peaceful coexistence.
About Bike Aways
Hemmingway says that it is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
So it’s a horse this time that is doing the sweating. We will give them lots of breaks and they are very much loved by their Tibetan masters.
Bikes, horses, or on foot – we believe that getting out of the bus onto the yak routes ( in this case) where cars cant go is the most fun way to immerse yourself in a place, escape the crowds, and tune into the rhythm of the land.
Designed for reasonably fit but non hardcore riders, we travel by horse to become one with the landscapes, and to immerse you in the local culture by travelling the traditional way.
And food. Enjoy spicy Sichuan home cooking and high altitude strength building go anywhere Tibetan Barley known as Tsampa on the trek.
The Ancient Tea Horse Route
Borders are fascinating – particularly between peoples so different.
Chinese – the cultivators needed horses to defend their borders. Nomadic Tibetans living in the land of snows happily exchanged them for a warm cup of tea.
Porters – a few reportedly still living today in Kangding, tell of the journey- spectacular passes into the grasslands of the fearsome Khampa – spectacular that is if your are not carrying 300 pounds of brick tea.
It has always been an uneasy alliance between farmers and nomads. Trade is accommodating to difference – and some of the old family mansions on the road to Kongka are a beautiful fusion of Chinese and Tibetan decoration. Watchtowers used for smoke signaling attacks are interesting stops along our drive The Tibetan’s in this area still weave a traditional picnic carpet called chutruk and hunt for the lucrative caterpillar fungus.
Buddism is the other unifier – with both traders and nomads donating money to the spectacular monasteries that provide physical refuge and spiritual solace for traders and pilgrims traveling these tough lands.
6 is the minimum for the trip to run – so please invite a friend.
The trip starts and ends in Chengdu. As we depart straight from Chengdu airport for Mengdingshan – please try and organize For those who would like to arrive early or stay on a day to explore Chengdu (think Pandas and Tea Houses and Sichuan Opera. Its a fun city and worth an extra day.
This itinerary is still in development and details may change Day 1 Arrive Chengdu, stay in Tibetan area of town, afternoon at Wenshu monastery tea house for those who arrive early. Day 2. Travel to Kangding. 3. Hiking and acclimitisation around Kangding – an important town on the tea horse route. Overnight in a Tibetan weavers village – set amidst watchtowers formerly used as signal beacons in times of attack (depending on home-stay availability) – or a local hotel.
4. Full day wilderness ride to Minyak Kongka, overnight in Monastery near mountain base.
5.Full day ride, mountain passes. Over-night in Tibetan homestay or local hotel.
6. Full day drive back to Chengdu.
All meals from Day 1 dinner, accommodation (guesthouse, homestay, monastery, hotel), tour leader, Tibetan guide, two days horse riding with additional local horse guide, transfers/ and land transportation.
Flights, China Visa, drinks, and any other personal items. Return options: The trip back to Chengdu is roughly eight hours but could be more depending on local road and traffic conditions. Book your flights after 8.30 pm – or to be safe – the next morning. There is one flight from Kangding back to Chengdu per day should you want to connect earlier.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the trip price and to reserve your place.
No.30 Ta Ho Tun Ha Wai, Saikung, New Teritories, Hong Kong www.bikeaways.com