Kangding stands at a crossroads for the descent into the Sichuan Basin, the endless Tibetan Plateau to the west, and the Tea Horse Road to the south. It was at this intersection that Kangding became the largest trading post of the region.
With Tibetan flair, modern amenities, and wild landscapes in close proximity, Kangding has became a popular destination for travelers. The city, built in a canyon of lush green hills, lies not far from Chengdu, capitol of Sichuan and a region of abundance. This town also serves as a starting point for ventures into the Tibetan Plateau. It is no small wonder this favorable location has brought wealth to this city. In the days where merchants and caravans traveled long distances, Kangding marked a point where valuable trading occurred and an easy descent awaited. However, if travelling west, it also means the dangers are just beginning.
Right on the outskirts of Kangding, and seen towering above the town on a clear days, rises Mount Gongga. At 24,790 feet high, this is not only the highest mountain for hundreds of miles around, but the highest in the world outside of the Himalayan/Karakorum/Pamir Mountain chain. In 1929, explorer Joseph Rock measured the height of this peak to exceed 30,000 feet. He instantly cabled National Geographic to say that this is the highest peak in the world - even obviously proved wrong. Despite this, Kangding's status doesn't diminish yet serves as a pinnacle of numerous routes, both a millennium ago and today.
THE SILK ROAD JOURNAL
How We Got Here
By bus from the Tibetan town of Ganzi, totaling about 8 hours and also stopping by the Tagong Grasslands.
Outside of Kangding lies a vast grassland known as Tagong. Escaping the town and wandering the grasslands full of yaks never gets old.
The first glimpse of Mount Gongga when wandering the hills above town.
S N A P S H O T S O N T H E R O A D
W H E R E W I L L Y O U R J O U R N E Y T A K E Y O U N E X T ?
Old wares have been traded and sold, new goods picked up for the descent into the Middle Kingdom at last. Two paths can be chosen for the ultimate destination: the more direct route through the Sichuan Basin to Jiangyou, or the historic Tea Horse Road (COMING SOON)