2013 - Shangri-La the last frontier day 5

Backpacking Adventure to ShangriLa China the Last Frontier
30 March to 23 April 2013 (25 days)

(L-R) Chew Leng Soon, Bernard Lee, Grace Ong Siew Hua, Lily Yap, Teh Soon Shoei, Lee Kam Boon, Lim Sok Bee, Ng Peng Kim, Ching Neng Bin, Lim Cheng Tee at Tagong (塔公) town

Day 05 (03.04.2013) Xinduqiao (新都桥) to Danba (丹巴) Land of thousand watchtowers

After breakfast at hotel at 7am we continued our journey at 8am in 1 van and 1 car to Danba stopping at Tagong (塔公) and some monastery and the grassland. Checked in to Danba Youth Hostel in Danba.

In the afternoon we visited the Suopo (梭坡) township to see the Suopo watch towers and Zhonglu (中路) Tibetan Village. Danba is noted for its “three wonders” which includes Jiaju Tibetan Village, Beauty Valley and watchtowers 古碉楼. The ancient watchtower in Zhonglu Township of Danba County of southwest China's Sichuan Province. Danba lies on the eastern border of the Ganzi Tibet Autonomous Region of Sichuan Province. The Tibetan villages here are famous for their gorgeous watchtowers and traditional Tibetan fortress-like houses, which constitute remarkable scenery with the natural surroundings. There are 562 ancient rock watchtowers in Danba, which are all built hundreds of years ago for defensive purposes.

Sleeping: Danba Youth Hostel
a herd of cattle on the street of Xinduqiao

the quiet and serene country road out of town

the two triangle-formed fields of prayer-flags and a Tibetan prayer in the middle on the hill slope

we are at a small town Tagong  塔公 or Lhakang in Tibetan is at the altitude of 3,800m

walking around Tagong (塔公) town - it is also a good possibilities for mountain walks around the area

many pilgrims walking round the monastery, the windows have wonderful paintings and carvings

an old shaggy Tagong dog at the town centre

the large open space at the Tagong (塔公) town centre - acts as a roundabout

the hill behind is 300 meters high and steep, but it is possible to scramble up through the triangle flag-field which are built not only for the sake of prayers, but also in order to look nice

(L-R) Chew Leng Soon, Bernard Lee, Grace Ong Siew Hua, Lily Yap, Teh Soon Shoei, Lee Kam Boon, Lim Sok Bee, Ng Peng Kim, Ching Neng Bin, Lim Cheng Tee at Tagong (塔公) town

Tagong is the site for a large ancient Tibetan monastery, called Tagong Si or Pel Lhagong in Tibetan

the large inner court of the monastery

it was established with reference to a nearby sacred mountain, Mt. Yala or Zhara Lhaste, 5,820 metres in elevation (19,090 ft)

This is part of the gangway surrounding the monastery, fitted with prayer mills and Tibetans are walking around turning the mills. Note that when going around, make sure you always walk clock-wise and it takes about 15 minutes to walk round the monastery on the outside.

the Muya Golden Temple on the Tagong grassland  塔公草原上的木雅金塔

the horses for hire at the Muya Golden Temple

the snow covered Tagong Grassland in early spring

horses on the snow covered Tagong Grassland  塔公草原上的马群

Tibetan farmers on the road

the beautiful valleys

a breathtaking view of the beautiful valley below and the snow-capped mountains

the new Tagong Temple Pagoda  塔公寺佛塔

on the way from Tagong Grassland to Bamei town  塔公草原往八美镇的途中

passing through this Ba Mei township

driving through beside the snow-capped mountain on the horizon

the pine forest valley and the snow-capped mountain on the horizon

the sacred mountain, Mt. Yala or Zhara Lhaste, 5,820 metres in elevation (19,090 ft)

the beautiful traditional Tibetan fortress-like houses along the river road

this is Danba town basically consists of one long road, squeezed between a river and a mountain

Sleeping: Danba Youth Hostel

Bernard Lee testing the typical Tibetan bed and strongly recommended to all of us

the view of the valley is stunning with rugged Tibetan villages clinging to the steep fertile mountain sides above a river

this is the Zhonglu (中路) Tibetan Village

we passed through barley fields and over crumbling stone hedges, as we crossed the relatively flat ledge before hitting a small road that took us up the hillside toward the upper reaches of the village

fields covered with golden rape stretch as far as the eye can see and form seas of yellow buds

some of the rapeseed fields we passed through on our way up the hillside of Zhonglu village

the barley farming in Zhonglu

Chew Leng Soon shot this beautiful bird in-flight

a close up of the bird

the women folks of Zhonglu helping out the house construction

traditional Tibetan fortress-like houses surrounded by barley field

the border watch towers - the height of these stone-built military structures is often above 30 meters, while the tallest tower measures 60 meters in height. The best places to see stone Qiang watchtower are at Suopo (梭坡) and Zhonglu (中路)

the village is also famous for its pretty Tibetan ladies

the colourful dried corn on the wall - the next village on our list was Suopo and the only reason people visit is to see its watchtowers

once we got within a few kilometers of Suopo, our driver stopped and told us it was inaccessible by vehicle as we cannot cross the narrow suspended bridge, so we got down to take these pictures

the Suopo watch towers is on the other side of the mountain separated by a river

the Suopo watch towers - the Tibetan villages here are famous for their gorgeous watchtowers and traditional Tibetan fortress-like houses

had very good dinner in a Tibetan restaurant just opposite our Danba Youth Hostel

Total Grand Per Pax

5 a. B'fast 100.00 10.00
b. 1 van + 1 car y130 X 10 Xinduqiao-Tagong-Danba 1,300.00 130.00
c. Room - Demba Hostel, Danba rmb80 X 5 rooms 400.00 40.00
d. Lunch 88.00 8.80
e. Village boy - guide 10.00 1.00
f. Dinner @ restaurant opposite hostel 200.00 20.00
2,098.00 209.80

click below:
Day 01 (30.03.2013) AirAsia D7-320: K. Lumpur to Chengdu (成都), Sichuan (四川)
Day 02 (31.03.2013) Chengdu to Hailuogou (海螺沟) (296km/7.5hrs bus)
Day 03 (01.04.2013) Hailuogou (海螺沟) Red rocks @ Swallow Gully (燕子沟)
Day 04 (02.04.2013) Hailuogou (海螺沟) Luding (泸定) Kangding (康定) to Xinduqiao (新都桥)
Day 05 (03.04.2013) Xinduqiao (新都桥) to Danba (丹巴) Land of thousand watchtowers

Day 06 (04.04.2013) Danba – day trip to Jiaju Tibetan Village "the most beautiful ethnic town
Day 07 (05.04.2013) Danba (丹巴) – staying in Jiaju Village
Day 08 (06.04.2013) Jiaju Village (甲居藏寨) to Xiaojin (小金) to Rilong (日隆)
Day 09 (07.04.2013) trekking up Changpinggou (长砰沟) middle gully of Siguniang (四姑娘山)
Day 10 (08.04.2013) Rilong (日隆) to Chengdu (成都)

Day 11 (09.04.2013) Chengdu (成都) day trip to Huanglongxi (黄龙寺)
Day 12 (10.04.2013) Chengdu (成都) to Xichang (西昌)
Day 13 (11.04.2013) Xichang (西昌) to Lugu Lake (泸沽湖)
Day 14 (12.04.2013) Lugu Lake - cycling around Lugu Lake
Day 15 (13.04.2013) Lugu Lake (泸沽湖) to Lijiang (丽江)

Day 16 (14.04.2013) Lijiang (丽江)
Day 17 (15.04.2013) Lijiang (丽江) to Shangri-La (香格里拉) (Zhongdian (中甸)
Day 18 (16.04.2013) Shangri-La (Zhongdian) - day trip to Potatso National Park
Day 19 (17.04.2013) Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡) / Bai Shui Tai terrace waterfall(白水台)
Day 20 (18.04.2013) Tiger Leaping Gorge to Lijiang (丽江)

Day 21 (19.04.2013) Lijiang (丽江) to Lugu Lake (泸沽湖)
Day 22 (20.04.2013) Lugu Lake (泸沽湖) to Xichang (西昌) to Chengdu (成都)
Day 23 (21.04.2013) Chengdu
Day 24 (22.04.2013) D7-327 Chengdu to K. Lumpur (2355 – 0430)
Day 25 (23.04.2013) 25 23/04 Arrival K. Lumpur: 0430 hrs

      RMB        RM
Total Costs per person excluding Air fare    4,664.15      2,360.06

Return Airfare per pax incl. insurance, meals   1,632.41    826.00 

Total Cost Per Pax incl. of Airfare    6,296.56 3,186.06


  1. Group pic taken at Tagong Town shows all the weary but not worn out travellers ready for the day with cameras at hands for a exhaustive day. It's more mountains,temples and village scenes in midst of ridges and valleys. Total strange land compared to other parts of China; particularly the Suopo outpost watch towers. They were built not too far from each other. Meal-the dishes looked simple but enticing enough for hungry stomachs.

    Alan K.

  2. Martin Lim26 July, 2013

    Bro Ching, Nice pictures. M sure you had a good time. To my surprise I saw my good old friend in the picture.,,,Lim Cheng Tee. We were classmates during school days. Didn't realize the world is so small.

    Anyway, good to know you are enjoying life to the fullest n take care.

    Martin Lim