Trochu (Heishui)

Stuppas at Heishui

Trochu (ཁྲོ་ཆུ་རྫོང་།), under the Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, is part of Sichuan Province. Most of the Tibetans found here are not Amdo speaking, in fact, they are part of sub-group known as Gyarong, who are Qiangic speaking Tibetans. Known in Chinese as Heishui County (黑水), Heishui County has something to offer for every visitor from the modern luxuries and hotels to scenic routes and hiking tours of the Dagu Glacier.

Monastery outside Heishui

The monastery above Heishui.

Food to Try

In town, there are a variety of restaurants and food to try, but if you are on the run or willing to try more authentic cuisine, there are plenty of locals selling food as street vendors. Often you will find basic meats and vegetables grilled on a stick for convenience, topped with salt and spices. Tibetan tea also has a long standing history here, as well as in most towns, and without exception you will find it on almost every menu you come across.

Lodging for Visitors

While there are numerous hotels to stay in around the area, many guest homes are also available and can have a cozier feel without the luxuries of the larger hotels. They can offer a more comfortable stay for lower prices and much more space. For those going with the guest house option, you may also find yourself lucky enough to try some homemade barely wines as well.

Lake near Heishui.

The view on the way to Heishui.

The Scenic Tour of Heishui

Almost all visitors to the area come for the famous scenery and tours, with autumn being the best season to visit. Not far from town by way of a hike or backpacking tour, you will come across everything from waterfalls and tiny rivers to massive icy rivers and huge lakes. Travelers who find themselves in Heishui between late September to early November should pay a visit to Cailin. Cailin means “The Colourful Forest”, and is a festive time of year when the changing colour of the forest leaves is celebrated. The Heishui Cailin is the largest cailin in Asia. This area is formed from the San’ao Mountains, Dagu Glacier and both Kalong Valley and Hongjun Valley. Some of the best views of the forest come from the Kalong Valley, where every aspect of Cailin’s scenery can be seen.

Heishui Dagu Glacier Lift

Reaching the Dagu Glacier near Heishui.

A Magnificent Site to See

The most popular destination however, is Dagu Glacier, and while the trip can be a little tiring and high altitudes may bother some visitors, the views from the top are well worth it. The site is open to visitors year round. The best times to go are around November though. Home to thousands of different plant life and well over a hundred species of animals, the trip to the top is almost as magnificent as the final destination itself. Your trip begins with a shuttle to the base of the glacier, offering many opportunities for photos along the way. From there a cable car begins to bring you to the top of the glacier, along the way providing great views of the many lakes, rivers and forests. Once at the top of the nearly 5,000 meter altitude, you finally have a view of the glacier and valleys, and it is clear how, over the years, the glacier has dug in and shaped the great valleys below.

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