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 a sub-group known as Gyarong, who are Qiangic speaking Tibetans. Known in Chinese as Heishui County (黑水), Trochu has something to offer for every visitor from modern luxuries and hotels to scenic routes and hiking tours of the Dagu Glacier.
Food to Try
In town, there’s a wide variety of restaurants. You can find authentic Tibetan cuisine, fast food franchises and Sichuanese restaurants of every kind. If you are on the run, there are plenty of locals selling food as street vendors. The smell of shaokao (Chinese BBQ) fills the air. Choose your skewered meats and vegetables for the vendor to grill. Make sure you tell him how much spice you can handle! Tibetan tea also has a long-standing history here. You can find it on almost every menu you come across.
Lodging for Visitors
There are numerous hotels to stay in around the area. Locally-run guesthouses are also available and can have a cozier feel without the luxuries of the larger hotels. They typically offer a comfortable stay for lower prices and much more space. For those going with the guesthouse option, you may also find yourself lucky enough to try some homemade barely wines, as well.
The Scenic Tour of Heishui
Visitors come to Heishui for the famous scenery and tours. Not far from town by way of a hike or backpacking tour, you will come across everything from majestic waterfalls to massive rivers and icy lakes. Travelers who find themselves in Heishui in Autumn should pay a visit to Cailin (pronounced “tsai leen”). Cailin means “Colorful Forest.” Between late September and early November the forest leaves change color. Every shade of gold, orange, yellow, and red speckles the mountainsides. The Heishui colored forest is the largest 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 beauty can be seen.
Dagu Glacier: A Magnificent Site to See
The most popular destination, however, is Dagu Glacier. And while the trip can be a little tiring and though high altitudes may bother some visitors, the views from the top are well worth it. The glacier site is open to visitors year round. However, as mentioned above, for the best views one should go in November.
What a Ride!
The journey to the top begins with a shuttle bus to the base of the glacier. During the shuttle ride, you’ll have plenty of chances to catch some great scenic views. After arriving at the base, a cable car takes you to the top of the glacier. The cable car ride provides great views of the lakes, rivers, and forests in the area. You may also spot a few of the many species of plant and animal life on the way up. The views from the cable car are almost as magnificent as the final destination itself. Once at the top of the nearly 5,000-meter peak, you finally have a view of the glacier and valleys. You’ll be able to see clearly how the glacier has dug in and shaped the great valleys below.