Kham towns offer a myriad of opportunities for travellers to explore the Tibetan culture, learn of the history, and enjoy the scenery of this region. For those interested in rural villages and natural beauty, Kham Tibet has a lot to offer. This area is geographically known for everything from wide grasslands to large mountain ranges which means travelling to and from these towns will allow you to encounter a variety of different landscapes. This is a definite highlight of traveling through Kham!
Gateway to Kham
At the eastern edge of Tibet, travellers will inevitably find themselves travelling through Kangding as this is one of the main gateway cities. Most people choose to make the one day trip to Kangding from Chengdu, while others fly directly into Kangding to start their journey. Beyond Kangding, it is a 45min climb by car to cross Zheduo pass and arrive on the plateau with all of Kham stretching before you.
Nomadic Towns in Kham
After leaving Kangding, one of the first towns you reach in Kham is Tagong, one of the many nomadic areas in Kham. In addition to Tagong, the Kham region contains many stunning grasslands, including the areas of Litang, Manigangou, Shiqu (Shershul), Yushu, and Axu. According to legend the Tibetan King Gesar was born in the grasslands area in the north part of Kham. It is common to see an image of King Gesar on a horse in various towns which all claim to be his birthplace. In the summertime, these pastoral areas are known for their horse festivals and races, and travellers and locals alike enjoy watching the myriad of other festive games that are included.
Farming Towns in Kham
Even though Kham is one region, there is a diverse mix of architecture in the area. Some of the more notable styles in Kham are the stone construction used north of Kangding like the stately homes near Xinduqiao, Daofu’s folk houses which use a lot of wood, and mud construction as seen in places like Batang and Yushu. World renowned Shangri-la, thus named to lure tourists by using the name of the fictional Tibetan paradise created by James Hilton in his novel Lost Horizon, is found in southern Kham. And the town of Danba, “Beauty Valley”, is known for their attractive women, deep canyons, and ancient watchtowers built on the mountain ridges where they have defied the steep slopes and cultivated crops for centuries.
The Kham town of Seda (Sertar) is home to Larung Gar, the largest Buddhist community in the world. The community is said to have as many as 40,000 monks and nuns, making this a very spiritual town. Other Kham towns known for their monasteries include Ganzi – with a restored Tibetan-Chinese style monastery – and nearby Yachen Gompa which also features a massive monastic community. Further north and west over the Chola mountain sits Dege, known around the world for the Dege Barkhang (Parkhang) Scripture Printing House.
Travelling to Kham? Check out our Kham Tibetan Business Highlights