Hi everyone, I can’t believe I’ve already been here for two months!
The IC Chengdu crew amazingly gathered 28 people for our Kangding Trip last weekend. After Xinjiang Food and KTV with too much beer but amazing singers, we finally got on the bus to start our trip to Kangding, a city located in the Tibetan part of the Sichuan province!
After what seemed like an endless 12 hour bus ride, we finally made it to our destination! Discovering local food, joining in with an amazing dance performance to traditional Tibetan songs, and also enjoying the cool weather, (approximately 25 degrees lower than our lovely Chengdu) – our first night was everything we could have wished for. Being the only ‘laowai’ gang in the area, it is an understatement to say that there were endless photo requests. But how can you say no to such welcoming people?
Dance with the locals – Kangding
Then we arrived at our Tibetan style hostel, which is owned by an American couple, working alongside Tibetans. Staying in this charming place allowed us to view one of the highest mountains in China from our window. After a short but restful night, we managed to wake up early and leave the accommodation at 7am to continue our trip.
View from our hostel – Kangding
Our first stop was at Zheduoshan. Fearless, we climbed to the top of the mountain and were 4300m up in the sky! We had probably one of the most breath-taking views ever – clear blue sky and nothing around but mountains and colourful Tibetan flags.
On top of Zheduoshan!
Once back on the road, we stopped off at a local restaurant, experiencing yak meat for the first time and being surrounded by cows, horses and (living) yaks that were freely roaming around us.
Evan, one of our intern, chatting up a cow
En route, we finally got to our last destination: Tagong city. When we got off the bus, I got the feeling that we weren’t in China anymore. Tibetan flags and scripts on the mountains, dark tanned people were wearing all sorts of Tibetan jewellery and speaking a different language- no tourists to be seen. First activity on the list: horse riding. I was lucky to be with a Tibetan women who led me to the top of the hill while singing some traditional Tibetan songs. Many of the interns did brilliantly for their first horseback riding experience, especially Gijs who managed to stay on the saddle even though his horse went crazy at some point!
Picture time: Locals vs Laowais
Horseback ride – Tagong
Next step was to visit the Buddhist temple, and the small city of Tagong. It was such an amazing experience and the locals are different in so many ways. They’re located in a very poor area but they were the happiest people I’ve ever met, because money and profit is pointless to them, they value taking care of others above nothing else. They only spoke Tibetan, and yet it was so simple to understand each other.
Getting back to our hostel, we got the chance to eat some yak burgers while listening to one of the Tibetan employee’s experience. All interns focusing, he talked for about two hours about Tibetan culture and Buddhism, along with the American owner who’s been travelling in Tibet and China for more than 10 years.
Finally, the next morning after what was a truly incredible experience for everyone who came, we made our way back to Chengdu. Many thanks to Cassie, our customer relation assistant, but also tour guide, who was checking every 15 minutes if Brigette and Shamina who got altitude sickness were still alive on the way back!
IC Chengdu Team on top of the world!