Yading Nature Reserve is located in Southwest Sichuan, China. The area is part of the Tibetan region of Kham so you can go without a permit.
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How to get to Yading Nature Reserve
There is pretty much two ways to get here. The easy one is to fly to Daocheng airport, and then take a mini van to the park.
The way I used was the overland route from Chengdu. I stopped in Kangding and Litang on the way, that is good way to acclimatize, because the reserve lies in 4000m.
Getting to Yading Nature Reserve can vary a lot in price depending on how you get there. The entrance fee and bus ticket within the reserve is 270 rmb.
Where to stay
There is few options here. Hotels in Aden village within the reserve, Shangri-la town at the entrance or you can camp in the reserve. Ff you camp you have to walk very far
How much time do you need there
It really depends on you time frame. You can do a one day trip but then you will probably miss a lot. I did 2 days, then you got plenty of time to see all the easy available things. If you what to stay longer a trek is probably you goal.
When is the best time to go
First of all it is in China, and it is becoming very popular for Chinese tourist so it can be crowded, but people are nice and friendly. The locals say the best seasons are in spring and fall. Summer can be a rainy, but you can get lucky with weather. Arrive early in morning when the track is less crowded.
What to do there
- Milk Lake and 5 Color lake is the two most famous spots. But just seeing mountains is amazing, some have snow all year round.
- Getting to lakes are pretty straight forward. You take the big bus to the scenic area. Here you have 2 options: Walk the whole 11 km, remember it is 4000 m so you are getting tired faster, or take a bus. Then you only have to walk around 6 km each way
- A lot of people wants photos with you, because it is not a common place for western backpackers.
- Bring you own food, water and snacks. Stock up in Daocheng.
- Take the height very serious. 5 color lake is in 4700 m. You can buy oxygen bottles in the towns
- In rainy season, bring a rain coat
Why should Yading Nature Reserve be on my bucket list?
Some people says it was the inspiration for the book Lost Horizon. Getting the opportunity to go to Kham Tibet, should be answer enough, the whole region is fantastic. If you want to experience a mix of cultural and nature Yading Nature Reserve is the place.