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Chamdo Travel Guide

Tibet MapChamdo (Tibetan: ; Wylie: chab-mdo; officially: Qamdo; Chinese: 昌都; Pinyin: Chāngdū), population about 86.280 (1999)in Kham in the eastern Tibet Autonomous Region, is Tibet's third largest city (after Lhasa and Shigatse). It is located about 480km (as the crow flies) from Lhasa, on the road the distance covers 1120 km (southern route) or 1030 km (northern route).It is at an altitude of 3,240 metres (10,600 ft).

Surrounded by famous Hengduan Mountains Range and having many rivers and lakes, Qamdo is without doubt a naturalist's heaven. Qamdo is also an industrial hub thronged by enterprises and business travelers from around the world. The development of this remote city is on the full swing with many new roads coming up, making it an infrastructure advanced city.

At the turn of the 20th century it had a population of about 12,000, a quarter of whom were monks. Chamdo, and the region around, it is the centre for the fierce Khampa tribesmen.


Chamdo was visited by Tsongkhapa in 1373 who suggested a monastery be built there. Galden Jampaling Monastery was constructed between 1436 and 1444 by a disciple of Tsongkhapa, Jansem Sherab Zangpo. It is also known as the Changbalin or Qiangbalin Si Monastery. At its height it contained five main temples and housed some 2,500 monks.It was destroyed in 1912 but the main hall (which was used as a prison) and two other buildings survived, and it was rebuilt in 1917 after the Tibetan army retook Chamdo. It now houses about 800 monks.

What to See ?

Chambaling Monastery: It is located at the highest spot in Qamdo County, where you will get the best view of the entire city. Built in the year 1444 by one of Tsong Khapa's disciple, the temple houses few of the oldest statues of Buddha in large number. You will also find stunning work of arts in various Thangka paintings and murals. Visit this monastery during Tibetan New Year when you will see the most splendid offering of the monastery, the religious dance Guqing. The performers wear elegant traditional clothes and expressive masks that pump in a new life to the already spectacular dance.
Yiri Hot Spring: There are a few springs in and around Qamdo, and Yiri Hot Spring has become the most popular among tourists. The water here has tremendous healing properties and people suffering from rheumatic arthritis, and skin diseases come here regularly. This has made it a world famous spring. It is about 6-hrs drive from Riwoche County and it is advisable that you hire a vehicle to come here, as the area is not easily reachable.

Deqen Phodrang Sacred Mountain

It is a perfect spot for relaxing and rejuvenating. The mountains are not very high and provide the perfect terrain for trekking. These alpine ranges are worshiped on a particular day when locals bring food and wine along with them as offering. When you are coming to Riwoqe, try to come here by hiring a vehicle as there are no roads here, thus no transportation.

Karub Ruins: Covering an area of 1800 sq. m, Karub Ruins were discovered in the year 1977. Since then the site has become the main source of attraction, visited by thousands of tourist from the world. The ruins situated around 12 km from Qamdo County are full of stone-built houses and primitive stone tools that date back to more than 5000 years back. They are also the first excavated sites in Tibet that makes it hugely important for researchers and archaeologists.

When to go ?

The climate here is most unpredictable. One can experience four seasons on a single mountain itself. It is quite easy to get sick in such kind of weather conditions if required precautions are not taken, so it is better to carry all kinds of clothing with you. As a developed city, it has shopping arcades, street shops, and movie theaters. Meat is the most prominent food with Yak meat being the most popular.Summer is the best time to travel in Qamdo County

How to get ?

Qamdo is considered to be an important city not only from tourism point of view but also as a business hub. Although not many luxurious hotels are there but lots of accommodation is good enough for any kind of traveler. Kangsheng Hotel, Qamdo Bus Station Inn and Qamdo Hotel are a few that will prove to be a pleasant option. 
Chamdo Bangdad Airport, situated in Qamdo and at an altitude of 4300 m above sea level is the highest airport in the world. It has now started diverting traffic from Lhasa airport. Qamdo town is around 128 km away from the airport and you can get there by road. Buses to all the major cities of Tibet originate from here. There is also a connection to other cities of China and Nepal.

Taxis are the major mode of transport in the city. You can also avail the services of pedi-cabs which might be more suitable for you to explore the city.

With its distinctive characters and vividness, Qamdo County has slowly but surely made its way to the top tourist spots in Tibet. Qamdo County is the best place in the entire Tibet to shop for traditional and modern clothing. Art lovers will find a paradise in Garma Town, which produces some of the most stunning Thangka paintings. In the evening time, you can catch a live performance of the famous Repa dance in the Dingqen area which definitely is going to be excellent. The time required to cover the entire city is around 2 days without nearby excursions. 

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Chamdo Travel Guide - Tourism Cities in Tibet - Zhangjiajie China Tours, China Travel Guide

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