Located southeast of Daocheng, the Yading Scenic Zone is a pristine natural environment, the likes of which can be found nowhere else, making it a paradise for photographers. The Tibetan name for Yading is "Nyiden", which means "facing the sun", and travelers from far and wide commonly refer to it as the last pure land on the Blue Planet. Its key scenic spots include the three holy mountains (Xiannaiyue, Yangmaiyong and Xianuoduoji), Mengzi Canyon, Echu Mountain, and Axigaoshan Park.
Located at the middle section of Hengduan Mountains, east of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Yading Scenic Area stretches 7,323 sq.m, neighboring Muli County (Liangshan Prefecture) in the Southeast, Xiangcheng County and Zhongdian County (Yunnan Province) in the West and Litang County in the North. With an average altitude of 3,750m and highest altitude of 6,032m, it belongs to the plateau monsoon climate, characterized with sunny days for most of the time, bright sunshine, and beautiful scenery and especially famous for the ancient ice site of "Daocheng Ancient Ice Cap". A long and unique mountain road crosses the crowds and stretches into the sky, on which groups of incredibly devout worshippers tirelessly trek and kowtow to create tracks on and pay homage to the holy land and devote themselves.
Daocheng was anciently named "Daoba", meaning the opening of the valley in Tibetan. According to the Xikang Graphic Scrｉpture, in the 33rd of Guangxu Emperor, the land was extensively planted with paddy rice, hence named Daocheng (Rice Town)", implying a good wish to its agricultural success. Yading means "Place under the Sun" in Tibetan. Overlooking from Daocheng-Yading, the world is infinite with overwhelming rocks and 1,145 jade-blue splendid mountain lakes scattering in between. Therefore Daocheng-Yading is honored as "the last Shangri-La".
There are some truly magnificent natural attractions in this unique part of Sichuan
Chenrezig, the highest peak in Daocheng County, bears an uncanny resemblance to the revered Buddhist bodhisattvas Arya Avalokiteshvara sitting on a lotus platform, riding on clouds, with a sacred bottle in hand.
The 5,958-meter Yangmaiyong is the southern peak of the Sanhuzhu Snow Mountain, and at the foot of the peak is a breathtaking landscape with wide canyons, forests, grassland and creeks.
Milk Sea is an ancient glacial lake at an altitude of 4,500 meters, covering an area of 0.5 hectare. It’s surrounded by snow-topped mountains littered with clear lakes and blue mountain waterfalls. Legend has it that in ancient times when flowers began to bloom in the warmth of spring, the water of the lake would turn as white as milk. Hence its name, Milk Sea.
As the highest peak in Daocheng County, Xiannairi looks like the Arya Avalokiteshvara siting on a lotus seat and coming in auspicious clouds with an Aquarius in the hand.
Yangmaiyong, the south peak of Sanhuzhu Snow Mountain (also known as Three Religious Lord Snow Mountain)at 5,858m altitude, is surrounded by wide gorge, forest, grassland and steams at its four directions and stands out for its breathtaking natural scenery.
Niunai Lake (also Milk Lake), an ancient glacial lake of 0.5 hectare surrounded by snow mountains at 4,500maltitude, has crystal blue water and waterfall at the mountain and is famous for the exquisite blue water.It is said that the lake water is as white as milk in spring, so it gets the name of Niunai Lake.
Xiannairi, Yangmaiyong & Xianuoduoji
Depart from Chonggu Temple and detour left front and turn right, you will see Luorong Pasture. Surrounded by the three snow peaks of Yading Scenic Area, Luorong Pasture features the snow peak, forest, grassland, streams, lakes, waterfalls and cabins on the pasture. Here, you can see all the three snow peaks, among which, the north peak Xiannairi (6,032m), is like a giant Buddha sitting on lotus seat;the south peak Yangmaiyong (5,958m), is steep and gracefully-lined with its peak pointing into the sky; the east peak, Xianuoduoji towers aloft like a crystal.
Mengzi Grand Canyon
Located between Riwa Village and Mengzi County, Mengzi Grand Canyon stretches 13km with steep mountains at bothsides, wind and clouds moving in between and roaring and running rivers at the bottom. Various animal sculpts are formed on the steep cliffs and endowed with life by abundant fairy tales and folk legends to leave visitors with infinite imagination. "Raorongshan" (Land God of Wage Village who is said to dress in white and ride a white house), straightly penetrates into the clouds, impressive and dignified.
RMB 150 (excl. tickets for tour buses)
Shangri-La Township, Daocheng County, Ganzi Prefecture, Sichuan