We are so happy that some of you have decided to visit Palyul Monastery and thought to send along some advice for your journey. The best plan is to go with a local tour company, if you can arrange it at the right time, as such tour groups are best suited to making all arrangements for your enjoyable stay. We look forward to seeing you!
July 31 *only*
It is important to note that there are often two spellings using the English alphabet for place names within Sichuan. Important place names to be aware of are listed with their most common spelling.
Sichuan: Province within which Palyul Monastery is located. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sichuan
Garzê / Kardze / Garzin: Local Prefecture
Baiyü / Palyul: County name
Co / Tso: Word for “lake”
Time Zone: China Standard (UTC+8)
High Altitude Warning: Buy oxygen from Chengdu. Everyone, even those with experience at high altitudes, should be prepared for high altitude sickness by purchasing oxygen, etc., in Chengdu. This is especially the case in the high altitude areas of you will pass through: Zheduoshan, Zuodala, and Quershan.
Although your need for oxygen will depend on how strong your lungs are, you should be prepared even if you have travelled high altitudes previously.
Health Level: Because the area is high altitude, you should discuss your journey with your physician and inform them that you will be in altitudes in excess of 2,750 meters / 9,000 feet and as high as about 5,000 meters / 16,404 feet. There are medications that you can ask about that can help reduce altitude sickness.
Vaccinations: Similar to visiting any other country, please see your doctor and obtain appropriate vaccinations. Some common vaccinations that are recommended when travelling internationally and you should inquire about (and this may not be a comprehensive list):
Time to get to Palyul: Approximately 21-hour drive.
A common timeframe for the journey is 6am to 6pm (12 hours), arriving Ganzi on first day and 6am to 3pm (9 hours) from Ganzi to Baiyü on the second day. Allow three to four days for your journey to account for sight-seeing and road construction delays.
Between Chengdu (provincial capital of Sichuan) to Baiyü by Route 1: about 1000 km
Between Chengdu and Ganzi: Good, but hilly roads limit speed to 50 km / 30 miles per hour.
Between Ganzi and Baiyü: Under construction. Average speed limited to 30 km / 15 miles per hour.
Another suggestion is always good to tie up with a local tour operator instead of travelling individually.
- FROM Chengdu City, Sichuan TO Kanding (capital of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Region) [approximate distance: 383 km / 237 mi]
- FROM Kanding, TO Lu Huo [about 625 km or 415 miles]
- Note that you will pass through Zheduoshan /Tse Do Sang Mountain (altitude about 4,300 m / 14,107 ft)
- FROM Lu Huo TO Ganzi / Garze [about an additional 110 km / 65 mi]
- FROM Ganzi / Garze TO Baiyü and Palyul Monastery [about 228 km / 145 mi]
- Note that you will pass through Zhuodala Pass (alt. about 5,000 m / 16,404 ft). Here at the halfway, you can take a very worthwhile pilgrimage/detour to Yacheng Monastery, where the highly-accomplished Khenpo Acho gave teachings. The monastery is very large with over 10,000 monks and nuns.
- Palyul Monastery is at an altitude of about 3030 m / 9,940 ft)
Returning: From Baiyü / Palyul Monastery via Dege
- FROM Baiyü TO Dege [distance around 110 km / 68 mi]
- You can also take a detour/pilgrimage here to Gatuo/Kathog Monastery by going towards Hepoxiang and then go further. You can also visit a Kagyu Monastery named Palpung and the Sakya Monastery called Dzongsar. In Dege you can view the famous Dege Parkhang the wooden block printing press of Sutras and Tantras.
- FROM Dege TO Ganzi [about 210 km / 130 mi]
- On the way you can see the high mountain Quer Shan (Dege Trola) at an altitude of about 5,050 m / 16,600 ft). Dege is at about 3,200 m or 10,500 ft above sea level.
- FROM Ganzi TO Chengdu, reversing the directions given above.