Tagong is a small town in the Tibetan prefecture of Ganzi. Its altitude is at 3700m and is located half way between Kangding and Litang. It is known for senic grasslands and local Tibetan Buddhist culture.
Many official buses and private vans/cars will leave from Kangding in the morning. The price for shared vans/cars should be 50 yuan per person (2015).
There are 2 buses from Kangding bus station, next to bus terminal station, leaving at 8:00/8:30 am (owner of youth international hostel told us 8am but it came at 8:30. It could be crowded so be earlier) and the other one at 2:00 pm. price is 20 ¥ per person (updated on April 2019). It takes 3 hours to get to Tagong.
If you are coming from Litang you should got off at Xinduqiao and take a car up to Tagong the price should be 20 yuan per person. Or you can take a direct bus, leaving every day at 9.20 am from the Litang bus station (86 yuan), the bus takes 4 hours and leaves you on the main square of Tagong
Tagong is a small town at 3800 meters in altitude sitting on the East Tibetan plateau. It is easy to find you way around. There are basically 3 roads going from tagong. South road goes to xinduqiao. north to luhou, Ganzi, Seda. East to Kangding.
Tagong "Lhagang Monastery" is on the main square, to the left of the monastery is Himalayak Guesthouse which offers free maps of the area.
Most people come here to relax and visit the grasslands and maybe hiking or take horse tour.
The small village Xiangnong nearby is very charming - Togong town itself unfortunately develped into a quite touristic / ‚money making‘ place but the surrounding landscapes are breathtaking.
Horse treks through the pristine countryside are a popular option, running about 150/person for half a day. This can be bargained somewhat. Be advised that "half a day" may only comprise a few hours. If possible, try to get the details. 2015 - Horse treks are more expensive. Expect 100 - 150 per hour. If there is Chinese holiday the prices can be much higher.
A wonderful hike across the grasslands to the east takes you to Gyargo Ani Gompa (nunnery), which offers affordable lodging. To get there it take around 3 hours. Get to the small hill in Tagong and from there you will see big monastery college under the mountains, head towards there.
After enjoying the monastery grounds you can seek out lodging at the nunnery. It is in the middle of the village. In front of very big white building is old Tibetan house, that's the restaurant and hostel.
Valley of 10 000 mani stones - 5 km from tagong on the way to xinduqiao you can see a beautiful valley full of prayer stone carvings and paintings. Local villagers are working on the this local miracle. You can get there from tagong by walking on the main road south.
Grassland villages - If you hike from tagong to west by any of valleys you'll get to very authentic beautiful villages. No tourist visit these places, so you will be absolutely alone. continuing further on the roads you'll get soon on the plateau where in summer are many nomads and Yaks
- Black Yak Adventure Travel, Himalayak Cafe, Tagong, Main Square (Main Square, Tagong), ☎ 0086 131 7077 1450, . 8am - 9pm. East Tibet Adventure Travel Company, specialising in authentic, undiluted, off the beaten track adventures. Born from exploring Asia's most remote and geographically demanding regions the team at Black Yak fell in love with the remote corners of East Tibet. "East Tibet is a modern day explorer’s paradise, an adventure playground where the spirit of Tibet remains strong. Vast, remote, stunningly beautiful and still untouched by modern tourism. Explore of one of the last true wildernesses on the planet, find new inspirations, immerse yourself in culture and discover the undiscovered. Go explore. Be more Yak." Multiday trekking, off-road and cultural adventures in remote areas well off the tourist track. High altitude mountain expeditions, summit logistics and world first adventures in the Daxue Mountains. Run by an Englishman "Mark" with support from local Tibetan guides. Mark lived in Tagong and has built adventures which bring the very best in the area to life. https://www.facebook.com/bemoreyak and www.travelblackyak.com. Call Mark 008613170771450 as advanced planning 4-6 weeks is required for all adventures. edit
Tibetan crafts - you can buy cheese Tibetan things from Chinese souvenir shops. Few shops sell some more expensive things which are usually imported from elsewhere. Himalayak Guesthouse has a small range of authentic Tibetan and Nepalese crafts.
Yak Jerky - Gunga a local man known for having the best Yak Jerky in town. His small store can be found close by the 2nd temple in Tagong, it's 200 meters on the road out of town heading towards Bamei look to the left of the temple to the bright yellow building.
Most guesthouses will offer you very affordable Tibetan food. Most meals consist of the same thing: yak cheese dissolved in tea mixed with some barley flour. Definitely worth a try, and quite bland (it helps to add sugar), but it's good as a breakfast.
- Himalayak Cafe and Bar, Tagong, Main Square (Next to Lhagang Monastery), . Himalayak Cafe and Bar is in the main square of Tagong just to the left of Lhagang monastery ☎ 008618783671271, The café and bar is beautiful, serving modern Tibetan food including speciality momo's "tibetan dumplings", Shapale, Thukpa and seasonal tibeten dishes. Breakfast is mostly western, eggs cooked how you like, muesli, smoothies and freshly baked bread. The menu has few western treats for travellers seeking a taste of home from the daily homemade bread, chocolate cake, Yak burgers and the only sourdough pizzas in East Tibet. The drinks menu is extensive and has imported coffee and craft beers. Also has clean affordable Rooms. Tashi the owner is local to Tagong, English speaking and has the best insight into Kham culture and heritage. edit
- Khampa Nomad Teahouse and Bar, Tagong Main Street (100m Past Police Station). A stunning Tibetan teahouse, bar and hotel serving homemade Tibetan food. A little English is spoken to help when ordering food. Recommended food includes Shapale, Thukpa, Fried Yak meat but the menu changes regularly. A real authentic hangout with great food and drinks.To find the hotel walk down Tagong main street in the direction of Xinduqiao, walk past the small police booth by 70-80 meters and on the right had side spot a building with 2 wooden pillars and beautiful stone steps. Head upstairs. The hotel is beautiful but expensive for Tagong. edit
- Himalayak Cafe and Bar, Tagong, . Himalayak has good selection of tea's, imported coffee, craft beers and is a hit with locals and tourists alike. edit
- Khampa Nomad Ecolodge, (Located just 11kms outside of Tagong at the base of the grasslands with stunning views.), ☎ "+8613684493301”, . This lovely ecolodge is run by Colorado-born, Angela and her Tibetan husband, Djarga, and daughter. It is totally run sustainably with solar and wind. They offer lovely en suite rooms with western amenities, a dorm and camping options. They have a beautiful sauna as well. Meals are made with locally sourced food and include both Tibetan and western options. A big plus is they are able to arrange treks, horseback rides, homestays and provide real insight into the nomadic lifestyle since Djarga grew up right near the lodge. edit
- Jya Drolma and Gayla's Guesthouse, (Follow the sign off the town square.), ☎ +868362866056. Run by a lovely Tibetan family. Very authentic Tibetan house and cuisine. Some basic English spoken. Hot water and clean Bathroom, Comfortable beds (doubles have electric blankets). You can also eat with the family. Dorm 25RMB / Double 70 RMB. edit
- Khampa Cafe & Art Center, 20m left of the temple, ☎ (0086) 183 0287 9858, . It is run by a Czech guy Max and his Tibetan girlfriend Coco. Their guest rooms are clean and comfortable, they also offer a great selection of tibetan food (try the Momo plate!) and western food (Yak Burgers, Czech Schnitzels). Single beds are 40 RMB. Doubles are 120 RMB. For 120 RMB, they also offer homestays in Tibetean families either in town or on the countryside (Tibetean houses / tents), dinner and breakfast included. The homestay is by far the best way to see how the locals live. edit
- Himalayak (Sally Guesthouse), Tagong (Main Square), ☎ 008618783671271, . checkin: 07:00; checkout: 13:00. Warm, welcoming, authentic, family run and super comfortable. Himalayak has everything a traveller needs to immerse themselves in Tibetan life and culture. The café and bar is beautiful, serving modern Tibetan food and a few western treats like homemade breads, chocolate cakes, Yak burgers and sourdough pizzas. The drinks menu is extensive and even has imported coffee and craft beers. Rooms are super clean and comfortable with the only western style toilet in the whole of Tagong. A real hub for travellers to hangout and make use of free trekking maps, travel info and even learn some local Tibetan language. Trekking, mountaineering, off the beaten track adventures are easily organised at very reasonable rates. The beds starts from 30 RMB per night, with a mix of shared triple rooms and doubles. They are the best value in town with 24*7 hot water a western toilet which is rare in Tagong. Tashi the owner is a local and has the best insight into Kham culture and heritage opened the doors in May 2017. Offers homestays and horse trekking in season. 40. (30.321667,101.519722) edit
- Khampa Nomad Boutique Hotel, Tagong Main Street (100m Past Police Station). checkin: 12:00; checkout: 11:00. A stunning Tibetan boutique hotel with tea room and bar. The Khampa Nomad sets a new standard in hotels in Tagong. Every room is hand crafted from local wood in traditional methods but with modern touches. Every room has a huge bathroom with a bathtub and floors and walls are made from local stone. The 2 suites have a dining area, a reading area, cable TV, huge bathrooms with a shower, western toilets and a large bathtub, plus handmade 4 poster beds. The other 6 rooms are a mix of double and twin bed rooms, these are equally beautiful but lack the space of the suites. Rooms start from 600 RMB (2017) per room to 1300 RMB (Suite). On site is the Khampa Nomad Teahouse which serves authentic Tibetan food, imported beers and wines and is a real hangout for locals.To find the hotel walk down Tagong main street in the direction of Xinduqiao, walk past the small police booth by 70-80 meters and on the right had side spot a building with 2 wooden pillars and beautiful stone steps. Head upstairs. 600 RMB. edit
Altitude sickness can be the main problem here, Tagong is at an altitude of 3725 meters above sea level so do your research and consult your doctor if you have any concerns for most people 24-48 hours is enough to acclimatise, however, it's important not to push yourself if you come to Tagong from a lower altitude.
Really a lot of wild and guard dogs. They spend the whole day sleeping all around on the streets. If you want to hike hills around Tagong, they may go with you and to be sure, the more dogs, bigger the problem. Always carry stones and stick helps too.
There are reports of Han Chinese being mugged at knife point in Tibetan regions of China.
Also, foreigners travelling need to be wary of the local Tibetan males who will attempt to racketeer money from travelers when taking mini-van rides in/out of the Tagong. There have been instances when the local driver and riders agree on a price only to find out that the driver will demand more money when the destination has been reached. This situation causes a scene and a crowd of locals gather only to defend the driver. Riders be EXTRA cautious.
Move on to Danba or Bamei, neither as scenic or authentic a Tibetan village/town as Tagong, but each with their own worthwhile attractions. Past Bamei, en route to Danba, the driver may stop at a roadside hotspring or you can ask him to. Danba 60 yuan, Bamei 20 yuan
Go to Kangding or Xinduqiao or Seda. To go to Kangding hire one of the many minivans waiting for you (if not harassing you) on the main square : bargain the price to 50 yuan per person. Prepare your camera for the road is sublime and will take as high as 5000 meters.
To go to Litang take the local bus leaving at 8:30AM at the round central place to Tong Go Lo (5 Yuan) and then proceed to Litang (way cheaper than a minivan directly to Litang). This bus goes to Kangding btw.
Mini Buses go to Ganzi (About 120Rmb, 8 Hours, driver ask price around 150RMB) via LuHou from the main road. The best time to catch them is in the morning (8-9). To Seda you can catch the bus around 9 or go to LuHou and from there go by minivan. LuHou to Sedar is 40 RMB (AUG 2015) and takes aprox 3h.