Chamdo Travel Guide

Chamdo Travel Guide

Tibet Chamdo Map
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Chamdo Facts

Chinese Name: 昌都 (chāng dū)
Population: 15,618,300
Area: 11,966.45 square kilometers (4,322.97 square miles)
Location: in the east of Tibet, southwest China
Administrative Division: 1 district (Karuo District); 10 counties (Jomda, Gonjo, Riwoche, Tingchen, Dragyab, Baxoi, Zogang, Markham, Lhorong, Banbar)
Area Code: 0895
Zip Code: 854000
GDP (2019): CNY 22.096 billion (USD 3.203 billion)
Nationalities: Tibetan, Han, Hui

Tibetan Third-Largest City Known as the Pearl of Eastern Tibet

The Chamdo Prefecture is situated in eastern Tibet, neighboring Nyingchi to the southwest and Nakchu to the northwest. It is separated from Garze of Sichuan by the Jinsha River to the east. To the southeast is Diqing of Yunan, and to the north lies Yushu of Qinghai.

Chamdo is known as the "Pearl of Eastern Tibet" for its pivotal position of trade and commerce in Tibet. Due to the high temperature and high humidity, Chamdo presents a beautiful red Danxia landform which is rare on the plateau. Qamdo’s charm also lies in the large number of Buddha statues, murals and Thangkas in Qiang Bahrain Temple, the blue Wuran Lake surrounded by meadows and snowy mountains, and the Karuo Ruins that reveals the lifestyle of local people 4,000-5,000 years ago.

 Galden Jampaling Monastery: This is the largest temple in the region. It was built on top of a four-terraced mesa in the 15th Century. There were more than five thousand monasteries when the monastery was at its peak. Well-preserved buildings, Buddhist sculptures and paintings make the temple an art treasury. Monasteries there are friendly to visitors. The mountain across from the monastery is the best point from which to enjoy the grand view of Jampaling and the nearby residences. 

Forty kilometers (25 miles) along the road from Chamdo County to Bangda Airport, there are several large footprints in the stone surface of a cliff. They are relics left by prehistoric animals one hundred and fifty million years ago, which the locals have always regarded as holy prints. The road to these 'big footprints' is of the best quality in the region, and about an hour hour's drive from the Chamdo county seat. 

 Other Scenic Spots: Chamdo Town, Zezhol Monastery, Ranwu Lake, Kanuo Ruins, Baxoi (Basu) Gaxue Rock Painting, Chagyma Hall, Karma Monastery

How to Get to Chamdo

Located in the Bangda Grassland, the Chamdo Bangda Airport is the world's highest airport and has the longest runway. It is 136 kilometers (84.5 miles) from Chamdo County. As the first lateral airport in Tibet, Chamdo Bangda Airport started to be built in 1993 and finished in October, 1994. At present, it has air routes to/from domestic cities including Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lhasa, Tianjin, Xi'an, and Xining; meanwhile, flights to/from Nepal are also operated at this airport.

Passengers can take airport shuttle bus to Chamdo County from the airport. The duration is 3 hours. The ticket fare is CNY 60 per person.

The airport inquiry number is +86 0895-4821004.

The Prefecture is over 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) from Chengdu and over 1,100 kilometers (684 miles) from Lhasa. Every week at least three buses travel between Chamdo and the two cities. Apart from regular buses, the tourist bureau sometimes sends special buses to Lhasa for visitors. They do not drive at night, so the whole journey may take five or six days. For individual tourists, hiring passing cars, mostly freight cars, is the best choice. These cars usually pick up passengers at the bus station in Chengguan Town in Chamdo County, and visitors can negotiate the details with the drivers. 



The Prefecture has a continental plateau climate characterized by low temperatures. It has two distinct seasons, a rainy season from May to September and a dry season from October to April. Its weather varies greatly due to the complex geography. For example, its southeast region is warmer and wetter than the north and northwest. It enjoys strong sunshine and the daylight hours are long. The temperature differs greatly between day and night. It may be rainy at night in summer and windy in winter and spring. The annual average temperature here falls around 7.6℃ (45.7℉). 

Places not far from the Chamdo Bangda Airport can be visited throughout the year. Land routes to other regions are usually blocked by heavy snow from November to March. It is not convenient to travel the region in July and August due to frequent rainfall. Flooding and landslides sometimes occur. Briefly, May, June and September are the most suitable to pay a visit. 

Chamdo Travel Tips

 History: This place was known as 'Kang' or 'Kemu' in ancient times. More than five thousand years ago, villages first appeared in this region. During the Tubo Dynasty (7th century –9th century), it was the seat of the Western Qiang (Women's Kingdom) and the Supi Kingdom. The Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) brought it into the territory of China.
 Physical Features: It lies among the upper reaches of the Nujiang, Jinsha and Lancang rivers, in the Hengduan Mountains. High mountains and plateaus make up the main part of the region.

 Local Highlights: Almost every month Chando has festivals with different themes, and some of the traditions have been passed down for many generations. The Tibetan New Year is the most important and ceremonious traditional festival of the Tibetans. New Year's Day (the first day of the first month) of the Tibetan calendar is usually in February. During the fifth and the sixth months of the Tibetan calendar, a horse racing festival is held among the locals. In addition, monasteries hold religious festivals such as the Butter Lamp Festival in the first Tibetan month and the Saga Dawa Festival in the fourth Tibetan month. During these festivals devotees perform magnificent rituals and supplications.

 Special Local Products: chang, rare herbs, Tibetan boots and knives, silver objects and decorations

- Last updated on Apr. 06, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Chamdo Travel
Asked by Sslim from U.K. | Feb. 25, 2016 16:59Reply
Tibet Nepal border open or not?
I am traveling there in May the 15 and wish to go Kathmandu end of May.please can anybody knows land border is open or not.
Answers (1)
Answered by Jareau from FRANCE | Feb. 26, 2016 19:30

First of all, I'm afraid that you cannot travel on your own.
Individual foreigner is not allowed to travel there alone unless has Tibet Travel Permit. You have to join a group tour arranged by qualified tour agencies. And the agencies can get the permits for the foreign visitors.
I think you mean Geelong port. It has been opened in last October.
Asked by simony from ITALY | Jan. 20, 2016 06:35Reply
Hi is possible go between Lhasa and Chamdo by bus? or by car with driver?
Answers (1)
Answered by Amy from USA | Jan. 20, 2016 21:08

Yes, there are direct buses to the city from Lhasa Bus Station at No. 1, Middle Jinzhu Road, Chengguan District. I heard that the fare is around CNY 420, and the trip takes about 2 days. The distance is about 665 miles (1070 km), so it might be too expensive to charter a car.

Also, there are direct flights between the two cities. The flights depart at 7:55 every day, and the trip takes about 65min. :)
Asked by mehreen from INDIA | Aug. 18, 2015 06:57Reply
I want to go to China Tibet to visit my relatives. can I get visa for visiting my relatives ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Jason from FINLAND | Aug. 19, 2015 02:48

Only visa is not enough. Atually, you have to join a tour through a Chinese travel agency. Then they will help you apply forTibet Travel Permit for you. After that, you are allowed to enter that area.
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