Tagong is a small town in the Tibetan prefecture of Ganzi.
Many official buses and private vans/cars leave from Kangding in the morning. There are buses going at 6 in the morning in the direction of Tagong, however their final destination is Garze and you have to pay the full price. Probably the easiest (and as cheap as bus) way is to find a taxi at taxi parking in Kangding (across the river from Yak market). The price is ¥50 per person (4 person/car) and you can ask driver to stop at viewpoints, which is definitely worth it.
Hiking. Really good option for discovering Tagong grassland is to rent a motorbike in Tagong, you will find many option around the town. There are no manual scooters in Tagong; you should be able to shift on motorbike.
Most people come here to relax and visit the grasslands and maybe hiking or take horse tour.
- Tagong Monastery.
Horse treks through the pristine countryside are a popular option, running about ¥150/person for half a day. This can be bargained somewhat. "Half a day" may only comprise a few hours. If possible, try to get the details.
A wonderful hike across the grasslands to the south takes you to the Lhagang Monastery and Ani Gompa (nunnery), which offers affordable lodging. To get there, simply proceed from town past the temple, make a right on the road 100m past the temple, and you will see the monestery's golden roof in the distance. Walk toward it. The walk is around 9 km each way, but most of the way the terrain is flat. Ideal way is to make a small loop - 1) One way you can follow the road and cross the roadbrigde, then proceed directly to the monastery across the grassland (you will have yak herds in the fenced area on your lefthand side), 2) Amazing ridge walk - the ridge is on your lefthand side if you look the monastery from Tagong. Cross the road, ford the small river and you will get to a fenced area with yaks. Go to left and you will get to the base of a hill, climb to the ridge around 100 vertical meters and follow the rigde in the direction of the monastery. There is a path following the ridge. The views of grassland, nunnery, monastery and Zhara Lhatse are magnificent. The highest point of the ridge is around 3950m. The walk is slightly more demanding compared to shortest way through the grassland, but the distance is exaclty the same and the rigde is going straight to the nunnery.
After enjoying the monastery grounds you can seek out lodging at the nunnery. To reach it, proceed left (as you face the monastery) down the road in front of the monastery, through the village, past the temple there, until you see a very small shop on your right. Inquire there; the guesthouse is upstairs.
Hike to village of Xiangnong. Cross the brigde behind Tagong monastery and follow the river upstream to the valley for around 4 km. This road is ideal for motorbike as well.
Hike to any of the hills around the town for amazing views. Go to the stupa near Tagong monastery for magnificent sunset illuminating peaks of Zhara Lhatse.
Check out Sally's if you are chasing Western food. The Chinese food there is good, but not that Chinese. In particular, the spicy yak stew (¥18) is good. Sally's is just round the corner from the temple.
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.
There is a backpackers next to the temple.
You can choose to stay at a hotel without restaurant facilities for cheaper price.
- Iya Drolma and Gayla's Guesthouse (Follow the sign off the town square.), ☏ . 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 ¥20, double ¥50.
- Khampa Café and Guesthouse, ✉ email@example.com. Cozy wooden double or twin rooms, lovely Czech-Tibetan couple that runs the place and a fairy-prince dog that thinks he rules it. Their café serves delicious Western-Tibetan food and a variety of espresso drinks as well as real hot chocolate and local yak products. ¥120.
There are a lot of wild and guard dogs. They spend the whole day sleeping all around on the streets. If you want to hike in the hills around Tagong, they may go with you and to be sure, the more dogs, the bigger the problem.
There are reports of Han Chinese being mugged at knife point in Tibetan regions of China.
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 (for free) or you can ask him to.
Minibuses go to Ganzi (about ¥120, 11 hours) via LuHou from the main road. The best tame to catch them is in the morning (08:00-09:00). As of May 2011, the road between Tagong and Ganzi is under construction and most of it isn't paved. The ride is hard and long (11-12 hr).