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Garze Travel Guide

Garze Overview

Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is an autonomous prefecture in Sichuan Province whose capital is Kangding (Dardo). Just located on the southeastern part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, it takes about 151,078 square kilometers in the western Sichuan.

Garze was traditionally part of the Tibetan region known as Kham. During the period of rule by the Republic of China (1911–1949), it became nominally part of Xikang province, which included parts of former Kham. In 1930, a Tibetan army invaded Garze, capturing it without much resistance. However, in 1932, the Tibetan army withdrew after suffering defeats elsewhere at the hands of the warlord of Qinghai, Ma Bufang. Chinese warlord Liu Wenhui reoccupied Garze, and signed an agreement with the Tibetans formalizing his control of the area east of the Yangtze River, which corresponds roughly with eastern Kham. In 1950, following the defeat of the Kuomintang forces by the People's Liberation Army, the area fell within the control of the People's Republic of China. Eastern Xikang was merged with Sichuan in 1955, where Garze became an autonomous prefecture.

On this land with an area of 153,700 square kilometers, magnificent mountains and rivers reflect human material civilization. Majestic buildings at the foot of the crystal snow peaks, love songs and dances on the wild land with waves of grass and flowers demonstrate the vitality of mountains and waters on the Kang-Tibetan Plateau, and the true love of the world. Over the ages, the anima of the nature combines perfectly and harmoniously with human wisdom: man of wisdom is endowed with the bold and unconstrained character of mountains and rivers, just as the latter has been gifted with human emotion and intelligence. They together make a wonder world of Kang-Tibetan holy land.

Garze Geography
Garze Climate & Weather
Best Time for Garze Travel

With its highest peak touching the heavens at 7,556 meters above sea level, Mount Gongga straddles the three counties of Kangding, Luding and Jiulong. The surrounding land includes a wide range of topography, including virgin forests, snow-capped mountains, pastures, alpine lakes, hot springs, and waterfalls.

At an altitude of 2,850 meters above sea level, the Hailuo Gully Glacial Forest Park lies in a valley carved by glaciers along the eastern slope of Mount Gongga in Luding County. The gully has hot springs, virgin forest, glacier carved peaks, and countless animal and plant resources. Golden Peak and Silver Peak face each other and offer a magnificent view.

Garze belongs to plateau monsoon climate, which is complex and diverse with significant regional differences. It crosses six latitudes from north to south, with an increase of latitude, the temperature decreases, and the difference among the average temperatures of six latitudes can reach 17℃s.

In the alpine valley, foothills and Peaks is disparate in height, and the temperature changes along with the height, with a difference of 20 – 30℃ between the foothill and peak. The average annual temperature of each county is between 15.4 -1.6℃.

Average annual temperatures in most areas are below 8 ℃. The lowest temperature (hummocky former alpine highlands and central regions) is below -14 ℃, and lowest temperatures of most areas in northern Garze and Litang, Daocheng with high elevation in south are below -20 ℃, Shiqu is -37.7 ℃. Annual rainfall is 325 - 920 mm. Perennial sunshine is 1900 - 2600 hours. Historical average frost days reach 180 - 228 days.

Climate Data Table for Garze

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
5.1 7.6 11.2 14.6 18.2 20.1 21.0 21.0 18.7 14.9 9.8 5.5
-11.5 -8.0 -3.8 -0.4 3.9 7.3 8.5 7.6 5.9 1.1 -6.0 -10.9
Rainfall (mm) 5.1 8.5 19.5 34.7 79.2 133.4 116.7 94.1 109.5 46.0 8.6 4.5
Days of rainfall 8.9 5.9 8.8 12.8 17.8 22.1 21.6 18.6 19.2 13.0 4.7 8.0

Summer, spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit Garze. Winter is too cold, not suitable for tourism.

Try to plan your Garze tour to avoid the peak holidays. Because they are popular with Chinese tourists, Garze attractions become more crowded in these periods.

The most crowded seasons in China are Chinese Spring Festival (usually in late Jan or early Feb.), International Labor Day (May 01 to 03) and National Day (Oct 01-07). Spring Festival and the National Day golden week are the most crowded time for travelling.

Garze Tours & Tings to Do