Nov. 7, 2016 -- If any paradise on this planet, Yading must be one. Considered the "last Shangri-La" on Earth, Yading of Daocheng County in Garze, southwest China's Sichuan Province boasts breathtaking natural scenery and is an appealing destination for both Chinese and foreign travelers.
Yading on the south edge of Daocheng is considered a most sacred place by local Tibetan pilgrims. The prefecture of Garze has a large Tibetan population. In the Tibetan language, Yading means a place faced to the sun.
The Yading Nature Reserve covers an area of more than 1,000 square kilometers and is circled by three snow mountains, namely Jambeyang, Chanadorje and Shenrezig, all nearly or above 6,000meters. They are considered holy mountains by local Tibetans.
Full of stunning beauty, Yading is a good place for trekking. Usually, it takes two days to walk around the nature reserve and there are three routes to choose.
As a landmark of Yading, Luorong Pasture can be the starting point of your trip. Surrounded by rolling mountains, the pasture is the best site to view the three holy mountains on sunny days.
After spending some time at Luorong Pasture, you can go to Milk Lake and then to Five-Color Lake.
Milk Lake is a stunning glacier-fed lake on the south end of Mt. Shenrezig. The lake is so named because of its milky edge. The whole lake looks like a shinning blue quartz under the sun.
Five-Color Lake sits on a higher position than Milk Lake. It's only about 300 meters away from Milk Lake, but the trip to it is not easy because the way is rugged and steep. However, the beautiful colors of the lake are worth your efforts.
For another route, you can choose to go to Chonggu Monastery from Luorong Pasture. Chonggu Monastery lies at the foot of Mt. Shenrezig at an elevation of 3,880 meters. A clear, glacier-fed river flows through an evergreen forest, making a charming scenery along the trek.
In fact, Yading or Daocheng became well known nearly 100 years ago. Joseph F. Rock, an American explorer and botanist, visited Yading in 1928 and stayed in Chonggu Monastery for three days. Rock's travelogue was printed by the National Geographic magazine in 1931. It's believed that his writing inspired James Hilton, who later wrote the famous fiction Lost Horizon.
You can also trek from Chonggu Monastery to Pearl Lake as a third choice. It takes about half an hour. It's said that Pearl Lake is the dressing glass of fairies. It's an ideal place for photographers to shoot Shenrezig.
One tip to keep in mind is that most of the sites in the reserve are above 4000 meters, some tourists may get headache and nausea because of depletion of oxygen, which is the so-called acute high altitude disease (AHAD). So tourists with hypertension, cardiopathy and diabetes should be cautious and prepare relevant medicine in advance.
Another thing to mention is that the best time to visit Yading is September, October and November, when there are more sunny days. Just imagine the blue sky, white snow mountain, golden woods and colorful lakes at the world's last Shangri-La, and then you will know what to do.
(All photos by Xinhua or provided to Xinhua)