ChengDu 成都市 to Kangding 康定市 · དར་མདོ་གྲོང་ཁྱེར།

Bus stations in China are generally more chaotic than train stations, ChengDu was a calm-ish surprise. (By Chinese standards) 

After edging out of the city, through industrial suburbs and hectic flyover junctions, the visible land spreads and buildings were in huddled settlements with vast farming land between. 

Much of the journey was the same, though you couldn’t see a great deal through the foggy windows – dripping with condensation. The soundtrack to the 6 hour journey was the gutsy jibber jabber of the Sichuān dialiect, and empassioned love songs blasting from the speakers.  

Entering the two lane road on an unfinished “freeway” through the mountains, the Chinese style of driving is terrifying. After the 5th near death experience one learns to shut your eyes and put your faith in the ballsy little bus driver’s game of chicken.   

The mountains were stunning, bare and brown but beautiful in an ominous way. Lakes of a luminescent turquoise green (unromantic but most definitely due to pollution) had been damned all the way up. It was a steady climb up the valley, with a growing chalkiness to the air: mines. And along the route we saw some more reminders of China’s impending desire to cash in on the surroundings. 

A convoy of Chinese army vehicles, gigantic green lorries with red stars plastered across the front. Numbers 278-309, 31 lorries wiggling through the mountain road. An awe-inspiring and equally depressing journey toward Kanding. 

In the eighth and final hour of the approach to one of the western most cities before the Tibetan Plateau, the sky is the bluest we’ve seen for a while, the faces are changing and the air is thinning. 

The initial swarm of locals trying to flog you a taxi left us bumbling around like little lost boys. But when this is where your journey has taken you…. 


Next stop: Tagong ལྷ་སྒང་


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