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About Kham


Kham is known as the region of 'four rivers and six ranges', the most fertile and culturally rich province of Tibet. Here are the tall tough warriors of Tibet who have weathered the brunt of Chinese brutality. A particularly vicious Manchu named Chao Erh-Feng served as magistrate to a Chinese punitive expedition in 1905 which enforced the Chinese grip of eastern Kham, and by harshly suppressed the monasteries, smashing buildings, burning books and executing thousands, added the territory to Sichuan. The Khampas fought back to drive the Chinese out after the 1911 overthrow of the Qing dynasty and retook Qamdo in 1918. China spent the next thirty years reneging on treaties lining 20,000 troops along the treaty line and crossing into western Kham and "liberating" the rest of Tibet. It is a land of stunning natural beauty.

Kham currently covers the southeastern Tibetan Plateau from the Gonga Mountain Range on the east to the Yangtze River on the south and west.  On the north it is bordered by the Amdo Tibetans who populate the Yellow River Valley from Xining on the east to the deserts of the west.

The 'four rivers' refer to 1)the Nu River, which becomes the Salween River in Burma, 2) the Lancang River which becomes the Mekong through Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, 3)the Jiang River which becomes the Yangtze River and 4) the Yalong River which flows diagonally through the center of Kham from northwest to southeast where it joins the Yangtze.

These rivers slice through valleys and gorges between snow capped mountains ranges, creating spectacular vistas below a striking blue sky.  Some of these valleys open up into broad, treeless grasslands that are a verdant green after the rainy summer season and brown the rest of the year.  By November, the weather has turned cold and, at the 10 to 15 thousand foot elevations it is the start of a brutal cold winter.

The Chinese Han culture meets the Tibetan culture at the city of Kangding (Dartsedo).  This is where the Chinese tea and silk were carried by coolies, traded for silver and gold, and taken by yak caravans to Lhasa.  For centuries it was a frontier border town, rowdy and busy. Now it is the center of government for the region and still hub for transportation.

The Tibetan Buddhist culture emanates from the western towns and monasteries of Chamdo, Dege and Ganzi, spreading out over the plateau and down the river valleys to Zhongdian and Muli.  When it reaches the eastern edge of the high country, the Tibetan influence stops and the Han Chinese takes over, farming the warm wet Sichuan basin.

Kham is much like the old west of America with herds grazing on arid grasslands tended by nomadic horsemen.  Wherever conditions are suitable, farming takes place on small farms of grain combined with livestock, usually in the protected valleys.  But in Kham the peaceful influence of the Buddhist philosophy allows a comfortable commingling of nomad and farmer.

Tours in Kham
Overland tour from Chengdu to Lhasa 18 days
Overland tour from Chengdu to Shangrila(Yunnan) 16 days
Photo expeditions from Xining to Chengdu
Kham discovering tour
Kham trek, trek near the Sacred mountain Minya Konka
Overland tour,from Lhasa to Chengdu via Shangrila
Trek around sacred mountain Meili
Jyekundo(Yushu) anniversary horse race
Kham discovering tour
overland tour from Tibet via Yunnan to Chengdu
Kham landcruize tour
Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Bus Expedition Tour





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